Friday, May 8, 2009

Taiwanese and Speaking English IV

Occasionally, you got someone who completely ignored the fact you were a foreigner - And it reminded you that you were a hypocrite and you enjoyed the conversation about your foreign status after all.

Roger had been at MTI for a month now and I was preparing to go across, tell him he’d won, and start the conversation about being a foreigner myself. Roger hadn’t paid the slightest attention to the fact that I was a foreigner – even when we were first introduced there no look of surprise, no stupid questions about where I was from, if I had a Taiwanese girlfriend, or if I could speak Chinese.

Since I heard Joe on the phone describing me to another member of staff as the guy who had been in the company a long time, rather than the usual ‘na ge wai guo ren (that foreigner)’…Then he wrote in Chinese just like he expected me to understand it (a little too normal for me because I couldn’t read very well)…Then, a week ago, I heard the news that Roger had studied in Bristol – where I was from – but never mentioned it, and that had been the straw that broke the camels back: did he know we westerners are hypocrites - don’t like to hear the stereotypes, but do expect our country praised by all who visit it.

"You know I am from Bristol?" I said to him.

"Zhi dao le (I know!)"

And that was the end of the conversation and I thought it wasn’t much fun being treated like a normal person after all.

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