Wait, Are ‘We’ the Assholes?

16 01 2011

*disclaimer, obviously this doesn’t apply to all people all the time, but it probably has applied to everyone as some time or another,  don’t get your knickers in a twist.  But if you do, know that I don’t give a crap. :D*

Do English Speakers Have a Bad Attitude?

That’s the thought I had suddenly while at the little shop down the street.  I was just getting some bbq-ed pork for my wonton soup, and the guy at the shop was typical Taiwanese people excited that I could say anything in Chinese.  Now usually  I get annoyed, because I haven’t said anything really but they go on and on about how good my Chinese is.  Now why would a compliment bother me?

Well it bugs me because they often go on and on about how amazing my Chinese is, and it gets to me because I hadn’t really said anything interesting or good.  Like, Hi can I have 200nt of chopped bbq pork? Wtf?

Then it hit me, wait.  Isn’t it nice that Taiwanese people are so encouraging, it’s not that they think we’re morons that can’t do anything better.  They are genuinely thrilled that we are even bothering.  So many people never learn any Chinese, lets face it, it’s not the easiest language to learn.

And besides, what’s the attitude of people back home?  When people living in Canada and The US run into immigrants who have broken English, most people judge the fuck out of them.  Sometimes people are just rude and cruel, no patience and often they mock people for their imperfect English.  What’s wrong with them?  Why don’t they just learn to speak the language already?  Ignorant, piece of crap foreigners.

Whoa… Man think about how discouraging it would be to be mocked by locals every time that you went out.  Every instance where you attempted to communicate with someone in another language, you’re ridiculed and treated like a second class citizen.

How arrogant are we as a people, that we think everyone must learn our language.  And if they don’t do it to our standard then they are worthless garbage.  Instead of being kind, understanding and encouraging of people who are making an effort.  We put them down, we mock, and even worse deep down we feel like there is something wrong with them, that they are worth less or even worse worthless.  Everyone has thought it at one point.  Geez look at them, why do they all group together and always socialize and mingle with people from their country who speak their language?

Well speaking as someone who  lives in a strange country, with odd customs and foreign languages, it’s a difficult situation.  I live here, and the majority of my friends are westerns.  Not because I can’t speak Chinese, I can.  Not because I don’t like local people, I do.  Not because I don’t want local friends, I’ll be friends with anyone cool.  So why?  Well one, work through work I make a lot of foreigner contacts.  Also,it’s hard living in a different culture the food is different and strange, the people have different values and priorities.  There are simple and intrinsic things that you just don’t have in common that you do with people who come from a similar cultural background.

What it boils down to, and is really interesting to me is that Taiwanese people are so kind and encouraging.  They rarely criticize and mock us foreigners when we try to speak Chinese.  I don’t feel shy speaking Chinese to locals, but I hate speaking in front of other foreigners.  Why is that? Because my own people are for more likely to be assholes and to mock my language and mistakes.  I always thought locals were kinda being assholes, assuming we’re all too stupid to learn and that when any of us are able to communicate, even a little, that it’s tantamount to a dog learning to quote Shakespeare.  But no, most of them are excited and pleased that you’re trying, recognizing that it’s hard as hell to learn another language.  They are trying to be encouraging, not condescending….

What does that say about us?  That we’re insulted or annoyed by their compliments (I’m not the only one who has expressed annoyance at this), that we used to think they were lazy when they lived in our countries?  Turns out, we’re the assholes.

Just a thought really.  🙂





AlleyCats, Very Disapointing

24 08 2009

I guess I should have gone in it’s hey day, although I have been once before a year or so ago and my impression from that visit was meh too.  Last time it wasn’t particularly exciting but it wasn’t especially disappointing either.  I remember thinking the pizza was nice, but not really worth all the hype and to be frank.. not worth they money it costs.

It was my friend who actually asked me to remove his real name from my blog (insert eyeroll here) birthday (aka Frostfox) and we all went to dinner at Alleycats.  We went to the original store, which when I said I wasn’t so impressed last year everyone said I had to go to.

