Sunday, February 28, 2010

Kopi "O" and me


It is Sunday morning, I made some kopi "O", dip with "you char kuih" (Chinese bread stick), I got a bag of them from MeiKong supermarket last night. The coffee beans were brought from Penang last November. This is my typical daily breakfast in my working life in Penang. I would have no energy to work at all if I missed them.

Have you guy noticed that I have less recipes posted recently? There are a lot of things going on. The major reason is Tom has been out and will be out of town again, he is not home for 2 months out of 3. I think for most of people who love cooking, the major motivation is their love one is there to share the food. When he back from business trip, he put 5 lbs on weight, there is my job again to help him on diet. So, there is really not a good timing for me to make any goodies recently. I think I will be putting off my cooking adventure for a while.

However, I still have a lot of thinking in my life to share. I am thinking if I should make a different blog in mandarin. I am Chinese educated, I gave up my languages study when I had to learn 3 languages in school, it was too confusing to me to learn 3 languages at the same time. So, I focused on everything related to number because it is more interesting. No doubt, I became a writing "idiot" - no matter in Malay, Chinese or English, I just hated to write. Of course, there is no doubt that I would choose "Accounting" as my major in college. In my mind, I just have to deal with the numbers.

When I first started my working life, I was happy enough the first 3 years in accounting position, didn't have to deal with too many people. However, there was a big change in my life in 1997. I met a "crazy" boss and was dedicated cross function position - finance, secretary, sales and marketing, purchasing and shipping....!! Started then, I had to travel to different countries and deal with a lot of people in different field. I started to feel the pain. I was really weak in writing skill or express myself in different language, even in Mandarin, because I used to speak "Hokkien" in school and home. You know, the first time I wrote a fax memo to my boss in Mandarin, he called and told me he didn't understand my memo....hahahaha.... what a shame. Okay.... from there, I started to learn slowly my speaking and writing skill in Mandarin as I had to deal a lot of issues with Taiwan and China. No matter what, writing is always a "nightmare" to me.

The reason I called my boss crazy is, because he is really "crazy"...! LOL! When he first started establish his international business to US and European countries, he put me as a pioneer window to deal with those sales reps, buyers and engineers. Back then, I was still a "little girl". I was just 23 years old the first time when he sent me to The Netherlands to solve the quality issues. What?? Quality problem? Not finance? Ya...., I was forced to learn some engineering knowledge which I felt was very tough for me. Most of the time, I traveled alone. Was I scared? Ya... very!!! The first time I travel to US, I had to arrange everything by my own, met a representative that I have never met. He hired a Chinese guy here as my translator, as my broken English was really poor and silly. Out of his 10 American accent sentences, I could barely understand one. hahahahaaha...!!

Back then, I spent 1 day to reply just 1 email from US, slowly, 20~50 emails a day were not a problem for me. But, those business English is pretty common. How about more expression in life and feeling? Oh well... I am still learning. Tom has been a good teacher for me (even sometime he is not very patient :-p).

A lot of time, I think from Mandarin, then write in English, it is not a good practice, I do hope I can do better.

I am in conflict, I don't want to give up in Mandarin too, if I have started my blog in Mandarin, of course, I will have more posting about my thoughts, but I would be slow to write in English better. But, I am living in English environment now, working, family, daily life are all English, sometime, it is kind of like "refreshing" if I could express myself freely in my own language....

As my friend, would you mind to give me your opinion?

这世界上是否真的很少有两全其美的事情? 当一个人在这边生活, 身边大多数都是充斥另外一种语言的环境的时候, 自己是否还可以同时维持母语和第二语言的学习程度呢? 这真是一件不容易的事啊? 只怪自己当年在学校不好好学习...

一直以来, 本身的写作和表达能力都是差强人意, 很欣赏那些人一拿起笔来, 就可以畅所欲言的人. 写作文一直以来就是我的恶梦. 要我写一篇作文, 不知刹死了多少细胞, 妈妈的鸡汤都没办法补回来!!!哈哈哈... 高中毕业以后最高兴的事情就是不必写作文了!!!觉得凡事用讲的就可以了, 干麻还要写的这么麻烦, 后来要念专科的时候要写论文, 才知道"歹志"大条, 文章写得不好, 要怎么把自己的想法和论点好好的表达呢? 可是那时候后悔已经来不及了!!

