The 'essentials' of Mandarin

I might have mentioned this earlier, in case I have not, here goes. We have a course in Mandarin (Chinese to the lame man), and most of us sit in class pronouncing words in a fashion that would put every china man to shame. Three terms in and we are expected to get the meanings to most of the words correct, however, since the course is non-graded most of us don’t really make the effort to learn.

This ends up with us giving the nice lady who teaches us a fair amount of blood pressure. Mandarin is basically a language which describes actions to refer to things like Camera, Airplane, electricity,etc. For example camera means something like ‘machine that stops pictures’ or something equally long and tedious to explain. Black tea for example is called ‘red tea’ in mandarin because the colour is technically red. An odd red that reminds me of certain mishaps in the chemistry lab.

We all ought to get most of the verbs and adjectives in place, but alas. We fumble quite well. Today somehow was an exception. I had done no prior pre-read for class. Today’s class was on ordering food and ale in a restaurant in China. And when the teacher asked us for meanings of words, from the deep reaches of my dark soul, yours truly knew the meanings to all the words. One or two may have been a fluke, but all of them. Yikes! Even the teacher was shocked by my extremely active performance in the class which is a stark difference from my normal subdued self. (You know I’m BSing when I say I was subdued). Each and every one of the verbs, adjectives were right. I knew the difference between the various types of meats one ordered. The various types of ale. It was as though I was in some trance state of affairs and every word was correct. The force was with me.

Teacher comments: How come you’re getting everything correct today? I’m really impressed and happy.

Fat boy retorts: It is food. And that’s the one thing I am good at.

Some of the more studious students refused to believe that I was running on instinct and were under the impression I was doing my pre-reads. Am sure that I have sent some back to their rooms totally baffled as to how I got almost all correct. They'd probably feverishlys study for the next class. Alas, the only outcome of this is that no matter what I do or try, I will be a foodie at heart. And as there is nothing more essential than food, yours truly has learnt

By the way, I know how to order Bejing roast duck in Mandarin…that ought to impress the ladies!!!