yodge (yodge) wrote,

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There's a first time for everything

I officially spoke my first Chinese sentence in ten years today, under duress and much pressure. Mother had gone back to Bangkok, and had left her mobile phone with me to use. Anyway, Maternal Granny who speaks ONLY Hokkien Chinese, Malay, and Mandarin Chinese called. And I very innocently answered it. And then I nearly had a heart attack because (a)I had to speak Chinese, and (b)I had never strung together an intelligible Chinese phrase since I was in the second grade.

So anyway, I managed to think really hard (REALLY HARD!) and said "Mama hwei chi man-gu le..." and I think my grandmother was having her own little coronary episode because that was the first full sentence I had ever said to her since... well, I don't remember EVER speaking to my grandmother in a coherent sentence past the age of maybe 8 or 9.

I know I should be hanging my head in shame at my appalling ignorance of my own "ancestral tongue"--although logically speaking none of my ancestors ever grew up speaking Mandarin as a first language but rather Hokkien and Cantonese and Malay, but we'll leave that discussion to another day--but I can't! Wheeee!!! I spoke Chinese! And I thought of the sentence on my own! And it involved the past tense! Not bad for a girl who can't even order a bowl of soup, eh?

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