Nathan Hartono’s ‘beat aeroplane’ anecdote is the reason to take Chinese seriously again

Don't anyhow beat aeroplanes, okay?

By Chan Cheow Pong | January 12, 2017

Local singing sensation and wholesome-looking heartthrob Nathan Hartono left fellow participants at a press conference on Jan. 9 scratching their heads and in stitches.

This was after Hartono, who has been made the new ambassador for the Committee to Promote Chinese Language Learning, recounted sheepishly to reporters an awkward incident, where he revealed how his half-past-six Mandarin made him reveal too many details of his previous night’s exertions and the cause of his travel fatigue one time in China.

The Nanyang Primary School and Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road) alumnus, who found fame at the Sing! China competition last year, had described his own Chinese proficiency as “terrible”.

Fellow panellists, which included Low Yen Ling, chairman of the CPCLL committee and Parliamentary Secretary for Education, listened as Hartono described his major Chinese faux pas.

Here is the English translation of his embarrassing experience. (Beware: Mature content):

“After the semi-finals (of Sing! China), they allowed me to come back to Singapore, for two to three days. When I went back, I spoke to the other participants. I told them I was very tired because I had just ‘dafeiji’ (打飞机, jerked off) last night. I didn’t know that the word da(打) can have a different connotation. So I just said I ‘dafeiji’ last night, hence I was very tired. Because one can say ‘dabashi’ (搭巴士, take the bus), ‘dache’ (打车, go in a car), hence I said ‘dafeiji'(feiji refers to an aeroplane). But they said this expression is very undesirable.”

Hartono said he has since found himself attracted to the Chinese language and is committed to master it:

“Learning a new language opens up a whole new world. It’s a magical thing, it makes you a better person, a more important person.”

So, to Singapore students out there striving to fall in love with the Chinese Language, please try to learn it well.

If not for practical reasons, then to avoid sounding like a pervert.

Check out the full video from Lianhe Zaobao:


Top picture from Nathan Hartono’s Instagram

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About Chan Cheow Pong

It took Cheow Pong two decades to recover from the trauma of memorising General Paper essays before he was ready to be an English writer. In between affliction and recovery, he thoroughly enjoyed his time writing in Chinese and doing Chinese translations.

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