Saturday, September 30, 2006

Taiwan In The New Year - PART VI

Taiwan In The New Year

PART VI – Day 2 continued…

We didn’t have any trouble getting our tickets to Keelung, so it seemed we would be leaving on the morning of Chinese New Years Day as we had planned. That gave us five days to explore the rest of Taipei.

We walked back to the centre of Panchiao as it wasn’t actually that far and went for lunch in a Tea House we had seen earlier.

I found a table while Julie disappeared towards the ladies. Each table was supplied with a pencil and a menu card to fill in. Being unable to read Chinese and unable to say, “I don’t want to order yet” in Chinese, I was at first not sure what to do when a waitress came over to get my order. Rather than sit there grinning stupidly I quickly said some Chinese I did know. “Wo yao liang ge kafei. Xie xie ni.” I want two coffee’s thank you.

The waitress smiled, picked up the menu card, filled it in for me, and then went off to fill the order. I decided to let Julie order the food.

After finishing our coffees and a basket of chips we set off to find a place called the Lin Family Park. This place was apparently a very old traditional home to the rich Lin family, and a good example of traditional Chinese buildings. When the home was originally built it was probably surrounded by open farmland, but now that Taipei has engulfed the countryside it is surrounded by a ten foot high concrete wall topped with shards of broken glass. The whole complex is rather large for a family home. It looks like it has come straight out of some historical Chinese movie. It has very Chinese architecture with tile roofs that curve upwards at the corners. It is layed out in a very traditional style where all the ground floor rooms open into courtyards that are filled with green gardens and lily covered carp ponds.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Chinese family relationships

In the Chinese language family relationships are a very complicated subject. It is not just a matter of brother, sister, grandfather, grandmother, uncle, and aunt as it is in English. There are different words for older brother, younger brother, older sister, younger sister, grandfather and grandmother on mothers side or fathers side, brother of the father, sister of the mother etc etc etc……

This web site shows a complete list of Chinese family relationships.

Sunday, September 24, 2006


Here is the transcript of the fourth lesson from the jMemorise flash card file I have HERE.

This lesson mainly deals with members of the family.


Hello! (telephone only) = wei3
Who are you? = ni3 shi4 shei2
I'm Li Min. = wo3 shi4 li3 min3
Father = ba4 ba
Mother = ma1 ma
older brother = ge1 ge
younger brother = di4 di
older sister = jie3 jie
younger sister = mei4 mei
him/her = Ta1
Who is he/she? = ta1 shi4 shei2
He's my older brother. = ta1 shi4 wo3 ge1 ge
She's my younger sister. = ta1 shi4 wo3 mei4 mei
He's my father. = ta1 shi4 wo3 ba4 ba
He/She is my friend. = ta1 shi4 wo3 peng2 you
What is his/her name? = Ta1 jiao4 shen2 me ming2 zi
His name is Hung-hung. = ta1 jiao4 hung4 hung

Friday, September 22, 2006

Danwei TV

Here is a cool website called Danwei TV. It is sort of a video blog where the host Jeremy Goldkorn does a short magazine style video show. His reports are basically about the different aspects of life in China with a focus on Beijing.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Another Chinese-English dictionary

HERE is another Chinese-English dictionary based in the CEDICT dictionary files. I like this one, it is very simple and easy to use.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Singapore radio stations

Here is a couple more reliable Chinese radio stations to listen to. This time from Singapore.

Chinese Pop music radio 20kbps. To listen click HERE

UFM 1003
Chinese Pop music radio 20kbps. To listen click HERE

Saturday, September 16, 2006

2 months to go

There is now only two months left until my trip to Taiwan. We are now going to spend a couple of days in Singapore instead of Hong Kong as previously intended. The tickets have been bought and paid for now so this is the final itinerary.

Anyway I have decided to try something different to my usual study over the next two months and try to learn as many really useful phrases as I possibly can. I think I now know enough Chinese to get myself out of trouble if I really needed to. But it would be really good to be able to truly communicate while I'm there, even if it is in a very limited way.

So here is my list(as it stands at the moment) of phrases that I might get a chance to use,

