Chinese short stories: A recommendation

24th July 2022

Recently, I finished an anthology of Modern Chinese short stories namely ‘The Picador Book of Contemporary Chinese Fiction.’

The collection, first published in 1998, is one of the best I’ve ever read; all stories are worth reading and many are excellent.

My experience of Chinese Literature has been mainly limited to the Classics: Confucius, Lao Tzu and poetry from various dynasties, so this is a great introduction to contemporary fiction.

A 2004 collection by China’s first Noble Laurate

The Picador anthology has the following contents:

Western readers may be aware of Su Tong as he wrote ‘Raise the Red Lantern’, which was filmed by Zhang Yi-mou in 1991.

If you can find a copy I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

IELTS: Hitting the ground running. An introduction to idioms for a new class.

17th March 2021

WGN TV - Happy St. Patrick's Day, Chicago. | Facebook

Happy St Patrick’s Day – St Patrick being the patron saint of Ireland, a country famous for enjoying a drink … and then some ! In Chicago, which is a bustling, vibrant city in USA’s mid-west, the river is coloured green. However, too much

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Guiness will give me a bad headache the following morning. I will definitely have a hangover. That means it’s time to stop drinking so much, I need to change my bad habits … which brings us to an idiom for my new class; it’s time to turn over a new leaf.

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In this case, a four leaf clover for good luck.

So, we have a new class and they need to start learning language that will help them ace the IELTS test.

Let’s hit the ground running and recap the basic idioms you’ll be using every week, as well as the new vocabulary from last night. Are you ready … ?

Event History – Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon 2021
Let’s go !

First off the bat, some basic idioms:

it’s raining cats and dogs

it costs an arm and a leg

piece of cake

I’m burning the candle at both ends

once in a blue moon

pass with flying colours

turn over a new leaf

put your nose to the grindstone

These are the basic idioms I introduce, as they can be employed in many situations.

A good introductory blog, with IELTS tips and advise may be accessed here:

https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/12/22/ielts-mindset-2-first-review/

Let’s hit the ground running and put it to the test – what idioms would you use ?

Taxis in Sai Gon are very expensive, they _______

I want to get a high score, I want to ______

We can’t go out in the rainy season because it’s always ____________

You need to stop going out every night and missing school. You need to _____________

The test was so easy, it was a __________

She works all day, then studies all night; she’s _________________

I must be more serious about learning Vietnamese. I have to _______

Ms Liêu simply adores Champagne however, because it _____________ , she only drinks it __________________________________.

Last night’s class also generated some additional idioms, expressions and vocabulary, to wit:

bear with me – please wait a very short time

like a madhouse – a place or area that is crazy, too noisy, too busy etc

Kick the bucket – UK idiom, very informal, means to die

My hands are tied – I am obliged to do something, I have no choice

An expression – to kill two birds with one stone – to achieve two different results by doing one action:

“Hey, let’s meet at the coffee shop. We can meet up and work on the project at the same time.”

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I also introduced you to borrowed words – vocabulary from other languages. Our first example derived from Italian – lingua franca (a common language)

EXAMPLE:

I am studying English, which is incredibly important, because it is a lingua franca meaning it will enable me to communicate with people from all over the world.

Furthermore, we covered some adjectives to describe various neighbourhoods:

gritty / industrial

quite / safe / residential

boring / peaceful / suburban

bustling / vibrant / city centre

Extra advise – any time you hear a new word or expression:

Twin Peaks | Streams of Consciousness

Finally for Ms Dương, who expressed concerns over the amount of vocabulary one needs to learn, here’s the quote from the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu (C6thBC) :

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step | Lao Tzu

OK, onwards and upwards. Next lesson’s notes can be accessed here: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/11/06/ielts-be-industrious-hard-working-incredible-energetic-students/

See you next week

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Subject Index: Famous Quotes

4th December 2020

Famous Quotes

Bible “Whatever a man sows …” // IELTS 5 – 6.5. Writing example // 15th March 2020

David Bowie “Ground control” // Young Learners 4 // 8th June 2019

Chaucer “Time & tide …” // Teenagers: Architecture & Mythology // 13th March 2020

Ho Chi Minh “need to work much harder” // IELTS: Hello, India // 24th January 2020

Shakespeare “All that glisters …” // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2: luxury day // 12th March 2020

Shakespeare “More things in Heaven … ” // Teenagers: Architecture & Mythology // 13 Mch 2020

Shakespeare “To be or not to be” // Adult C, L 2 // 27th May 2019

Shakespeare “We are such stuff …” // Adult C, L 1 // 5th March 2019

Shakespeare “Neither a borrower …” // Adult C, L 3 // 14 November 2019

Shakespeare “All the world’s a stage” // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2, Part 6, 25th January 2020

Tarantino “Shutting your butt down.” // Adult C, L 3 // 26th November 2019

Twin Peaks “Damn fine coffee,” // Young Learners 5 // 17th November 2019

Lao-Tzu ‘Give a man a fish …” // IELTS 5 – 6.5. Writing example // 15th March 2020

Andy Warhol “Famous for 15 mins” // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3, Part 4 // 27th January 2020

Wittgenstein “Limits of my language …” // IELTS // 28th January 2019