Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Another Rude Awakening

I was woken up again this morning, not by an air-raid siren, but the police....

The first time this happened, Kimi was with me to translate, it was simple, they just wanted to look at my passport to register me onto their database. This time I had no Kimi, so it was down to me to make use of my very limited Chinese. I opened the door to find two young officers who looked like they were just out of high school (I guess this type of work must be one step up from making coffee -- or tea in China). One was short and wielding a cigarette, and the other, a tall bean-pole in sneakers who probably wanted to be the next Yao Ming before joining the force. The shorter one began speaking to me and I was instantly confused by his use of "ni men" meaning "you" (plural), who else was he talking to? That had me confused, but then I discovered he was once again after my passport. I fetched it and he seemed to copy a lot of it onto another piece of paper. I'm not sure the reason why he was doing all of this, but it might have something to do with the Olympics being over and the visa laws reverting back to the way they were before the games. As all of this was happening the taller officer just stood around looking at me for five minutes. They were surprised there was no chinese writing in my British passport, didn't know of my hometown (even though that was printed in Chinese on my visa), asked if I lived with anyone else, and left.

Rick and I, with the nearest example of a Chinese policeman I could find in my pictures (although he was actually a Filipino singer/dancer -- apparently called "Eagle" -- at "Banana Leaf", a Thai restaurant in Shanghai)

Just like the policemen today, I have noticed that a majority of Chinese people I have randomly met, won't slow down their speech to aid us in our understanding of them. They just fire out word after word as they would to anybody else. At least in the UK we shout at foreigners to make sure they understand.

Yesterday I had "English Corner" at school again. This is a-class we have to teach to a large group of students, anyone can come, and they don't have to prepare anything. In all honesty, it can be a nightmare, some students just don't want to talk -- ever. However, I completely underestimated them yesterday. It seems that their written grammar is actually very good, they do not make the same mistakes that many native speakers do at home. I was very surprised. They can write, they just can't speak.

1 comment:

大眼睛熊 said...

Hey xiao zhu,sorry i missed ur call this morning,luckly they were only after ur visa,well,again! I dont understand why they need to see ur visa over and over again. Did that guy say anything weird or nice like "ur so handsome" after the 5mins stare?