wo3 hai2 mei2 shui4 xing3 = I'm not awake yet.
wo3 xing3 le = I'm awake.
ni3 chi1 bao3 le ma = Have you eaten yet?
wo3 de du4 zi bao3 le = My stomach is full.
ni3 yao4 chi1 bao1 zi ma = Do you want to eat a steamed stuffed bun?
ni3 yao4 chi1 man2 tou ma = Do you want to eat a steamed bun?
ni3 yao4 he1 dou4 jiang1 ma = Do you want to drink soy milk?
wo3 yao4 qu4 lu3 guan3(lu3 she4) = I want to go to the hotel.
wo3 yao4 kan4 xin1 wen2 = I want to watch the news.
ni3 yao4 kan4 shen2 me dian4 ying3 = What movie do you want to watch?
wo3 yao4 kan4 kong3 bu4 dian4 ying3 = I want to watch a horror movie.
wo3 yao4 kan4 ke1 xue2 huan4 xiang3 dian4 ying3 = I want to watch a sci-fi movie.
wo3 yao4 kan4 xi3 ju4 dian4 ying3 = I want to watch a comedy movie.
wo3 yao4 kan4 ju4 ben3 dian4 ying3 = I want to watch a drama movie.
wo3 yao4 kan4 jing1 xian3 dian4 ying3 = I want to watch a thriller movie.
wo3 yao4 kan4 yin1 yue4 dian4 shi4 jie2 mu4 = I want to watch a music TV show.
ni3 yao4 kan4 shen2 me dian4 shi4 jie2 mu4 = What TV show do you want to watch?
ni3 yao4 ting1 yin1 yue4 ma = Do you want to listen to music?
ni3 yao4 ting1 shen2 me yin1 yue4 = What music do you want to listen to?
ni3 kan4 jian4 le wo3 de peng2 you ma = Have you seen my friend?
ni3 yao3 kan4 jian4 yao2 kong4 qi4 ma = Have you seen the remote control?
ni3 yao4 bu2 yao4 gen1 wo3 qu4 da3 zhuang4 qiu2 = Would you like to go with me and play pool?
ni3 yao4 bu2 yao4 gen1 wo3 qu4 kan4 dian4 ying3 = Would you like to go with me and see a movie?
ni3 yao4 bu2 yao4 gen1 wo3 qu4 he1 cha2 = Would you like to go with me and drink tea?
ni3 yao4 bu2 yao4 gen1 wo3 qu4 guang4 jie2 = Would you like to go shopping with me?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Ami Cultural Village

Here are some pictures I took at the Ami Cultural Village near Hualien on the east coast of Taiwan. The Ami are the native people of the Hualien area. There are a number of tribes of native peoples around Taiwan or as the Chinese of Taiwan call them, The Mountain People.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Taiwan In The New Year PART V

Taiwan In The New Year

PART V – Day 2

The next morning we had our bacon and cheese buns and a cup of the Oolong Tea that was supplied with the room. We were out of the hotel by 10:00am.

Our main task of the day was to buy our train tickets to the northern city of Keelung the first stop on our round the island trip. The trains would be very crowded during the three day Chinese New Year holiday so if we wanted a seat it was important that we bought our tickets as soon as possible.

First however we thought it would be a good idea to find an Internet cafe and check our e-mail.

Walking around Panchiao is an adventure in itself. Even crossing the road can be a dangerous business. When the little green man appears on traffic lights the crowd almost runs to the other side of the road. If you hesitate and get caught in the middle of the road when the lights change, you will probably never make it to the other side alive. The traffic is an unstoppable force that will go right over the top of you.

You do seem to spend a lot of time walking on the edge of the road instead of the sidewalk though as you dodge people, parked motor scooters and shop merchandise which commonly spills out of the shops. The noise is also a constant distraction. Not only the roar of the traffic but every second shop has loud music blaring out of it as a way to entice customers in.

We did eventually find an Internet cafe on the second floor of a building above a hairdresser and a noodle house. We spent about an hour sitting up above the street on the computer drinking coffee, and then we made our way to the old Panchiao train station where we caught a bus to the new Panchiao train station. On the way we walked through some back streets that were lined with literally thousands of motor scooters.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Chinese strongman

Here is a video I came across some time ago on YouTube of a Chinese strongman showing off and trying to catch a fallen tree. It’s sort of funny. It's also mentioned on this thread about funny TV comercials on the ChinesePod Weblog.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

China's Boom (Insight webcast)

Here is an interesting TV debate from SBS Australia's Insight program. It is called "China's Boom" and it's focused on China's economic and political future. The show was originally intended to be broadcast from Beijing, but when the Chinese officials discovered what the program was to be about and who the guests were, everyone involved suddenly found that their visas were held up until it became impossible to do the show as originally intended.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Other Chinese student blogs

I have added some of the Chinese student blogs I read to the Links Page. In no particular order,

The Virtual Mandarin Blog is from a mandarin student in Scotland.
repulsive monkey is from Matt, another British Chinese language student who is also interested in Tai Chi.
Rank is a communal blog about life in Taiwan.
Peeling Mandarin is from Brendan a Mandarin student from Cork, Ireland. Though there haven't been any new posts for a while.
Me Thinks I've just started to follow this blog about learning Mandarin and other things Chinese related.
Mandarin Student by Chris, another English student of the Chinese Language.
Pandagator is from a Chinese language student in the U.S.
David on Formosa is a blog guide to Taiwan from an Australian who is living there.

I also read the ChinesePod blog. As you would expect from a commercial website there is a lot of self promotion going on here, but they do still manage to keep the blog interesting with other regular Chinese related posts.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Another flashcard application

Here is another flashcard application called SuperMemo. You will need to pay if you want to use the latest version of this software, but some of the older releases are now released as Freeware. The version I had a look at is “SuperMemo 98”, which is the most recent release that is now free.

The software is very simple to use. Though it is not very intuitive which makes it a bit hard to work out at the beginning. I’m not sure which system the latest release uses but rather than use the Leitner system
that is so popular now in other software such as jMemorize and Flashcard Exchange, SuperMemo 98 uses a manual grading system to determine if a card has been learnt or not