Thursday, October 29, 2009

Chinese composition part1

I'm going to do something very brave, go where I've not gone before... I'm going to post a Chinese composition!

I thought it was time, considering I've posted so many English compos and zero Chinese ones. The reason I've neglected doing so for so long is that Chinese doesn't come naturally in our household, even to Kenneth, who studied in a SAP school for 10 years. The best analogy I can give is that for us, using the Chinese language is like a very right-handed person attempting to write with his left hand. (For me, it's like using my left foot). My kids are definitely more adept at it than I am (which isn't saying much) but still, it requires lots of painstaking work and effort even to maintain a basic standard of efficacy.

It's a pity - the Chinese language is so rich in culture, I think we're losing a big chunk of our heritage due to our ineptness. So we try to encourage our kids to take an interest and hope that in time, they can see beyond the challenges of learning the language to appreciate its beauty.

Unfortunately, while I am adamant against memorising good phrases as a technique to teach English composition, both my kids do this for Chinese composition. The schools teach it this way and the Chinese language is such that so many of the nuances are so complex that they need to be learnt straight off. I suppose it's possible to develop your own style but my kids don't have strong enough a command of the language to do so effectively.

In p6, Lesley-Anne usually scored between 26/40 and 29/40, which is in the moderate range. For the composition below, she scored 32/40 which was her highest this year. The Chinese standard in her school isn't too hot, so probably pales in comparison with other schools, especially the SAP schools. Anyway, I'm just posting it here as a record of her work.

This is the picture:

Here's what she wrote (sorry, unable to type out - would take me a year):

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oops, L-A's Chinese essay too cheem until no one can respond? LOL.. It's a great piece of work!

qx

monlim said...

Haha! You sure or not?? Don't think so lah, maybe it's just that all the parents who read my blog are the jiak kantang types :P

HLin said...

Wow, her chinese composition is really great! Her description is vivid too!

Elan said...

you're right Mon. I spent 10 years in a SAP school and I am still a "chiak Kantang". It took me a while to read through LA's essay. I'm impressed. She did write very well, but then who am I to judge a Chinese essay.
It's true about the stock phrases though, I recognise them - they're the same ones by son's teachers teach them to use. I suppose that's the way Chinese teachers mark essays so we all just have to go along with it. My sons read so few Chinese books they could not come up with any good phrases on their own anyway, so its good for them that they have some stock phrases to help them write in Chinese.
I totally agree with you about the Chinese language. It is such a rich language, with so much history in every phrase. When I struggle to read an article in the Chinese papers, or when I have to look at the subtitles when watching a Chinese show, I feel deeply remorseful that I didn't try harder at Chinese in school.
I was one of those that hated Chinese in school and took pride in always being bottom of Chinese class! ( I got away with it because I was top in the other subjects, lah) I felt frustrated that it took me 90% of my study time to study for that 1 subject out of my 10 subjects, which I could just breeze through and just gave up.
That's why I am bringing my kids to Beijing and Xian at the end of the year. I want them to be exposed to, and be awed by the grandeur and wealth of Chinese history, to be awed by what China was, and has become and so encourage them that learning the language is not a waste of time.
Did your China trip help your kids like Chinese better?
elan

monlim said...

Elan: It's uncanny how much we have in common. I came from a convent school and while I didn't take pride in doing badly in Chinese like some of my classmates, it was definitely my least favourite subject. Like you, I found it easier to learn all the other subjects put together than this one!

Definitely I think the trip to Beijing opened my kids' eyes to the richness of Chinese culture. Even though they may not appreciate every facet of it, seeing the country itself just made the language more relevant. L-A is quite open to learning Chinese, it's Andre that we have to coax. Hopefully it'll be better with time!

Jackie said...

hi, i'm still a student fromm sec school.. my chinese very very very bad.. but my dad really2 want me to take up chinese for my mother tounge language.. can i get advices from u?? i really want to make my dad proud of me as my older siblings are taking up malay instead of chinese.. we can't cooperate with the class. i was thinking of dropping to malay... should i drop to malay or should i stay in chinese? and if i stay in chinese, how should i improve it?
i really2 need advices.. i hope i'll be getting from u.. thanks a lot!! :)

monlim said...

Jackie: I hesitate to give you advice cos I don't know your situation at all. But if you want my 2cts, I feel MT should really be about heritage, ie you want to get closer to your roots by learning the language. Since you have the option of taking Malay, I'm assuming that you are both Chinese and Malay (or neither??)

It's admirable that you want to please your dad but do ask yourself whether you have the interest first in Chinese, and what you hope to gain from learning Chinese. If there is no interest, it's gonna be very hard to learn, esp if you don't have the family background or mix with pple who converse in Mandarin.

I don't think there's any clear-cut answer here, if you have a school counsellor, it might help to speak to him/her. Hope you'll be able to come to a decision that you're comfortable with!

Anonymous said...

This Chinese composition is good!
But my chinese is very bad so can you recommend me any websites in which I can find any good phrases to use on Chinese Composition?
Well, I happened to find your blog by accident and I'm just a P5 girl.
Thanks and regards - Emily

monlim said...

Emily: Sorry, when it comes to Chinese resources, I'm really at a loss! Great to hear that you're so conscientious. Wouldn't your school teacher give you some of these good phrases? If not, I'm pretty sure you can find some model phrase books from Popular. All the best!

Elizabeth said...

Wow! this is a fabulous composition! i really enjoy reading it i really really learnt a lot of new phrases from it! thanks for posting it :)

Ashley said...

words are too small.... but, great job :)

Anonymous said...

hello. ur composition very good and i have learnt alot of good phrases from it.Thanks alot but my psle chinese os 2 days later and i need some tips/advice pls help me.
-harry

monlim said...

Harry: I think it's a little too late to ask for tips now! Don't panic, just do what you know. All the best for the PSLE!

Christy said...

Hi.:) I just entered sec sch. My chinese is very bad....:(
I only do well for my paper 2 and my paper 1 always pulls y marks down.... Do you have any tips or advice for me?
-christy

monlim said...

Christy: Sorry, Chinese isn't my strong suit! But I've found that a good teacher can work wonders. Maybe you could speak to your Chinese teacher? I'm sure she/he would have better tips.

Anonymous said...

Did he/she wrote on a foolscap or a book?

-belinda

monlim said...

Belinda: zuo wen book.

Qian Wei said...

It is a very nice compo and there is many useful phrase! :D

Anonymous said...

Thx 4 posting!:)oh yah,going to china helps a lot.

Hanaxel said...

Wow, one of the best compositions I've ever seen! Tomorrow is my Chinese PSLE and the phrases L-A used made me really prepared! Thanks for sharing with us!^^

Amanda said...

Hi Mon! Great piece of compo you have there. The vocabulary used is very good. I am only a Primary 6 Student and I will be having my PSLE Chinese compo soon. I wish I can get some advice from you for the compo! Hope to hear from you soon!

Best regards,
Amanda.

Emily said...

Hi Mon! That's a lovely story you have there! I will be having my PSLE Chinese compo tmr. I really wish I can get some advise on vocabulary words and phrases to use . I hope you reply as soon as possible! Wish to hear from you soon!



~Emily

monlim said...

Amanda and Emily: I really couldn't help you, we're very bad in Chinese as a family. Am sure you'll be fine - good luck!

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