To Be or Not To Be

A little kingdom I possess,
Where thoughts and feelings dwell;
And very hard the task I find
Of governing it well.
-- Louisa May Alcott.
...........hmmm....that more or less describes my situation !!

~A Wise Man Said~

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
-- Aristotle

Tuesday, November 15, 2005
To enquire the price of an item from a Chinese salesperson, I typically say the following:
"I buy this, how much you give me?"

(No, my verbal communication is not as stunted as the sentence above might lead you to believe. It is just that I have got into the habit of using only "key words" with accompanying actions when having to communicate with non-English-speaking Chinese.)

The Chinese salesperson might or might not understand my meaning, depending on which he/she might or might not come out with a calculator and type out the number. The number will most definitely be way higher than what I might want to settle for, and I will type out a new number in its place. This number will most probably be lower than what the Chinese salesperson is happy to give (or at least the Chinese salesperson will pretend so), and will now type out a number somewhere in between the higher and the lower numbers. We will either settle the matter at this neutral number or again type and retype and settle for a new number...

I remember in one such haggling incident (for the record, bargaining is not only common, it is also very much expected in HK, especially in the small time shops!), I was asking for an item for 10 HKD, and the salesperson (a young lad), refused to give it to me for less than 15 HKD. We were onto it for a while and finally he said to me in an angry tone: "I give you 10HKD, you buy me!" I was completely speechless and astounded for a moment! My friend nudged me and whispered into my ears, when understanding dawned, and I couldn't stop laughing out loud. What he was trying to say was, "if you are getting this somewhere else for as low as 10HKD, buy it for me!" It is a common gimmick I have seen used by Indian shopkeepers too, but who would have guessed it by the sound of it?!