2012-03-07 Humility & walking
time I said how walking in front of someone who is trying to show you around,
is not a sign of humility. And I said how a foreigner needs humility to learn Chinese.
A kind reader has pointed out a Chinese saying that says the same thing: 虛心學習 (learn with a humble heart)
This doesn't mean
that students should never ask questions, never show initiative.
But it does mean that being a good student requires a willingness to learn from someone else.
I remember when I first started studying Cantonese in Hong Kong at the Chinese University,
some foreign students used to argue with the teachers about every item of pronunciation and grammar.
So, one day, one dear teacher said to our group: don't ask "why?", just ask "how?"!
Another "Bus no.
11" (walking) story: not long after I arrived in HK, I noticed how
people from the Mainland
were very anxious when they walked across a road in HK. They kept looking all around in a very worried sort of way,
and their feet moved with great nervousness. I used to smile and think to myself: probably farmers coming to a big city for the first time.
Then from 2001 I
worked in the Mainland for some years as an English teacher. I discovered that
the most difficult thing for a foreigner in the Mainland is not the food and not
the language - but crossing the street! Just when you think you are ok and
have made it safely to the other side, a bicycle or twenty will be coming straight at you from "the wrong direction"!
After this, when I came back to HK for a holiday, and crossed the street, I also crossed very nervously. I kept looking out for bicycles!