出来社会工作, 在会计部混的前3年还没感觉. 可是后来遇到了一位超级"头风"的老板, 就吃尽苦头了. 第一次用中文写传真给他, 他竟然打电话来说"我不明白你要讲什么, 你还是用电话给我联络好了" 哇咧......超丢脸的. 英文烂, 已经没话说了, 连中文也写得乱七八糟的, 我还有脸见我祖宗十八代吗???

从此以后, 自己就一边工作, 一边向台湾和大陆的同仁学习中文. 真的很后悔自己以前念书的时候没有好好学习掌握中文. 当然啦, 那时候自己很清楚, 以目前全球化的商业环境, 英文也是很重要的. 那时候也没有想到自己需要面对老外的一天.

我那"头风"老板(希望他永远都不会看到这篇文章, 嗯...或许考虑剔除我的照片, 这么一来他就不知道我说的是他啦....哈哈哈), OK, 话说回来, 我也不知道是犯着谁了, 他有事没事, 就会失踪, 有时候一个星期, 有时候 3 个月, 结果就是丢我一个人在撞墙壁, 工厂大大小小的事情要面对. 刚开发的出口业务要面对, 千吨重压力压得我快喘不过气来....可是换的角度来想, 那真的是很难得的学习机会, 工作挑战不断, 自己从中学到的经验, 是很多人都没有机会遇到的.

好啦...脑筋转弯, 解决了工作压力的问题, 可是自己的外语烂却是事实. "头风"老板时不时把我一个人丢在一个陌生的国家, 去面对从来没见过面的人..我那时候人家还叫我"小丫头"咧.....他那么对我, 是不是超狠心的啊???

说我不知天高地厚吗? 才不呢, 我那时候时时刻刻都是在精神紧张的状态, 要是我一个人在国外有什么三长两短, 他要怎么向我父母交代啊??

那时候时常安慰自己说"没关系的, 兵来将挡, 水来土淹(不知道是不是这样写, 多多包涵啦..), 又不是要了自己的命, 什么事情发生都好, 总有办法解决的!! 这样的道理, 让我渡过了大大小小的难关...也从中学习了宝贵的经验.

话说回来, 对于中文, 本来就是自己的母语, 要从新学习也没有那么困难. 工作环境, 听电台, 看中文节目, 交朋友....,没多久, 很自然的, 很多想法都可以用中文来表达了. 可是英文呢? 说真的, 马来西亚的英文学习环境也不错, 可是就是因为自己懒, 加上本身的成长背景, 要自己的英文进步, 感觉就有点吃力咯...

记得第一次出差到美国, 还需要一位翻译言来帮我沟通呢...其中也闹了不少笑话. 后来自己也慢慢的学习, 可是那毕竟是商业来往, 很多都是公试化的...!!至于很多生活上的体验和想法, 那可是要永无止境的学习啊....

我开始写部落格的时候也是抱这学习英文写作能力的想法, 要写得像老外那样是不可能的事情.

有时候很想要另开一个中文的部落格, 让自己有一个抒发心情的小天地, 可是心理不免有一种罪恶感, 觉得自己脑袋不思长进, 不好好学习英文. 可是, 能够用自己的母语来表达并没有罪啊? 用一个自己熟悉的语言来抒发心情, 那不也是一个抒解压力的方法吗??

好矛盾哦...朋友们, 你们可以给我一点意见吗?


  1. Mum introduced me to you tiao and kopi 'o' that day and I really liked it! Now, people only have you tiao with red bean soup and porridge, I never knew these two could be such good blends! The first time Mum told me I was very surprised though.
    Now that it's after CNY everyone puts on so much weight so I refuse to bake cakes and nice food too :P

    And.. you've been to so many places at the age of 23! That's very daring and brave of you! Reading your post, I felt very happy at the same time knowing that you picked up language when it came to your job. I hate languages too. That's why I never end up with a course with theories and writing essays. I clearly can't do that now. About writing in Chinese and English, I would say that you should write anything you want. It's your blog and it's how and what you wan't to express so do whichever is comfortable to you :)
    ...though I would suggest if you write in mandrin you could on the 'google translation' so that I could read it since I can't read chinese..
    would love to hear more from you soon, Wendy!

