My English Journals

I failed in the Cantonese pronunciation


Sat. 1st Dec., 1990. 16℃. Sunny.

I am so scared (害怕) of pronunciation symbols (音標)

I have to take my Cantonese Pronunciation (何文匯博士的廣府話切音) Examination again because I failed in it last time.

Since my English pronunciation is not bad, I don't pay much attention to K.K. or Jones symbols (K.K Jones 音標).

The Cantonese pronunciation has nine sounds for each character (中文字). I felt quite hard to differentiate (分辨) them and finally dropped (放棄) it. So I could only get a hundred marks out of three hundred in the last examination.

What a shame it is for a student who study music like me to get such a result in my mother tongue (母語) pronunciation (讀音)!

One thing I have found out that it is particularly difficult for people who know the musical scales (音階) to learn Cantonese pronunciation.

On the contrary (相反) those who know nothing about music will find it easier to decide which sound they should locate at within the nine sounds.

Then I need not feel ashamed (羞愧的) because I have a limitation (限制) on this topic.


I am weak in earning money

Sun. 2nd Dec., 1990. 16. Sunny.

December has come. This is the fruitful (有收獲的) month of the year and it is the time for me to review (回顧) also.

I know very well that I am really weak in earning money. I lead a simple life but I am satisfied. I always neglect (忽略) how much money I earn in the past year.

Romance (愛情) is a kind of chance or something concerns fate (命運). It will come when it comes. If it is not the right time, you won't have it even though you search (找尋) for it eagerly (切望地).

The only thing I care (在意) about is how much knowledge I have got and how many musical composition and essays I have finished throughout (遍及) the year. Most of all I will ask myself: "have I broadened my mind (思想擴闊)?"

My heart will be dancing in the joyful mood of Christmas if I get it done well (做得好).

The Imagism advocates to write things in plain words

Mon. 3rd Dec., 1990. 11. Sunny.

We have the coldest day today so far this winter. I try to figure out in a few words of what I saw in the street this morning:-

Buildings have become big ice bars (雪柱)
in the cold north wind.
People wearing heavy clothes were
moving quickly with red noses
in the streets.

Instead of writing something in a bright and abstract (抽象) way like the Romanticists (浪漫主義者), Ezra Pound (龐德) and Amy Lowell, the representatives (代表) of the Imagism (意象主義) advocate (倡議) to write things that are real to our eyes in plain (平實的) words, such as Pound's famous lines: "In a Station of the Metro" (美國二十世紀意象派名詩人龐德的名詩):-.

Faces and apparitions of the crowd,
Petals on the wet, black bough.


I have broadened my mind

Tues. 4th Dec., 1990. 12. Sunny.

Time passes so quickly. This term is reaching its end and the final examinations will follow.

The day we were rushing (匆忙地走) here and there in the beautiful campus choosing courses is still on my mind.

The most impressive (難忘的) experience was the day I began my university life. That was the 10th of September and it is as clear and close as yesterday when I close my eyes.

Three months of university life has changed me a lot. The most prominent (明顯的) difference is that I can now read fast, think fast and write fast.

In the past three months I have written a lot, including three papers (論文), seven essays (文章) and sixty-five journals (日記).

Besides these substantial works, there is one more great achievement I have got that cannot be seen by others is: I have broadened my mind (思想開闊了)!

little in terms of time and effort, definitely great psychologically

Wed. 5th Dec., 1990. 14. Sunny.

How fantastic (美好的) it would be if Mrs Bond allows us stop writing journals in the examination weeks!

For me there are so many books to read, so many pieces of music -- an inclusive repertoire (曲目) of the Middle Ages -- to listen and so many score (樂譜) to study.

If I were exempted (免除) from writing journals during this period, I don't have to stop my reviews (溫習) for it.

It is so bad that my memories will faded away (退走) and I have to pick up all the things before going on when I turn back to books after writing journals. That is just like a car to be speeded up after being braked (煞制). It will surely reach the destination (目的地) later than the one proceeding in full speed (全速前進).

