Dear MeiGui: What exactly is a "chicken-man"?
Originally published in The China Post, 12/07/08
I want to sound a warning bell for all those mid-level students of Chinese: Be careful of what you don’t understand.
I’ve been here studying Chinese for two years, and as most students know getting the language does not happen in a steady upward curve. But lately, I’ve been on a high. I work part-time in a children’s English school, and am using Chinese more regularly to talk with my co-teachers; so last week some of the girls asked me out to a local club. They wanted me to put my progress to the test.
While we were there, we met a couple of cute 20-something year old guys. The girls were hesitant to talk with them, so I took the direct Western approach and asked the guys to sit down for a drink. Then I started to practice.
What I took away from the conversation was that they were car salesmen who worked at a Toyota dealership. Still, I was unclear about some things. For example, one of the guys told me that his very expensive designer bag was a gift from a satisfied customer. I thought this was very odd. Why do people in Taiwan give car salesmen extravagant gifts after buying a car?
The next night, the one with the expensive bag called me and asked me out. We met at a coffee shop near his house that had a quite nice chicken curry special on. I was naturally surprised when the attendant came over to refill our water glasses – not only because he wanted to refill the water glasses but also because he asked me a very strange question. He asked me if I enjoyed the “chicken man”.
When we got the bill, my date was unhappy that I expected him to pay for his dinner, but still invited me back to his house. When we got to his house, he asked me to settle on a price. I didn’t understand his meaning, so I left. On the bus ride home, I realized my wallet was 2000 dollars lighter.
Did he steal my money? Should I call the police?
-- Not Getting It
Dear Not Getting It;
Do you realize what the homonym for “chicken” in Chinese is?
-- David Lee Roth lives, MeiGui
My girlfriend is insanely superstitious, and I don’t know what to do about it.
I have been working as an English teacher for the last few months, but my actual education is in finance. I came to Taiwan looking for a break, and financial crisis and all – I found one. One of the perks of my new job is a beautiful Western style apartment. It has a full living room with pile carpeting; a gorgeous dining room; and a bedroom with mirrors on the ceiling. It is the definition of luxury. However, my girlfriend refuses to spend the night.
She says the mirrors on the ceiling will allow ghosts to enter our lives as we sleep. I just can’t reason with her.
How do I get her to calm down?
-- Living Large
Dear Living Large;
She should heed the advice of my dear old Aunt Margie: “Forget the dead; it’s the living ones you need to worry about.”
-- Keep that salt shaker handy, MeiGui