Showing posts from June, 2005

Speaking Chinese in Manila

Speaking in tongues 
By Walter Ang
June 6, 2005
Philippine Star

"Speak in Chinese!" is a line from my aunt every so often when she visits. When I talk to grandmother, I sometimes have to ask her to define what she just said or I'll turn to my sister for a quick translation. If friends have t-shirts with Chinese characters written on it and ask what it means, my answer is always punctuated with the word "something." For example, "This says, `The wind is something something power something something."

After being raised in a household where Fujian Chinese was one of the spoken languages and attending a school with some classes taught in Mandarin Chinese for thirteen years, this is what my mastery of the language is reduced to.

I am representative of a large chunk of the Chinoy population, usually third or fourth generation descendants of immigrants from Fujian, China, who were born and raised in the Philippines. We don't flinch when we swallow exotic…