Indonesian names

Indonesians do not generally use the Western naming practice of a given first name and a family last name. The majority of Indonesians do not have family names as westerners would understand them, but such names as are given are geographically and culturally specific.

A friend of mine is named after Axl Rose and Metallica.

An italki story

I was at work, here at italki, when a very good Chinese friend called me. She was the one who has been looking for an apartment for me before I even arrived in China, she helped me to find the room that should become my home for the next year and she guided my first steps in this foreign country.

She said she knows italki. Of course. That’s where we first met. I remeber. Back at the computer, I checked my friends and there she was. And on Saturday, we’ll meet in person.

Last exams

Less then one week until the first of my last exams here at Tongji University. So many things I’ve learned in the past year.

Back to work. Let’s study more words that a China-born friend, who has been living here for eight years, doesn’t know… ;-)

Give them time

A recent discussion among friends. They think the Chinese government is on a good way. It’s working in the best interest of the country. We have to understand that.

Today, the Golden Shield also blocks Twitter, Flickr, Hotmail, Live, and Bing.

One of the friends is now “disappointed by the government.”

I feel confirmed. And helped her to set up tor.

Take it all

I invited two friends to facebook. They joined. And added my whole friend list. Now everyone’s asking me who they are. Annoying.

What I don’t understand: Why are so many people are accepting the request?

Good flight

The Mother of Shanghai has left. The city thanked her for her dedication with a beautiful last day and a starry starry night.

A snake in the hand

A German friend raves about her hand creme, two Chinese friends explain it consists of snake oil. There were times where this would have surprised me more.

Too much

It was quite hard for a good friend to adapt to the “new me”. She didn’t know where to look and what to say. As if we had never met before. Strange…

Taking off the glasses helped to ease the situation.

Special hug

A friend’s wall says:

Special Hug

Unlike the link title suggests, there is no way to find out which kind of “special hug” she sent. Instead, you end up on a page where they want you to hug others yourself. And, of course, the “Skip” button doesn’t work.

I hate these applications.

Two pairs

An afternoon at the glasses market. It’s nothing new that I can’t decide which ones to take. This time I just got two of them. No problem for 150 Yuan (about 15 Euro) each.

Be honest

Wikipedia knows:

The Ba rong ba chi (Eight Honors and Eight Shames) (Simplified Chinese: 八荣八耻 Traditional Chinese: 八榮八恥 Pinyin: bā róng bā chĭ), officially the Core Value System or the Eight Honors and Disgraces, is a set of moral concepts developed by current President Hu Jintao for the citizens in modern-day China.

Namely (emphasis added):

  • Love the country; do it no harm.
  • Serve the people; never betray them.
  • Follow science; discard superstition.
  • Be diligent; not indolent.
  • Be united, help each other; make no gains at other’s expense.
  • Be honest and trustworthy; do not sacrifice ethics for profit.
  • Be disciplined and law-abiding; not chaotic and lawless.
  • Live plainly, work hard; do not wallow in luxuries and pleasures.

So what does that mean? Obviously not that you should tell the truth. Faked fireworks, a faked singing girl and now 55 faked children. They were said to represent the different ethnic groups inside the country but in fact were all Han.

A Chinese friend suggests that the organizers might not have found beautiful children in the ethnic groups. Let’s check Wikipedia again (emphasis added):

Besides the majority Han Chinese, China recognizes 55 other “nationalities” or ethnic groups, numbering approximately 105 million persons, mostly concentrated in the northwest, north, northeast, south, and southwest but with some in central interior areas.

So no beautiful children in 105 million persons? I admit that it might not be the easiest task to find the 3000 Lhoba, the “smallest officially recognized ethnic group in China”. But then be honest and don’t call it:

Fifty-six children from 56 Chinese ethnic groups cluster around the Chinese national flag, representing the 56 ethnic groups.

Another language

As if Chinese wasn’t enough, Ouwen and I decided to learn Korean. Last week a Korean friend has been at home and bought us the book “Korean made easy for beginners”. Looks very good.

Korean made easy for beginners
Korean made easy for beginners

It’s good that they included a CD because I can’t find the free mp3s online. The book is for beginners which implies that they do not speak Korean. How are they supposed to understand the website.

Korean made easy for beginners

Hangul: Fascinating. Not as hard as Hanzi but also not too easy.

Teamwork

The midterms are over and learning for them has improved my Chinese quite a bit. Inspired by a student of Sinology I had decided not to study any tones as memorizing doesn’t work, I can’t speak them anyway and most Chinese also understand me if I don’t use them. That doesn’t mean that I won’t try to learn them by speaking.

In the midterms we solved some exercises in teamwork and I would have never thought that one day a Chinese would copy from me in a Chinese exam. ;-)

News about the chair

“It is a good chair, it was made in Japan and was used in German in 1997.”

