#1 6-17-2017 1:40 PM

melissawong
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Please stop it! My name is not "Chinese" or "Ni hao"

One of the most irritating things during my solo travels is when people just assume that I'm Chinese or they tried to say "Ni hao" in a really bad accent. I find them really ignorant to assume that all Asians are from China and live in China. If I say no, they will usually go on and guess if I'm Korean or Japanese. When they learned that I'm not from any of these countries, I will tell them I'm from Malaysia which they have absolutely no clue about.

I know this post sounds a bit racist but the problem here is some locals are ignorant and rude. Do you have similar experiences and how do you deal with them?

Last edited by melissawong (6-17-2017 2:07 PM)

 

#2 6-17-2017 1:49 PM

gingerbatik
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Re: Please stop it! My name is not "Chinese" or "Ni hao"

yes, same here:)
I pretend to speak "no english" but other languages which they don't know to shut them up:)

 

#3 6-17-2017 2:21 PM

hightide
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Re: Please stop it! My name is not "Chinese" or "Ni hao"

Have experienced worse than "ni hao" (which I don't mind at all). I have been called a chink -- I just pretend that I didn't hear and keep an close eye at my handbag as I fear that person might just be trying to grab my attention and then pickpocket me.

 

#4 6-17-2017 4:26 PM

planxty
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Re: Please stop it! My name is not "Chinese" or "Ni hao"

Please do not tar everyone with the same brush, it is such sterotypyping that causes so many propblems.

No, I would not say ni hao to you in a good or bad accent, noo I would not assume you were Chineses just because you were of Asian appearance.  No, I would not guess Japanese or Korean sercond.  You are wrong on so many levels.  Yes, I have been to your home country before you start having a go at me on that front.

Some of us, who have travelled a bit in Asia, have more to us than simple stereotyping as you describe in such terms.

I realise I have only been on Travbuddy a few months and that was forced on me by the appalling destruction of the best travel webiste on the net i.e. Virtual Tourist and I have found this to be a very friendly and welcoming site but your post is, frankly, offensive and unworthy of a decent site like this.  Kindly rethink your completely wrong and childish attitudes.  Not everybody sterotypes as you claim.

 

#5 6-17-2017 4:29 PM

shavy
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Re: Please stop it! My name is not "Chinese" or "Ni hao"

I think this is mostly happen to  Asian women who lives in Europe or in other part of the world. Philippines (where I'm orginally) isn't very popular destination for European people, they only knew Thailand, Japan and China. How to deal with it? I just ignore them

 

#6 6-17-2017 5:27 PM

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Re: Please stop it! My name is not "Chinese" or "Ni hao"

I also just ignore it.
Only childish drunkard would say that to me and I don't really want to deal with them so I just walk away.
Majority of people are mature enough not to do that and they don't have special interest or special care about me.

 

#7 6-17-2017 6:16 PM

nolan
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Re: Please stop it! My name is not "Chinese" or "Ni hao"

melissawong wrote:

One of the most irritating things during my solo travels is when people just assume that I'm Chinese or they tried to say "Ni hao" in a really bad accent. I find them really ignorant to assume that all Asians are from China and live in China. If I say no, they will usually go on and guess if I'm Korean or Japanese. When they learned that I'm not from any of these countries, I will tell them I'm from Malaysia which they have absolutely no clue about.

I know this post sounds a bit racist but the problem here is some locals are ignorant and rude. Do you have similar experiences and how do you deal with them?

I have seen this happen in person - to my 13 year old daughter a few years back then. A US Customs and Border Protection (now called ICE) agent was in a good mood that he greeted her, "Ni Hao?" to which my daughter says "no, I'm not Chinese", after which he then goes "Konnichiwa?" also after she smiles back and says, "I'm also not Japanese". Of course I am sure he was just having a light moment (probably a father with a young teenage daughter himself) that it broke the ice which would have been a normally boring or stressful routine. In the end, it's an experience that my son (who vividly witnessed the exchange) loves to talk about to foreign friends, over and over.

