Saturday, June 26, 2004

Think about this

Okie, so you think the Chinese Language is difficult? Let's think about it:

English Language
There are verbs, nouns, adjectives, adverbs etc ... tenses - past, present, continuous, present perfect, past perfect etc ... and not to mention so many words to know, to learn ...

Japanese Language
There are verbs, nouns, i-adjectives, nai-adjectives etc .. tenses - past, present, continuous etc etc ... and polite form, non-polite form, negative form etc etc etc ... and not to mention the three types of writings: hiragana, hatakana and kanji.

Chinese Language
There are also nouns, verbs, adjectives etc ... and guess what ... do we actually have tenses in the Chinese Language??? bet you never thought of that right? Okie, so there are also millions of words to learn ... but isn't it actually about the same as the English Language or the Japanese Language? A dictionary for Chinese Language does not seem to be thicker than that for English Language. :P

Let's take a simple sentence and think of all possible combinations:
I eat. I am eating. I am going to eat. I ate. I was eating. I was going to eat. I have eaten. I had eaten. I will eat. I would eat. I shall eat. I should eat. I am not eating. I am not going to eat. I was not eating. I was not going to eat. I shall not eat. I will not eat. I should not eat. I would not eat. I do not eat. I did not eat. (anymore?)

In Mandarin: Let's see ... correct me if I'm wrong.
Wo3 zai4 chi1. I am eating
Wo3 yao4 chi1. (I want to eat.) I am going to eat. I will eat. I shall eat.
Wo3 bu4 yao4 chi1. I do not (want) to eat. I am not eating.
Wo3 yi3 jing1 chi1 (le4). I have eaten. I had eaten.
Wo3 chi1 le4. I ate.
anymore? (I'm sure there are, but I'm quite concussed right now!)

In Japanese: Let's see...
taberun desu; tabemasu. I eat (polite)
taberu. I eat (impolite)
tabetan desu; tabemashita. I ate. I have eaten.(polite)
tabeta. I ate. I have eaten (impolite)
tabeto omoimasu. I plan to eat. I am going to eat. I shall eat.
tabenai. I do not eat (impolite)
tabenain desu; tabemasen. I do noteat (polite)
tabenakaktan desu; tabemasen deshita. I did not eat. (polite)
tabenakakta. I did not eat (impolite)
tabete imasu; tabete irundesu. I'm eating.
etc ... teacher says got 3 more forms for the continuous tense, which haven't learn yet ... and dunno still got how many more ... shessh ...

And we aren't talking about French or German or Russian or whatever. Perhaps they're just as bad. :P

Soo... the secret to being bilingual is to study, practise, listen, practise memorise, write, memorise, talk and practise and practise. Chinese Language got it easier, since there isn't the tenses to worry about, unlike English and Japanese. So why do people find Chinese difficult? Mainly it is not used, and there are too many words to learn, each word not having a pattern, since there isn't any 'alphabets' being string together. You cannot guess the meaning of the word or the pronunciation of the word by just looking at the strokes, unlike English, where sometimes you can guess the meaning and/or pronunciation of the word by reading each letter in the word. Perhaps it makes it easier that way? So the whole issue of learning Mandarin is that we are just getting too soft to learn Mandarin the proper way, which is basically the difficult way. To read, to write and most importantly, to use. That's how we learn English too, isn't it? Only unconsciously, since we use it all the time. :) It's all the same actually ... so who are we kidding?

Just two cents.

Racism will exist everywhere. It is in the nature of humans to have the need to feel superiority over others. And one of the ways is to 'gang' together with same coloured skin to bully the minority. It is in the instinct of survival to behave like this. After all, humans are no different from animals, aren't we?

