Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Better than the Zoo

This comes to us from my friend (and WoFat's friend), M. Cordell Hart, with whom I work at the Center for Asian Crime Studies, a Bethesda, Maryland based think tank.

A comment frequently heard in the United States is that “all Chinese look alike.” 

It proceeds, of course, from most Americans’ unfamiliarity with Chinese features--and the same is true about Chinese who say the same thing about Westerners. Standing in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square one freezing morning in November 1978, I learned just how unusual we Westerners appear to Chinese.

Sensing someone looking at me, I glanced to my left and saw at arm’s length a strikingly handsome Chinese girl staring at me with an unblinking expression of wonderment on her face. She was fully six feet tall, with the broad and flat face common among Chinese from the northeast provinces, and dressed in heavily padded peasant clothes and a huge fur hat. Speaking in Mandarin, I asked her if I was the first foreigner she had ever seen. Not at all to my surprise, she said I was. 

LL - in Shanghai with the PRC Public Security Bureau
Note: I am not in custody.
In continuing conversation she explained that she had come to Beijing from Heilongjiang Province, for the first time, as a tourist. Her friends had advised her, she said, to go to the Beijing zoo, but she added--with the wonderful candor of a country girl-- “I’ll just stay here. You foreigners are more queer-looking than anything I could see at the zoo.”

4 comments:

Opus #6 said...

LOL! You would only take that from a sweet, innocent country girl.

Azra said...

LOL!! Lovely country girl indeed. You speak Mandarin? And lol at your sidenote caption.

WoFat said...

That lady is not the first to make that observation.

darlin said...

I laughed at this girls honesty, must be the true country girl showing itself; girls from the country just don't know how to hide the truth as well as city folk tend to! lol

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