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侯心 Hou Xin

Last Login:
June 10th, 2023

Gender: Male

Age: 39
Country: China

Signup Date:
March 19, 2020


04/29/2020 10:08 PM 

drabble: Oh the regret!

// I was challenged to write a drabble in contemporary setting based on the prompt "Words your character spoke and regretted almost instantly" - here we go:

„Zaoshang hao, Xiao Xin (Good morning, Young Xin)!” – the slightly pipy voice, drenched with omniferous, unshakable happiness and underlined by a certain brittleness which came with high age made Hou Xin visibly cringe and freeze right there in his movement.
Miss (if addressed in English she insisted on this title) Tang Lien his elderly neighbor from the 3rd floor - an utterly genuine sweet-to-the-bone, ancient soul.

Right after moving in about two months ago the senior resident had spotted her possible fellow countryman – and upon discovering that the young, blind Asian looking guy from the floor above was indeed Chinese, too, was even born and raised in her former homeland and only recently found his way to Europe, she unceremoniously declared him her rather involuntary foster-grandson and center of her care and attention.
Resistance was futile in any conceivable way. – Not at least as due to his cultural upbringing which basically forbid any kind of disrespecting behavior against elders. And denying a well-meant offer came within exactly this category in his cultural book.

Hou Xin took a deep breath, closed his eyes briefly when a wave of overwhelming feeling of defeat washed over him, and then turned with the most possible friendly smile he was able to muster at this early hour of the morning and in this very situation.
“Zahoshang hao, Lao Tang (Good morning, venerable Miss Tang)” he gave back accompanied by a brief bow towards the tiny figure who had just appeared in the door-frame of her flat.
He had no clue how she did this – Every.Single.Day.
She managed to catch him every single morning… nothing worked so far, changing his schedule, slightly, vastly… tiptoeing, even walking down the stairs in socks…. latter only served fit to get him some funny remarks… - she seemed to lurk behind the peephole day in day out or to have set up some untraceable surveillance system in front of his flat. Untraceable as he wasn´t able to find anything when he in fact could not stop himself from checking on this option after the 10th time she was greeting him with this voice trembling with genuine happiness and care giving away the surely wonderfully broad, sweet smile when he left for work in the morning.
However it was not her genuinely warm and embracing way but the small bowl or rather its content in her hands – the Bowl of Doom has he called it by now – which by now made him even considering sliding down the drainpipe a proper means to leave the building.

“You are early, today, Nanhai (boy)” – He certainly was, again an attempt to escape her caring clutches. It was not even 6 o´clock yet.
With gritted teeth which surely looked more like a snarl of desperation than a smile the caught one simply nodded unable to avoid to visibly flinch when the too well known, small piece of white porcelain resting between delicate, wrinkled, well-groomed fingers suddenly touched his own fingertips.
“Well, gladly I noticed you coming down, so I got your breakfast ready in the nick of time.” With that Hou Xin noticed how the warm, smooth vessel of evil was pressed gently but adamantly further into his hands.
“Dangran shi, Loa Tang (Yes, of course, venerable Miss Tang), lucky me”, came the strained reply while the desperate presentee took the bowl with mechanical, robot like movements.
It contained what had become his daily moment of desperation – Douhua, Tofu Pudding, warm and salty at that. – The tangy scent of Soy Sauce seemed to mockingly bite the inside of his nostrils.
There was little in terms of food he despised more than Douhua, especially the salty version… the texture something between too liquid jelly and gooey custard, the slimy saltiness… the very thought of having to gulp it down made the urge to simply drop the bowl almost irresistible.
Instead he took a deep breath and swallowed the whole mass in one frantic go, struggling to not gag too obviously.
- His daily, nightmarish morning routine for the past approximately 8 weeks so far and with no prospect of change anywhere in the near future.
Once the bowl was empty and Hou Xin was sure that he´d not choke up everything again he put it down, still the slightly lunatic snarly-grin plastered to his face.
After handing the empty cup back he adamantly had to constrain himself to make his retreat down the stairs not look like a hasty flight, the happy - “Have a nice day, and see you tomorrow, Xiou Xin (Young Xin)” - following him like a threat.

And all this only because during their first meeting he had not been able to bring it upon himself to turn her down on her offer, explaining that ever since he was a kid he hated Douhua Pudding breakfast when she told him proudly that she made this kind of tofu all by herself as it was basically impossible to buy over here.
In fact did he even encourage her in her action when, after politely accepting a tiny sample for the sake of manners demanded by cultural habits and the prospect of pleasant neighborliness, he had nodded and voiced his approval.
That the backlash immediately would hit him with such epically challenging proportions was nothing to be foreseen back then – Now, however Hou Xin´s regret ran deep but the words were spoken and there was no way to take things back, at least not without offending her deeply.
And no one offended a sweet old lady and her Douhua – he clearly would not, knowing very well that sweet old ladies could easily become the stuff of Chinese Horror Stories if not treated properly with respect. – In this case a daily dose of slimy, salty tofu-pulp certainly was the more pleasant option.


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03/27/2020 06:03 PM 

Some basic Info on Chinese Names

As I frequently get questions how people would address Hou Xin correctily here´s a very brief, very superficial introduction on the usage of and customs around Chinese Names.

    Chinese family names take first place because they are more valuable.
First of all, when Chinese people say their name, first they say the Family name, then Given name.
So in terms of Hou Xin – 'Hou' is his last name, 'Xin' is the given name.
Family names have been in Chinese culture way before our era, but back then only privileged people had a family name. Common people did not.
It was only many years later that all Chinese people had family names. Much like many popular English names such as Smith, family names would have been issued according to their occupation.

    Names with meaning – what does Hou Xin mean?
Hou (Chinese: ; pinyin: Hóu) is one of the surnames, listed the 80th in the Hundred Family Surnames. It originated from a Chinese nobility title, often translated as "marquis."
'Xin' as a term in Chinese Philosophy refers to one's "disposition" or "feelings" (Chinese: ; pinyin: xīn), or to one's confidence or trust in something or someone (Chinese: ; pinyin: xìn). Literally, xin () refers to the physical heart, though it is sometimes translated as "mind" as the ancient Chinese believed the heart was the center of human cognition.

    Forms of address
Unlike in the west, referring to somebody by their full name (including surname and given name) is common custom – although these personal names are only used in close social context like close friends or family.
So, someone close to Hou Xin would use his full name 'Hou Xin' and hardly ever just 'Xin'.
If only "Xin" is used, like between very close friends or family though then the prefix "Ah" is put in front of the name as just calling someone by his/her name, like "Bill" would be considered rude. Also nicknames are created by using Ah as prefix.
Another important prefix is "Lao" which is put in front of the surename - like in Lao Hou and shows a form of affection or familiarity while offering respect.
When speaking of and to non-family or close social acquaintances, people are generally addressed by and referred to by a title – in Hou Xin´s case that would be 'Hou Jiàng juān' (General Hou), or neutral without military ranking 'Hóu Xiānshēng' (Mr Hou).
Also there are many affectionate ways for those very close to address each other when close - like adding the "title" "gē" for "Older Brother" or "dì" for younger Brother - looking like "Xin dì", for those very close, allowed to use his given name - of "Hou di", for those not so close
One very official (old fashioned, mostly used in historical/wuxia contex) and polite way to address is the title "Gōngzǐ" which translated word by word would mean as much as "noble Sir" - like Hou Gōngzǐ
If you are interested in the astonishingly wide and utterly interesting field of the development of Chinese Names, all the customs round properly and politely addressing someone there is a very detailed Wiki-page


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