Archive for the ‘Chinese’ Category

Happy Chinese New Year

Firstly I would like to wish all my Chinese friends, Happy New Year or Happy ‘Niu’ Year. If I am not mistaken, ‘niu’ means Ox, which is the current year in Chinese calendar.

I had some fun asking around my Chinese friends, What numerical year is it in Chinese calendar?. Most of them did not know, I even received a cute answer of “1430”. Clearly she got confused with Muslim Hijrah calendar. Haha.

Anyway, there’s probably no official numerical year, but according to a friend, Sok Nee, it is now year 4706. I then asked a friend in China, and he said around 4000 something is correct, which is the sum of the reigning years of past Emperors.


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I will probably vomit if I see another Chinese character. Why is it one of the most spoken languages in the world is also one of the most difficult? It does not make sense. I am starting to think that languages should be redesigned by software developers, who often put user friendliness as top priority.

Contrary to previous resolve, I am going to watch Bleach anime. There’s actually no risk of me getting trapped into watching Prison Break and Heroes too and waste my precious five days. I just found out that I have watched all recent episodes of both series.

By the way, I just bought the third volume of Tuttle Flash Cards for Chinese below from The Curve’s Borders for RM75. Could not find the fourth one there, but nearby Ikano’s Popular was selling one for RM89. Why so much difference in price? Whereas another nearby bookstore, MPH was selling second volume at RM83. Funny. Different volumes available at different bookstores with different prices. Sense not well made !


Good thing about these flash cards is each card has fairly good amount of information. On the front is the Chinese character along with the order of strokes and four compound words that contain the character. Card number is given at the top left for sequencing purposes.


Whereas on the back, the pronunciation and English translation for the characters and the compound words are given. There is also example of sentence that make use of the character. Very neat isn’t it?



I also got first volume of Japanese Flash Cards and I bought first volume of Arabic for my dad some time ago. Recently I saw in Kinokuniya that Korean one is already available. But it will be quite a period before I start Korean seriously, if ever.

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5 full days of what?

My boss had just approved 3 day leave request from 15th-17th.  Together with the weekends, that means I have 5 days straight to do anything that I want! Ho ho ho… 🙂 I am so happy, although I am not yet sure what to do with it.

Should I study non-stop and gain mastery of a new skill? Or practise Go? Read a trilogy? Well… it took me about  5 days to finish Lord of the Rings.

Let’s evaluate the available options.

Option 1 : Study Mandarin Chinese non-stop

How many characters do I need to know before I can read Chinese Go books? I know 500 is not enough because that is my level now. Especially so because my vocab now consists of “kitchen”, “brother”, “hill”, “doctor” etc.

It’s difficult to force myself to memorize non-stop, but what I can do is to go through all 4 sets of Tuttle flash cards ~ 1600 Hanzi repeatedly for 5 days and see where I end up.

Option 2 : Go training

Excluding actual playing on KGS. Five days of tsumego solving and replaying Shusaku games. Unfortunately, the result from this training won’t be as obvious as the first option. Will I really be stronger in Go from this?

Option 3 : Watch Bleach, Heroes and Prison Break

I may slide into this option if I just watch one of the episodes on Friday night. One episode will lead to another surely, and 5 days will be gone just like that.

Option 4 : Relax, enjoy life and smell the flower

? ? ?

Option 5 : Study wireless technology, RF and computing

Ridiculous. Can always do this during office time when I have no work.

Hmm.. perhaps I will consider only option 1 or 2. But there is risk I might foolishly slip into option 3 and get trapped there for 5 days. Scary …, scarily fun 🙂

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I said it before. TRANSFORMATION ! From computer and technology enthusiast into cultural and language guy. I have changed a lot. And also, for the first time, I intentionally clicked on a Google ad.

Which brought me to LotusEducation, organizer of HomeStay program in Beijing, with programs for learning Mandarin with Beijing Language and Cultural University. I am particularly looking at 8 weeks program which would cost $4280 or about  RM14,000.

I asked my senior at work,

“Kak, you know if it’s possible for me to take 2 months leave?”

“I never done that, but you might have to take unpaid leave”

“Unpaid leave is OK. My salary is still very low, it’s better if I take unpaid leave now than later”.

“But you must also remember that it might affect your bonus and promotion”.

Well firstly I need to achieve memorization of 1500 Han Zi or Chinese characters, to measure my seriousness in this matter. Only if I succeed can I continue with this homestay, or else I might just be sacrificing money and career and gain nothing.

Hmm.. how can I get married if I never start saving?

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After 4 days in Sabah, I’m finally back home. It was really tiring, I moved around really around Sandakan and Tawau regions. I also went to Semporna, a place famous for the pirates. The Sabahan who brought me to Semporna seemed to have a lot against the place.

Semporna ni nama je Semporna. Tak sempurna langsung.

Now, turning on Mix FM for the first time in a week, it was Bleeding Love from Leona Lewis playing. Mix knows how to greet me back 🙂

I also occassionally listen to Ai FM, a Chinese radio station, which I think links to RTM in some way. It’s 89.3 station. It’s time to start again my Mandarin learning or 3 years of hardwork during university years would go to waste.

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Chap Goh Meh

I was unaware that today was Chap Goh Meh, until the Senior Director of Spectrum Planning division of MCMC mentioned so, when addressing the audience of MCMC Lecture Series.

Those who dont know, Chap Goh Meh marks the 15th day and the final day of Chinese New Year celebration. It’s supposed to be a good day for matchmaking.

For those who are single, get mandarin orange and write your name on it. Then throw it into the river and hopefully someone will pick it up. And just wait to become the main character of a romantic story.

Hmmm anyway … which river is clean enough in Malaysia that anyone would actually pick a floating orange from?

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