My Level 1 Conversational Mandarin Class ended today. From a big class of more than twenty students, it dwindled to about six. There were about twelve to fifteen students at best when attendance was good.
Today we were presented with our attendance certificate, a questionaire. A dozen of us were present.
I did learn a fair bit though I am not good at the language yet. I know realize that most Malaysians actually speaking colloquial Mandarin.
I made some interesting observations.
There is a Malay guy who can write and remember the chinese characters. We were not taught how to write. He cannot pronounce and get the intonation right but he can recognize the chinese characters and their real meaning. I finally found out that he wanted to go to Shanghai to work because his gal is a PRC citizen. That so make sense of the extraordinary effort he has been putting in.
There were two local Indian students who were pretty good. They may not be able to speak as well as me but they are pretty good by any standard. They remind me of the many Indian tailors all over the world. They speak the language of the country they reside at so fluently.
Two other teenage students were basically wasting their parent's money. These two buddies use the class sessions as opportunities to meet. They are late most of the time and they have been skipping classes.
From five caucasian ladies, only one was left. This English lady can speak pretty well too. I am sure before the end of the year she would be able to speak fluent Mandarin.
The oldest student in the class is at least fifty plus. A local Chinese guy, he is pretty impatient. He still cannot pronounce the words properly and he has not been observing the intonation strokes.
As for myself, I need to start conversing the language in whatever situation that I can catch hold of. Only then can I improve my speach intonation and vocabulary. I am still a bit too shy to speak in Mandarin to those whom I have been conversing in English till now. It feels kind of funny I suppose. They would be scrutinizing every single word that is coming out of my mouth. I must somehow overcome this.
Level 2 starts after a week's break and I have signed up for it.