I also have been mistaken for a local of the country I'm visiting - in Singapore (they don't mind me unless I ask them questions lah), Korea (one guy attempted to ask me a question re directions, only to shy away when I spoke to him in English. Whereas another guy took the opportunity to show off his English to carry on with a short interesting conversation), Japan (they usually don't mind you unless you ask for directions or help) and most elsewhere except in Europe or India. In the US I can act like a local, it's fairly easy to bring on a neutral English accent (although I have yet to encounter as much the famous Southern drawl...).

In long ago and recent travels I have been mistaken for other nationalities - a French priest I met when I was with my family pointed to me and asked if I was American, a few Filipinas asked the wifey "what race I am", and so on. In fact, I find it amusing to let people guess what nationality I am because to me, nationalities don't matter - I am a citizen of the world.

 

#8 6-17-2017 11:40 PM

sarahelaine
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Re: Please stop it! My name is not "Chinese" or "Ni hao"

Plantxy no one said you do that and no one said everyone does it. They are reporting racism they have suffered, not accusing anyone of this site of racism, but it's not anyone's place to come on and say "you're wrong, no one ever says anything racist and I'm offended that you are even trying to share your experiences". Of course there are some ignorant people out there and of course no one is accusing you of it, but actually trying to silence people talking about this happening is a shame.

Ladies, I'm sorry this happened and I can see how it would be annoying. I got called "bagpipes" or "jock" the whole time I was in school because I was Scottish in England, and asked to say stuff in my "funny" accent. I always think I'm lucky I got to leave it behind in school and most adults don't bother me any more. But our government has been stoking anti foreign feelings and reports of that stuff against adult foreigners, outside the major cities, are rising. It really bothers me.

Last edited by sarahelaine (6-18-2017 6:52 AM)

 

#9 6-18-2017 1:03 AM

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Re: Please stop it! My name is not "Chinese" or "Ni hao"

I have to agree planxty that you were a little harsh. The OP is just sharing what happens to her that many other people also experience. She did not insinuate that everyone does it.

 

#10 6-18-2017 4:49 AM

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Re: Please stop it! My name is not "Chinese" or "Ni hao"

gingerbatik wrote:

yes, same here:)
I pretend to speak "no english" but other languages which they don't know to shut them up:)

lol I've faked a language to avoid getting into a conversation with a street scammer hahahaha

 

#11 6-18-2017 7:17 AM

grandmar
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Re: Please stop it! My name is not "Chinese" or "Ni hao"

I've had men try to pick me up (mostly when I was younger and thinner), but they always tried in English.  smile

 

#12 6-18-2017 8:10 AM

milestx
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Re: Please stop it! My name is not "Chinese" or "Ni hao"

Population of China: 1,371 million
Population of Malaysia: 30 million

Perhaps passers-by are just playing the odds?

 

#13 6-18-2017 9:35 AM

melissawong
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Re: Please stop it! My name is not "Chinese" or "Ni hao"

sarahelaine wrote:

Plantxy no one said you do that and no one said everyone does it. They are reporting racism they have suffered, not accusing anyone of this site of racism, but it's not anyone's place to come on and say "you're wrong, no one ever says anything racist and I'm offended that you are even trying to share your experiences". Of course there are some ignorant people out there and of course no one is accusing you of it, but actually trying to silence people talking about this happening is a shame.
.

Thanks, Sarah Elain. Very well said!

 

#14 6-18-2017 9:48 AM

planxty
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Re: Please stop it! My name is not "Chinese" or "Ni hao"

I fully appreciate all of what has been said and I do not doubt for a second the veracity of any of the anecdotes here.  I may have been seen to be "harsh" as stated above which was not my intention.  My intention was to point out that your position seems to be the supposed universality of this kind of unacceptable behaviour when, patently obviously, it is not universal.

I stand by everything I wrote above.

