Benny’s Mandarin mission ended about two weeks ago. Here is his post and interview with John from Sinosplice. I did a big post when he started his mission, detailing my thoughts and concerns about learning Chinese in 3 months. Like many others, I was skeptical. Why wouldn’t one be? I talked about specific Chinese problems, but I also detailed my thoughts on why I think it’s hard to compare learning methods and an inherent paradox in the subjectivity of learning languages.
The video above is his “last” video with John. I’m impressed, but for more than just his ability that he acquired in 3 months.
Before his Mandarin mission, I was skeptical about his program and felt he was arrogant and had a dismissive attitude towards me and other commenters. The Mandarin missions was close to home as this a language I have learned myself, so seeing his progress made me realize just how much effort he put in.
What I saw from other people, on reddit, on his videos, on his blogs, wherever, was that no matter what Benny did, people consistently bashed him.
Yes, he did not make his initial goal of C1. Yes, reading Chinese is still a big part that he has to acquire. Yes, his accent is not hundred percent. Yes, he stumbles now and then and his first video was painstakingly slow.
BUT, seriously, look at what he has done, he managed to spend every single day working hard. Extremely hard to achieve the C1 goal and gained some good conversational Chinese in the process. That’s the whole point. Aim high. Reading Chinese will come with more exposure and accent is a problem that can be fixed.
I admire his tenacity, perseverance, patience and most of all courage to face such intense public scrutiny. That is what I learned the most from following his Mandarin mission and have gained a lot of respect, because of it. If it was me, I’d have crawled into a ball a long time ago. But, I feel, we have a responsibility to promote and uplift each other, even when we have extreme cases such as Benny, who makes “outrageous” claims.
I have long since tried to look past the content of people’s goals and actions, but rather try and understand the attempt behind it. This is another case. The beauty is in the attempt, not the content. Well done Benny, I applaud you and hope your travels in China will be a fruitful experience and reap the benefits of all the hard work you’ve put in in the last three months.