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Written by Mary Higgins
It happens right around the 2nd semester at Jiaotong. The foreigner gives up on trying to make Chinese friends, gives up tasting fish eyeballs and gives up on living in a 胡同. He’s had enough of this. Failure, yucky and cold - that’s what China has become for him. This isn’t what China was supposed to be?!

China was supposed to be rich in cultural, hospitable in people, generous in it’s economic advances. He wants to stay to see this materialize - but something’s got to change. So he gets a job at Super Dupper Shiny Media Consulting Co. - not because he wants a career as a Warren Buffet, but because it offers him the chance to have a burger every now and again. He can get a decent apartment. No more overcrowded buses - it’s a luxurious BYD ride from now on. His colleagues will be good. He’ll eat lunch with them and improve his Chinese. This will be good. The plan is well-orchestrated and he’s excited. His new work permit has arrived and he’s set.

Two months later and his colleagues still haven’t invited him to lunch. So he invites himself. They’re eating hefan. Okay, let’s give this a try. It’s cold. It’s a little yucky, but the conversation is sure to make up for this. They ignore him. He spatters a 吧字句 - they look confused. This isn’t working. Wasn’t he supposed to be some kind of “foreign expert”? Why don’t they respect him?! He hates them.

“China without Chinese people - I can surely enjoy that” he declares to himself. He looks in the back of a “CGrap” to find the next Biz Forum mixer. He’ll be there. He mingles only to find real estate agents and english teachers. Oh, there’s a guy. He chats him up. The guy has been in China 6 years. Wow. The guy finds him uninteresting and wanders off. He finds another lady. Her husband was stationed in Beijing for 4 years and they just moved to Xi'an. They have nothing in common and the lady wanders off. Vexing. Doesn’t anyone here want to be his friend? Don’t they know that he knows China too?

He can show them. He can show them that he’s smart. He finds another guy. “Isn’t this party 好玩儿?”, he says. “What does that mean?” “Fun - isn’t this party fun?”. He’s found his victim. His new target only knows how to say hello in Chinese. He’ll show him how smart he is with Chinese. He’s addicted. “好球” he screams at foreign sports bars. “I’m going to Xianyang next week”, he spices up his sentences with.

And so begins the career of the Chinese Show-off.

We’ve all met him. We all tried to like him, at least in the beginning. But hey buddy, stop it already. No one’s impressed. We don’t want to speak Chinese with you. Okay, if we tell you how good your Chinese is will you cut it out?

Our valuable Editor Mary Higgins has been with us since Tuesday, 24 November 2009.

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0 #6 Marx 2010-08-24 01:09
Chinese who went abroad and come back here are 10x times more ridiculous. Stupid wannabes and frustrated lemmings.
+1 #5 Daemon Borek 2010-07-30 12:33
Broad Generalization? Jesus, how long you been here? I have met that Clownshoes described in the article more times than I like to remember. It's like idiot foreigners speaking Chinese to the staff at Starbucks, they got the job at Starbucks TO speak English! You want to practice Chinese go to a noodle shop.
+1 #4 Heituzi 2010-02-16 19:59
Wohw hehn shih hwan jungwohw tsai. Duo shaw chan? Wowh yaw! It's really hard to transliterate laowai Chinese.

I think Chinese are more than friendly if you speak Chinese well to them.
+1 #3 Mary Higgins 2009-11-28 18:12
Let’s say a plumber, baker, electrician, car mechanic, etc. to come over to China and work for a few months. They really like the food and environment (see ez chicks and no last call) and decide to stay here, gasp, forEver. They start picking up the language a little here and there (GM’s in gaoxin, nandajie in xian) and BOOM! The ****** become sinologist.

The nice guys [your’s truly] speak English to English Speakers, and Chinese to Chinese people. There is absolutely NO REASON for a Native English speaker to be “Chinese Dropping” in a discussion with another English Speaker/angloamerican or non-native english speaking European. I will allow for the use of okay le, out of habit.
+1 #2 hmmm 2009-11-27 22:12
really? can anyone say broad generalization?...sounds like someone needs to go home...I'll bet it's the US isn't it?
+1 #1 Peter 2009-11-21 15:21
haha good article!

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