Rockstarism #236 – “I Hate Chai-nese”

**Updated as at 18 Nov 2012**

#236

Before he leaves for Putonghua class after school

Rockstar: Mum. I hate Chai-nese.

Me: The subject, or your (tuition) class?

Rockstar: <thinks for mom> The subject. I hate it, it’s so……. hard to learn. (probably because he has to do more reading/ writing now)

Me: Oh, that I can’t do much about, if you hated the tuition class I might still try to make small adjustments.

Rockstar: Oh yeah yeah yeah change my class too.

Me: You just said it’s actually the subject you don’t like, and anyway you made me put you in a class (instead of with a personal tutor) so you wouldn’t be so bored, you could make some new friends.

Rockstar: <gloomily> Now I don’t like anyone in the class.

Me: <bit worried> What? Why?? Last time you were always talking about this or that friend, and The Little Miss Twins (at one point there were identical twin girls attending, much to his amusement)…

Rockstar: I don’t like them anymore! Now I realize they’re quite… naughty! <nodding convincingly>

Me: ?! What do you mean?

Rockstar: They all speak Chai-nese!! <This Is Terrible expression>

Me: It’s a freaking Chinese class!!!

Rockstar: But they even speak Chai-nese when they don’t need to speak Chai-nese!! They speak Chai-nese all. The. Time!! 

(I have to not laugh out loud at the way my not-yet-5yr-old is saying it, all Get Me Outta Here I’m Surrounded By Fruitcakes. But to be fair, he doesn’t complain much about the school chinese lessons where apparently some of the explanation is still done in English. Also, he appears to like some of the Putonghua-speaking mums who volunteer in that department..)

Me: You’re speaking English when you’re not supposed to be speaking English. Don’t you think maybe some of them think you’re naughty for speaking in English in that class? And I suppose you’re the only one speaking any English there?

Rockstars: <snorts, then schools himself into more serious expression> Mum. I really hate learning it. Do I have to?

Me: Sorry darling, but yes. I agree it’s hard, I find it a very hard subject too. Back in the day it wasn’t seen as that important where Mummy went to school, and so she didn’t try to learn til she was much older. Then when she finally tried it was much, much harder than you’re finding it now and Mummy gave up a few times. But you know what?

Rockstar: What?

Me: I really regretted it. You want a good job, right? (Standing agreement with Rockstar – he can’t wait to grow up and get some Big Important Grownup Job so I told him he has to do well in school to get what he wants. “They don’t give the big responsibilities to the people they don’t think will do a good job, right? You wouldn’t, would you?”)

Me: When I came out here to work it was very hard at first. Mummy had to work much harder to make up for her lack of command of the Chinese language. (Try covering Northasia RMs when you are illiterate in Chinese and have only very rudimentary Cantonese – I literally had to tell some of my mildly irritated RMs holding Chinese language investment product term sheets Then I’ll Try Harder To Make You More Money To Make Up For The Discomfort Of Having To Have Discussions Partially In English)…

Me: Daddy and I insist you learn Chinese because we don’t want you to quit now when it’s still easier to learn, and then find you really need it for work one day and struggle even more to pick it up when you’re older. (I’m not kidding, Rockstar really listens gravely through the whole soliloquy and nods at the end.)

Rockstar: <very grudgingly> O-kay. <like he’s pronouncing an important verdict> But if there’s an easier way I want it to be easier. 

Sigh, don’t we all?

Random pic of him before lessons he DOES like...

Ps: For the record though, mum friends have told me he will respond to them in Chinese if they casually (and unexpectedly haha) speak to him in Chinese…

This for Mun:

Some I really cannot tell left or right, but if I look for others then I can see punctuation marks on the right (i.e. it’s left to right).. PLEASE tell me that is simplified Chinese because otherwise I’m the biggest dunce – Kings recruited Rockstar’s original tutor and told me she is doing simplified and I simply took his word for it ages ago

  

  

And thanks for the other link for Chinese…

Thanks for installing the Bottom of every post plugin by Corey Salzano. Contact me if you need custom WordPress plugins or website design.

