I told Sue that day: when it comes to languages, I don’t think I’m talented; it is just that I’m very determined and hardworking.

Oh, I never know translating mental scenes into words could be this lengthy! :p

Pre-school (age 0-4)

It was all Cantonese and Hokkien for me.

Kindergarten (age 5-6)

I started to pick up limited Chinese, Malay and English, could not converse well, and couldn’t even construct a full sentence.

Standard 1 (age 7)

Mama: Papa=Chinese educated: banana (Chinese who can’t read and/or speak Chinese. “Yellow on the outside, white on the inside”)

Should we send our daughter to Chinese or Malay school?

Mama: Papa= Chinese: Malay

Mama vs. Papa: 1: 0

Few days into school, I remember receiving warning from prefect, “No dialect please! Speak only Mandarin!”

Gradually, my interest in and mastery of Chinese language grew.

Standard 2 (age 8)

Parents sent me for private group tuition. The pretty tutor, Ms. Yong took initiative to teach us additional Chinese vocabulary which was out of the syllabus.

One morning, she taught us 坚强 and 毅力. When I went to school later that day, it was the 造句比赛.

I racked my brain trying to apply the new vocab learnt into the sentences. I constructed this sentence: 凭着坚强的毅力,他们成为比赛的冠军。I won the first prize.

Standard 3 (age 9)

I come from a family with below average financial status. I was the eldest child in the family. Mama is non-literate. Being the sole breadwinner, Papa was too busy making ends meet. No one cultivates reading habit in the family and parents did not know what a school kid at my age will need. Besides text books, I had no extra reading materials at all before Standard 3.

One fine day during Standard 3, TYJ invited me to visit a book exhibition together. His dad’s giving my mama and I a ride. The book exhibition was almost like a wonderland to me. I was thrilled. But when I asked mama if I could have this book or that book, mama frowned and said, “Too expensive…” I was glad enough that I went home with a few old issues of 《好学生》, only 50 cents each!

I was fascinated with the contents! The essays, the general knowledge, the stories! Being my only reading materials for that time, I read everything from the first to the last page over and over again, until I could almost memorize all the contents.

Mama also bought 美人鱼 for me (see, I only read about little mermaid at the age of 9! Realized your privilege now? Haha). How mermaid sacrificed for love touched my soul.

Standard 4 (age 10)

One day teacher announced in class that it’s compulsory for us to buy the Chinese dictionary which cost RM40. I got panicked: papa would sure scold me if I asked him to bring me to book shop and it’s RM40! God sent an angel though. LWJ’s mom consoled, “It’s ok, I’ll buy and pay on your behalf first, and I’ll talk to your mom.” She’s so kind that she even delivered the new dictionary to my house riding motorbike.

Mdm. Wong, my class teacher played an important role in heightening my passion for Chinese language. She told all sorts of 成语故事during the class and they captivated me! Before going on mid-term break, she hoped we could spend time reading the 中国四大名著, namely《三国演义》、《西游记》、《水浒传》及《红楼梦》. No one in the class really put that into heart, but I took the advice seriously. I spent the break burying myself in the plots of 《三国演义》and《西游记》.

One day, as I was browsing through 3M报,I mumbled, “It would be so nice if I could have this collection of 十二生肖的故事. Papa had a glanced at the page and walked away. The next day, he came back from work bringing the whole set of story books! He actually paid attention to the address of the publisher, which was near where we stayed, and visited the place and bought the books for me.

With all this reading in place, my writing skill powered up! I won the first prize for the essay-writing competition that year.

Standard 5 (age 11)

Finally, the school’s library was up and running! It was such a treasure for me. I borrowed books almost on daily basis. I especially like the 漫画成语series! The comics made the learning of new proverbs so much easier and fun. Photocopying was still too expensive for me, what I did? I hand-copied the proverbs and made sure I used the proverbs in my writing as frequent as possible. I spent the most time doing my essay-writing and sentence-constructing exercises diligently.

Standard 6 (age 12)

I was selected to represent the school in the 华文笔试比赛. After coming out from the competition hall, I told Mdm. Hu, “Opps… I do not know how to answer a big part of the questions. I think I screw it.” I was not upset at all, was even happy that it finally ended and I did not have to stay back after school for training again.

One Saturday, I stayed back to play with friends. While walking out of the school gate, the headmaster’s car drove in. He winded down his window, greeted, “陆 莹莹,你是雪州冠军!冠军!” I had no idea what he’s talking about actually. Until I bumped into him again at the staircase near his office, he was so excited, holding my hand and explaining to me what happened. In my heart, I was thinking: Ok, I won, so?

The winning exposed me to FAME at young age! Haha. Not only I was glorified at school, I appeared in newspapers. Relatives and friends’ parents all got excited seeing me in newspapers. Headmaster purposely paid me a visit at home, explaining to my mama what I had achieved and that I needed to represent Selangor and attend the national competition in Perlis.

Secondary school

I still had great interest in improving my Chinese until one day during Form 2, when Mdm. Choo (Chinese teacher) shouted at me in class, “你为什么有这么多疑问?你真的以为有疑问真的会有进步吗???” I got disheartened.

What discouraged me even more was that I only scored B in PMR for Chinese when friends who are thought to have been inferior scored A. Being a perfectionist, no straight As and B for my favorite subject, hit me hard. I decided it’s not worth my further effort.

I still took Chinese in SPM, just because I wasn’t interested in Accounts.

Undergraduate studies

Chinese is 英雄无用武之地. English and Chinese seemed to be struggling for the mastery, until the former carried the days.

Upon graduation

Good English=weapon at work! So, English all the way!


I feel insecure losing my Chinese… more Chinese posts in the future! 🙂


2 Responses to “我会中文之久违了,朋友!”

  1. 1 Ai Ling February 10, 2013 at 2:21 am


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