Rockstarism: #142: A Rockstar And His Chai-nese (Or, Pigs Can Fly)

priceless pic - proud happy face holding Putonghua schoolwork

Rockstar can read everything in this booklet - Kings tested him word for word because he simply couldn't believe it - Kings is always on my back about the Chinese. Not... that either of us are at all literate in Chinese...

So Rockstar walks by while Kings is erm, "unwinding" with slapstick Stephen Chow again and says something snarky about it, prompting Kings to question his Chinese lessons again - that's when I break out The Chinese Schoolwork From Secret Compartment.

Rockstar proceeds to amaze Kings by reading the whole thing, including holding his own when Kings starts testing him for individual words. But my favorite part was:

Kings: What does "Chi Chio" mean? (Sorry ah, I don't even have the proper pinyin)

Rockstar: Balloon.

Kings: What is Chi?

Rockstar: Ba. <laughs>

Rockstar carries on reading....

Kings: Waaahhhh such nice pronunciation! What is this word? Then this word? This word? Even I don't know any of this ok.

(Which is a funny thing to say because like me, Kings is completely Chinese-illiterate; just that because he is Hakka, he can "wing it" a bit, cos apparently spoken Putonghua can sound similar to Hakka... When he tried to do more "official" product presentations however he gets Northasian RMs saying Can You Send Someone Who Actually Speaks Chinese... even though they can understand him, which is still better than me...)

Me: Now your chinese is even better than Daddy's, not just mine.

Rockstar: Because I don't watch mindless tv, Daddy.

Waaahhhhhh dem happy ok. Otherwise Kings is always on my back about the Chinese...

He can even write some of the words!

(Coloring... Not my son's favorite thing to do. He's always disliked coloring and most painting - almost the only time he ever does painting outside of school is on very occasional playdates at Artjamming)

Rockstar then went on to sing We Wish You A Merry Christmas in Putonghua - and because he'd impressed us with the colors thingy, he's been teaching Ms Rockstar colors in Putonghua (e.g. "Pink. This is a pink pig. Black. This is a black dog," with his old Baby Einstein board books we are now recycling with the baby... He even addresses her by her chinese name then.)

Know how I kinda had some idea? One of his classmates asked me for my chinese name one day. I gave her my name, then happened to mention that I was however more used to answering to my English name, whereupon she said "Don't you speak Chinese, Rockstar's Chinese is quite good......" and inside I was thinking Really Meh, He Can Speak Meh... Then when I found that little Chinese booklet he casually looked up and said, "I can read everything in there, you know..."

Bearing in mind Rockstar was previously potato offspring of potato mum (not that I never tried to learn, for some reason Chinese is something I have serious mental block on, having given up 3 times in adult life after chalking up just a few very rudimentary basics) this is really something. And he's been singing Wish You A Merry Christmas in Putonghua at the top of his voice all Christmas - it's been a real shocker.

That sound you hear is the lowing of a thousand bovine voices breaking out in song.

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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.
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  • mun

    Way to go Rockstar! ,,for showing your father that you can read Chinese (and even managing to rebuke him for watching Stephen Chow, hehehe).

    I have never heard Wish You A Merry Christmas in Putonghua. Do you have a video of Rockstar singing it? That video would make a very treasured keepsake.

    • Aileen

      Actually we have quite a few videos – Rockstar has an iPod too – the problem is I had gotten used to (lazy) having Kings edit the videos because I don’t have the software he uses, and obviously he’s away a lot for work.

      You are not the first to ask after more videos of Rockstar – Rockstar asks on and off for me to put up his McQueen videos because he watches other kids’ videos on Youtube, (which I just sat on :P) and then he’s already asked us several times to put up the Chinese ones in particular, as proof (and a reminder to the dad) he can speak some Chainese…