I wonder why China attracts so many weird foreigners. Before I moved to China I spent six months in London, more than three years in Australia, and another year in Finland, and I’ve never experienced meeting as many weirdoes as I do over here. People that are comparing themselves to others, competing against others, and people that take every single chance they get to express how d*** good and successful they are and how bloody well they are doing. Maybe I’m simply too low-key for China, because I never talk about myself as if I was some kind of expert? Let me share one example from a Loser Laowai I met last Friday.
On Friday night me and some friends went to a bar in Suzhou that had arranged a special Swedsih crayfish party event. Since us Swedes love crayfish it was given that we were going to go. The crowd at the bar was mixed, but I was having fun in my group and although we sang “snaps songs” together with the other crowd we preferred to stay at our table and talk throughout the night. Me and my closest girlfriend weren’t really going for getting pissed drunk: I had been sick all week and wanted to take it rather easy, just enjoy a few glasses of wine and a good conversation.
Soon, a fellow laowai from the other group joined our table. He was quite nice to start off with, even though he started the conversation by telling us about his “fantastic career here in China.” We were like “OK, great, well done” until he asked:
-So how about you? What are you girls doing here?
We told him that we were learning Chinese.
-Oh, at Suzhou Daxue? (Suzhou University) he sad with a terrible pronunciation.
-Yeah, I am, my friend said. But Jonna is at another uni.
-Why aren’t you at Suzhou Daxue? he asked me. Don’t you want to study together with your friend?
-Well, we are not at the same levels, my friend said. I’m a beginner and Jonna has studied for 2 years so she’s in advanced.
-Advanced?! ADVANCED?! Oh really?! So you can like, speak and stuff? He said, and straight away I could feel the attitude.
-Eh, well yes, I can speak and stuff. I’m not great or anything, but sure, I can have a conversation, I replied.
-I wanna hear that! He said. Hey, Tom (?), come over here! He yelled, waving for one of his male friends. This lady claims she can speak Chinese, we have to test her!!
I felt like punching him. First of all, I had not claimed anything, rather, I just replied to his question. Second of all, I wasn’t in the mood to be “tested,” I was having a relaxed night out with a friend?
Tester-Tom also seemed a bit reluctant at first, I think he felt that neither me nor my friend were interested in playing this game. His friend kept urging him, however:
-Come on Tom! You have to test these girls! They say they are fluent in Chinese! I wanna hear that! I wanna see if it is true!!!
Me and my friend were giving him the “what-is-your-problem?”-eye, but we didn’t really say anything.
-So, where do you come from? Tom suddenly said in a terribly broken Chinese. For my friend, who hasn’t studied for too long, it was impossible to comprehend, meanwhile I got his point. But the whole situation felt completely ridiculous.
-Are you from the same city in Sweden? Tom went on.
-No, we said.
-So, what cities then? He urged.
-Malmö, I said.
-Kalmar, my friend said.
Now, Kalmar is a tiny little city in Sweden. Unless you’re a Swede, you’re not going to know this place, so we knew Tom was going to be clueless.
-Stockholm? He said to my friend?
-Ehhh…. OK, great.
Tom kept silent for a while, looking at us and obviously not feeling the love. Meanwhile, his drunken, annoying friend kept glaring at us, as if he wanted us to be put on a spot and suddenly admit that “oh, ehh… haha, no no… we actually cannot speak Chinese after all!”
-I come from a city called… bl blab la… Tom went on. Neither me nor my friend listened, instead, we turned our attention to each other.
-OK, Tom suddenly said. They are both great! They speak excellent Chinese!
-Really?! His friend said. But you have to like, test them!!!
-I just did, Tom said and got up.
Throughout the rest of the night, the annoying guy kept coming over to our table, telling us to join their table, throwing abusing comments about some other people (that we know) around and just being a jerk in general. Around midnight, he was so drunk he could barely stand up, and swayed over, telling us they were going to a nightclub.
-You should coooooooooooome! He slurred.
-No thanks. We said, not even bothering to smile.
-Why not? Come on, don’t be so boring! What are you? Like, bloody 45 years old? Let’s PARTY!!!
-Actually, we are really boring, I said, completely fed up with this guy. We are more like two 60-year olds. We don’t like going out at all. We spend most of our nights in. I was hoping this would make him leave.
-Yeah you bloody are! He said, clearly annoyed. You are so boring! I mean, what the f*** are you doing in China if you don’t like to PARTY?!
And with that, he turned around, walked straight into a table, almost fell, spilled his beer, said something like “f****!” and walked towards the exit.
He left me and my friend at our table, laughing at his pathetic departure, and his embarrassing speech.
Sure, I’ve met jerks at many places, but this particular kind of guy, who wants to compete in who is the most successful/ speaks the best Chinese/ has the most fun/is the biggest party animal… I don’t know, but aren’t there just too many of them here in China?