Monday, 28 September 2009

Say manure, say manoeuvre. See my problem?

Date: Tue, 24 Apr 2001
From: Ceels
Subject: Say manure, say manoeuvre. See my problem?

I have that feeling I get when I haven't been eating properly, not sleeping, and worrying too much.

It turns out that the 'editorial' position is a foreign expert position (proof-reading) and maybe some writing. Melinda says the town near Wuhan is a hole. The kids have exams this week and are being holy terrors. I have heard nothing from Tibet. (Do we hear an 'I’m coming home in this?') I said yes to the newspaper.

There has been a rash of 'f*%k you's' in junior one. I have dealt with this situation by clapping my hand over my mouth and faking a heart attack every time I hear the phrase. The student involved is then so embarrassed that the phrase is never uttered again by anyone in the class (a miracle cure).

It is a funny thing about other people's swear words. Melinda's English teacher gave the class a run down on words relating to sex. He would only explain meanings in English (e.g. 'the male organ'). And the lesson was apparently to prevent situations like the one where his friend had to fill out the customs report in English. He had his little electronic dictionary so there was no problem and he wrote Name: Zhong Shu, Age: 31, Sex: No Experience.

Now, Melinda is sweet and innocent. But she told a joke about a banana that made my hair stand on end. I clapped my hands over my ears and howled, (remember that I went to boarding school and was an apprentice chef, and I have just about heard it all). Finally I asked for all the relevant terms in Chinese and she quite happily rattled them off. Then I asked in Tibetan. She paused. The room chilled. She could not say a thing. She looked stricken. Close to tears. I said 'ah, no no nevermind, I don't want to know.'

So I don't know the words in Tibetan, but I can swear passing well in Chinese.

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