Well as far as first (or second) impressions go, they failed.  HORRIBLY.  Best pizza in Taipei?  Really I think I would have preferred Napoli, you know the greasy cheap shit that costs a couple of bucks.

NapoletanaI ordered the Napoletana: Fresh Tomato, Goat Cheese, Anchovies, Olives and Spinach.  I swapped out a couple of ingredients.. (anchovies for Italian sausage), and mmm sounds delish right!

Well, the whole experience was a disaster.  I asked them to separate my bill, I even ordered completely separate from the other people at the table.  And at the end they Just threw my stuff in with the bill, not a big deal but an annoying detail.  And before you dance around about how Read the rest of this entry »





Ow fuckity ow

11 06 2009

So here’s what made perfect sense while I was asleep.  On my big toe a little flap of skin came loose, you know how it does.. like a little ‘tag’ of skin.    it must have hurt or something bc I woke up to it and was like.. oh just pull it off.. MORON  Now if I had been awake and in reasoning mode, I would have remembered that pulling it just rips the skin all deep like, almost never solves the problem and makes it worse 90% of the time.  Yeah it made it worse.. woke up REALLY fast.  OW OW OW  Had to really get up get some scissors to cut it off but then it hurt like a bitch.  So I had to find a band aid, and then I had to take a fricken pain killer because I couldn’t get back to sleep.

Gawd I’m dumb.   You know it’s going to hurt like hell for days, and I won’t be able to go running (although I might try).  Well I can bike anyway.

But I do have to take more time to study,  I’ve been falling behind and it sucks that I can’t remember a lot of the new words.. sigh.





New roommate

19 09 2008

So here is our new roommate, his name is Adam and he’s from Prague, in Czech.  He’s a VAST improvement over our old roommate, there was nothing really wrong with our old roommate it was just little stuff and we never really clicked or really got along.  I certainly never wanted to chat with Inaki or invite him to hang out with out friends.   He was just a little too ‘Dances with Chinese” for my taste, at one point he did try to loosen up and be more friendly but at that stage it had been too long and was just weird seeming.  Anyway Adam is a Funny guy and very freindly and personable, lol and he just might like TV more than me ( I know seems impossible right?).  It was very funny when he first called me I was really thrown off by his British accent, he is so very fluent in English.. makes me ashamed of my poor language skills!

Ok that’s it for today!





Love letters

14 09 2008

I have received many a little note from my students over the years…. but this one takes the cake. I got it about a year ago and have been meaning to post it online for ages.. perhaps I hesitated because I promised an 8 year old that I wouldn’t show it to anyone. Although to be honest, I feel pretty confidant she meant at school 🙂 which I haven’t done.

Actually I’m a little excited about this! I haven’t read it in ages just about to bust it out in order to type it. Goody 🙂

Dear Teacher Magda,

I love you very much! Do you love me? ( _________) We are friends and hold hands together. I want to marry with you, but we are both girls! You are my best friend and teacher! I like to watch yo-yo TV, Dora, and learn reading and writing in school with you! And I like to play with your fingers everytimes when you come to our English classroom. Because we are friends and hold hands together! Summer is here and summer warmer right now! Write your own sentence! From: XXXXXX To: Magda

Lol, as you can see we had recently learned about exclamation points and in typical enthusiastic kid fashion it’s in almost every sentence. The holding hand business was, her desk was st the front of the class and I would often stand near her desk and she would grab my hand, or if I had my hand on her book pointing at soemthing she would always grab my hand and fiddle with my fingers. Kids are sweet if you let them be.

Her class is now in Grade three and they are the only huggy grade three-er I have ever seen in this country, I mean the whole class not one or two kids. Basically I let them know that hugging people and expressing that you think well of them was ok with me and that I appreciated it, and let them know I liked them and thought they were cool kids, and nice and they EMBRACED the concept. I can’t go in or out of the school with out being borderline mauled by the kids, especially as they are now in Grade 3 and no longer in my class. They have already begged me to make sure I stay at the school long enough for them to get to grade four (and back into my class, I teach grade two and four)