Thursday, November 12, 2009

I just called to say "Put on a sweater"

guan, v.: 1. to care for someone; to tell them what to do; to tell them what not to do; to tell them what to do after they finish doing what they're not supposed to be doing; 2. a common expression of love from Chinese parents to children.

Example: If I didn't love you I wouldn't guan you.

Today we were at my in-laws' for dinner and my father-in-law started guan'ing Grant for something. (I didn't completely understand what he was saying, but guan'ing is easily recognized even if you don't speak Chinese.) This went on for several minutes until my mother-in-law called from the kitchen to tell her husband to stop guan'ing Grant so much. She told him that if he guan's the grandkids all the time then his guan'ing will lose its meaning and the grandkids will grow to resent him to boot.

He told my mother-in-law that she shouldn't guan him when he's guan'ing the grandkids because that hurts his credibility and undermines everything he's trying to do.

Never one to miss an opportunity to be a PITA, Grant chimed in and said that his grandpa shouldn't guan him all the time because he can't hear the TV over all the guan'ing.

Poor thing. Because we all know that if you miss a single word of the dialogue in "Ultraman" you are lost for the rest of the show. Ultraman is an old Japanese show, where a plastic action figure fights with a plastic dinosaur, or a paper mache volcano, or a styrofoam space ship, or a tinfoil robot.

So essentially this is what we had.

Grandpa guan's grandson. Wife guan's husband. Husband tells wife not to guan him. Grandson tells Grandpa not to guan him.

Meanwhile I was laughing so hard I nearly choked on a dumpling.

And no one else appreciated the humor in the situation.

Except, hopefully, some of you out there.


Sin-Yaw Wang said...

This is classic Chinglish. I can almost hear my kid saying everything.

I am LOL, not for the sitcom, but for your masterful usage of Chinglish.

Jocelyn said...

Melanie, I'm so glad to see you posting again.

This is hilarious. Reminds me of how much my mother-in-law tends to over-guan us when we're at home. Making special meals, bringing clothes, offering to buy me food on the street that I could hardly eat after her meals (did I mention I eat a lot there?). ;-)

Melanie Gao said...

Sin-Yaw I'm glad my Chinglish is good for something. :)

Jocelyn, you didn't need to mention that you eat a lot there! That is a given. :)