 

#15 6-18-2017 10:15 AM

WalterC
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Re: Please stop it! My name is not "Chinese" or "Ni hao"

I am not either Chinese or Japanese, yet I get greeted in both languages. Or people ask if I am from one of those countries. I almost never get asked if I am from Korea. And only after telling someone that I am Korean, that I would get greeted in Korean. By then, I am already annoyed.

Also, I remember overhearing a girl talking on her cell phone, and when referring to me, as a Chinese guy. I wanted to correct her so badly, but did not. Normally, I just have to bite my tongue, and just move on. And when in my room, just want to scream in my pillow, as I always second-guess myself for not reacting to situations like this.

The worst though, is when I did politely correct one person, is that they give me an attitude about it. Getting defensive to a point of wanting to pick a fight with me. Though in this case, it happened while at college, near home.

 

#16 6-18-2017 10:43 AM

gingerbatik
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Re: Please stop it! My name is not "Chinese" or "Ni hao"

jacobi wrote:

gingerbatik wrote:

yes, same here:)
I pretend to speak "no english" but other languages which they don't know to shut them up:)

lol I've faked a language to avoid getting into a conversation with a street scammer hahahaha

ditto.  I used to faked the language when I travel alone especially when I want to avoid conversation with a guy. No offend to many man outthere, but sometimes I just want to be alone and don't want a company of a stranger.

 

#17 6-18-2017 3:27 PM

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Re: Please stop it! My name is not "Chinese" or "Ni hao"

Back when the song came out, people did shout out "Gangnam style" to me (once in Amsterdam, and once in Sarajevo). I found that funny at first, but then I didn't.

The people who say Ni Hao to me are 95% homeless, or hustlers trying to get money from me. I quickly learn to ignore them.

Also, some places people assume I'm some kinda rich Chinese guy and have a lot of money. I wish.

Last edited by coffee_prince (6-18-2017 3:29 PM)

 

#18 6-18-2017 6:21 PM

nolan
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Re: Please stop it! My name is not "Chinese" or "Ni hao"

gingerbatik wrote:

jacobi wrote:

gingerbatik wrote:

yes, same here:)
I pretend to speak "no english" but other languages which they don't know to shut them up:)

lol I've faked a language to avoid getting into a conversation with a street scammer hahahaha

ditto.  I used to faked the language when I travel alone especially when I want to avoid conversation with a guy. No offend to many man outthere, but sometimes I just want to be alone and don't want a company of a stranger.

Perhaps someone should come up with a compilation of "buzz off" in the local dialects. Ideally a strong word or phrase that clearly specifies the intention of needing to be left alone ... for me, a shake of the hand or head and no eye contact works fine. And then continue with what you are doing.

 

#19 6-18-2017 6:26 PM

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Re: Please stop it! My name is not "Chinese" or "Ni hao"

planxty wrote:

I fully appreciate all of what has been said and I do not doubt for a second the veracity of any of the anecdotes here.  I may have been seen to be "harsh" as stated above which was not my intention.  My intention was to point out that your position seems to be the supposed universality of this kind of unacceptable behaviour when, patently obviously, it is not universal.

I stand by everything I wrote above.

Interesting that I wonder what made you react to what Melissa said specifically in her post. I would have thought that we were to offer her empathy in a sense because she gets frustrated by how others (not you or any one of us TravBuddies) treat her. For all we know those people are all non-travelers or have hardly met a person of Asian ethnicity in depth, i.e. only on TV or from stereotypes.

Here's an interesting thought ... how many of you TravBuddies have been called "Hey, Joe" or "Gringo" because you were Caucasian or they thought of you as a WASP (White Anglo Saxon Protestant)? I'd be very interested in finding out how you felt when that became all too common while traveling in Asia or Central/South America.

 

#20 6-18-2017 7:11 PM

davejo
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Re: Please stop it! My name is not "Chinese" or "Ni hao"

I spent 10 days in Taiwan last year and many people said Ni Hao to me and i did not reply as i did not know what it meant, so i must have appeared ignorant to the locals. After 2 days i discovered the meaning , HELLO. I appreciated the welcome from the locals and from then on replied with my own Ni Hao. How many times do you walk into a shop in your own country and nobody speaks ! I thought the locals were quite friendly saying this to me.
To another matter--- I have lived in the Philippines for over 20 years and quite often i am greeted by "hello Joe" which annoys me, as i don't like the implication that i am an American.  The Hey Joe started in the second world war when the locals had many American soldiers based here ---GI Joe's as they were known as.

