Chopsticks & Pidgin
Westerner uses knives and forks to eat while Chinese uses chopsticks to eat.
Chopsticks are a unique tool of Chinese (originated) and East Asian for eating, Western world doesn’t have such kind of stuff. So how to translate such stuff into English is a kind of problem?
The translator used Chinese Pidgin English to translate it. The chopstick in Chinese semantic-phonetic (xingsheng) sounds like ‘quick’, and it is a pidgin which ‘chop chop’ meant quickly, And the chopstick is made of wood which it looks like a little stick, For those reasons, The stuff chop-stick has been translated, And, Chinese always use 2 pieces of chopsticks to make it work, therefore, the word 'Chopstick' always uses plural 'chopsticks'.
The very famous of Chinese Pidgin English in Taiwan is ‘long time no see’ which means ‘haven’t seen (you) in a long time’. It’s a way of saying hello to an old friend of Chinese. Many westerners who stay in Taiwan in a certain days would like to say ‘long time to see’ to an old friend instead of ‘hello’.
In general, chopsticks etiquette is similar to general Western etiquette which is regarding eating utensils. And there are still several things about Chinese chopsticks that you might want to know:
1) We hold the rice bowl up to our mouth and use chopsticks to push rice directly into the mouth.
2) It’s ok that you transfer food to your closely related people, besides, don’t do that please.
3) If there are communal chopsticks, use them to pick up food to your plate, afterwards, use your own chopsticks to pick your own food up from your plate.
It needs a lot of time to practice the skill of using chopsticks. And, once you can use chopsticks, you’ll feel good.
I had written and published 2 blogs on May 26 & 27, and it has not shown up on BBC's website till now(Monday, May 28, 2007、11:22:42 PM, Taiwan time).
Maybe it is because today is the last Monday in May which is Spring Bank Holiday (Whitsun)
It’s never late to be diligent in learning.
James Zhih-Cheng Wu
Photo：James uses chopsticks to pick up a piece of watermelon.
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