Local 'ABC' Pretty Bad At Chinese, But Not That Great At English Either
Local ‘ABC’ Pretty Bad At Chinese, But Not That Great At English Either

With a Band 6 in maths, 7th grade piano by 18 and distinction in her first year of commerce, 19 year old ABC (Australian Born Chinese) Joyce Li has in many ways lived up to the high achiever status that her parents envisioned when they enlisted her in academic coaching, all those years ago.

But there is one area where Joyce is at best, mediocre. It’s the languages of both her mother tongue – Cantonese Chinese, and Australian English.

Growing up in the melting pot that is Australia, Joyce seldom used Cantonese amongst her peers who were a collection of various Asian and Anglo Saxon background.

“In other words, her Canto is shit,” says Joyce’s older brother Steven as he takes TYN through the house via Zoom. “Just listen”

“Aw yew medium rare steak, mo jew loong sai AH Mum!” Joyce is heard barking.

But it doesn’t end there. Joyce’s bad Chinese has no silver lining.

As a first generation born in Australia, her parents speak mostly Chinese. Through 19 years of hearing only Chinese in her household, Joyce’s ability to express English with regular tone is severely handicapped.

“Omg rlyyyy? Are you srsss” Joyce now yells in a harmonic-like tone over the phone.

Her parents also converse at an average pace of 50 words per second, which means Joyce often drops whole sentences using a single breath. She misses crucial words between phrases and can be heard when Joyce is talking about studies with friends or ordering Chatime:


[to be read in one breath]

“Let’s-go-library for-finalsss”

[to be read in one breath]


[to be read in one breath]

One of Joyce’s caucasian classmates from Management 2001, Steph, tells YAP staff that she doesn’t really mind the incomplete sentences or even odd tone.

“But boy do I have an issue with her plurals”

“Let’s go for feeds. Why don’t you want to go for feeds Steph? You’re so dogs Steph. Can you call the Ubers.”

“Does my fucking head in”

While all hope is not lost for Joyce, it seems that she is caught in a pickle. Besides a few classmates and childhood friends, her core circle is mostly Asian and most of which, are in the same boat as Joyce.

“Bad at both English and their mother tongues,” teases Steven to Joyce in front of our reporter.



Introducing our first ever merch:

The LB x LG Tee


[to be read in one breath]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.