Saturday, August 27, 2011

Chinese Survey

I participated in a survey a few weeks back and yesterday I was required to drop by the HSS Graduate Office to collect my reimbursement worth 20 dollars. And so I deliberately went to the venue 30 minutes before my class to grab my money. Upon reaching the destination, I was suppose to give a buzz to the person in charge and  I complied. Only after a few rings, a young Chinese gentleman appeared at the door and greeted me.

Chinese guy: 你好!你来这边那钱吗? (Nǐ hǎo! Nǐ lái zhè biān nà qián ma?)

Me: 对阿!( Duì ā!!)

Chinese guy: 还好吧!你跟我来. (Hái hǎo ba! Nǐ gēn wǒ lái)

I followed him into his office and I was asked to be seated and wait patiently until my turn. I still didn't realize that I was actually volunteering in another survey until he started asking me to fill up my details on a survey form. To be honest, I was still wondering how come I was required to fill up my details again, I already did so 2 weeks ago when I participated in the survey, but my guess was he need the particulars of the respondents to make appropriate claims. 

After doing so, he started explaining to me with a very heavy Chinese accent and all I could do was just nod in agreement. Deep down inside, I knew I was 'conned' into the Chinese Linguistics Research Department surveys but being 'shy in nature', I didn't dare to speak up and told him my intention was just to grab my cash and scoot. 

I was then presented with a series of videos of a person doing several hand actions. I was required to describe in detail what the videos meant to me. 

Chinese guy: Ok 崇贤,请详细描述视频. (Ok Chóng xián,Qǐng xiángxì miáoshù shìpín) Ok CX,please describe the video in detail.

Me: * stares at the video and with my limited Chinese vocab I uttered* 他丢东西! ( Tā d de dōngxi ) He threw something.

And this continue for the next 3 minutes as he was showing approximately 15 different videos on a guy throwing things. My guess was he wanted to find out if the respondents knew there were different types of techniques of throwing things. I felt utterly bad because I was definitely the extreme outlier in his findings.

After the series of videos, I had to identify certain characters and at that moment I knew it was for me.I could only remember 2 characters shown there :D

扔 丢 etc etc

I timidly told him that my chinese is worst than a primary 1 student and he said that it is impossible! He then explained the whole purpose of the survey and I guess I was right. He wanted to identify the difference between a local and PRC ( People Republic of China) on certain usage of words. Apparently, the PRCs are more creative when it comes to describing things as compared to the locals.haha! 

I think the turning point was when I mistakenly heard 钱 (qian,money) instead of 调查(diao cha, survey).My reward for participating in the survey was a simple blue pen but it definitely served a reminder for me to buck up my mandarin!

My Chinese blue pen :D

Ps: Yes, I did get my 20 bucks in the end (:

1 comment:

Lawrence said...

that is funny. haha. I also thought qian = money earlier.