Interracial couples in China
A couple of days ago I saw this video from TMD, who are known for their short humoristic videos about Chinese and foreigners in China (I thought the one about Chinese couples vs Western couples was hilarious).
This video is from last year but for some reason it appeared a couple of days ago in a Shanghai account in WeChat and was subsequently shared.
I thought the video was funny! Of course, it’s supposed to be a parody and it’s talking about stereotypes that sometimes are not very accurate. Obviously no man, Chinese or not, would give a broom as a gift to his girlfriend! Also, not all situations happen to every couple. Let’s talk first about what I experienced myself here in China.
– Going to a restaurant where the waitress automatically turns to the Asian face. If I start ordering in Chinese she looks at me like: “Woman, I don’t understand these strange words you are speaking”. It’s not that my pronunciation is (that) bad, it’s that she is convinced a foreigner cannot possibly speak Chinese so her brain locks and refuses to understand.
– Watching a movie or tv show and one partner laughing while the other does not. I think this is totally understandable and expected. China and the West have a completely different history and cultural background. What is “common knowledge” in the West might not be so common in China, and viceversa. When watching Spanish movies I often have to pause the video, explain a joke or a reference so C. can get it, and continue watching. The other day we were watching 报告老板 baogao laoban, a Chinese comedy internet show that I should add to my post of my favourite Chinese tv shows (it’s from the same guys behind 万万没想到). The episode was about a famous story from the Three Kingdoms period and at some point there were 3 guys wearing old traditional Chinese clothes, singing the theme song from the Beijing Olympics in front of an enemy army. C. was crying of laughter. I was not. He paused it and explained the story. Absolutely every Chinese person knows this story, but I didn’t, so the joke was lost on me.
– Of course C. does things like paying the bills and calling the gas company! After all, we are in his country! If we lived in Spain I wouldn’t expect him to do it! But I do things like buying groceries online. After I got online banking and managed to verify my identity on Alipay, my life got way easier.
There also some situations that appear in the video but that never happened to me.
– I never saw anyone high-fiving C. because he is dating me. Sigh! I guess I’m not young, skinny and blonde enough.
– The stereotype of waiters not being happy about Chinese customers but welcoming foreigners with arms open is a bit old! Now it’s the other way around! Everybody knows Chinese are the ones with money and most of us foreigners are just trying to survive!
– Chinese food vs Western food. I’m not the one who’s always suggesting to eat burgers, beef steak and fried chicken!! Maybe you should ask that moon-faced guy who lives in my apartment!
– Clothes. I love the reaction of the Chinese guy in the video when the girl appears with the red qipao and chopsticks in her hair, haha. Unfortunately I don’t own a qipao and I don’t think I would look good in one (I’m too bumpy), so I can’t check what face would C. put if I appeared like that. It’s interesting to note that Western women love this dress, but I seldom see any Chinese women wearing it, apart from maybe waitresses at fancy places and hostesses at official events…
There’s also a couple of things that are not mentioned in the video but could have been. Or at least happened to me several times!
– Chinese people thinking C. is Korean, Taiwanese or Chinese American. When we visited Xiamen, other Chinese tourists were saying Hello to him in Korean. It might partly be because he has a big un-Chinese nose, but I think part of the reason is also that they see me and presuppose that he is a foreigner too.
– People telling me no wonder my Chinese is so good when they become aware of the fact that my boyfriend is Chinese. Excuse me?? I spoke Chinese before meeting him! I studied for years! He didn’t teach me shit! Well except a few bad words… or a lot of them!
Have any of the situations in the video happened to you?