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.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017


Normally this blogger works three days, enjoys two days off, works one day, and has another day off before the cycle repeats. On the plus side, my work environment allows me to enjoy smoking my pipe. The minus side: it puts me in contact with crazies, arrogant entitled people, and snooty cigar show-offs ("ooh, lookit me, such expensive burn-i-stick, yah").

One person who sometimes floats by is convinced that the Russians chose the location of their San Francisco consular offices so that they could see Marin County from there; he claims that the Russian mafia and the Clintons intend to frack the living daylights out northern coastal California and leave us bleeding, poor, and dehydrated.

Naturally on my days off I prefer an environment somewhat different.
Because the young lady who shares the apartment with me is a sensitive soul who hates the smell of burning tobacco, I amend my habits.

[Note: 'Young' is a relative term, as she was born only eight years after me. But she looks quite a bit more springy and youthful. 'Sensitive' is also relative, as she possesses a blistering vocabulary, very eloquent, damned well unprintable, when that proves absolutely necessary. She speaks English and Toishanese.
I am still not clear what "mother-snot" means. 'Lady' is a value judgement. She has a strong sense of ethics, is considerate to the nth degree, and is far more generous than she realizes. And she appreciates stuffed animals in the same way that I am drawn to cats and dogs. And parrots. And crows. And lizards. And ferrets and weasels. Etcetera. Chickens are fascinating too. Especially when you can see them think. She is definitely a lady.]

She isn't around on my weekend (Tuesday - Wednesday), so I open the windows, shut the door to her room firmly, and do whatever I please until early afternoon. The place needs to air out before she returns, and I often spend a few hours in Chinatown from then on, having late lunch or early dinner (actually, breakfast), people-watching and wandering around.

I mention all this as a preamble.

Two months ago a reader angrily called me to task for seeming to favour the Cantonese language over Mandarin.

At 10:54 AM, 金龙崛起 said…

"23333333 You stupid splittist, China is one united, you all list is only Chinese foods, because Hong Kong is fully part of China so is now fully Chinese, also you have so much gall to use english colony running dog spelling, you must want use true Chinese hanyu pinyin, dont give me your stupit "tofu", 豆腐 is called DOUFU, Chinese people need to use real Chinese language putonghua, otherwise nobody can understand, you still dare promote splittist local dialect!
妈的港独份子真的是洋鬼走狗,爱舔老外鸡巴的低种傻逼,我艹 "

[End cite.]

It is only now that I realize that 金龙崛起 must have thought that I was Chinese. Which I am not. I am so white I glow in the dark, you can read a book by the pallid reflection from my pale waspy dermis.

I responded to 金龙崛起 at that time:

"Sorry, my dear 北猪, Cantonese is an older and more mellifluous language than that hackety-hack patois of yours, and in any case much more useful here in the United States. And Cantonese food is far better than anything in your part of the world."

"Do you Northerners even know how to make tofu? Aren't you all still eating rotten cabbage and steamed bran muffins?"

"BTW, that "English Colony running dog spelling" transcribes how Cantonese sounds, whereas pinyin was tailored specifically to Mandarin, and is quite irrelevant in the context of Hong Kong foods. And in any case, few Cantonese would pay attention to the Romanization; they would read the Chinese words and know what was meant."

[End cite.]

There were a few more subsequent back and forths underneath that essay, but my point was, more or less, that Cantonese and Mandarin are really two different languages. Albeit with the same writing system, and a somewhat similar vocabulary.

What should also be mentioned is that many Cantonese do actually speak and understand Mandarin, because they are not stupid, but Northerners overwhelmingly cannot communicate in Cantonese. And quite often speak Mandarin with such horrid accents that it might not be comprehensible.

[Quack, quack, quack, quack, quaaaack!]

The other day on the bus I heard a tour-guide speaking excellent Mandarin. His pronunciation was so clear and beautiful that even I could grasp what he was explaining to his group. In most if not every detail.
Unfortunately, their version of Mandarin sounded like Scottish.
They were completely unintelligible (to me, not him).
Bark, snarfle, growl, wheeze and hiss.

I'm now convinced that he was Cantonese.

A very civilized man.

By the way, when Hong Kongers speak ill of Mainlanders, it's mostly those barking hissing supercilious and badly mannered Northerners they despise.
Only sometimes do they mean all folks from beyond 羅湖。
Which is their northern boundary.

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


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