Another year of Chinese

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Term is starting for Mandarin eveningclasses and I had better dust off last year’s work and see if any of it isstill lodged in my long-term memory. Of the class of eight, only two of usdecided to sit, and happily pass, the GCSE exam at the end of last term.

My twospeeches on “My holiday in California”and “My favourite sports” (this latter a tissue of lies), which I rehearseddiligently for weeks and thought would be stuck in my brain till my dying day,are now but a distant memory. My insights into why Wayne Rooney is a topfootballer are sadly lost to posterity.

Watching the table tennis team of the People’sRepublic of China at theLondon 2012 Olympics, the Blog’s daughter asked if ping pong started in China. I’m notsure if it did, I told her, but I certainly said it did in my GCSE speech for theoral exam. It was a great eye-opener to learn from the teacher that, “it doesn’thave to be true.” It is so much easier to give a presentation if the facts don’thave to be true.

Since I now have half a GCSE in Mandarin, Ichange my LinkedIn profile to “Mandarin – Limited Proficiency.”

From time to time, my ICIS Asian colleaguesask how the Mandarin is coming along. I tell them about my holidays and theylook at me blankly. I think it will be a long time till we can talk about petrochemicalmarkets.


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