June 11th, 2007

An interesting post from Kevin: “Forever Kevin’s Girlfriend“, in which he describes a conversation between his wife and a former student who could not get the concept of Kevin’s marriage into her head. The post and the comments, especially the first comment, through some light on the ‘Otherness’ that us foreigners in China experience.

I don’t know. I long since got used to being a permanent outsider. I always felt like a bit of an outsider back in New Zealand, anyway, so I guess it never really bothered me that I’d never be accepted as ‘Chinese’, that so long as I’m here, and no matter how long I’m here, how well I learn the language, culture, history, whatever, I’ll always be just a foreigner in China. Some measure of legal acceptance, say permanent residence or perhaps even dual citizenship, would be nice. There are also ways in which China could improve its economic and social acceptance of foreigners, too. But on the one hand, I’m perfectly comfortable with my identity as a Kiwi, and on the other, I’m quite happy for the Chinese people to decide who does or does not get to be accepted as ‘Chinese’ and to what extent.

But as Kevin’s post suggests, one of the ways China could improve its social acceptance of foreigners is a greater acceptance of, umm, Sino-Foreign marriages.

It’s odd, though, that Chinese people seem to view “mixed-race” babies, or at least Chinese-Caucasion mixes, so favourably, and yet the most common assumption on seeing the infamous white man-Chinese woman combination is that something must be wrong.

And it’s not just Chinese people who assume the worst, a lot of our fellow foreigners do too.

Anyway, enough rambling. It’s lunch time.

[this should not be an update, ‘cos I read this yesterday, but anyway, check out Big White Guy’s Letting the Side Down. Kinda relevant.]

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