Monday, November 2, 2015

I'm Korean

So, right now I’m living in a city called Guiyang.  It’s the capital of Southwest China’s Guizhou province:

By Chinese standards it’s kind of a backwater, and there aren’t a lot of expats living here.  Guiyang is a place where it’s quite unusual to see a foreigner, and people aren’t used to it.  In fact, even the most basic knowledge about foreigners escapes many people—they just don’t know what the crap they’re seeing when we walk by.  For example, Guiyangers (?) seem to be unaware of the fact that if you’re white, you’re (probably) not from Africa.  Outside my apartment the other day, I walked past a pair of guys sitting on their electric scooters.  One turned to the other and said, “That African sure is tall.”

Another time, I was at the mall.  I was washing my hands in the bathroom, and a guy walked in. “Whoa, Xinjiangren!” he said.  He meant that I was a Uyghur.  The Uyghurs are Turks* from western China.  While not exactly "Chinese" looking, they usually have darker complexions and black hair.  I, on the other hand, look like I just walked off the set of “Triumph of the Will”.

But that’s all small potatoes compared to what one guy said yesterday.  I was downtown, walking to work, and as I walked by, he waved and gave me a cheerful “Anyeonghaseyo!”

That’s “hello” in Korean.  Apparently, in this guy’s mind, Koreans are six-foot-tall white people.  Astonishing.

*Speakers of a Turkic language, not people from Turkey.

No comments:

Post a Comment