I have a temporary place to stay in Manchester, the U.K.
And it’s easy to take quick flights to Mainland Europe for holidays.
So, basically I can say I live in the U.K. and Europe for now.
It all happened within one week.
In a hotel restaurant in London, someone suddenly said “你好(Hello)” to me.
After so many incidents I’ve gone through (including being greeted in Mandarin by almost everyone I met in the tourism industry), once I heard it, I was about to explode with anger.
I turned my head to the voice, and it turned out to be a little East-Asian-looking boy.
It’s a bit surprised, because it’s usually non-East-Asians that do such a thing to me.
He said “你好(Hello)” to me again.
And from his accent, he might well be Taiwanese or from the Southern part of China.
I nodded, replied “你好” back, and kept on going.
That’s the end of it.
I flied to Germany for a short holiday. In a club with restaurant settings, two East-Asian-looking guy were chatting with each other in English. From their accent, they kind of had North American accent, but not so typical and strong, so not really sure about it. I sat next to them, and I heard one of them said “He looks Chinese.”
So…even East Asians think I look Chinese (ethnically).
Do I look Chinese?
Why not Japanese, Korean, Filipino, or Vietnamese?
How can they tell?
All right, maybe I don’t really look like Korean, Filipino, or Vietnamese. But what about Japanese?
As I have said, even I can’t tell whether a person is ethnically Chinese or Japanese when I’m around the Japanese neighborhood in Taipei.
But the little East-Asian-looking kid greeted me in Mandarin and one of the East-Asian-looking guys told his friend “He looks Chinese” by simply looking at me for less than 5 seconds to make this assumption.
Even I couldn’t tell if a person is Japanese or Chinese. So, how could they be so sure about it?
I’m not joking.
Sometimes I look into the mirror, and I have a hard time telling what ethnicity this guy is.
Don’t laugh. It’s true.