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.  🙂





Damned if You Do, and Damned if You Don’t.

24 09 2009

Do you ever feel like that?

I sure do.  Like no matter what you do, or how hard you try, you’re wrong.  You do xyz, no that’s wrong, why did you do that.  Don’t do that! Do yxz.  Ok, change things up, if xyz doesn’t work (and clearly it isn’t) then it makes sense let’s try a new thing.

Rolling rolling rolling, boom problem!  What the hell, why are you doing xyz??? This is stupid you should be doing xyz… seriously what are you thinking?

OK COME ON!!! I was just trying to do what you asked, to improve communication and get things moving in a Read the rest of this entry »