Mocking my Chinese


Sorry to stir up trouble but, can I just mention somthing that has got on my nerves a little recently. I have been in Taiwan for over a year now and my Chinese ability is getting stronger but I must say I am continually laughed at when I try to speak Chinese. Ok Ok continually is a bit of an exaggeration but atleast once a day sometimes its a ton of schoolkids (there I go again exaggerating) sometimes its my colleuges even worse sometimes its her indoors (Sophia) . Come on give me some slack I never diss a Taiwanese persons English its not only rude but it surely plays on you mind as to whether you should just give up! I am not generalising the whole of Taiwan but I just can not fathom it. All my foreign friends never mock locals speaking English, indeed its highly regarded and respected but I have actually had people say that my Chinese is awful, maybe so but hay if I am pricked do I not bleed?? Et tu Sophia!!


Hey robo,

YOu know what i say? Screw em! I have been in Taiwan a long time, i don’t speak a lick and i don’t want to. I’ve got good expat friends and don’t need any blubbering locals trying to utter meaningless sentences to me in half-baked english. I go to starbucks, mcdonalds, and other respectable establishments that let ME laugh at THEM when they squeak out some weak little “here or to go” to me. Just stop learning chinese, and your problem is solved. Nobody will laugh at your English, right?


Learn a lot and you’ll forget a lot
Learn some and you’ll forget only some

The moral is:

Ye shall not learn and ye shall not forget.


Cheers folks,

Some words of wisdom and no mistake, The next time my bird gets a cheap laugh at my expense I tell her her to stop talking such “ballship” hahahaha that`s how she says it hahahahaha


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Get over it!

“All my foreign friends never mock locals speaking English”

Think of the amount of racism Asians experience in our English speaking countries!! You must have heard of “flied Lice”

“I have actually had people say that my Chinese is awful”

It probably is, just like my Chinese is shocking.

One thing I am learning is that Taiwanese people tend to say things the way they are. I have been told quite plainly by my co -teachers that I am getting FAT. It shocked me, but they were not being malicious, just stating a fact. Because I am getting fat.

In this CULTURE it is acceptable to say things like that. It may not be nice for us foreigners, but as I am living here I am learning to accept it.

I do not believe that these Taiwanese people are out ‘looking for trouble’ or trying to offend you. That would only cause them to lose face.

By the way, the way you refer to your female partner sux, it is extremely sexist and unnecessary.

Here is hoping you will find some cultural enlightenment and manners while you are living in this country as a guest.


Hi. I am a local Chinese woman. I received my bachelors degree in Seattle, and I speak English pretty well.

I wonder if you are aware of the fact that it is common knowledge (amongst local people) that the women who date foreigners such as those who posted the messages above are typically uneducated, come from broken homes, and are generally looked down upon in the local society, right or wrong.

Local women that are relatively educated (and who speak English relatively well) would never even consider dating one of them, especially since we know that many are here because they couldn’t “make it” in their own home countries and couldn’t get dates from wherever they’re from.

I believe Westerners use the term “losers” to describe these types of guys, though I don’t think it’s necessary to be so obvious, since their words (see above) pretty much speak for themselves.



Brava! Or (so the gentlemen to whom you refer can understand), you go girl!


This message is directd to gfl213. I can appreciate your point of view, but I also take offense to it. No doubt there are many foreigners in Taiwan who fit your description, but generalizing is a dangerous thing to do. Generalizations like those that you make are the very cause of racial tension in the United States of America. As a matter of fact, many of us “foreigners” happen to be working very hard and are in Taiwan for reasons other than making an easy buck. What is it that would motivate you to insult foreigners like this? I’ve met some pretty crude Taiwanese people, myself. That doesn’t mean I think Taiwanese people, in general, are like that. It just means that both of our countries have their share of losers. But, more positively, both our countries have their share of winners! Furthermore, what is wrong with a Taiwanese woman being attracted to foreign men? If that is their taste, then that is their perrogative. We can only hope that they will be wise enough to choose someone of high character. And guess what? Foreign men of high character do exist in Taiwan. I’m sorry your experiences haven’t been great, but I try not to let my bad experiences cause bias toward any group or race. I respectfully encourage you to do the same.


The point raised in the inital post by Robaldo was a valid one. Would you have liked it if people made fun of your English when you went overseas? I doubt it. What makes you assume that foreigners who come to Taiwan could not make it back in his/her own country? Would it not be fair to assume then that you could not make it studying in Taiwan and that is why you went to the USA?
I can assure you that I have held a good job my “home” country and I think I would be able to get a similar position again but I have other motivations for being here.
I must say that it is true that a lot of Taiwanren seem to be very egotistical in terms of their language ability/vs foreigners language ability. For example I have seen a friend who was born in Taiwan and went to a local elementry/middle school speak in Chinese, actually no Taiwanese and people people pretend to be incapable of understanding him. He is basically native speaker level in Guoyu/Taiyu but he does not have an Asian face. On the other hand I also encounter plenty of people who assume that I can understand little or nothing of what they say when actually I can understand most things said in Guoyu.
For those who do not have his level of Chinese it is good that they do make an effort to speak Chinese.
Enough said…


DEAR G2 ( What’s your name again? educated in a fine foreign university [Seattle])

Just wanted to clarify if your comments regarding foreign men and the women who date them were really “common knowledge amongst local people” or just racist slander of your own. I don’t believe views that explain inter-national or inter-racial relationships have anything to do with individuals’ IQ or social class, nor do I believe that you are speaking on the behalf of Taiwanese people in general. One should not attribute such emotional and base views to one’s countryfolk.