Related posts:

About Aileen

I blog about living and raising my son in Hong Kong - where toddlers have entrance interviews, parents keep test score spreadsheets, private school debentures can trade for more than half a million USD. Raising Rockstar's the most important thing I'll ever do. We show our true colors by the choices we make in bringing up our children. My blog is a message to my toddler son, about what the world and his parents are like today - for when he becomes a teenager and knows everything.
Posted in Rockstarisms, Talking To Rockstar | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 comments
  • CA

    Yes, HK uses traditional Chinese characters, as does Taiwan but Mainlad China and Singapore have adopted simplified characters. This was why there was so much online outrage locally when a couple of chain stores used simplified Chinese in their shops or menus rather than using traditional Chinese characters which have always been the way Chinese has been written down.

    Some simplified Chinese characters have slipped into people’s writing too in emails and text messages due to the proliferation of IM but in everyday life, HK remains a city that uses tradtional Chinese characters and I truly hope it stays this way as so much history associated with the development and history of the words will be lost if the simplified version is used instead.

  • Jessie

    It will be so hard to get Tristan to learn Chinese too when he is old enough. Would certainly want him to master another language other than English. Perhaps starts him off with a Chinese speaking day carer.

    • http://raisingrockstar.com Aileen

      Rockstar had a personal tutor for almost 2 years as a baby, back when he would still “show us” his Chinese it was already better than mine… But when he started Kindy and increasingly I had to change (not reduce, but spread out) his timings the personal tutor became less motivated and in the end it didn’t work out…

      Nanny is a good way, I had (Malaysian) girlfriends here who told me the teaching assistants in some local schools can make more as a nanny and are happy to do it so i tried that for awhile… But in the end Rockstar wanted to go to a class and promised to do better there if we didn’t use nannies… For awhile he did…

      Part of the difficulty he is having now is because I deliberately removed all his written Chinese lessons for 6 months (leaving only one simple conversation class) leading up to his English primary school interviews because he is one of (if not the) youngest where kids can be more than a full year older than him and the Chinese was causing him to read/write his English backwards.. Given his age I was afraid he wouldn’t make it thru interview. After this break when I resumed his reading/writing Chinese was when he started to complain about the class…

      • mun

        The chinese books sold here in Kl are to be read from left to right (same as english). Is it different in HK? are the chinese books there to be read from right to left as with traditional chinese books? Even in China, I don’t find books that are to be read from right to left that common. All seems to follow English which is left to right unless you mean those that are to be read from top to bottom (vertical) and then the vertical lines are to be read from right to left.

      • http://raisingrockstar.com Aileen

        I have no idea, but the personal Tutor was teaching simplified Chinese, the same as in China not Hk so if u say the books in China are left to right……. He had mostly picture/ single word books at the time, the bulk are actually all loose sheets of activity paper accumulated into a clear folder. I still have all of it actually, I could look more closely at whether the lines are left-right or the other way I guess..

        I simply assumed when Rockstar started reading backwards that it was due to the Chinese. Because otherwise I really don’t know why he started reading backwards for a time. I have narrated this to two native Beijing friends however, one of whom is also in academics and she did agree it was the Chinese…

      • mun

        Hi Aileen, Thanks for your reply. If it is not too much trouble for you, can you please take a photo of those activity papers? I am very curious to know whether the lines are left-right or not. Thanks again!

      • http://raisingrockstar.com Aileen

        Sure just gimme awhile I’ll put it in this post later today. The original tutor was good, i.e. for a time (and this seems impossible now we look at Rockstar) my son’s Chinese was overshadowing his English (and she dumped us pretty quickly over his Kindy hours cos can find other students easily haha). However she was mainly during the time I had my crazy work phase – and then just after I stopped work I always had to be out of the apartment during lessons or toddler Rockstar would refuse to do any learning…

        But I know she’s from China and so if you say left to right then probably the same as I said earlier..

