In another thread, I told Snoopy that I would post about people being “more Chinese” or “less Chinese.” We had had this discussion some time ago after ChineseMom was banned from his wife’s site for obviously cultural reasons, and then we had it again years later, possibly in our Cultural Attraction thread, which is closely related to the topic on hand. Snoopy feels that there is no such thing as “more Chinese” or “less Chinese.” He feels that if you’re racially Chinese, that’s it; you’re Chinese. But as I mentioned to him in a follow-up post, Chinese really isn’t just a race; it’s a culture. Yes, an Asian person is racially Asian, but when we say that a person is more Chinese or less Chinese, we’re talking about his culture. Since I’ve been on a language binge, I thought I’d explain this by posting another excellent video by the polyglot Steve Kaufmann. (Apologies in advance if this runs like a stream of consciousness…it’s tax season (among other things), and I’ve been under time constraints.)
This has been making the rounds. Thanks to B.A. who mailed it to me and Aardvark who posted it. It’s the video of an old Asian dude getting whooped by security for refusing to give up his seat on a United flight.
I am grateful to the HuffPo for publishing a new article on the newest Chinese immigrants and the differences in their political outlooks: New Chinese Immigrants Are Different From Chinese Americans And Proud Of It. I agree with just about everything that the author writes about the newest Chinese immigrants, i.e. those since the 1980’s. It’s about time that the world took notice of them. Politically, they’ve had a number of real achievements like SCA-5 and Justice for Peter Liang. If you look at the people who are standing up for real injustice against Asian Americans, it’s often the FOBs (see the video above), not the Social Justice Warriors. In terms of their grievances and ideas for the future, I can definitely see where these new immigrants are coming from. This is real Chinese culture imported to America, a take-it-or-leave-it in-your-face tough love for achievement. Like all cultures, it has its weaknesses, but like all cultures, it also has its strengths. I for one appreciate the “diversity” that is coming Stateside. (I put “diversity” in quotes because, as the author correctly mentioned, in some circles it’s code for “keep them Asians out.”)
Uh, yeah, sorry Asian dudes. But a White guy got the lead in Crazy Rich Asians. Yeah, I know, Kevin Kwan was hinting at an all-Asian cast. And I know that y’all were hoping for some respite after Scarlett Johannson got the role as an Asian woman and Matt Damon got to rock the Great Wall. But chill, guys. It’s a movie about rich Asian people in Asia, so there will probably be lots of opportunities for bit roles and extras who can play the busboys, maids, and concierge workers at those crazy, rich Asian hotels. Lots and lots of roles, most of which probably don’t even require speaking, and you only have to show your face for a few seconds in front of the camera! How easy is that!
When you look at instructional videos, language instructors probably create more crap than instructors of all other fields combined. There is some good stuff out there, but most of it is cray cray. You’ve got this guy talking about how he started speaking Chinese after a conversation on a train, and you’ve got this guy creating a site called “Fluent in 3 months” (it’s not possible for most human beings to become fluent in any language in three or six months). There are all kinds of empty promises and snake oil from all over the web. Everyone wants the easiest path possible, which is why this stuff sells so well. In addition to the empty promises and snake oil, there’s also lots of “why would anyone do that?” videos, like the guys who learned four languages to a conversational level in one year (“Why would anyone do that?”). Anyway, today I wanted to blog about Steve Kaufmann in the video above, who is the real deal and shares some excellent advice on how to learn languages. He has a common sense method of learning through “input-based” learning.
Trilingual by Six is a cool little self-published book that I found at the library. Using the data that kids learn languages better and more easily than adults, Dippel writes about his quest as a monolingual older father to get his children fluent in at least three languages by age six. The book is part memoir, part advice on how to do it. Dippel is married to a native Spanish speaker, and he writes that his two children can speak Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, and English.
If you’ve got a boy who is approaching teen years, I highly recommend Michael Gurian’s A Fine Young Man. I’ve read and recommended his groundbreaking book The Wonder of Boys before. Gurian’s oeuvre on raising boys is the best I’ve read. He has a philosophy and method to teach boys how to become good men, a method which is grounded in tradition yet answers to and acknowledges the advantages of our changing culture. With A Fine Young Man, Gurian takes it further by focusing specifically on the adolescent years, breaking it down into three stages: Stage 1, the Age of Transformation (9-13); Stage 2, the Age of Determination (14-17); and Stage 3, the Age of Consolidation (18-21). Gurian explains that a boy’s body begins to develop before his mind, and that boys are dealing with chemical changes throughout their entire adolescence, changes that adults sometimes fail to understand.
The video above is among the funniest I’ve seen.
I guess the “outrage” is over the fact that lots of people think that the woman is the nanny. She’s not. She’s the wife. To paraphrase one of my FB friends said, “it’s an Asian woman married to a White guy–just like around 70% of the people I know!”
Readers who like historical fiction might enjoy Lynne Kutsukake’s The Translation of Love. It’s a historical novel about life in post-war Japan following WWII. The novel focuses on a twelve-year old girl named Fumi who is trying to find her sister Sumiko, who has left home to become a hostess for American GI’s. Along with her friend Aya, a repatriated Japanese girl from the U.S., she writes a letter to General MacArthur in hopes that he will help her. Along the way, we meet several other interesting characters: Kondo, the girls’ homeroom teacher who moonlights as a translator; Matt and Nancy, two military translators who are Americans of Japanese descent; and Sumiko, the missing sister who is trying to make a living and support her family as best she can.
This video has been all over my Facebook feed. The kid is screaming all sorts of “I didn’t do nothing!” stuff while his friends record it with a cell phone. Finally, one of the kids’ friends shoves the officer and knocks him over a bush. The kids then start to surround the off-duty officer who pulls out a gun and fires it. Here is what the LA Times writes about the story: 300 protest in Anaheim after videos show off-duty LAPD officer firing gun in dispute with teens. It looks like this incident was a result of “ongoing issues” with the group of teens walking across the officer’s property.