Conversations with a Chinese delegate for the Asian Youth Day

My brother’s family adopted two delegates for the Asian Youth Day: Jay-R from Tarlac and Chao-Hua from mainland China.  Both are still in their early twenties.  Jay-R finished Psychology while Chao-Hua is still studying for her Business English course (major she calls it).  The chinese girl intrigued me.  It is difficult to converse with her because you have to speak very slowly in simple English matched with hand gestures.  But I learned some things about her from my conversations with her and with others.

Chao-Hua means “young and happy”.  But her English name is Cherry.  Cherry said that they lived in a town in China in the Hepei (Hebei) province.  Her family lives in a forest.  They eat fish seldom, because they are far from the river or sea.  The Catholics there are not as free to express their Faith than here in the Philippines.  They are allowed to go to mass in the government-approved chapels, but they can’t go to procesions in the streets and public squares.  The religious there don’t wear habits; the nuns who went to the Philippines as delegates wear only jeans and t-shirts.  I really wish to talk to her more: the state of the Latin Mass, the missing bishops, the relationship of the underground and above ground churches, etc.  But talking to her is really difficult.

She taught us some Chinese words.  But since I am not a linguist, everything just passed my head.  But one thing I remember though is that Chinese has four ways to pronounce a syllable: straight horizontal, going up, going down, or going down then up.  My friend told me this before, because her mother was Chinese.  I like the sound of spoken Chinese.  I have an ear for its melody.  But maybe I’ll start with calligraphy first: it is pictorial and they just look like math.  I asked Cherry if she knows how to translate the following words: Inibong chuayla a bochikek kirikek.  That’s garbled Chinese from Yoyoy Villame: he went to China before and stringed all the words in the stores that he saw.  Cherry said some of the words means “lucky”.  My nephew asked her what is “Kung Hei Fat Choi”.  She said it is not Happy New Year but something like “May you have a good time” or “May you be merry”.

Jay-R and Cherry stayed in my brother’s house for three days.  They left for Cavite today for the continuation of the Asian Youth Day.

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About Quirino M. Sugon Jr
Theoretical Physicist in Manila Observatory

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