Descending from another great mountain hike on the Neigoushan trail behind Lotus Hill yesterday, I arrived on the lakeside path where a lot of local families were taking their afternoon walk. I usually try to avoid bumping into these locals together, especially when there are kids around, because I know there will be some kind of embarassing situation…
On seeing me, a 5-ish year old girl pointed at me, looked at me shamelessly and shouted “waiguoren” ! The usual stuff. She asked me if I was English (great guess ! and unusual because the usual assumption is that one is a Meiguoren). I told her that this was rude behaviour, and that I was a person just like her.
When she made the comment another passer buy laughed, thinking it was obviously quite funny that a kid should say that, then started to make inanely patronising conversation with me (have you been exercising ?), maybe because they found it amusing that a foreigner should be exercising, too ! or maybe to try to save my face because they could see I was embarrassed. Who knows.
The girl’s parents were behind her, and as I passed I told them they should teach their daughter to be more polite, although it may not have come across so clearly, as my Chinese is not so fluent in such circumstances especially when I am irritated/ embarrassed. They gave me a smile but certainly didn’t look apologetic.
Kids will be kids (although one wonders who teaches them to point and should at foreigners in the first place ?), but the point is their parents should at least point out to them that this is unacceptable behaviour, as it causes embarrassment to someone else. I assume that Xifangren have face as well I have come across this kind if behaviour on several occasions now.
Nothing new in this post and it’s the kind of stuff that we Xifangren encounter every day when we are outside our Western bubbles. Anyway, it’s a shame that one should not be able to take a simple walk in the mountains without some kind of kind of social stress here.