Eager to use my siu siu Cantonese, I reserved for two seats at Tim Ho Wan saying yi wai a. Then, I was handed a menu completely in traditional Chinese characters! Until then, I never realized that the downside of using Cantonese is they just might assume you know more than what you have prepared for. Then, when you run out of Cantonese, you have to switch to English, which defeats the purpose of having to even start the conversation in Cantonese in the first place. Why am I taking Cantonese class again? Well, picking up bits and pieces of what the locals say around you, good or bad, is half the battle. It is part and parcel of immersing ourselves in the culture of the host country for better public diplomacy Mrs. Diplomat style!
I speak a little Cantonese…all because of the very good teacher we have in the basic Cantonese class at the International Social Service Hong Kong. I was not expecting much from the class at first as it was a subsidized one at only HKD100, that is, for a 3-hour weekly class from October to February (yep, it’s that cheap!). The class surprisingly turned out to be a good venue for meeting other accompanying wives like me. Wives of expat bankers are a common thing as you would expect from Hong Kong. One stays also at the estate where we live in, and one is a Vietnamese Mrs. Diplomat! From the first day alone, I know I will enjoy my new Tuesday activity with the ladies (there was only one gentleman in the class) and will definitely finish the class all the way to February. Who knows, I just might go on to the intermediate and advance levels. Chi d kin!