Strange and Unexpected Impressions While Traveling Abroad


It’s true that people started making comments about Chinese and China once they saw me, and assume I don’t understand English or have a bad hearing.
I forgot to tell you this,
One day in Manchester, I got on a bus, and the women sitting behind me started talking about how primitive the buses are in China and how Chinese push one another through to get on the bus in China, etc nasty and unfriendly comments.
The point is, I did nothing wrong on that bus. I lined up and got on the bus like any other locals there.
What does those comments they made have to do with me?


That is because your Chinese-like appearance remind them China. They are talking nothing about you, but about China. What’s wrong?

Here if I see someone who looks like American, I might start talking about something happening in America with my companies.


I do think it is inappropriate to assume and greet in an Asian language, assuming that you understand it. Especially inappropriate for airline staff.
In Canada, staff would greet with hello, bonjour! to show they can speak both English and French and then the person can choose. On fact in new Brunswick they have a language law that you must be able to be served in English or French for police and governmental services.
When I was in Lyon, France., countless Arabic , and Turkish people would say ni hao or kinichewa to me. I asked a pair of young Turks why and they just said they were being friendly. Ni hao is all they know. It actually didn’t bother me .


I made the mistake of speaking English to a westerner running a small shop in Taipei. He only spoke Spanish and Mandarin. I politely apologized and it wasn’t an issue.

When I was in Brazil, there was really no way of telling, just from looks, that somebody was a foreigner. It was an old German colonization so they had a wide mix of hair color and eye color. Every shop was baffled that I couldn’t speak Protuguese.

If they said 妳好 to you and you replied that you don’t speak Chinese, I’m sure they would have been apologetic and nothing else would have happened. Except, I’m pretty sure you would have lost sleep about it and still came here to let us know. :2cents:


Mr. Lin, you are taking that quote a bit out of context. I was saying that the guy got quite upset that the girl spoke to him in English. It wasn’t a response proportional to her trying to be helpful. She then switched to Chinese but it made her confused as to whether foreigners want to be spoken too in Chinese or not. I guess I told her it depends. It personally doesnt bother me and whatever helps me get through my day, I am happy with.

My point was that often Taiwanese are often trying to be polite, friendly or helpful in these situations. Why should foreigners get bent out of shape about it? There are genuine examples of racism in Taiwan that are worthy of getting annoyed about.

This goes with the west too. Someone in an airport greeting you in Chinese (which you speak!), is just trying to be friendly. You might find it annoying but it might be appreciated by others. There is a hell of a lot of racism in the West you could of been exposed too and this about down the bottom.

Yes, I am completely sympathetic to you just wanting to be treated like a normal person. I truely am. I can empathise. I would rather not be stared at, have children pushed at me so they practice their English, always be called a foreigner or an American (I’m not) in the street, have people not so discretely take pictures of me, get preferential treatment in some cases (in certain circumstances like at a hospital, this is highly embarrassing), get shit said about you in Taiwanese and have people laugh directly at you, have women not have much genuine interest in you apart from the fact you are white and they have fetishised you (ok ok this I should not really complain about it but it is symbolic of a greater issue in society). I could go on…

I guess my point is, I sympathise with you but pick your battles over something more worthy of getting annoyed about.


the problem is they were speaking polish…and you just thought they were talking about chinese on buses because some words in polish sounded like chinese and bus, but really thats not what they were talking about at all. please mr lin calm your imagination down.


He wants to equate it with us complaining about people talking about us while present but not to us. Difference is we understand what is being said, we do not assume.

This is not a zero sum game.


No, they talked to each other in English. They might be British. It’s in Manchester.
The Polish language thing only happened to me when I was in London.

I had another encounter in a cheap restaurant.
Two North Americans (judgimg from their accent) started talking about how Chinese and Indian migrants invaded the West, after they saw me entering the restaurant. I sat 5 meters away from them, but could still hear every word they said.


Combined the two threads. No need to have two…


and how long have you been living in the uk?


It has been four months.


so all accents when locals converse with each other are intelligible to you at this point then?

i’m not so sure. i’m also not so sure why some random brits would have such great insights as to what goes on when using public transport in china.


Your surname? Not sure about lin but a lot of surnames are the same in Vietnam and Korea no? Are they ethnic Chinese too.

(If there is an ethnicity and you mean Han then maybe say Han?)


You are Taiwanese and you cannot tell the difference between Japanese, Taiwanese or Koreans based on looks? Instead of being assailed by the evil white man in Europe go take a trip to Korea or Japan and see if you stick out there.


Lin is the particular surname of Chinese origin.
Nowhere else has it.

There is a German surname called Linsmeier, but no one would mistake it for Lin.


Lynn is a British surname. Different spelling, but same pronunciation. And Chinese doesn’t have spelling anyway.


Of course I mean 林.


Well, I suppose the ancient Chinese could have spread their seed to the British Isles. Lots of Brits named Lee too, come to think of it.


I travel a lot and people greet me in all sorts of languages. My trip back from Paris last month one French guy on the plane spoke to me for like 30 seconds in French without realizing I don’t speak French and am not from there.

Sometimes I get greeted in English. Sometimes chineses and sometimes Korean as I do look more Korean from what other people say.


Don’t go toJapan because it is absolutely chock a block full of millions of Chinese tourists.

You won’t like it.

But you have to deal with the reality that Chinese aren’t popular and you look Chinese.