  2. Hi Wendy,

  3. Traci, I thought Kopi O and you tiao match is common in Malaysia or other Asian countries. But when I talked to the Taiwanese and Chinese people here, their eyes turned to BIG O, they normally have you tiao with soya bean milk. I have tried you tiao in many ways, but still like it best with kopi O.
    I am glad to know that we are on the same boat for languages and writting....LOL! However, it is kind of important when we are in higher level position, because we have to communicate effectively.
    Thank you very much for your encouragement, you are right, we should write anything we want! I will write more soon! :-)

  4. Hi Anncoo, 看到你的留言让我好感动哦!! 我现在也是跟你一样, 很多字只会打而已, 拿起笔真的写不出来了咧, 而且写的超难看的! 人家很久以前 (小学的时候啦...)可是大楷比赛的冠军咧...!现在写起来好像鬼画符那样...唉...!大家要加油哦!!

  5. my dear friend...your culture & language issues are just like the yu tiaw & the coffee. let's put it this way, the yu tiaw is Chinese, coffee is Western. but you see, they go hand in hand & taste great together. what i'm trying to say is that your Chinese & English language learning & improvement can grow together. you need not choose one over the other. if you want to start a blog in Chinese, just go ahead and don't let anything stop you. it does not mean that it will slow down your learning ability of the English language. if you say that when you went to US on your 1st biz trip and that you did not understand even 1 word of the American accent, i'd say you have come a long way now to stop learning just because you want to have a Chinese language blog. you have the best of both worlds...unlike me! i cannot even read or write Chinese except for my own name. i can only speak very very basic Chinese too. but you are able to keep learning both languages. don't feel like you have to choose only 1 language to improve on. you can improve on both. in fact, i think your English is considered very good now based on what you've said about your English skills last time. there is so much room for each of us to continue learning and improving. even for myself. i too have improved a lot since 10 yrs ago. so you are not alone in this ya :)!

  6. nyonya, I think I am not just learning better in writting to start a blog, I have earned the frienship with you, traci and anncoo, cherry potato, allie and some other food lovers that I never met in person. Amazing...huh? I feel warm and touching to have the supports from you gals, you gals rock!!!!

  7. You are so lucky to get such an opportunity! Happy to read your post!

  8. Hi Allie, Ya, I am lucky to have such opportunity to learn, and I never gave up! :-)
    Thank you for your compliment, I hope to bring more fun to my friends who are reading my blog.

  9. 我也很支持 Anncoo的意见。而且你的双语程度也很好啊!


  10. POtato...谢谢你的支持哦! 让我在语文的学习上不孤单.
    我们的教育制度都是这样, 话了很多时间去适应不同的语言教学. 偷偷跟你说哦...我的马来文现在已经见不得人了...偶尔需要到政府部门办事情, 都讲的结结巴巴的..哈哈哈哈..

  11. I am also Chinese educated, but it seems I have left all the typical characters back in school. Especially my Mandarin. I am banana of sort.

    I will get my wife to comment in Mandarin in future.

  12. Hi least you have picked up English pretty well. Not like me...all half bottle water (半桶水)..hahaha..

  13. 我现在才知道你懂得写华语呀! :D
    我各人非常佩服那些用键盘拼华文,蛮费神和时间。拼了老半天才写不到一片文章,流汗!你该联想得到我要出一片blog post是那么的辛苦呀.


  14. Gill Gill, 我记得我第一次用中文之星打中文的时候, 打了半天, 才那么两行而已...好糗哦!!后来有了MESSENGER这玩意, 开始跟台湾朋友用中文聊天, 慢慢的就越来越快了...! 现在的问题是..很多字会打, 用手写却写不出来了....哎..!


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