Written by 安德雷
Not so great in numbers, but definitely the most amusing expat group. Lost Laowai are mostly consisted of foreigners who live in China for months, some of them even years, but never seem to find the motivation to learn Mandarin or familiarize with the environment. For them, life is a mere daily routine from home to work or classroom and back, with occasional visits to a handful of Laowai bars. They hardly made any Chinese acquaintances or friends, and the only people they spend time with are other foreigners. However, this situation is not the result of some spiteful quirk or laziness, but rather mole likely a manifestation of one’s confused personality – Lost Laowai lives a very similar life back home. Such individuals prefer to stick only with things and people they know well. On the other hand, anything new, coming outside of the circle, is a true shock and inconvenience for their fragile minds. Due to poor orientation skills, they tend to avoid other locations except for the well known daily paths, in the closest proximity of their living area. Lost Laowai students hardly ever leave the campus. If they do manage to get lost panic is sure to ensue – Like a child lost in the supermarket. When I said amusing, this agitated, overemphasized reaction is exactly what I meant… It is kinda funny to see a grownup in total confusion over a simple thing. Several months a go I read an article about a foreigner who forgot his building number and flat, which ultimately pushed him into tears. Still, Lost Laowai tend to be pleasant and friendly individuals, tragically wrapped in their own circle of fear for the unknown. They would probably abandon China, but alas, the uncertainty of traveling to the airport is way too intense.
He or she (in most cases, he) is in China for the money and career – That’s where it starts and ends for the Busy Laowai. These foreigners usually tend to inhabit the big business hubs – Shanghai, Hong Kong, Beijing, Guangzhou… Busy Laowai works for a global company, in a tall glass building, surrounded by all the races of this world. He eats in international branded restaurants, lives in a fancy apartment block, watches satellite and reads global newspapers. His life routine is predetermined by work, and the only specific thing about China is more Asian people around. That’s pretty much it. He probably doesn’t use much Chinese, but there really isn’t any need for it in the first place… it’s all English in the world of big profits. Busy Laowai usually travels a lot, though most of his journeys are connected with business. Therefore, it’s office-hotel-office once again, only in different cities. Such life is both boring and exhausting, but, a Busy Laowai is there for the cash, not fun. He always looks the part – branded shirt, silk tie, Italian shoes, Swiss watch… – no one could ever confuse this sort with a Diaosi, no sir! Once the term in China is over, he will head on to Singapore, Tokyo, Seoul… and successfully continue this yuppie lifestyle, until he hit’s 40 and gets a heart disease as a reward for all those hard working years.
To be continued…