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Hong Kong

Finally some cultural diversity…

Aussie speaking Cantonese…. I hope one day I’ll speak as good as Gregory Rivers 河國榮. I wonder if his accent is similar to mine….

Its was rare for me to watch a female 茄喱啡 (ke1 le1 fe1) act on TVB yet alone 口若懸河 (hau2 joek6 jyun4 ho4), meaning to speak very fluently. In this case, I think she is probably the first native Cantonese speaking white actor used by TVB. Though I’ve seen many white actors who have exceptionally fluent Cantonese like Brian Burrell, John Wakefield and Gregory Rivers.

I am very happy that last saturday I met John Wakefield (莊域飛) in Sha Tin. John and his wife were super nice and I learnt a lot about his life, Cantonese and other aspects of life.

My wife agreed that John now speaks like a 100% Native Hong Kong person. Pretty happy that I could speak Cantonese with them for a few hours without problems. I was a little ashamed of being so far behind John in Cantonese accent and accuracy, however, it motivated me to do my best and improve on my accent and pronunciation. John explained “fossilization”, where one will reach a point in ability and not improve any further no matter how long one speaks a language. Such as my father who speaks fluent but far from native English, even though living in Australia for 40 years.

John pointed out that everyone has their own talent or skill. While I have an impressive vocabulary in Cantonese, John has an impeccable talent for accent accuracy.

John Wakefield

For those who don’t know who John is, I have listed a few impressive videos of him speakng Cantonese when he was my age.

I went to Delifrance with an overseas-born Chinese guy. He ordered and spoke only English with an Australian accent, and was replied back in Cantonese.

When I ordered in Cantonese “呢個朱古力酥唔該 - ni1 go3 zyu1 gu2*1 lik6*1 sou1 m4 goi1 - this chocolate croissant please”, I was replied back in English “fourteen dollars”. I even said “我想增值八達通一百蚊 - ngo5 soeng2 zang1 zik6 baat3 daat6 tung1 jat1 baak3 man1 - I want to add $100 to my Octopus card”, and was replied in English “put there then OK”.

I normally don’t have a problem when someone speaks English to me not knowing my Cantonese level as I don’t really look like the locals, but being replied back in English especially when I spoke Cantonese first is pretty rude. I think I need many more years in Hong Kong to finally get used to ignorance.

Lastly, I went to the local TV store in Tuen Mun to look for LCD TVs the other week. I ask the questions in Cantonese and the guy looks to my wife and answers. He didn’t even look at me or give me a chance to see if I could understand, I’m simply ignored and he continues to be quite pushy to my wife - 死纏爛打 - sei2 cin4 laan6 daa2.