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Tales of a Hakka Town (7)
Tales of a Hakka Town (7)
I started my education in a Chinese school called Overseas Chinese
Primary School Pusing. One of the text books for Standard One began like
Shou3 (hand), Pai Shou3 (clap hands), Pai Pai Shou3 (clap clap hands).
Shou3 Yi Pai (hand gives a pat), Qiu2 Yi Tiao4 (the ball bounces).
Ge Ge Da4 (elder brother), Pai Da4 Qiu (pat big ball),
Di4 Di4 Xiao3 (little brother), Pai Xiao3 Qiu (pat small ball).
Lai2, Lai2, lai2 Pai Qiu (come, come, come and pat ball),
Bu4 Lai2, Bu Lai2, Wo3 Bu4 Hui4 Pai Qiu (no, no I don't know how to
Xiao3 Mei4 Mei4, Zou3 Lai2, Zou3 Lai2, Da4 Ge Bao4 Bao4 Nin2.
(little sister, come here, come here, let elder brother carry you)
Because of lesson 5 many boys and I received many beltings from
the teachers. At that time we boys were very naughty. We used to tease
the girls by reciting lesson 5:
little sister, come here, come here, let elder brother embrace you.
Instead of carry you, we emphasized it, in front of them, by action to
embrace you. The girls reported to the teachers that we molested them
verbally. The teachers were on their side and we boys received the cane.
Many a time, the girls, without any provocation, lied to the teachers
that we recited lesson 5 in front of them. The end result was that we got
the beating. Due to this sexism we hated lesson 5.
About 100 meters west from the school there was a used mining pond.
One day a pupil from our school was drown in the pond during lunch break.
In order to stop the students from going to the pond to swim during the
lunch break, the teachers by using the black ink wrote the name on the left
hand palm of every student. When classes resumed after lunch we had to
show to the teacher that our names on the palms were still there. If
any student was found that his name on his palm disappeared he received
punishment. It had been going on for a long time and I could not recall
how many times I was being punished.
We were Hakka and the medium of instruction in our school was Guo Yu
(Mandarin). I could say all our teachers were Hakka. The teachers themselves
could not pronounced the characters properly in Guo Yu. We were more or
less learning our lessons in Hakka.
Then, we had a new teacher who was from Tang Shan. He spoke beautiful Guo Yu.
We all worshiped him as if he was Confucius. In fact the whole school,
including our teachers, learned from him how to speak proper Guo Yu. I
remebered he used the Bo2, Po, Mo4, Fo2 system to teach us Guo Yu.
Luckily, the pronunciations of Hakka and Guo Yu were very close and we
did not have much difficulty to master the new language.
Unfortunately, before the Emergency started he left our school and went to
live in Singapore. Later, the town people said that he was a Kuomintang
army officer who fled from the civil war in China. The reason behind his
leaving was that there were too many Communists in Pusing. Anyway the
school thanked him for raising the standard of speaking Guo Yu in the