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Meet Song Yiqi

Song Yiqi is my Chinese name. It is quite different from my English name. "Song" is my family name and "Yiqi" is my first name. My English is Samuel.

I am a Chinese boy from a town in Jiangsu. Jinagsu, a province of China, has many pleces of interest. For example, it has Suzhou gardens which are very beautiful. My father is a manager of a company and my mother stays at home. I have a brother.

I am a middle school student. I am 16. I am not very good at English. I want to make an English friend who can help me with my English. I hope my English friend is as old as I am. Of course I can tell him (or her) something about China. I have been to many places of interest in my motherland, such as the Great Wall, the Imperial Palace, the Summer Palace, and many other places.

I want to make friends. Could you help me? Let's become good friends, shall we? If you want, please write to me.

Thank you very much.


Aiden responds, September 2, 2002

Dear Yiqi,

Many thanks for writing. Remember, what Susanne wrote in her previous email about learning English as a foreign language? She said, practice, practice, practice. And this is one of the reasons why EFI Webheads is here. To provide those who want to improve their English communication skills (which involves all 4 skills) lots of opportunities to enhance these skills. Yes, I do speak Chinese, however, I read better than I write. My Chinese handwriting is really bad, and my husband, Docmiki, often complains about it. Chinese is so difficult to learn, compared to learning English. I know, you may disagree, but to my opinion, Chinese is a tough one.

You're 16, Yiqi. So, if my calculations are correct, you are in middle school (high school). Aside from studying, do you have any hobbies? I love scuba diving, but unfortunately, I haven't dived for 2 years. I'm going to Thailand this October for a conference, and I might just go for a dip in the deep.

Your parents must be very happy to have two boys in the family. It's part of the Chinese culture and heritage to have special preferences for sons than daughters. I have three children, 2 boys and a girl. My eldest is turning 9 (in Chinese, we should say 10) and is in grade 3. My daughter, who is 7 is in grade 2, while my youngest son is 3.

Three years is still quite a long way before the dreadful university exams. Are you reviewing for them already? I guess, the stress that you're experiencing right now is common to all students like yourself. In Taiwan, it's quite similar. Students who do not pass the university exams end up in vocational schools. It's an alternate (longer) route to getting a university degree. This has a strong psychological impact on students. Students in vocational schools think less of themselves and are very relaxed and some do not have manners at all. While, university students are very independent and good learners. Is the situation of vocational students the same in China?

Don't worry if you could not write to me as often as you want to, the important thing is for you to write when you can. No expectations. Just hope, that everything will turn out for the better.

I wish you luck and success, Yiqi.


Aiden Yeh

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Last updated: September 12, 2002