Christine Kuo and Grace Wong’s poor Cantonese mistaken for profanities

20 April 2013 / 3 years 6 months ago

One is from Toronto; the other is from New York. One can trace her heritage back to the aboriginal Taiwanese tribes, while the other has Fuzhou as her ancestral home.On the surface, Christine Kuo (苟芸慧) and Grace Wong (王君馨) do not appear to share much in common, but those who know the TVB stars well will notice that they are actually quite alike.According to an article in 88 News, Christine and Grace immediately bonded when they first met each other on the stage of TVB’s Miss Chinese International Pageant in 2009.Christine was a contestant, while Grace, the runner-up at the 2007 Miss Hong Kong Pageant, was the guest performer.“At the time, [Grace] and Ron Ng (吳卓羲) had to perform “Passionate Desert‘ together!‘ exclaimed Christine.“Yes!‘ responded Grace. “At the time, half of the girls (contestants) had to dance with Ron, while the other half danced with me. Christine was in my group.‘Both first generation North American immigrants, Christine and Grace shared one thing in common ‘“ language barriers. The beauty queens struggled through criticisms of their poor Cantonese since coming to Hong Kong. This was especially hard for the Mandarin-speaking Christine, who did not learn Cantonese until after she joined the beauty pageant.“Not only do we have to learn how to speak the, language, we also have to learn about Chinese culture,‘ said Christine. “A simple phrase can have so many different meanings. That was why I went through a period of self-struggle; I was thinking too much, with too many thoughts racing through my head. Was that phrase meant to be positive or negative? As a gwaimui, that is a big challenge to overcome!‘Christine continued, “When I first joined the industry, I would hear people say, ‘˜Let’s have tea when we have time!’ But that doesn’t really mean that they will have tea. I didn’t understand this at first, because in the past, when I say let’s have tea, I really meant it! It turns out that this phrase is another way to say ‘˜See you later’! Also, when I was filming Super Snoops , whenever [the cast] would say ‘˜Kill you’, I would get really confused and think why they wanted to kill me!‘Grace jumped in, “I can understand. Sometimes when I don’t enunciate clearly, I’ll sound like I’m speaking profanity. This is really embarrassing, especially in front of seniors!‘“That is the most stressful thing!‘ Christine nodded in agreement. “As public figures, our area of influence is large; for example, our actions can affect children. The more we worry about it, the more mistakes we will make.‘Grace recalled an incident when she, pronounced “zahk yu chung‘ (Quarry Bay) as “gaht yu chun‘ and no one understood what she was talking about when she was asking for directions. “My adventures at the restaurants are even funnier. I pronounced ‘˜siu maai’ (燒賣) as ‘˜siu mai’ (燒米) and ‘˜dahn taht’ (蛋撻) as ‘˜dahn kah’ (蛋卡). I also mispronounced ‘˜hah fu cho’ (夏枯草) as ‘˜hup fu cho’ (合枯草). The funny thing is, I also spoke it that way when I was in New York, but no one bothered to correct me!‘Christine expressed that she has been really embarrassed by her poor Cantonese, and praised Grace for her courage. “She is willing to speak despite the flaws. When I ride taxis, I would be too embarrassed to speak to the driver and just write him a message to where I wanted to go. I should be more like Grace ‘“ keep challenging myself, so I will feel more confident with Cantonese.‘“I agree,‘ said Grace in response. “Don’t be afraid that others would mistake your meaning. One who does not know is not guilty. Don’t stress yourself too much.‘Photos in the gallery feature the ex-beauty queens Grace Wong and Christine Kuo.

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