All entries for Friday 17 December 2010

December 17, 2010

Sound it out!

Recently, my friend and I established a debating union (in English). It took us months to discuss how to make it work. First, we clarified our mission of this union was to provide a platform for a high standard of intellectual exchange, language growth, and cultural understanding. Then, we talked about the venue and time which would be convenient for the members to join. Also, identifying potential members who are interested in developing argumentative and persuasive skills is also a task for us. Lastly, we planned the activities, such as inviting the guest speakers/moderators that would enhance members¡¦ debating skills.

I am really passionate and enthusiastic about running this debating union! Now we really made it happen! Regardless only four participants in the first meeting, it was a good start for the members to think about different pros and cons arguments, engage with opposing views and speak strategically.

My friend, who is an English native speaker, served as the moderator for the first debate. He helped the members to rephrase the sentences. In other words, our ideas became more clear and concise after he corrected us. A sentence ¡¡¡Óinstigate the ideas¡¨ was coming out from his comments. ¡¡¡ÓInstigate¡¨ was a new vocabulary to me and I asked him how to spell. He said ¡¡¡Ósound it out¡¨ with a dismissive tongue. I felt offended. From that point on, I completely disengaged myself from the debating. Yet, I knew this was not appropriate. So, I managed to pull myself back into the discussion till the end of the meeting.

After the meeting, I started to reflect why I had such abrupt emotion towards my friend¡¦s ¡¡¡Ósound it out.¡¨ Whenever he asks me how to pronounce Chinese characters I am always patient to teach him the tones. Whereas he made me feel that I was not intelligent enough to figure out ¡¡¡Óinstigate¡¨. After the meeting, he knew I was upset. I got it off my chest to tell him what I felt earlier. He was shocked and told me that it was totally not personal. They are raised this way to learn English. Thus, it was his sharp tongue which made me uncomfortable. I was glad that we talk through this misunderstanding.

Conflicts are unavoidable in our interpersonal relationships. However, conflicts could be resolved through communication. It was good that my friend and I took time to understand each other. Yet, we might have other conflicts for future cooperation. As long as we make the conflicts into functional conflicts, these functional conflicts will become building blocks for long term relationship.

December 2010

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