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ABC, BBC, CBC, IBC, MBC..You are not chinese!!

Discussion in 'Chit-Chat' started by Cheung, Jan 3, 2003.

  1. Cheung

    Cheung Moderator

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    This is a topic close to my identity. Hope we can share some of what I have experienced............

    ABC - American/Australian Born Chinese,
    BBC - British Born Chinese
    CBC - Canadian (or could be China)
    IBC - Indonesian Born Chinese
    MBC - Malaysian Born Chinese
    SBC - S'porean Born Chinese....................haha you thought it meant S'pore BadmintonCentral

    My cousin is a JBC (Jamaican.NOT Japan!!)


    Here's something interesting I have experienced when moving to HK.

    Some local HK people accuse me of not being chinese.

    Why?
    I grew up overseas..OK, I wasn't even born in China, HK, Macau, Taiwan.
    I don't speak the language (cantonese)
    I can't read chinese.

    Believe me I have some stuff which I would take as personally insulting.

    What do you regard yourself as? A nationalised citizen of your country of birth or an overseas chinese? (i am of the 2nd and perhaps we can discuss why after a few people's comments:))
     
  2. ayl

    ayl Regular Member

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    Wow Cheung,

    So if you don't speak Cantonese in Hong Kong SAR and can't read Chinese how do you go by day by day????

    Just curious! :)
     
  3. Cheung

    Cheung Moderator

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    Clarify

    One friend of mine grew up in HK and attended school here for 12 years and can' t speak any cantonese or read chinese.


    For me, I learnt Cantonese on coming to HK. It's a very painful and drawn out process:eek:
    I never claim proficiency in Cantonese:p
    You can just use English in HK...ask all those wealthy expats who spend many years in HK and don't even bother to learn a few expressions of the local language.

    If you DO speak Cantonese, does that mean you are chinese??
     
  4. LazyBuddy

    LazyBuddy Regular Member

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    Re: Clarify


    That means Cheung must be a high-class rich guy.

    Hmmm... good... Maybe I should ask for several free rackets something for always support his ideas. :D
     
  5. Cheung

    Cheung Moderator

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    Just had a quick check.

    I can probably recognise about 300 to 400 characters in chinese. That would allow me to recognise around 60% of text.

    Can't be that rich then:(

    Even a little bit of chinese knowledge is not good enough for some of the locals.
    Sometimes I ask the question back "what is the definition of 'being Chinese'?"
     
  6. Pecheur

    Pecheur Regular Member

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    Face it Cheung you're a banana! [1] (j/k)

    Actually I think part of actually being a certain race requires you to be able to instinctively think in the language. Strange as it sounds, I believe that the language you use to think helps to define the way you think. To be truly Chinese, and think like a Chinese person, you must think in Chinese, only then can you properly appreciate the Chinese mindset, ideology and belief system [2].

    Thus unless you can think (and dream!) in Chinese then you aren't truly Chinese by my definition, sorry Cheung. Translating some things back and forth means that some of the meaning is lost, and it's in those edges that part of the differences between the races lie.

    PS as I grow older I'm steadily losing my Chinese language skills, and haven't dreamt in Chinese for a long time now, and I definately believe I'm less Chinese for it.

    [1] Banana, old hongkie joke, yellow skin, black hair, white on the inside (or can't speak chinese, though I believe white on the inside is more amusing). Twinkie to the Americans

    [2] Or any distinctly different races for that matter, I don't believe you can think in Chinese and understand say Africans for example, using Western, romanised languages constrains your understanding of seriously Asian concepts.
     
  7. TOmike

    TOmike Regular Member

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    HKBC here, but i've been living in Canada for the past 14 years.. meaning i've been here more than 3 quarters of my life.
    as for being chinese, i do consider myself chinese, although i can only read some, write some, but i can speak Cantonese fluently (maybe some accents, nobody bothers to tell me i suck), and i do know some Mandarin.

    here is my Critera
    Can at least speak it/understand (at least you can translate for your white friends)
    Can use chopsticks
    Know the Capital of China
    Watches chinese movies from time to time
    Know who is best out of Jet Li, Bruce Lee, and Jackie Chan
    Knows their home town
    Knows how to write their name
    Can still PROUDLY scream "TEAM CHINA FOREVER" after the last World Cup.

    hehe Pecheur, great yellow joke :p

    then again who am i to make criteria?
    for parents, if u think your kids are too foreign, and are trying to make em chinese,
    you gotta let them understand the glory, tradition and the national pride. i was once a Banana, but out of the darkness i came, a reborn chinese lol. i immersed myself in chinese things, take a look at the newspaper every day, like trying to read Sun Tzu "Art of War" or watching "Three Kingdoms", join in during those lame soap opera's they offer on the Chinese Channel.. watch Chinese soccer :p, correct my chopstick technique (somehow i've been holding it wrong for a long time and my mom didn't correct me lol), i even got my dad to buy me a huge chinese flag (not that i support what the Party does) p.s its for the next world cup.. i'll be in U by then.. it'll fly from my building :)
    lol i even gave up basketball and football and came to play badminton...!!