Hongkou night

Women Hospital

Women Hospital

Hongkou
Hongkou
Hongkou

My barber’s. We think the sign says they will reopen on April 30th.

Hongkou

As usual: We know many characters but have no clue about their meaning in combination.

Hongkou

My street.

Hongkou

The house on the other side.

The 3 Kingdom Restaurant

Korean restaurant

The upper thing was also yellow, I have no idea why it’s green on the pictures.

Korean restaurant

Every table has its own fume hood and barbecue grill.

Korean restaurant

So many people are running around in the restaurants but no one takes care of your clothes. You always have to put them over your chair. I did it and then someone came and put this thing over my coat to “protect” it. Weird.

Korean restaurant

Free appetizers.

Korean restaurant

Gou rou, dog meat. No one wanted to order it and I only eat dogs when I can kill them myself. :-P

Korean restaurant
Korean restaurant

A waitress cooked the vegetables at another table, away from the meat.

Korean restaurant

The barbecue was changed very often. The waitresses came with a new one, put the meat on it and took the used one away.

Korean restaurant

Korean cutting the meat.

Korean restaurant

You eat the things wrapped in a lettuce leaf.

Korean restaurant

No idea why our Koren friend poured her tea in her rice.

Korean restaurant

Dessert

Korean restaurant
Korean restaurant
Korean restaurant

Air conditioning with jet engine

Korean restaurant

Cleaning

First time KTV

Partyworld

KTV is very popular here and one of the things I wanted to try since I arrived. We finally decided to go but didn’t know where. After hours we chose Partyworld in Fuxing Park.

Partyworld
Partyworld
Partyworld
Partyworld
Partyworld

We paid 824 Yuan (about 75 Euro without food and drinks) for more than four hours.

Partyworld

The Asians seem to be naturals. The three Koreans were fabulous, the four Chinese also very good and we three Germans… Ah mei. In our defense: We couldn’t sing in our mother tongue but I doubt that German songs would have made any difference.

Partyworld

The terminal allowed to adjust the volume of the music and the two microphones, toggle the singer on the video on or off, call for the waiter, add songs to the queue and so on. There were also two smaller panels in the wall so it’s possible to jump to the next song without having to stand up.

(Thanks to Ouwen for pictures 4 and 7.)

Pimp my bike

Old Bike

A friend with his “new” bike. His language partner had bought it for 50 Yuan (about 4,50 Euro) and will lend it to him until he leaves.

Old Bike

Ouwen and I had pimped our bikes earlier. In our case it was only the missing air in the tires, this bike needed more care.

Old Bike
Old Bike
Old Bike
Old Bike

Luckily the man near the International Students Building has everything and can fix everything.

Old Bike
Old Bike
Old Bike
Old Bike

The chef of the two restaurants above the dining hall inside the International Students Building and a security guard. The chef has been living in Germany for several years and called the other one “Gestapo” in joke.

Old Bike

One hour and 80 Yuan later.

Old Bike
Old Bike
Old Bike
Old Bike
Old Bike
Old Bike

Electric chair

A friend is on the phone. She found a doctor with an “electric chair” that can “heal my sick”. She tried to sit on it and it is “very comfortable” and “a very good chair”. It can “clean our blood”. And it is free.

When you sit on the chair you have “no other feelings”. Today she saw “many, many people sit on the chair, they all say it is very comfortable.” The doctor is in a hospital but “this chair not in a hospital”, outside the hospital in something “like a store”.

“The doctor says it is good for our health and will heal your sick”. I’ll give it a try.

Mr. Snoozleberg

Speisekarte

Someone had translated the menu of a restaurant to German. The last line reads: “Guten Appetit wünschen zwei der drei!” Only two of the three want us to enjoy our meal.

Noodles
Mr. Snoozleberg

“Good Night Mr. Snoozleberg” on a Korean friend’s atree.

Mr. Snoozleberg

Even the waitress and a boy were engrossed.

Mr. Snoozleberg

It took some time to figure out how to get to the next level.

Lift

When I wrote about my inability to communicate with some classmates Karl commented:

did you speak chinese..? ;)

Today I did. And it worked. We had kind of the same vocabulary. Mine was a bit smaller as I’m still trying to catch up. At least we could have the simplest form of a conversation. Wow.

Two teas I've never tried before

Chocolate tea

Chocolate tea. Tasted like a mixture of tea and ice chocolate.

Honey lemon black tea

Honey lemon black tea. Taste very … delicious. ;-)

Like women

A Chinese friend asked how many female teachers we have (three out of four), said we’d sound like women rather then men when we speak Chinese. Alarming.

What is it?

We walked past a broken vending machine when a friend asked his Chinese friend what’s been in there. She said it’s something you can get everywhere. You don’t have to pay for it. It’s only for older people, not young ones or students. It can also be found at Tongji.

The first one that posts the right answer will get a postcard.

Hint: I just repeat what she said.