Yellow people!

18 10 2011

No, I am not using the common negative way to call in Western countries Chinese and in general Asian people! No, I’m not having such a bad day.. but I want to introduce a bit more of funny Chinese, especially funny since it mean nothing for us foreigners!

黄人, Huáng rén = yellow person

This is a funny expression I learnt from 潘蕾 combining the meaning of 黄, yellow: it is the color of.. sex!!!

In a Western mind the color for passion, sex or being sexy is red, definitively not yellow!!

And more funny is calling "yellow" the Asian people, thing they actually do not know! It might come as a shock for many, but Chinese are not really yellow.. neither Japanese or any Asian I have ever met! Still if you ask a child to draw a Chinese man, they will make a very round face, almond eyes and color all in yellow. When we chat about that with some Chinese friends they were extra surprised!! When Chinese babies draw laowai they always make big noses!!!

For Chinese yellow is the color that implies sex, usually related to books, movies, etc. I have just learned from wikipedia (as usual) that, yes, the term "yellow movie" (黃色電影,Huángsè diànyǐng) can refer to films of pornographic nature in Chinese culture, and is analogous to the English "blue movie".. blue movie??? Never heard that one!! A blue movie is a sad movie for me!!

But then calling a Chinese "yellow person" it implies that this person always thinks about sex or he/she is a bit wicked minded.. yeah, sort of like me and most of my friends!! 😉

At the same time, it means also sexy: so young girl wear yellow sexy clothes with intentions of shouting to the world they are not afraid to appear sexy! (yellow hot pants on long tanned Chinese legs.. quite a view in summer!)

黄人, Huáng rén, yellow person is anyway not a common expression! Google it, you’ll find no references. Also some colleagues never heard it!

潘蕾 just made it up to.. describe me!! And then we started playing with her friends at university and not only..

Yes, you got it right: I cannot speak Chinese but I am introducing new slang expression to China.. in Chinese 😉

Wǒ zhī dào!

17 06 2011

Wǒ zhī dào – 我知道 = I know

This is a very common statement. In a way though it is much more common than we could expect when compared to English or European languages.

Chinese people use “I know” even when they do not know, but they have just learnt something or how to do something. Sometimes the meaning they give to “I know” is more like “I understand“, “oh, I see” therefore intending: “now I know because you told me!”.

Now, before I did learn this, I had a couple of frustrating exchanges with colleagues, because of course when they speak a broken English they do not know many variation of a possible sentence. So once I was telling one colleague he was doing something wrong, and the conversation went as follow:

Me: “wait wait, you should not test like..”
Colleague:  “I know”
Me:  “No, you do not know!! That is why you have to do this like this and that..”
Colleague, looking innocent and nodding: “I know, I know..”
Me: “oh, you know, so how you are going to test?”
Colleague: “I do not know, can you please show me?”
Me, getting nervous and confused (I’m not the most patient person in the world!): “I was telling you, but you said you know.. ah, forget, you should do like this..”
Colleague, looking innocent and nodding: “I know, I know..”
Me: ☠☠☠☠ *bang* *nuclear mushroom* *head exploding* ☠☠☠☠

I should be patient, you say?

Wǒ zhī dào!!!

Applied Chinese!

17 06 2011

Starting from today, I want to post a bit about Chinese language as well. Or better, I would say Chinese language “applied to real life”! So this is not a grammatical blog explaining how to learn Chinese (there are plenty already) or another kind of very useful one where a character is explained, as a Norwegian good friend is doing..

This is a bit more about sentences commonly used with very normal meaning but for us, laowai, they often end up under the tag “funny thing of the day” category.. even if sometimes they are not *that* funny.. but mainly frustrating..

Therefore I create here a new tag called: “applied chinese”, with the above explained meaning of Chinese language bits taken from real life in China. Again, like for the Chinese myths, this is only based on my limited experience..

Chinese nightmares!

13 08 2010

As I mentioned before, I exchange pinyin sms with some of the several pretty girls I met and that cannot speak English.. I just got this:

wo zai shui jiao

I searched “shui jiao” getting:

水饺  shuí jiǎo  ( n. ) Chin. ravioli
水脚  shuí jiǎo  ( n. ) fees for loading, unloading
睡觉  shuì jiào   to go to bed / to go to sleep
水搅  shuí jiǎo  ( n. ) storms in the skies, rumblings in the sky before rainstorm

..given I know the “wo zai” part.. I guess my friend is going to sleep.. I hope she won’t have these nightmares..

But still, I just wanted to show you the kind of challenges I face on daily basis, and this is only about the social part of my life (she is gorgeous! worth some sweat in trying to understand..). At work, it can be much worse!! Do not make me start mentioning the risks of misunderstanding!! But but, I am a laowai.. 😉