School-age girl wouldn't speak Chinese to me...

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Re: School-age girl wouldn't speak Chinese to me...

Postby shengou » 03 May 2012, 13:26

touduke wrote:Just curious what does
My neighbors also treated me great
mean?


They took me in as their own. Usually I would spend all day outside with my friends or I would play at their houses. Their grandparents and parents would always take care of me. Of course, a lot of this had to do with my parents forging strong relationships with everyone in the community. My mom used to invite everyone over for dinner and she went out of her way to have conversations with everyone.

If you are referring to the grammar, I don't give a shit if it's grammatically incorrect. That how people speak in my 'hood. This ain't no essay bruh.
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Re: School-age girl wouldn't speak Chinese to me...

Postby touduke » 03 May 2012, 13:31

thanks! I wasn't referring to your grammar.
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Re: School-age girl wouldn't speak Chinese to me...

Postby Petrichor » 03 May 2012, 20:04

shengou wrote:
touduke wrote:Just curious what does
My neighbors also treated me great
mean?


They took me in as their own. Usually I would spend all day outside with my friends or I would play at their houses. Their grandparents and parents would always take care of me. Of course, a lot of this had to do with my parents forging strong relationships with everyone in the community. My mom used to invite everyone over for dinner and she went out of her way to have conversations with everyone.

If you are referring to the grammar, I don't give a shit if it's grammatically incorrect. That how people speak in my 'hood. This ain't no essay bruh.


I think this has a lot to do with how your kids will get treated. If you set yourself apart you get treated as different. Because people don't know you so well they're free to make up all kinds of nonsense about you in their heads.

Let's not forget that kids can be terrors to each other regardless of parentage, too. Looking a bit different doesn't have to have anything to do with race. Kids will pick on the smallest things, or nothing at all. It's up to adults to teach them how to be kind.
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Re: School-age girl wouldn't speak Chinese to me...

Postby touduke » 04 May 2012, 22:52

Kids will pick on the smallest things, or nothing at all. It's up to adults to teach them how to be kind.


Yesterday 6 pm I was sitting on a park bench and my lao da was playing with leaves in a puddle (yes it rained in Taichung) when a boy and his (I assume) father walked by. The boy shouted to my lao da "hello haha" and encouraged by his father he kept on doing so louder and louder pointing at my son who stopped playing and stood still. Boy and father passed us "haha hello hello haha". They stopped and the man spoke to the boy (in Chinese) "they can't speak Chinese haha" - the boy laughed and kept on shouting. I stood up and walked over to them (in Chinese) "what is it with you shouting at us all the time" - the boy looked to his father and continued laughing - the father to me "mei you, mei you" - and (in Chinese) "we can't speak English" and they walked off.
Maybe you ask yourself why my boy didn't say hello back to that boy. Well he used to do so until he learned that this will just lead to more hellos and laughter.
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Re: School-age girl wouldn't speak Chinese to me...

Postby tommy525 » 04 May 2012, 23:32

pathetic imbeciles they be! It can be irritating thats for sure. But eventually good shall outweigh the bad.

There isnt a whole lot you can do in that situation except to treat it with humor, because you cant just get a shotgun and blast them dead can ya?

(even if you want to).
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Re: School-age girl wouldn't speak Chinese to me...

Postby Petrichor » 05 May 2012, 06:25

touduke wrote:
Kids will pick on the smallest things, or nothing at all. It's up to adults to teach them how to be kind.


Yesterday 6 pm I was sitting on a park bench and my lao da was playing with leaves in a puddle (yes it rained in Taichung) when a boy and his (I assume) father walked by. The boy shouted to my lao da "hello haha" and encouraged by his father he kept on doing so louder and louder pointing at my son who stopped playing and stood still. Boy and father passed us "haha hello hello haha". They stopped and the man spoke to the boy (in Chinese) "they can't speak Chinese haha" - the boy laughed and kept on shouting. I stood up and walked over to them (in Chinese) "what is it with you shouting at us all the time" - the boy looked to his father and continued laughing - the father to me "mei you, mei you" - and (in Chinese) "we can't speak English" and they walked off.
Maybe you ask yourself why my boy didn't say hello back to that boy. Well he used to do so until he learned that this will just lead to more hellos and laughter.


So you did your thing in addressing their idiocy. I don't think you can expect to be able to bring up a child that looks noticeably different from its peers without other children and adults being stupid about it sometimes. The world isn't populated by only by well-mannered, non-racist people.
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Re: School-age girl wouldn't speak Chinese to me...

Postby Omniloquacious » 05 May 2012, 08:19

touduke wrote:
Kids will pick on the smallest things, or nothing at all. It's up to adults to teach them how to be kind.


Yesterday 6 pm I was sitting on a park bench and my lao da was playing with leaves in a puddle (yes it rained in Taichung) when a boy and his (I assume) father walked by. The boy shouted to my lao da "hello haha" and encouraged by his father he kept on doing so louder and louder pointing at my son who stopped playing and stood still. Boy and father passed us "haha hello hello haha". They stopped and the man spoke to the boy (in Chinese) "they can't speak Chinese haha" - the boy laughed and kept on shouting. I stood up and walked over to them (in Chinese) "what is it with you shouting at us all the time" - the boy looked to his father and continued laughing - the father to me "mei you, mei you" - and (in Chinese) "we can't speak English" and they walked off.
Maybe you ask yourself why my boy didn't say hello back to that boy. Well he used to do so until he learned that this will just lead to more hellos and laughter.


