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Hello? Do you read me?

Whenever there are people, there is miscommunication. Do you agree?

Scenario 1: There is a defective product found at the production department, the defect is minor, with minor rework, the issue can be settled and the product can be sent to the customer on time. But an employee does not communicate well, the minor defect is described as major, different departments start blaming each other and it affects the delivery.

Scenario 2: Your in-laws are visiting you but because of miscommunication between you and your spouse, both of you fail to pick them up at the train station. To make matter worse, it is a raining day and your in-laws fall sick because of nobody picking them up at the train station. How the story goes? I would imagine a disaster brewing.

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Last week was a busy week for me. My mum was staying with me for a week for the first time after I got married. The week before last week, my maternal grandmother was staying with my mum after my mum got married for so many years.

My relationship with my mum is not the intimate type as some mother-daughter relationships. Thus, the experience from last two weeks let me relook into mother-daughter relationship.

My grandmother is a quiet person. If you ask her what she would like for lunch, she will just say “anything will do”. Behind the “anything will do”, she does pick what she likes to eat and leave those that she does not like to eat. So, what my mum does is to observe what my grandmother eats and what she does not eat.

I am luckier than my mum. When I ask my mum the same question, she answers with specific answers so that I will not buy the wrong food. My mum provides me with direct answer, so I do not need to spend time observing. The observation method needs more time and you need to do trial and error too. (According to my mum, my grandmother has changed her taste over time.)

Two mother-daughter relationships, two different communication styles. My mum observes and I listen. There is no perfect way to communicate. We will adapt our communication skills depending on who we are communicating with. With our loved ones, we do our best to get the best results from communication, whether it is by listening or observation or both.


Are you really happy?

Miscommunication can happen anytime, anywhere. During communication, both parties, the speaker and the listener, play a part. The speaker speaks clearly and the listener listens carefully. Both parties need to look for non-verbal clues as well. Happy communicating!

Mini Book Review

I bought the book in 2011 and read only half of the book. Until recently, I continued reading the book and found some good chapters to share.

书名:《倾听幸福的心声》 (Listen to the Voices of Happiness)

作者:吴若权 (Eric Wu)

Although the author is from Taiwan, this book is written in simplified Chinese language (简体). The book is about listening and has three parts with 35 chapters. When someone speaks, the other party listens. Thus, listening is as important as speaking. There are a lot of books on public speaking and non-verbal communication, but few books on listening. If you want to know how a good listening will help you in your daily life and you know how to read in Chinese language, this book is highly recommended.

Part 1 is about the general requirements for a good listening to occur. Different chapters in Part 2 fascinate me. Each chapter talks about different relationships in life. Take the example on the communication with teenagers; most of the time, parents and adults think that teenagers are still young and should listen to parents and adults. Have you ever thought that children have their own opinions? Instead of nagging and giving advice, why not we let the children and teenagers voice out their opinion? In the chapter, the author gives examples on how parents can listen better and encourage the children to say more.

Fast forward to 20 years later, when the children have grown up and the parents have grown old… Yes, we still face the same communication problem with our aging parents. Similarly, a good listening helps us to communicate better with our parents and elderly. Part 3 contains chapters about the problems that we face when we want to listen actively, chapters about how sometimes listening without talking is good and the last chapter ask us to listen to our own heart.

The examples given in the book are some common scenarios that you may face in real life. Sometimes, I wish the book can be thicker so that the author can put in more examples. Nonetheless, if the book were thicker, I would not have finished reading it.

Listening is an art, if you appreciate it and able to apply it in your life, you will have a better life. Happy reading and listening!


The book cover

Tools to Help You in Learning Chinese Language

The journey has started. You have learnt 汉语拼音、笔画和部首 (The basics of Chinese Language). By now, you may already know some simple Chinese characters such as 人,口,木,花, etc. You would like to continue the journey, along the way, keep the below tools handy:

  1. 汉语字典 或 汉语词典 — 汉语 = Chinese Language. Whether you need a 字典 or a 词典 is a matter of personal preference. As a general rule of thumb, most people start with a 字典 with English translation. For advanced learners, I would suggest to have a 词典. The difference between the two is 字典 gives you the meaning of a single Chinese character and some common matching with other Chinese characters. Chinese characters “mix and match” with each other and each matching has a slightly different meaning. 词典 gives you the meaning of a matching. Thus, a 词典 helps you to use Chinese words more accurately.
  2. Books / Newspaper / Magazines — Even if it is a Chinese comic book, it is helpful. It helps to keep the fire of interest burning. One of the enemies of learning a language is that you have lost the motivation or interest to learn. Thus, keep yourself busy by reading a story book, newspaper or magazines. The bottom line, the reading materials must be in Chinese Language, with or without English translation.
  3. Televisions / Radios — When you first started learning, you find that you do not know how to read a lot of Chinese characters. Listening to good television and radio programmes help you to pronounce Chinese words correctly and also to recognize the different “matching” of Chinese characters.
  4. Mobile Applications — For younger learners, they may learn by using applicable mobile apps. Mobile apps are more interesting than reading materials and TV / radio programmes. You can learn as and when you like it. They are suitable for younger learners who have short attention span where they can learn, stop (off the apps) and learn again at a later time. Caution: mobile apps may give you the wrong information (e.g. a monkey picture which reads 小狗). Thus, do not depend solely on mobile apps to learn Chinese Language.

Chinese characters used in this post

  • 和 — and
  • 或 — or
  • 人 — person / human
  • 口 — mouth
  • 木 — wood
  • 花 — flower
  • 小狗 — puppy (小 = small, 狗 = dog)

All the tools ready? The next station is to learn about the grammar. See you along the way!

What We Can Learn From Cats

Why is it called a copycat and not a copydog?

It is because kittens learn by imitating the behaviour of their mother.

Similarly, children learn by imitating the behaviour of their parents. Thus, it is of utmost importance that parents set a good example for their children.