Babel!

I was taking a bus home when two passengers boarded. Then they began to talk with each other.  At first, I didn’t pay much attention to their conversation at all. Their words and voices just like something that completely out of my world. Or just like you are listening to some music while you are lost in your deep reflection, so you don’t remember what you have listened.  I kind of like  this feeling, to me, it’s more like a meditation.

Then suddenly, my conscious mind weighed in and started to analyze what they were talking about.  Oh dear! I could not understand a single word! “Are they foreigners? ” this splashed through my mind. Since they are no different from me both in color and figure and they are in the manner of locals. I realized that they were speaking Cantonese(粤语), a  dialect of Yue(粤) Chinese spoken in the vicinity of Canton (i.e. Guangzhou) in southern China.

I could even tell a phrase after I realized that. 鍾意(like) was the phrase I frequently heard. But that’s all! I couldn’t figure out any more. The tones are beautiful to my ears. It’s like I am listening to a Portuguese conversation. For them, they are no difference to me as Japanese or Korea.

Wow ! This is a babe! We live in the same People’s Republic of China, we are Chinese to outside worlds. But we can’t understand each other, we have different  living style as well.

This reminds me of the tension between Hong Kong Chinese and mainland counterparts.  Nearly 18 years after Hong Kong’s reunification with China, there still is a distance between us! I think Hong Kongers must be more friendly to Cantonese! Since they share the same language and most of the Hong Kongers’s ancestors are from Guangdong province. They share more common values than we mainland Chinese. I don’t think Hong Kong’s colonial history will change this view very much.

Although there are other main factors for Hong Kong residents to hate mainland Chinese.  The culture gap should never be overlooked!

 

 

 

 

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David Ji

My personal website. All my thoughts and bad ideas.

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