At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Friday, August 02, 2013


My ex never felt at ease when I spoke her parents' language in public.
Truth be told, I was always quite nervous doing so around her, and largely in consequence my Cantonese pronunciation was all across the board.
Less so in private, but when we were among others I reverted to the mistakes I made when first picking up the tongue. Given that her family hailed from Toishan, and my speech habits in Cantonese derive from gangster movies and police dramas -- Hong Kong in style, and rather slapdash -- it was almost inevitable that to her ear my speech was odd, wrong, uncomfortable sounding, and often well-nigh unintelligible. That shifting accent twixt HK and totally yawping foreign especially.
Good thing both of us were native speakers of English
Still are. Though no longer a couple.
English remains a bond.

On the other hand, it is rather gratifying that several people nowadays feel entirely comfortable conversing with me in Cantonese. My pronunciation is better now, and my more-than-normal-for-a-kwailo literacy fools them into assuming a fluency I cannot boast.
Several of them are women, too. Just like my ex.
So I must be getting over my shyness.

No, I shan't assay any attempts at love talk with them; I sound too much like a pervy goon from Kowloon Tong to be convincing on that level. It's that aforementioned shyness and reversion to a more ramshackle speech habit.

I am not the great Cantonese lover of your dreams.
In fact, I'm rather white. Very Caucasoid.
Not Chow Yunfat or Andy Lau.

Though I admire both of those men, along with Leslie Cheung, and in a different universe I would not at all mind resembling all three of them. Especially their inimitable movie personas.
Along with Clark Gable as Rhett Butler.
It's that stellar hotness.

Even in Dutch (which is my other native language), I sound unnatural when speaking romantically. There the reversion is to Flemish norms, with a strong influence from Mediaeval Netherlandish literature. Quite the courtly lover, and consequently quite utterly goofy. No one in their right mind takes a minnesanger (travelling minstrel - courtier - knight errant) seriously, expecially when his language sounds remarkably like hairball-expulsus.
It really does require a fragrant orchard with petals swirling down late on a gentle spring evening out in the countryside to pull that off, and I have never even tried it.

I lament the paucity of orchards when I was younger.

What I'm basically trying to say is that my personality is broader and better developed in English than any other language, and that unless a pressing need presents itself, expansion into other languages will be slow. English is the language of my literacy and education; most of what I have ever read, heard, or spoken, has been in that tongue.
Socially I am human in English; not entirely so otherwise.
It is a limitation, indeed, but not a handicap.
The same almost certainly holds for you.

If I ever find a orchard which is fragrant with falling blossoms, that has a fair maiden sheltering among the trees, I will naturally attempt to allay her hesitation and still her shyness in our language.
And I hope that she will do the same for me.

Possibly, however, we might in our own minds sound like Hong Kong goombas or crazy Dutchmen while doing so.
The interior monologue is ever more straightforward.
And always better kept inside.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.


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