July 12th, 2005

English lessons and mash making

That I will be coaching and dragging Yeo's eldest son (13 years old) hopefully pass that psychological barrier blocking most taiwanese from the english language world in the limited time I have left obviously affect the outings for me and Tinkerbell.

Such as today when I have him for the afternoon. I had earlier intended to go to Dragon Eye pavilion today so I postponed that to Wednesday when I have the entire day free.

I will be leaving Chiayi on Saturday to Taipei. My plane to Singapore will be on Monday afternoon.

It is an interesting contrast from the time when I had to first leave Tink behind. Every hour was precious and both me and my wife were desperate to spend as much time as was possible with her before we had to go.

I am more relaxed about Tinkerbell now. It also helped that Tink was also with me during the English tuition. A debt of gratitude is owed by me to the Yeo for looking after my love one.

Even if I do not have her with me, I knew Tinkerbell would only be a flight away. And she is always mine. That clearly affected my frame of mind, unlike the last time when it hurt so much that I could not take her with us. The certainty that she is also loved to distraction by the Yeo family and friends was also very comforting to me.

So this morning, I stayed around his factory out in the rice and pineapple fields and took Tink for short walks and short rides. That relived some old memories. I was riding on my bike in that area with Joy 2 years ago posting up Tinkerbell posters and knocking on doors handing out leaflets.

Then after lunch, the three of us rode off to LangTang to continue the lessons. The tough part started today. That he could understand more English than what he thought himself capable of.

Tink minded her business much of the time. I took her carrier with me to the picnic area with tables and seats. A couple of times, after Tink wrestle with me for the pen and chewed chunks from the books, she was chucked into the carrier to cool down. Then when he was carrying out the exercises that I set, Tink came out to do recall flights or just stayed on my shoulder. She indicated her displeasure by shitting on me as usual. I should scold her, but did not have the heart to do so. Any scolding of any kind from me to Tinkerbell would be very hypocritical as I love her too much. So I kept my mouth shut and just went on to give her head rubs and beak rubs.

We then shifted the classroom to the twin pavilions at a different area of LangTang.

Then late in the afternoon when I was winding up, it threatened to rain. We reached to Yeo's place.

The last few times when I went out with Tink and Yeo and met other locals, I was basically the interested observer as Yeo went on to tell others of the training of Tink and would eventually touch on the diet. Yeo told them that it was important to give correct food which include the mash diet of Tinkerbell. Except that he stopped that for some time as the mash involved in elaborate preparation and handling.

He must have felt kind of embarrased over that, that he talked about mash to others and he himself not giving that to Tink. Actually I worked on him very carefully and indirectly for the last 3 weeks which seemed to have paid off.

He decided to return to Tinks mash, a variation from Mike's Manna Mash. We talked about that in the morning and I was prepared to buy again all the dried beans and stuff thats available in Taiwan. And get whatever not available to mail that to him.

We were all pleased to find the wife kept better stock and knowledge of those stuff we gave to them before me and my wife left Taiwan. Lots of different kind of beans, the red, green, white, black, garbonzo, blackeye, kidney etc etc were retrieved. A very small batch was in the process of being prepared to be made into mash.

After giving Tink her goodnight kiss and headrubs, I left

It is still the Yu family after all

I was wondering how I could have made such a ghastly error of calling Yu family wrongly for the last couple of years.

Last night I received an email from my wife which was most enlightening. I reproduced it below.


Subject: comments

I did tell you it was You as in swimming. It's just spelt Yu by the
Taiwanese in English, as in Yu Shi Kun, prime minister of Taiwan.

The phonetics used by the Taiwanese in learning English is the
International Phonetic alphabet. That's the global standard for
pronounciation so that you absolutely cannot go wrong pronouncing any
sound. You can view the symbols here:


One explanatory note: The chinese word for swimming sounded exactly as yeo (as in yeoman) and not even as you as indicated by my wife above, unless that is another of that IPA edicts.

That jogged my memory. She added his phone to my handphone as YU, and she spelt it as Yu. But with that name spelled out as Yu, I could not help using the normal english pronunciation and kept calling Yu as Yu (rhyming with she). Being a simple man who do not use those IPA, who can remember that Yu is meant to be called Yeo because that is what those folks in IPA determined that to be so.

There is this town in Northern Taiwan (and where Bim was found) with its name written as Jui Feng, maybe in accordance with IPA. The actual sounds of that chinese words are Ray (as in x-ray) Fang (ryhmn with hung). I distrust those IPA edicts from that point which was about 14 years ago. But of course, my wife read English in the university with perfect pronunciations and one of those minions of IPA edicts and textbook perfect grammar unlike poor me.

Maybe that is why the average Taiwanese and Japanese and Korean have such great difficulties in speaking or using English. They need to memorise so many of those IPA strange edicts and phonetics until their minds and tongues are paralysed with fear. And I just successfully showed the eldest son how he could now forget those IPA by following the english words naturally.

In this case, I will accept in this instance the IPA edicts since I am so used to writing him as Yu. I therefore will revert to writing Yu as Yu. The onus is on you to know Yu actually sound like yeo according to IPA edicts.

So this morning I wrote over to pick up Tink from Mr Yu (which sound like Yeo) at his factory. Since I was going to work with his eldest son who is called Yu (do remember the IPA edicts) San Sian (last two words are in accordance to normal English usage and utterly ignore the IPA edicts), I kept my ride with Tink short and we went to a park just next to the special school I mentioned before.






That morning I decided that this day will be the last afternoon I give to San Sian. I will be taking the entire daylight time for just me and Tink and the english workouts will be done only during the evening on wed and thur.

But the effort with San Sian seemed to be worth it. He lost his fear of english.

One interesting and very sad event needed to be reported. In the late afternoon, a guy walked up to me when I was working out with Tink in between the English workouts with SS. He enjoyed the sight of Tink flying to me. He bought a grey a few years before. From his accounts, that was a very young chick with bare skin and pin feathers only.

He had absolutely no knowledge how to feed such a young chick. I felt like throwing up when he told me he feed sun flower seeds to that young chick as advised by the bird shop. I did not even bothered to ask him if he dehusk those seeds or not. Such young chicks were not even weaned even before going to the miserable diet of sunflower seeds only. He told me that chick died just a few days later.

That must have been a very ghastly death. I felt it was very unfair to that chick. He left me very badly shaken with the new knowledge I given him.