And as far as learning Chinese, one must simply accept the challenges of any undertaking. Too many foreigners get worked up because some Taiwanese point out to them their shortcomings. If one wants to learn anything, one must accept the challenges that come along with learning. One must accept critique. This is the essence of learning. Learning is the correction of one’s mistakes, and one must accept whatever means are used in pointing out those mistakes. Perhaps Robaldo can simply address this by telling his friends to find a kinder way of showing him how to speak Chinese correctly.

I would rather have my mistakes corrected and feel silly once than go around looking like an idiot because no one ever had the guts to tell me i wasn’t behaving/working/speaking clearly.

I apologize if i offended anyone in any previous responses. However, it is certainly good to see people speaking their minds.


GFL213- Just because one foreign devil did a number on you don’t tar us all with the same brush. And when I say ‘all of us’ I speak as a ‘Loser’ foreigner, but also speak on behalf of my un-educated low class girlfirend from a broken home.


gfl213 - Sometimes I have to wonder if these kind of comments aren’t planted by the administrators to spur conversation! Her comments are just too stereotypical of general Taiwanese, if not Chinese thought in general. There is even a traditional idiom for it (chungyu): chong2 yang2 mi2 wai4. This is statement (“worship and go crazy over things foreign”) is usually a slanderous statement used by Chinese against Chinese women who have a special interest in NOT just foreign men, but even in a foreign language. This especially applies to white men and English. In my opinion this is simply a statement and point of view held by insecure people themselves. It might be true that a good portion of the women out there that seek foreign relationships are less than stellar, but when one uses this chungyu against a fellow citizen, it is not to tell the truth about the situation, but rather to suppress that woman in the hopes of assuaging their own jealousy and/or racist tendencies, men and women alike.

As for the English thing, although I’m near fluent in Chinese, I choose NOT to use English in many situations to force the other party to rise to my standards of service and respect. Whenever I start speaking Chinese (say at McDonald’s) they treat me like a Chinese (the mei2 ban4 fa3 culture). Learn when and when not to speak Chinese. Speaking Chinese is important, but not always advantageous. English forces the other party to be at a disadvantage. I am rarely mocked, since my Chinese is often better than the locals. However, when I am mocked or they pretend like they don’t understand (famous in taxis), my favorite line is “do you speak Chinese?” It usually wakes them up that they are being low class.

Oh yea! … and another chungyu I made up: Instead of the chong2 yang2 mi2 wai4, I just tell people that it’s really ME that has the problem, not my Chinese girlfriend: I am chong2 huang2 mi2 dong1 (I worship things yellow and go crazy over things from the East).

[This message has been edited by jeremy (edited 08 Feb 2001).]


to gfl213,

Something tells me you are not who you say you are… What you wrote sounds very much made up… Anybody else agree?


My wife is Taiwanese. I settled on this island because of her and not because I couldn’t get a job in my home country.

She often feels that other Taiwanese look down upon her because she is together with a foreigner. Taiwanese may claim not to be racist, but 80% of them are. They don’t take their bigotry out on the foreigners, but instead on the Chinese, who are together with them.

Bo Yang, The Chinese writer, stated in his book: The Ugly chinaman": If the Afroamericans lived in China, you should see your ugly chinaman get hot under his collar…"

I personally have some pity for them. Their culture was number two in the fight between the civilizations, foreigners come here, take the prettiest girls and get better pay, and they are unable to understand why.


The way I see it, the mocking of the Chinese ability of non-Asians comes from a larger mocking of Americans (have you noticed that many many people assume that if you are not asian, you must be from the US?) And why is that? True story:

A man was in the UN and noticed a young girl, about 8, speaking to her father in Serbian and then in English. He waited until she was finished and then complimented her on speaking two languages.

“Actually,” she said, “I’m tri-lingual because my mother is Greek and I speak to her in Greek.”

The man then asked her if she knew the term for someone who only speaks one language.

“That’s easy,” she said. “American.”

'nuff said


Oh my gosh…for the most part, I have to agree that most every foreign guy i’ve seen/met in China (and Taiwan) tends to be here b/c they couldn’t make it in their own countries and SUDDENLY they’re treated like kings here among the ladies!!! The foreign girls tend to be different - more usually here to truly learn Chinese, teach etc…Usually those men working here b/c of a work transfer are different, but the english teachers etc…



Hey Toots,

It’s a shame you don’t know the male English teaching foreigners I’ve known. And I’ve known many



Hey Taiwan Tootsie

I’m a male foreigner English teacher and your remarks are really insulting.

You are grossly stereotyping due to your limited experience. Where are you from and do you like it when p[eople stereotype you?

I think you owe me an apology



I am taiwanese, but I have a lot of foreigner friends. one of them, a girl (caucasain), told me that most foreigner guys in taiwan are strange birds. is this true?