Saturday, January 28, 2012

If you're in DC on Jan. 29

This year's Landon China Roundtable will feature three speakers discussing “China’s Role in the World”.  The Roundtable will start at 1:30 PM on Sunday, January 29th.  It will be held at Landon School, 6101 Wilson Lane, Bethesda, Maryland, in the PAC building.
Hans Timmer, Director of Development Economics at the World Bank, will make a presentation on ‘China’s Expanding Role in the Global Economy’. 
Students of Chinese, and those trying to understand the culture of China as an emerging superpower, will be fascinated by Deborah Fallows’s observations based on her book, “Dreaming in Chinese”.  Her struggles to learn Chinese will resonate with all students of the language.
Mr. Xiaojun Heng, Minister Counselor of the Embassy of China, will speak on China’s efforts to develop better information and understanding between the United States and China in order to promote a harmonious society at home and peaceful development on the international stage, the two major objectives of Chinese President Hu Jintao. 
The China Roundtable draws from the Washington/Baltimore area approximately 150 China experts, businessmen, journalists, academics, teachers, parents, and students, including visiting Chinese exchange students. 
Attendees are invited to a Chinese luncheon which will proceed the Roundtable; the food will be served starting at 12:30 PM.  There is no charge for attending the Roundtable or the luncheon.


  1. Ni3 Hao3 Xiao Deborah,
    I read your book, Dreaming in Chinese. It was an interesting little book. It seemed like we shared many of the same experiences. It brought back some wonderful and not so wonderful memories. I also read last year, the book “Dictionary for Chinese Lovers” you mentioned. Do you remember the line “you have pimples on your face hasn’t anyone told you” or “No you are much fatter then me” that Z said to people? I thought it was a dark and sad book.

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been insulted by what a Chinese person said to me. I never understood the “yin1 & yang2” how Chinese approach communications. Chinese are very direct to the point of being rude in a conversation. But if you are the least direct with them, then they will quickly “lose face”. Simply said, they can dish it out, but can’t take it. I have seen this in many aspects of the Chinese culture, society and business.

    I lived in the Shekou area of Shenzhen in the same time as you. As a matter of fact, from your picture, I could swear I’ve seen you in China. My girlfriend was a senior member of the CCP and also held a high position in one of the largest banks. Therefore, I had a very unique opportunity to see the behind the scenes picture of China. It also meant she was a pampered, rude, self centered, selfish and demanding spoiled brat.

    I had the same problems you mentioned in your book such as, cars hitting me as I was riding my bike, not being understood and getting really bad hair cuts (how can someone screw up a bald guy’s hair?). Although, I did see you were kind to the Chinese by not mentioning some really bad things they do like; people spitting everywhere, bringing up phlegm in their throats all the time and spitting, having their children pee anywhere in public (shopping malls, the sidewalk, stores), cutting in front of you while you’re waiting in line and having no manners what so ever. Qing3 wen4 Xiao3jie, how many times was the door held opened for you by a Chinese man? Zippo, I’m guessing. The Chinese remind me of the “Beverly Hillbillies”. Sure they’ve got lots of money, but no class / no etiquette / and no manners. On many occasions I was having dinner with some Chinese who were high up on the food chain in China, but they ate and acted like pigs.

    Lack of manners is why I decided to study Chinese. One day, we’re having dinner with an astonishingly beautiful woman. This woman asked if I was learning Chinese since I’ve lived in China. When I replied no, since my girlfriend spoken perfect English, she then needed to pronounce to everyone at the table, that I was a lazy American. WOW! If that wasn’t bad enough, my girlfriend didn’t wink an eye and just ignored what her friend said to me. When we left the restaurant, my girlfriend for more then 2 years, and this woman walked arm in arm holding each other tightly (as you mentioned) while I walked alone 15 feet behind them in the dark of the night. Sadly, I’ve a dozen more stories just like that one, about my girlfriend.

    I decided two things after that dinner. First, I wasn’t going to marry my girlfriend and our relationship was over. Second, I was going to learn Chinese no matter what. Looking back, both decisions have caused me a lot of pain and suffering, but they were the right ones. I have come to love Mandarin, but those tones, especially #1, still drive me crazy. For my now ex girlfriend, she told me, her dating profile was online within 2 days. I on the other hand, had enough with dating Chinese women and haven’t dated anyone since.

    One last thing, to practice my Chinese I took a job at a Chinese restaurant even though I was a CFO. In your book you mention people didn’t understand when you asked for Da3bao1 (for carry out). I’ve seen Da3bao1 used for a “Doggie Bag”. The owner of the restaurant didn’t understand me either until I explained it to her. Well, she said Da3bao1 is for packaging an item up. For carry out, I should use “wai4mai4”.

    Good luck in the future,


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