Since moving to Flushing, Queens, I’ve been using a live-translation application with my work-phone. It’s something I do in transit from home to work and work to home. Mostly Mandarin with some Korean, as the demographics here are 75% Chinese and 17% Korean. Considering Mandarin is the most used language in China, I shot for this to try and impress people, store owners, and neighbors when we interact. First few tries I got WEIRD looks. Eventually, people just interrupted me with a quick reaction in English or a smile and walking away. Found out Cantonese isn’t too far off from Mandarin in tone, but enough to confuse people if they knew one and not the other. So… fuck. Kindness still reads just as well as anything else. And music.
“Dust My Shoulders Off” came at me on a huge screen in the Koryodang Bakery & Cafe one Sunday while taking care of my weekly TMT writing, and people next to me kept mentioning Jane Zhang’s name in broken English. The fellow was Chinese and the two girls were Korean, so it was all choppy and cute, because he was trying so hard to explain this huge Chinese pop-star to these girls who were clearly K-Pop fans, as they had bags from the K-Pop Hair Salon off Roosevelt. They were mostly smiling and bringing up other names I was unfamiliar with, but just hearing “Dust My Shoulders Off” blaring in the background of this conversation, and the two cashiers dancing while a gaggle of cops were looking at the menu… things in this world. Peace!