The Most Embarrassing Moment when I Speak Chinese
National Taiwan University-Christopher Belford 

I can still vividly remember and recall, December 8th 2010 during our usual evening Chinese classes when I was supposed to present a paper in Chinese on the topic “MY COUNTRY”. I was very confident before the presentation that my paper will captivate the interest of my audience. Most of my course-mates asked prior to my presentation, my state of preparation some even informed me that they will invite their friends and acquaintances to attend my presentation. Having seen that my presentation was developing so much interest, I decided to take it very serious spending sleepless night “burning the mid-night candle” to ensure that my presentation becomes a “master piece”.

This was becoming very interesting; my presentation was becoming a talking point on the campus. Everywhere I went my colleagues and friends were asking me about only one thing that was my presentation for the December 8th, I started to marvel why all and sundry were interested in my presentation, one of my course-mate told me that our Chinese Lecturers told them that I am one of her “best Chinese student” and she has so much confidence in me. After hearing this, the pressure on me increased, expectations on me were high, and hence I did not have an option but I had to deliver as expected or even deliver above expectations.

On the evening of December, 8th I have completed my power point presentation slides preparation and even practiced prior to the class to some of my Chinese friends and they were all impressed with my material, they only recommended few changes and amendments which I did to improve on the vocabulary of the presentation, having done that I was now confident that I was on track and my material was going to be impressive for all to admire. As I entered the lecture-room I noticed that the room was full, this was very unusual for an evening Chinese class, although I was not surprise since I was told before by colleagues that they were going to invite their friends. 

Upon entering the Lecture-room our Chinese Lecturer announced that I was going to present a paper on my country, my Chinese course-mates gave me a round of applause I was still very confident but as I stood on the podium to deliver my paper, my confidence started to diminished and I struggled with my Chinese pronounciation and vocabulary. It was a helpless situation with all the preparation and anticipation I was supposed to prove that I am good and confortable with the Chinese language, I was to show I am a master of the language but instead it was the opposite the language was a master of me. This has never occurred to me before I stood speechless only to be asked to return to my seat, which I adhered to immediately with no hesitation.

I will never forget December 8th 2010 this was the most embarrassing moment when I speak Chinese. But I learnt my lesson it was a bitter experience for me, my advice to all my colleagues studying Chinese is to take it serious and don’t be over confident because it creates unnecessary anxiety. From then i took my Chinese lesson very seriously and on time submitted my assignments as and when due. The best way to learn Chinese is to always practice speaking the language and engaging friends and colleagues in conversations at all times, making mistakes and asking them to help you the correct grammar. Well, this is my short story I hope it serves as a useful reference to all my colleagues studying Chinese language.

I wish you all a happy belated Chinese new year of the rabbit.