Since it seems to have become the custom in my my sequels, let me start by correcting a potential misinterpretation of my last post. Chinese people go soul too, just as much as anyone else. But they just don’t show it to me as much as other people do here, like the Filipinas, the Indians, the Europeans, or the Africans. Everybody got soul, but culturally, some people show it more than others, that’s all. And if Chinese people think I’m making fun of them for being a little reserved in public, keep in mind that I’m a somewhat shy white guy from Wisconsin. I’ve been on the other end of that stereotype.
But even as a white guy from Wisconsin, HK is a bit of a shock in terms of the lack of emotionality I see on the street. And it’s taking some getting used to. That’s why the Filipinas are such a reprieve, they remind me of home.
I’ll admit it, I was that white kid who was fascinated with black culture. I always secretly wanted to be a minority, but Irish was about the best I could muster, and that totally doesn’t cut it in the US. In HK, I finally got my wish. I am definitely a minority, though I’m definitely not oppressed at all. In fact, if there is one group of people I’m almost completely invisible to, it’s the police. This comes in handy; my invisibility makes it really easy for me to jump police barricades undetected. Oppressed or not, as a minority, I find other minorities easier to understand, as general rule. For one thing, they’re a lot more likely to speak English to each other, but it’s more than that, minority culture seems more transparent here. As a result, my understanding of minorities here is deeper than my understanding of the Chinese.
I’m working on that last part. I’ve recently gotten to know a few Chinese people on a more personal level, and their depth of character shows up a lot more in one-on-one converstations. Not a big surprise, I know….but this culture is thick. It’s dense and complex, it’s unspoken and unwritten. But these are things that I really can’t speak of until the gweilo reaches level 3. And I’m not there yet. In fact, I recently realized I’m not quite as adept at walking as I thought. More on that soon.