Wildly Inspiring Language: Mandarin

Its wonderful to speak languages other than English. If only just to connect with people you encounter in day to day life. Obviously it takes time and dedication to learn an new language properly, and very very worthwhile, however I think a few words here and there are fantastic to have up your sleeve.

Living in Australia, asian languages in particular are vitally important and will help you connect with people around you.

Speaking of which, the Australian Government have just released a White Paper entitled ‘Australia in the Asian Century’, you can find it here. It is a very strong paper which will guide Australia in the coming years to strengthen Australia’s deep and broad relationships across our region. Particularly impressive is the commitment to education. Its comforting because I strongly believe that Australia has a long history of being uncomfortable in our own skin (refusing to be considered “Asian” despite location and trade, steadfastly tending to our little patches of lawn and rose beds hoping like crazy that a little piece of England will survive the harsh summer). Have a read and let me what you think. If you like I’ll write a follow up post about the paper once I’ve had a thorough read.

Mandarin is a particularly useful one, especially if you love chinese retaurants. I can tell you from experience that you get much better service (and probably better food too!) if you can drop a few words of Chinese in whilst you order. People will love to go out for chinese with you!

Darn (egg) Tarts – Chinatown, Singapore. One of my very favourite chinese deserts.

Chinese is tricky because the pronunciation is different to English letters so hopefully this will help.

English – Mandarin (Pinyin) – Phonetically for English speakers

Hello – Ni hao – Nee how

Good bye – Zaijian – Zai zeen-en

Thank you – XieXie – Share Share (quite quick)

Yes – Dui – Dway

No – Bu dui – Boo dway

Excellent thank you! – Hao ijle xiexie – How jee-luh share share

Cheers! – Gan bei – Gan bay

I’m sorry – Dui buqi – Doo-ay boo chee

Tea Please!- cha qing- chah ch(as in cheap)ing (think, cha ching!)

Bill please – mai dan – my dan

Aiya! – ay yah! You can use this any time you are slightly suprised, instead of “oh no!”, something odd happens, a calamity ensues etc. they will LOVE it.


Social Cities – bringing people together in urban areas

Social Cities – bringing people together in urban areas

“The ‘Social Cities’ report recently published by the Grattan Institute shows that whilst Australian cities have paid great attention to making cities more sustainable and productive they have neglected the ‘social’ aspect of cities and the need to create places for social interaction. Single households are on the rise in Australia creating more lonely and isolated Australians, the report outlines the need for design solutions to provide more places for social connection within communities. Social connections and interaction is beneficial to overall mental well-being.

“Social connection is becoming more widely recognised as an important goal in the design of streets and the architecture of  buildings….”

The report reviews the role of various types of spaces including public and private spaces in neighbourhoods, streetscapes, building typologies and edges. Also covered in the report is the various forms of investment through various types of projects that can be undertaken by governments, organisations and individuals to improve social connections such as community events, walking groups, pop-up parks, pavement connections to parks and public art.

Many various organisations such as Australian Institute of Landscape Architects are appealing to governments (local, state and federal) to invest in places for social interaction.  Kirsten Bauer, President of the Victorian Chapter of the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) is concerned that many of the parks in Australian suburbs are underfunded, lack facilities and are poorly maintained.   “They are important places for communities to gather and for neighbours to meet. They provide peaceful settings to relax and find solitude as well as important ecological values . It is vital that there is adequate investment in parks across Melbourne so that all communities can enjoy these benefits” said Kirsten.

Public open space, parklands, public spaces and public infrastructure are critical to the health and wellbeing of the community. These places embrace cultural, social and age differences and provide the common ground for reconciliation, social engagement and recreation for our communities.  “Parks are a vital part of Melbourne and play an important role in knitting communities together.” Kirsten said.

Download the Social Cities report” (from World Landscape Architecture)