13 Jun 2008
I can recall a time when I desperately wanted to know what Chinese people around me were saying. It was perhaps narcissistic, but I suspected they were talking about me probably a lot more than they really were. When I got to the point that I could eavesdrop and understand what people were talking about, the reality was hard to accept. These people weren’t discussing me, kung fu, or even the mystic qualities of qi. They were just talking about daily life things. Like normal people. Imagine that!
So, listening in on conversations turned out to be less rewarding than I originally imagined. Still, every now and then I hear something interesting. I overheard this “newbie-level” exchange between two old men the other day on a Shanghai street as I passed by:
> Old Man 1: 你的牙齿很好！ (Your teeth are great!)
> Old Man 2: 假的！ (They’re fake!)
> Old Man 1: 假的？ (Fake?)
> Old Man 2: 假的！ (Fake!)
Yes, old Chinese men talk about old men things too!