Written by 安德雷
There are many foreigners living and working all over China – students, teachers, businessmen, travelers… This, however, is not an article about their professions, but rather a description of certain personality types. Naturally, everyone ought to be the master of his/her own mind, and it certainly doesn’t apply to each individual, but nonetheless, some basic patterns of social conduct are emerging. In the upcoming texts we will take a closer look into some of them.
This is probably the scarcest category of all, but clearly the most noticeable one. These foreigners live in China for years, their language skills are very solid, they have lots of local friends, acquaintances, connections and they generally seem to know China well. As such, the environment accepted them. More so, many present a great help to newcomers with useful advices and hints which mean so much in the first days of each Laowai. However, some tend to go a little too far with their Chinese feeling, and stray well into the areas funny and bizarre. China is an open society towards foreigners for most part, way more than Korea or Japan, but still, no matter how well the language skills are mastered or social norms accepted, no Laowai will ever be seen as a full member of a local community or a native. Reasons for this are numerous but the main one, I guess, is that Asians and Europeans simply are unalike in so many ways, physically as well as culturally. This idea isn’t notably out of place since we are diverse indeed. Meanwhile, some of the Friendly Laowai tend to overlook the obvious, whilst carrying on with efforts to look and sound Chinese – they use local slang, street talk, habits and even attempt to mimic gesticulation performed by the locals. Chinese somewhat find it funny and amusing while other foreigners often ridicule it. It’s understandable though, up to some extent, since forceful attempts to embody into something You’re not can either end up as a glorious triumph or a fiasco. Ironically, the second of the aforementioned outcomes is way more common for many Friendly Laowai. But none of this brings down the spirits – A Friendly Laowai continues to soldier on day by day as Don Quixote, fighting the windmills of cultural differences, often amusing to the surrounding, with a clean face intact. After all, it’s the effort that counts as the Olympic motto goes – The most important thing is not to win but to take part. Cheers to that!
To be continued…