Since racism exist prevalently everywhere, it is rather fortunate that we have what someone called 'polite racism' here. Basically what was meant was that you do it behind the person's back. I think it is rather 'fortunate' because it meant there is a certain, extremely minute but yes there is, tolerance towards it. In the way that you do not let the feelings overwhelm you and you end up doing something violent about it. Because all we do, is to complain about it, grumble and probably do sneaky things quietly; and are unlikely to start a fight or create a riot or kill someone or something like that. Which is, ... well, somewhat good, isn't it? But honestly, racism is basically just an excuse. Imagine if the world is made up of people of the same skin colour and speak the same language, there will still be discontentment, envy, grouses, and attempts to put other people down in a despairing way. There is discrimination everywhere. See, the person who says he hates (see the word used is hate) polite racism is actually discriminating himself among those others who did what he didn't feel is right. heh ...

Okie, I've better shut my brain. I think I'm biting my tongue in my cheek now. :P

In whatever situations everywhere, there will always be something that gives you a preference over another, that gives you strong feelings of liking or disliking something. You make your choice, to either choose to hate, or love, to be happy or be depressed or to be indifference ... and the world still continues to spin around the sun, not you. The choice is in us to adapt to the surroundings as we move in this time and space. If you cannot adapt, you are out of it. Humility, compassion, open-mindedness are some of the virtues which make one easier to adapt to the changes around us. Pride, stubborness are some which will make it harder. *shrug*


I myself am a product of a SAP school. In hindsight, I've realised how much I've benefited from the rich cultural events in my school, although somewhat one-sided. Now that I'm in a 'normal' school, I realised just how little all the cultures are being actually emphasised. You have everything, but you cannot do too much for each. By having a better understanding of my own culture, it makes me all the more curious towards others now. And who's to say we do not get to mix around with other races? One of my best friends is a Malay Muslim and I'm still learning a few things from her. Education is something we can give to you ... learning is up to you.

Recently I came across a blogger who lamented that the things she learnt in Secondary School are not really useful. Like say Maths, where would you ever use Pythagoras' Theorem again? Is it useful when you go out and work, say ... in a non-related field, or like if you are going to be doing something like mass communication? Or say, Trigonometry. I can't remember where I read it from, but it went something like Science, quite useful, since she'll know to use heat to expand the bottle cap to open the bottle ... but Maths? All you need is to know addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Why study algebra? Why indeed? This is what I feel, and this is what I tell my kids if they asked me (which is sometimes).

The process of learning, or studying, is not simply about the contents of the subject. When we learn Maths, we don't just learn Algebra, Trigo, Geometry etc. We learn how to solve problems. We learn perseverance. We learn the patience and discipline of using a different method to try and obtain a solution. We learn about life itself. The importance of having discipline. Same for Science and for all other subjects. The contents increases your knowledge, and the knowledge may or may not be useful. But the process of learning is forever. You learn to be diligent, you learn that the choice is yours to control what you really want and you learn that good things must come with hard work. heh.

Some kids seemed quite convinced. Those who aren't, I'd say: think short term goal. You want to get your A? And if all else fails ... I'll give you a sweet if you get an A for the next test. hehheh ...

Just some more two cents. :)


So saying about choices ... I think some people subconsciously choose to be depressed because that is something they are good at. And if it elicits sympathy, good-will and attention from others, it makes them feel a little wanted and alive. Those who subconsciously choose to be depressed and successfully kill themselves probably believe that they'll get the attention they want when they are dead and are happy to do so, since they cannot get the attention or be happy when they are alive, it's better that way huh.

And speaking about courage, I once thought that it would be an extremely brave thing to actually kill oneself. It really takes enormous courage to be able to take that step into oblivion, like jumping out of a 20 something building or step into a speeding car etc. And it makes me feel good because I'd be so brave to be able to do it. See ... I'm so brave! I dared to jump! Compared to the continual existance of a spineless coward. Hmmm ... It's better to die right? Sadly, the reverse is true. It takes so much more courage to pull yourself together and to live. Whether it is a rotten life or a good one. And when you are able to do that, you'll feel happy for the stronger person you have become. And you'll realised that all things doesn't really matter. Because if you don't kill yourself now, you'll die in say 50 years time, provided you don't get into accidents. So why not just do your best in this lifetime you have?

Why not indeed? :)

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