In that kind of situation, I generally encourage my daughter to smile and greet the person back, and quickly say in Chinese, in a voice loud enough for the child and its parent to hear clearly, something along the lines of: "Wow, Big Brother/Sister can speak English. Isn't he/she smart!" (in a friendly, non-patronising tone, with a broad smile on my face). It tells them quickly (unless they're super dense) that our family are all Chinese speakers, and that my daughter (and mixed kids like her) are nice, friendly and not that much different from them after all. All positives.
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Re: School-age girl wouldn't speak Chinese to me...

Postby Teddoman » 07 May 2012, 09:44

Taiwan_Student wrote:These little incidents add up a bit... So it does put me in the scrooge mood. Yes, I must try to not lump all that together...
I have felt sorry about given people the scrooge experience... On the whole within my community I do just fine. People are friendly and helpful. The local shops actually think I know my Chinese numbers well enough and now start throwing Taiwanese at me. That is what a like. A challenge and acceptance.

It really riled me up too that I had traveled so far to learn Mandarin and no one would speak to me in Mandarin. So I feel for you. I used to always say to myself, "if they want to learn English, go to the states!" But getting angry only gets you even more depressed. Your anger won't change what is obviously the cultural behavior of millions.

For me, I resolved the whole issue by going "deep cover" after moving from the south to Taipei, and I pretended to be from a Latin American country for a while. This is stressful and you feel terrible the whole time, so I don't recommend it. You can't mix social groups etc etc. I am just thankful that when I "came out" to my closer Taiwanese friends, they were accepting of why I did it. And luckily, we were so used to speaking Mandarin that it was too late to switch to English at that point.

Upon returning to the US, I had a couple of epiphanies. First, Chinese people here are generally much more willing to speak Mandarin. Probably because of how hard it is for them to speak English here, so they are happy to meet a friendly Mandarin speaker. However, second, even Chinese/Taiwanese people in the US sometimes do this wierd thing of insisting on speaking English to someone they know speaks Mandarin. So what I realized is that Taiwanese people are just acting out this wierd self-conscious nervousness about their own foreign language abilities. Seeing someone they expect to speak Mandarin poorly instead turn around and speak fluent Mandarin wierds them out. It makes them think they should be capable of speaking fluent English. Then they proceed to speak English to the one person who reminds them of this fact, which is you, the one person who has no interest in speaking English to them.

What I've also learned is that there's a bit of language Tai chi wrestling that happens at the beginning of conversations. You can't look TOO eager to speak Mandarin, because they pick right up on your eagerness as an excuse to do the opposite. If anything, I would recommend trying a strategy of overwhelming them with rapid fluent English as if you have absolutely no interest in speaking Mandarin. You might want to casually throw in a Mandarin phrase here or there to let them know you in fact do speak Mandarin. This might produce the opposite effect of making them feel inadequate in their English and want to return to safe territory- Mandarin.

Or you can do the opposite which is speak Mandarin, but throw in English phrases here and there, to let them know you're just speaking what comes naturally to you, instead of being overly eager to speak Mandarin. They'll probably respond in kind with a mixed Chinglish. Just act as if language is a non-issue to you. Slowly increase the Mandarin content of the conversation. Eventually nature will take its course. Their English sucks, and eventually Mandarin is the only option for a real conversation.

To really survive in Taiwanese culture, I realized (too late because I had already left) that you have to become meta about Taiwanese culture and really analyze the unspoken rules that drive their behavior. Then, after you're done getting angry at how stupid it is, you need to manipulate those rules to make you happy. Someone in the parenting forum said they teach their kids that their kids can't control other people and so they teach their kids the only thing they're in control of is how they respond. I think that's great advice for kids and adults. Learn the rules of the situation, take control, and make it work for you.
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Re: School-age girl wouldn't speak Chinese to me...

Postby shengou » 07 May 2012, 13:06

Teddoman wrote:It really riled me up too that I had traveled so far to learn Mandarin and no one would speak to me in Mandarin. So I feel for you. Your anger won't change what is obviously the cultural behavior of millions.


I've honestly never had anyone insist on speaking English with me. The majority of Taiwanese can't even speak English. And for those who can, I've found that they'll code switch between Mandarin and English. This is really bizarre to keep hearing that those of you learning Mandarin can't find people who will speak Mandarin with you.
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School-age girl wouldn't speak Chinese to me...

Postby headhonchoII » 07 May 2012, 13:21

The whiter and more American looking and younger you are the more they want to speak English with you.

Seriously, when I wear a baseball cap and sunglasses they always take me as an American 'foreigner'. And yammer some stilted crap at me. When I go Taike with flip-flops and flowery shorts and vest they usually see me as a 'local' and speak Chinese.
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