The here and now and a bit of way back then

I relived my journey to 40 and found there's so much more to say

I know Kung fu

on September 17, 2013

I don’t really know kung fu but imagine if you could download all kinds of information without having to find the time to read, or decipher the meaning of long words and above all else, retain all the information you once knew.

Although I don’t know kung fu, you would be surprised how many people assume that being Chinese you automatically ought to know kung fu. Perhaps that’s why I have never been involved in a proper scrap on (fight). I’m just too intimidating. When I was at junior school there was many a time when some boy would ask if Bruce Lee was my Dad and I would answer “No, my Dad is Mr Li”.

So how do we know the things we know?

I don’t mean the things we learn about what is happening in the Big Wide World via the Economist, the Guardian newspaper or Apparently the most up to date information comes in the form of ‘tweets’ and right now I have no idea what the purpose of Twitter is. I have sort of dipped a toe in and had a look at a twitter feed and there appears to be lots of @ involved and a mental challenge to get across what you want to say in 140 characters but I still don’t get it. There’s some really inane, dull stuff going on.

Although if I want to engage in gainful employment again it’s something which I’m going to have to gen (read) up on. (I have no idea why a few Geordie words have popped out so far, I’m not drunk and neither am I angry which allegedly is when my northerness rises to the surface.) Though perhaps the most frightening reveal of all will be when #1, 2 and 3 suss me out for knowing very little about the Big Wide World. Or worse still, being exposed for some semi plausible answer given to one of the myriad of questions that get asked every hour of every day. Now, I know the Generic Parenting Guide advises we should confess to the young people that we in fact don’t know the answer to the question posed and how about we go and find out the answer together. That is an excellent plan. Except sometimes it’s just not possible to do that and when you’re in the car with a 4 year old asking the same question on loop, any words you can form will have to do to make the noise stop to avert hazardous driving conditions inside the car.

But, if #1, 2 or 3 are anything like me then I need to be very, very careful with what I say. I tend to take things literally and I will on the whole believe whatever you tell me. I mean, it’s such a waste of time doubting what you have to say and most of the time you do get the most life enriching knowledge from people around you. That’s why you catch up with friends, chat with family and network in professional circles.

I’m not talking about the really big whoppers that can change lives and damage relationships but the small innocuous bits of fact (or fiction). Like the time when an old boyfriend (yes they do exist) told me at the age of 22, that a hornet doesn’t sting until I found out years later that they do in fact sting and it bloody well hurts too!

Husband has also equipped me with many a false fact ranging from a friend’s new girlfriend being Swedish when she was in fact Australian (though I genuinely believe he really thought she was Swedish) and thankfully someone cleared this up before I started asking whether she was a big ABBA fan. He has also denied watching the film Showgirls before when we came across it on terrestrial television. Then somehow years later, Uncle Monkey managed to out him on this fact and to be honest, it’s such an appalling film I think it’s best to deny having ever seen it.

A few years ago, I was told that the stray cats in Singapore have stumps for tails because they are cut off to stop them from jumping up into the upper level apartments. Just moved here, no reason to think otherwise and left it at that. Have I mentioned this fact to other people? Yes. What happened last year? I saw a cat with no tail happily jumping from low rise roof top to pillar to balcony.

I may seem gullible to you but I don’t think it’s that. I’m never going to know much left to my own means in the grand scheme of things (although I frequently tell #1 that I do and that’s how I knew he didn’t eat all of his dinner and had instead scooped it into #2’s bowl instead), so if by information sharing I find out that what I know is actually wrong then that’s still ok.

Otherwise I would still be answering this pleasantry “It was so nice to meet you”, with this reply “Thank you”. Which I only found out was the incorrect response when Husband and my good friend Ms Moonface (Nana Moon to her godchildren), fell about in hysterics! She said how could I not know that the right thing to say was “It was so nice to meet you too”. Well, before this I was of the understanding that if someone paid you a compliment and to me “It was nice to meet you”, sounded very much like a compliment then the polite thing to do was to accept it graciously! Years had been spent with this thought. Years after have been spent inwardly cringing.

It’s not just in English I’ve been getting it wrong as well because apparently when someone greets you in Chinese with “Have you eaten yet?”, they in fact are not asking you to dine with them and equally are disinterested in what you have eaten if you have! Who would have thought.

So it seems I know neither kung fu nor how to grasp the English and Chinese languages properly and now having told you this, I’m probably going to learn even more non facts from you all.



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