Another help to me if no journals to write is that I can rid (減輕) myself off some pressure. Although it may be little in terms of time and effort, it will definitely be great psychologically (心理上).

The pressure at the end of the term

Thurs. 6th Dec., 1990. 16. Sunny.

I had my General Chinese examination this morning. It was not a hard one and I think I will pass it.

It is not the time for me be easy yet, because there are another five examinations coming, and I have only less than ten days to prepare for them all. That is really a great pressure!

Among those subjects, there are two difficult ones. The first one is Modern Chinese Literature (現代文學), for which I have to read several short stories and study over ten poems. The other one is Music History, in which there are so many new terms and treatises (條文) for me to memorize.

I must try to read as fast as possible and be able to pick up things good enough at the same time (讀得快,記得穩).

How great it would be if I could have all the details (詳細) fastened (綁穩) in my mind by just going through those books in a glance (看一眼).


If not grade C or above, repeat it next term

Fri. 7th Dec., 1990. 16. Sunny.

I have been focused on Medieval Music History (中世紀音樂史) today. This is the most difficult subject I have this term. It covers from the plainsong (清唱曲) of the 8th century to the polyphony (多聲部音樂) of the 14th century.

From the outline style to the detail descriptions, I gathered five history books for this subject.

I started from the one in outline style this morning and have memorized orderly in my mind the four subdivisions (部分): plainsong (清唱曲), secular monophony (單聲部聖樂), Ars Antiqua (舊藝術--十四世紀之前) and Ars Nova (新藝術--十四世紀之後 ).

Tomorrow I shall go on with a detail book and have a more clear picture of each subdivision.

This is one of my core subjects and I must get grade C or above for it, otherwise I have to repeat it next year. So I had better pay special attention to it.


Every thing is so vague

Sat. 8th Dec., 1990. 19. Fine.

Today I intended (打算) to grasp (抓緊) the details of Medieval Music History (中世紀) by reading through a thick history book in a breath (一口氣).

It frightened (使吃驚) me more and more as I went on because there were too many things for me to memorize (記住).

By the time I closed the book, all things I have read were mixed up in my mind!

What does the Micrologue say and is it by John Cotton or Guido de A'rezzo? What are the features of Franco Notations? Which treatise (條文) allows perfect 5th (完全五度)?

Everything is so vague (模糊)!

Unless I am a reading genius (閱讀天才), otherwise this, I think, is normal.

I should have jotted (寫下) down the main points on certain period. I'll do so again tomorrow till (直至) those things are clear in my mind.

No time for relaxation during examinations

Sun. 9th Dec., 1990. 20. Sunny

I should have gone to the cinema or for a picnic on such a beautiful Sunday, but I couldn't because of the coming examinations.

Shame on me!

Digging a well when one is thirsty is not the act of a good student (好學生不會臨渴挖井). I should at least have prepared for my examination well enough to let me spare (抽出) some time for relaxation (休閒) on Sunday.

Theoretically students should behave like that, but it is impossible for me to sing that high-key song because I take 21 units (學分) this term. There were so much daily work to do that I could not save much time for review (溫習).

I will take 19 units (學分) next term so that there will be time for me to have activities (活動) for relaxation during examination time.


Multiple choice questions are not easy to cope with

Mon. 10th Dec., 1990. 20. Sunny

A schoolmate of the medical faculty told me that he got sixty marks in one of his core subjects in the final (期考). He added: " There are nearly twenty in my class failed in this subject and the lowest mark is only twenty something."

I was surprised and said: "Why? Medical students are always smart and diligent."

"Multiple choice questions are not easy to cope (應付) with." he explained. "If you answer one question wrong, you have to get two others right as compensation (補償) because you will lose double for each wrong answer."

I reminded myself to be careful while I was knocking my head for I have to face the same thing soon. "Are they going to repeat that subject next year?"

"No," he replay. "Our department head has talked to them."

"Congratulations to them!" I said with a smile.

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