I was recently on a bus and this nice elderly man smiled and sat next to me. He was obviously confused on where to get off, and asked the girl on his other side, in what sounded like broken English, where the stop with the Jieyun Zhan was. The girl, either unable or too terrified to reply, just got up and changed seats. So he sat there, looking depressedly lost. So I asked him, in Chinese, where he wanted to get off. He replied in Chinese that he could NOT speak Chinese (a post for ‘h0nkys h0nkys h0nkys’?) and that he was from Japan, and then asked if I could speak English. This shocked me - since in Taiwan, I have never had anyone here ask me if I CAN speak English. He was extremely polite, didn’t want to assume that my white face meant I could speak English, and so I was more than ready to speak English and help this man out. Maybe after my Chinese improves, I’ll start on Japanese…
Thats the good.
I’m curious though - on the Jieyun or bus, does any other foreigner find themselves next to an empty seat while about 20 Taiwanese stand around it. In fact just last week I was on the Jieyun and in the section with the four seats facing each other, and people walked to them and did NOT sit down. they stood at those seats and wouldnt sit, and all i heard were giggles, whispers to each other and so on. maybe i’m just too paranoid. but maybe since i’ve been here i’ve been trained to be. once on the bus a group of schoolboys entered and sat next to me and around me. the first thing they start doing is asking each other, in regular loudness voices, if they think i can speak chinese. they decide that no, i cant, and procede to go through a list of different stereotypes. when i left the bus, i turned to them and told them, in Chinese ‘your opinions are really interesting, but youre wrong. be careful when you decide to be stupid who you be stupid around’ (or something very close to that - my chinese is hardly fluent). i left them looking stunned and hopefully, a little wiser.
The Bad and the Ugly