Saturday, September 01, 2007

One thing I should have announced

I am in Hong Kong. Studying abroad in England, this ain't. Because we're all friends here, I'll admit: I'm a little intimidated right now.

First thing I notice upon arrival: the visually schizophrenic skyline (note: doesn't capture what I'm saying). Hypermodern antiseptic skyscrapers next to high-rise housing project-looking apartment blocks, all set against a backdrop of verdant, rolling green hills.

Second thing I notice: I can't understand a goddamn thing, and I can't remember a single word. Every word I ask to learn is in one ear and out the other. I have already forgotten such diverse words and phrases as "please," "my name is," "chopsticks," and "ankle sprain." Which is just as well, because I seem quite incapable of pronouncing things properly anyhow.

Before I got here, the only word I knew in Chinese was "shye shye," which means "thank you" in Mandarin. Of course, the dialect of choice in Hong Kong is Cantonese, so that gets me nowhere. I've since added "mm goi" to my vocabulary. Properly pronounced, it means "thank you" in Cantonese (I'm a compulsive thanker). The way I pronounce it, it probably means "my father is a hyperactive soap dish" or something, but people seem to smile and nod politely when I say it. Perhaps they are accustomed to encountering westerners whose parents are kitchen accessories with behavioral disorders.

2 comments:

Trevor said...

Shit. I gotta put you in touch with a friend - he's VP of business development for the Lan Kwai Fong nightlife district. That's him on the right here: http://www.lankwaifong.com/index.php?page=get_cat_detail&keyword=Lifestyle&menu_image=other

Ken Basin said...

Uh. Yes. Definitely yes.