Monday, April 7, 2008

Chinese Anonymous

I was walking with a student a couple years ago, and as usually happens to foreigners in China, especially in schools, students were constantly blurting out "Hello!" "Oh so cool!" "What's your name?"

Of course these words are thrown out just to impress their peers that they're brave enough to talk at (not to) the foreigner, but the student said something interesting. Now she was a very pretty girl but not beautiful enough to stand out among the crowd. She said with a small smile, "Everybody notices you when you go out."

I shrugged and agreed. "That's the way it is for foreigners in China."

The girl sighed and gazed into the distance. "I wish people would notice me...," she said quietly.

I never forgot those words. It's tough to stand out in the world's largest population and most homogenous society.


Anonymous said...

You know I bet that has something to do with the way my girlfriend likes to hook her arm in mine and, dare I say, strut down the street past all of the onlookers.

I always get this vibe like I'm being shown off, LOL. Its nice though. Particularly because it puts a more positive spin on the stares that although I am pretty used to it now, can still be a bit unnerving. You'd be getting into a fight if someone was staring you down that hard at home.

Anonymous said...

I think is is laso for most foreigners living in China, we love the attention. I know that I enjoyed the extra attention. Lao Wai Wen Shen, you should write about the true reason foreigners love living in China.... If you do write the truth, some Expats may no longer be friends with you.

Anonymous said...


I am amazed by all this..

I have lived in SE Asia for more than a decade and the Chinese-minorities- here are notoriously unfriendly.

It's almost impossible to have a chinese gfriend here..

Although it can be done..if you work hard..

Chinese guys are uninterested to 'hostile'...

Are you sure you are not talking China up?