Why is Chinese So Hard?

A friend sent me this link with the above title, and it only seems to cover half the story. It is accurate that the writing is hard, but the spoken Chinese isn’t addressed at all. Here’s the link:


In short, Chinese looks like a chicken walked across a piece of paper. If someone gives you an address in Chinese you could spend days walking through the city trying to match it up with the addresses on the buildings.

The spoken Chinese is even worse. An American comedian said that Chinese name there kids by dropping silverware on the floor and whatever sound it makes is the name of the kid. That’s not far off. The four tones of Chinese are almost impossible to hear as a foreigner. The problem is complicated by a huge variety of dialects that don’t conform to the sounds of “Beijing Chinese” which is what is taught in schools. It all makes for great fun when getting to know Chinese friends. The only comfort is that no matter how bad they murder English, I am doing worse to their language.

Officially Retired from Guizhou Normal University

As of August 31, I am retired from service to Guizhou Normal University. Looking to the future, I’ve recently been back in the United States. I find the following article to be cogent:


One item in the article above is the feeling of safety in China that we don’t experience in the USA. I am neither pro or anti gun, but rather think that personal choice is the most important factor in this decision. Gun culture, a big deal in the USA, is simply missing in China.

It remains to be seen whether I continue on in China or seek employment elsewhere. One thing is for sure. I view the world differently, more so than can be attributed to a normal aging process. I’m almost 65 and have been coming to China since age 50. More on this later . . .


Saving a Library

Ever since Alexandria, we in the West have had a thing for libraries, those depositories of human knowledge.  I recently joined a group of those that have saved a library. When Ray caught TB, he had to make a quick escape, leaving his library behind him.  I’ve estimated about 100 boxes and about a ton of books.  That may be a biased figure.

After two moves, the books are now safely housed in a warehouse situation at a cost of 160 rmb/month. I’ve learned a lot about employing Chinese labor during these two moves, with the last move, up one story from my apartment, costing 160 rmb.