 

#21 6-18-2017 9:32 PM

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Re: Please stop it! My name is not "Chinese" or "Ni hao"

I think many Non-Asian don't know how to differentiate Chinese from China and Chinese from around the world. I'm also from Malaysia and I still refer myself as a Chinese (cos others usually call me a Malay simply because I'm a Malaysian but I'm actually not Malay, if you get what I mean).

I am not offended when people say Ni Hao to me. I get it a lot in UK, and I just smile back. I thought it was a friendly gesture, no?

I was also mistaken for Japanese, Korean, Singaporean. When I reveal my nationality, some know where Malaysia is, some not. But I just say "Have you been to Malaysia?" or "Try to visit Malaysia one day".

The one time I got offended was when I was in a day tour in Gold Coast. There was a big group of China Chinese who were quite obnoxious, and I could see the tour guide wasn't pleased. He also wasn't too friendly towards my friend and I. It was only until I spoke to him in English and he said "Oh, so you're not part of them (the China group)?" that he became more friendly towards my friend and I.

But reading the comments above, it got me thinking.

hightide wrote:

keep an close eye at my handbag as I fear that person might just be trying to grab my attention and then pickpocket me.

- I'll pay attention to that next time.

WalterC wrote:

Also, I remember overhearing a girl talking on her cell phone, and when referring to me, as a Chinese guy. I wanted to correct her so badly, but did not. Normally, I just have to bite my tongue, and just move on. And when in my room, just want to scream in my pillow, as I always second-guess myself for not reacting to situations like this.

- That extreme? Did she talk bad about you apart from the referral that you're Chinese?

coffee_prince wrote:

Back when the song came out, people did shout out "Gangnam style" to me (once in Amsterdam, and once in Sarajevo). I found that funny at first, but then I didn't.

The people who say Ni Hao to me are 95% homeless, or hustlers trying to get money from me. I quickly learn to ignore them.

- I find the Gangnam Style funny though. It's just an innocent mistake, no? About the homeless and hustlers, ok, I'll have to be careful of that in the future too.

nolan wrote:

Perhaps someone should come up with a compilation of "buzz off" in the local dialects. Ideally a strong word or phrase that clearly specifies the intention of needing to be left alone ... for me, a shake of the hand or head and no eye contact works fine. And then continue with what you are doing.

- To ask them to "buzz off" could backfire in case you offend the locals and they come back to attack you or something? (Maybe I over-think). I've read stories about eye contact and handshakes, which usually end up the person being hypnotized (again, maybe i over-think), but can be scary. I was in Bali once and those people like to shake hands, I wasn't too comfortable, but it's just a natural reaction to return the handshake, no? Any idea how to avoid this?

 

#22 6-18-2017 9:52 PM

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Re: Please stop it! My name is not "Chinese" or "Ni hao"

We could all think of it another way too; as people say "hello" to others who they may think speak English, so might people say "Ni Hao" to those they think might speak Chinese.

 

#23 6-18-2017 10:50 PM

shavy
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Re: Please stop it! My name is not "Chinese" or "Ni hao"

People can mistaken I live more than 30 years in Belgium, adults or kids looking at me as Chinese I heard them say to me nihao or konichiwa but I never pay attention just smile at them

Last year I went to a festivals with a bunch of Belgian friends  while we're enjoying the music one guy came to us and said to me  " i love China" we all look to each other and laugh

Just one thing I hate, men looked at me as Thailander. Thailand has bad reputation in Belgium they are known for its prostitute and I don't like to be treated that way. I always say I'm from the Philippines

 

#24 6-18-2017 11:09 PM

sarahelaine
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Re: Please stop it! My name is not "Chinese" or "Ni hao"

I've never had it in Asia. In Uganda I'd get called Mzungu, which means white. For the most part it was just a description and it never bothered me. Sometimes you could hear a bit of an edge in someone's voice and it wasn't so friendly sounding.

