Saturday, February 11, 2006

Miserable Americans

Imitating American culture seems to have become invariably chic, yet most Chinese don't really think the Americans are that smart. They might however brag about the Middle Kingdom’s return to her rightful place as the world’s number one nation, yet given a chance, they would still jump ship & go to America. The truth is, they have problems liking Americans politically but are obsessed with emulating their material values. They appear to be more complex than they really are. But for the most part, their contradicting dilemma tells me they’re more or less disillusioned & resembled many miserable Americans without even trying.

This presents an interesting dichotomy among the expiates. As we watch the English language channel, William & I notice there were a host of people who we could have known from university who might have been in East Asian and Chinese studies. Some interesting and cultured, some not. Some I might even dare to say are here because they couldn't cut it back in the West, and upon somehow ending up on this side of the world, aided by a sense of privilege as only a Western income in a non-Western economic country could offer, stayed.

These Sinophiles are plastered everywhere. On billboards, television, even on sides of buses. In the West, they’d be nobodies. But here, they’re privileged with celebrity status. As for me, a descendent of the dragon, am still considered a foreigner even though I speak Cantonese. The general consensus is ‘you’re not Chinese unless you speak Putonghua’. How irritating is that!

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