    i see it as a beautiful thing, and it is a great honour to be a part of this race of people. Nothing can ever take it away from me again!

    p.s people think i'm Korean or something. My Uncle says i look like one :(
     
  8. Joanne

    Joanne Regular Member

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    Lol, I don't know how to speak, but I do understand hokkien, mandarin, cantonese, and hainanese. :D :D :D No idea how to read though, used to.
     
  9. wind rider

    wind rider Regular Member

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    see Cheung ive got the same problem too..im half chinese and half english my self..
    Chinese say im not chinese
    english people say im not english enough..
    dont know wad i am...just my self...thats wad makes me sepcial from the others
     
  10. Adel

    Adel Regular Member

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    Nice topic Cheung and very close to my heart. Coming to this forum is always a good experience.

    Back to the issue: when I first arrived in USA, the first thing that stunned me was my mentoring group. A whole group of people who look like me but behave in a manner that is totally foreign to my expectations. At that point of time, I thought: I give up. I'm going back to Singapore. But I didn't. And I'm glad I stuck to my decision.

    What constitutes being Chinese? Frankly, I don't know and I won't give a definite answer.

    My nationality and race are both very important to me. As such, I don't see myself as a 3rd-generation immigrant from China but a citizen of another country (ok, it's small and imports badminton players but what the hell, it's MY ctry) albeit sharing a somewhat common culture with 3 other places, China, TW and HK. I was lucky to have a proper upbringing: both my parents were Chinese language majors and from young, I've been inculcated with a sense of "Chinese-ness" so to speak. The trip to Suzhou made me realize that my Chinese sucks BIG TIME but I set pretty high standards for MYSELF. Other than that, I can read, speak and write fluently in Mandarin, am versed in some Hokkien (min3 nan2 yu3) and celebrate Chinese NY with a vengeance. Last year, I went round wishing everyone Happy New Year on the first day of the lunar calendar; this year, I am giving myself a break from classes if I have no midterms on that day. :D (That is the next best solution I can come up with since I couldn't get anyone to go on strike with me as a protest for the school not giving Chinese and Korean students the day off. Joking.)

    Unlike some of the other posters, I don't particularly support the China national team in badminton, soccer or any other sport. Primarily because like I said, I am the citizen of another country and feel no ties to the Motherland. Plus I have no tendency to root for a team based on race - some people automatically root for China coz they're Chinese or any Asian team because they're Asian. I don't - perhaps because I am proud of my identity (Chinese/Asian) and I don't need any World Cup or other medals to prove that worth.

    Unfortunately, I cannot handle the chopsticks properly. My grandfather used to say (when I was 8) that if I held my chopsticks the way I do in a foreign ctry, I wld become the laughingstock of all my frens. 12 yrs later, he was proven correct. Every Asian I eat with (Chn, Kor, Jap) have looked at the way I handle those things with a variety of comments ranging from amusement to amazement. I do believe my grandfather's laughing his head off in Heaven. Anyway, the reason why I dun correct myself is because my uncle once said that only special ppl do things in a different way. Of course, that is a lousy excuse but the truth is 1)it's just too troublesome and 2)it doesn't make me any less Chinese. Although I will definitely try to improve on that point if I intend to have any more meals with my father's frens.

    To Cheung: dun worry abt your Chinese-speaking ability (or lack of it, in ur opinion). Maybe coz I have learnt not to judge ppl by what they can or cannot do but what they feel inside. Can't claim to know you well but from what you write, I definitely sense a lot of Chinese-ness in you - much more perhaps, than many others who can actually string more sentences in Mandarin or Cantonese than you.

    Okay, tt was a long post so I'll stop for now. Will be back.
     
  11. TOmike

    TOmike Regular Member

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    please regard my post as a joke
    it is in no way meant to offend anyone
    and if u do not fit the critera, you are still cool :p
    my critera is in no way founded by research or any other method of scientific importance. it was caused by some sponanteous nerve impulses in my brain or whatever
    lol.
     
  12. Adel

    Adel Regular Member

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    nah i'm not offended. everyone is entitled to his or her opinion and frankly, i do think my method of holding chopsticks is pretty retarded.
     
  13. TOmike

    TOmike Regular Member

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    its never too late :p just give it a feel meals and you'll be off chopping stuff to pieces with it.
     