As English is so much of a lingua Franca people use English and that's just to be expected. It has been known though that people insist I just be a nationality I'm not. You, know, "where are you from?" "I live in Manchester but I was born in Scotland." "No, you can't be. You must be Irish" (because they think all red heads must be Irish, or something). Or "no, you sound more Canadian. You have to be Canadian." (I don't have a typical Scottish accent any more. Some people won't believe you're a Scot unless you speak like Shrek, which is ironic as Mike Myers is roughly as much Scottish as I am Canadian). There's nothing insulting in being from either of those countries. But it is really, really rude to ignore what someone says about themselves and insist they match your stereotypes. I've had that more from Europeans and North Americans than anyone else. Asians and Africans are more likely to ask me what I think of Manchester United's chances in the Premier League, which is just human beings trying to find common ground. I don't know much about Man U but I have learned to develop an opinion on their defensive formation for the sake of international relationships. But I can't pretend I can speak Gaelic, step dance or know their Aunty Betty - she lives in Cork, are you sure you don't know her?- just so they can be right.

 

#25 6-19-2017 12:10 AM

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Re: Please stop it! My name is not "Chinese" or "Ni hao"

trippin_jen wrote:

nolan wrote:

Perhaps someone should come up with a compilation of "buzz off" in the local dialects. Ideally a strong word or phrase that clearly specifies the intention of needing to be left alone ... for me, a shake of the hand or head and no eye contact works fine. And then continue with what you are doing.

- To ask them to "buzz off" could backfire in case you offend the locals and they come back to attack you or something? (Maybe I over-think). I've read stories about eye contact and handshakes, which usually end up the person being hypnotized (again, maybe i over-think), but can be scary. I was in Bali once and those people like to shake hands, I wasn't too comfortable, but it's just a natural reaction to return the handshake, no? Any idea how to avoid this?

Well, "buzz off" would only be used when people don't learn how to leave us alone after a smile, or "no, thank you" or a shake of the hand (not a fist yet because that will get one into fights), or a shake of the head doesn't work anymore. I use these in escalating circumstances, i.e. I will not do the rude/unfriendly approach first unless they have ticked me off quite a bit already.

While I know this is a totally separate discussion - somehow certain people think that acknowledgement serves as permission to sell them something (especially in touristy areas). Back in March this year I was with a group of TravBuddies in Cambodia and we got pestered incessantly by touts and kids selling whatever they can. And they've developed a really quick response system to your "no, I have that already" response - which is, "ok then buy one more". Sometimes these kids can't really understand that 1) we don't have space in our luggage for certain items 2) we are going to another destination and not flying home after we buy something from them and 3) who needs all these weird stuff that they sell (unless it's food or drink). At one point too much pestering really tests the patience, and they in turn escalate their persistence to something of the super annoying level. So the only way to get rid of them since they selectively screen out the "no, thank you" is to tell them the equivalent of "buzz off". Some get it right away, but others are too stubborn that they are the ones who get angry, thinking we don't have a right to refuse what they sell. Not to mention that the official government line of child vendors (or beggars, in similar light) is not to encourage this behavior since they need to go to school above all.

Jenny - shaking hands is generally OK if that is the norm in the country. In Thailand the "wai" is more appropriate, as is the Sampeah in Cambodia, or bowing in Japan. Handshakes are more of the norm in Western society, but it is fairly universal save in certain cultures where there are rules to go by re handshaking. In general, if a man offers a handshake to another man, refusal would be seen as hostile or rude; and women should generally initiate offering a handshake (but that's not always the case). Social greetings are an interesting topic, and going back to the original post, "Ni Hao" is essentially saying "Hello", just like how hello would be said in many other cultures. The physical manifestations - handshakes, bows, kisses in the air, and so on - are an added feature which make the culture distinct.

 

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