Our stay in Adelaide will be coming to an end in a few months time, so C and I have been talking about going on short trips before we head back to Singapore. There’s a public holiday coming up in March, so we decided to book a short four day trip to Sydney then.
Me: Hmmm… where else should we visit before we go back to Singapore? We’re already visiting Sydney next month, right? Is there anywhere else you would like to visit? Perth?
C: (Very confidently) 新西兰 (xin1 xi1 lan2)!
Me: Huh? Where’s that? You mean 纽西兰 (niu3 xi1 lan2), New Zealand?
C: What niu3 xi1 lan2? It’s xin1 xi1 lan2!
Me: You want to bet? Didn’t you watch that milk advertisement long ago, the one where they said there are more cows than people in New Zealand? Malaysia didn’t have that ad is it? (C was born in Malaysia, and lived there till he was 12.)
C: (Sounding unsure of himself) I really thought it was xin1 xi1 lan2…
Me: You think it’s NEW Zealand, that’s why it’s 新 (xin1 / new) is it? Anyhow one leh you…
I was very sure of myself, thanks to that milk advertisement I watched ages ago, and came back to look it up on Google, just so that I could rub it in C’s face further. To my horror, all the websites I found showed that it was indeed, xin1 xi1 lan2. I kept quiet, not wanting C to know that he was right, and sent an SOS whatsapp message to my second godsis, who’s good in Chinese. She laughed at me and told me that the name had apparently been changed from niu3 xi1 lan2 to xin1 xi1 lan2 years ago, so technically, we were both right.
Me: Ey I asked my second sis what New Zealand is called in Chinese.
C: Aiyah, she will confirm side you one lah.
Me: No, according to her, it’s called xin1 xi1 lan2.
C: A-HA! You and your niu2 (cow).
Me: I said niu3, okay, not niu2!
C: Whatever, you were still wrong!
Me: NO, she said it used to be niu3 xi1 lan2, but they changed it to xin1 xi1 lan2. So we are both right!
C: Nonsense. Wah, I can’t believe you used to take Higher Chinese.
Me: It was called niu3 xi1 lan2 back then when I was in school okay. Anyway, do you know what’s New Zealand called in Malay? Baru (new) Zealand ah?
C: (From the sofa) Can you pass me the cable for my Fitbit charger please?
Me: (At the dining table) This one?
C: Yah, just throw it to me.
Me: (Passing it to Noah) Bring this to papa.
C: No no no no no! Throw it to me!
Me: Huh? Why would you want me to throw it to you when we have a courier service?
*Noah walks over to C and passes it to him.
C: Because the courier service is new and unreliable. You never know when he’s going to run away with whatever he’s supposed to pass to us.
Me: Haha that’s true. But at least it worked this time round. Just got to train him more.
The ‘unreliable’ courier service
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