Term is starting for Mandarin evening
classes and I had better dust off last year's work and see if any of it is
still lodged in my long-term memory. Of the class of eight, only two of us
decided to sit, and happily pass, the GCSE exam at the end of last term.
My two speeches on "My holiday in California" and "My favourite sports" (this latter a tissue of lies), which I rehearsed diligently 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 top footballer are sadly lost to posterity.
Watching the table tennis team of the People's Republic of China at the London 2012 Olympics, the Blog's daughter asked if ping pong started in China. I'm not sure if it did, I told her, but I certainly said it did in my GCSE speech for the oral exam. It was a great eye-opener to learn from the teacher that, "it doesn't have to be true." It is so much easier to give a presentation if the facts don't have to be true.
Since I now have half a GCSE in Mandarin, I change my LinkedIn profile to "Mandarin - Limited Proficiency."
From time to time, my ICIS Asian colleagues ask how the Mandarin is coming along. I tell them about my holidays and they look at me blankly. I think it will be a long time till we can talk about petrochemical markets.