        Come to think of it now you mention, I remember Rockstar’s music teacher in that very local class regularly reminds us to tell the kids that they are to read the music book from left to right…

        Do you teach Chinese, I always wondered if you were a teacher?

      • mun

        Hi Aileen,

        Thank you very much for putting the photos up :). I can confirm that for all 4 photos, the chinese words are to be read from left to right (same as English).

        From the photos, 2 use traditional chinese and 1 uses simplified chinese (details below).

        No, I am not a teacher but my sister is and I often talk about your blog with her. When I mentioned the right to left post, she asked me to clarify because as long as she has been teaching chinese, all materials she got from China are left to right (same as English) so she is puzzled about the right to left thing. She said in HK, they still use traditional characters but in China, the official one is the simplified version.

        Details:
        Top left (the one with balloon): traditional chinese because fly in simplified chinese is 飞 and it uses traditional chinese for fly – 飛.

        Top right (the one with 4 people on top of the page): traditional chinese because bao bao in simplified chinese is 宝 宝 and it uses traditional chinese for bao bao – 寶寶.

        Bottom left (days of the week): Both traditional and simplified chinese use the same characters for days of the week.

        Bottom right (flashcards for phrases): simplified chinese. The phrase for “never mind” is in simplified chinese – 没关系 whereas the traditional chinese it is written as 沒關係.

        So is Rockstar learning the traditional version or simplified version in ESF? what about in his extra putonghua class?

      • http://raisingrockstar.com Aileen

        o i c… ESF shud b on simplified; his tuition class can do either and once offered to help with his lesson revision but I don’t have any materials for them yet so for mom he is still using tuition materials which I suspect are both (bcos the demographic has both very local hongkies (whose biggest challenge I heard is usually pronunciation), and African American or Southeast Asian or ABC/BBC i.e. very mixed) – same with kids going to ISF (traditional), tutors will generally help where parents cannot support their kids’ chinese learning…

        Thanks for the clarification…

      • http://raisingrockstar.com Aileen

        o i c… ESF shud b on simplified; his tuition class can do either and once offered to help with his lesson revision but I don’t have any materials for them yet so for mom he is still using tuition materials which I suspect are both (bcos the demographic has both very local hongkies (whose biggest challenge I heard is usually pronunciation), and African American or Southeast Asian or ABC/BBC i.e. very mixed) – same with kids going to ISF (traditional), tutors will generally help where parents cannot support their kids’ chinese learning…

        Thanks for the clarification…

      • http://raisingrockstar.com Aileen

        Sorry, forgot to add… Another problem is that after Rockstar’s first tutor, we have changed tutors/class several times (which may also account for the mix in materials) – both because he couldn’t get along with subsequent personal tutors and because the tuition center I don’t have much choice but to use keeps changing tutors.

      • mun

        Hi Aileen, Thanks for your reply. If it is not too much trouble for you, can you please take a photo of those activity papers? I am very curious to know whether the lines are left-right or not. Thanks again!

  • http://www.facebook.com/SengkangBabies Andy Lee

    If it is any consolation, Singaporean kids are also having the same resistance. From K2 (6 years old), parents would start sending their kids for Hanyu Pinyin.

    • http://raisingrockstar.com Aileen

      Thanks Andy.. Mandarin seems to be spoken a lot more on the streets nowadays when I visit than when I used to live there 7-8 yrs ago, so I always think Singaporean kids are very good at Jiang Guo Yu (improvising pinyin here :P)

  • mun

    Good that Rockstar is still willing to go for Putonghua class even though he dislikes it.

    • http://raisingrockstar.com Aileen

      Solely on the merits of my argument :P certainly not “because Mummy said so.” He is SO not a “because Mummy said so” child. Fortunately I’m not a “because Mummy said so” parent…