Thursday, March 6, 2008

Can we talk about something else?!

Da Lao Wai he Xiao Zhong guo ren

My height and my weight.

The most-wanted-to-be-discussed-topics amongst Chinese people.

Like I’ve mentioned in other blog posts (“Eat Bread –Grow Tall!” for instance!) I’ve already had a Chinese teacher who was obsessed with my height and always wanted to bring me to the front of the classroom and ‘show’ the rest of the class that I was taller than him. (And the class obediently replied with ‘ohhhhs’ and ‘aaaaahs’. It was rather our of control).

Now I have a teacher who is obsessed with telling other people how fat/skinny they look.

During our first lesson on Monday, she recognized one Korean girl that had been her student last semester too.

-Oh, Ming Xi Ling! Good to have you in my class again! Look at you –you’ve really put on some weight! Your face is quite chubby! But it is lovely! You look very lovable!

Chubby face? Put on quite some weight? Lovable?

My a**

I thought I was safe for comments until I yesterday walked passed a Chinese mid-age couple and the Chinese man said (in Chinese)

-That foreigner is especially big!
(And as if insulting me wasn't enough, he also called me lao wai! –I HATE being called Lao Wai?! Basically it means ‘old foreigner’)

Cheers dude.


Anonymous said...

Get over with it. It's a Chinese culture, and you still don't get it.

Mich said...

Åh åh! känner verkligen igen ta inte illa upp, de menar inget illa:)

Anonymous said...

"lao wai" doesn't literally mean "old foreigner" in spite of the words used in conjugation.

It just means "foreigner" and oddly enough, the "lao" word in this case can even be interpreted as a form of term of endearment.

Have you ever heard of older people in china calling their friends "lao (insert name)"?

Like for example, your friend's last name is chang and so you'd call him "lao chang".

Usually, the term "lao wai" is used with no malicious intent. It's basically the chinese equivalent to the japanese term "gaijin" that's used all the time even though the more polite form would be gaigokujin.