  14. Phil

    Phil Regular Member

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    I have unorthodox chopstick technique as well. But I've been told its whatever works for you, just as long as its not atrocious. One of my friends used to have the strangest technique. It was like they were in the palm of his hand or something.

    Anyways, about the Chinese thing, I'm a CBC. I could read and speak Cantonese until I hit the public education system, where I lost it all. There was no need for it in school, and I felt ashamed of being Chinese. Now I'm proud of my heritage, but unfortunately, now I can speak only simple phrases, and the only characters I easily recognize are the numbers for when I play mah-jong (not the dumb American version either, real Mah-Jong). I can still understand the main part of a conversation, but I can't speak it. Hai....................

    Phil
     
  15. JChen99

    JChen99 Regular Member

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    :eek: AHHHHH the HORROR!!!!

    wait... wut am I talkin about... :confused:

    I speak and write mandarin perfectly (although sometimes the writing part takes a lotta effort for me to recall the words) on top of speaking perfect Taiwanese that I've always known how to :)

    ok... so I wasn't born in Canada, I jus liv here now and have been for the past 10 yrs (For someone living here for so long my english sux BAD!! ^^" but wut the heck, i can write and speak no problems ;)

    I believe that it's realli important to know you native language tho (especially when it's chinese/english... since so many ppl in this world speak these languages) better yet, it'd be a bonus if u can still write literature and/poems with the language (the chiks dig that :p)
     
  16. JChen99

    JChen99 Regular Member

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    Phil, with the chopsticks, it's true wutever suits you is good... jus lik how u hold ur pencils :)

    When i first got to Canada, i reconed the same thing as you, the needlessness of chinese in canada, but now I realized that iz even more important than english... especially when ur in Richmond ;)

    and the thing with Mahjong... is it the cantonese 13 peice version or the Taiwnese 16 peice system ur talkin about? :rolleyes:
     
  17. kwun

    kwun Administrator

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    interesting topic!

    i am a HK born Chinese. left home at 14, went to study in the UK, and then left UK and came to U and work in the US. i just realize, this year mark the time i have been away from home 1/2 of my life.

    as many of you, i still speak cantonese, read chinese, and my mandarin skills improved after i have left HK. i watch Chinese series and sometimes watch Chinese movies. i play and watch badminton instead of baseball and football. i eat more Chinese food than McDonalds. i root for the Chinese teams where fits. i am proud of the Chinese culture and heritage but don't care for the politics there.

    i hope to call myself Chinese and i hope that others will view me that way.

    however, before we can indulge into whether we are Chinese or not, we must agree on a definition of being Chinese.

    how do you consider someone Chinese?

    language? race/genetics?
    culture? heritage?
    schooling?
    where they are born?
    how they are raised?

    TOmike has started the list. but the list is incomplete IMHO. i have met genetically caucasians who will be called Chinese according to you definition. :)

    the Chinese is a very interesting group. as there are so many Chinese and the Chinese have started emmigrating to all over the world starting from the previous century. no where will you find a race who are influencial and numerous enough that you will find a China town in many of the largest cities in the world. as a result there are a huge mix of people who will have very diverse background yet have a link back to the Chinese.

    we have a very diverse group of people here who do have some representation of the Chinese. some are born in a "Chinese" area with high (90+%) concentration of Chinese, such as China, HK, Taiwan, and have lived in foreign countries. some are born in a more mixed region, where there is a lower concentration of Chinese, eg. Singapore, Malaysia. some are ethnicly Chinese (or partially) but born in foreign countries, eg. ABC, BBC, CBC. some of these have moved back into more Chinese concentrated countries. some may know the language/culture, etc, some maybe just learning it.

    the one thing that is common among all these Chinese people is that they are all ethnically Chinese. is that enough of a criteria?

    also, many are foreign born but don't give a damn about the Chinese, the only thing "Chinese" about these people is their skin color. do we call them Chinese?



    aside from being Chinese, here is a related question: where do you consider "home"? it is an interesting question. i'd like to say that it is my house here in the Bay Area, but i also call my parents' home home. my parent's home was my home, however, after years away from there, i no longer have my own room, and my belongings are just some old toys and stuff that are stacked on shelf top there. for the home i have here in the Bay Area, yeah, i live here and i have all my belongings. however, i do not have permanent citizenship in this country and
     
  18. Bbn

    Bbn Regular Member

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    Values ?

    I think values of people in China, HK, Taiwan, Japan and Korea

    are different from others overseas, even if there may be a coomon language etc.
     
  19. Cheung

    Cheung Moderator

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    The original problem is, why do some say people of ethnic chinese origin are not chinese if they have grown up in another country?

    Pecheur's point of the grade of 'chineseness' is cultural and attitude. Can you be 40% chinese? How to assess?

    Why is there the term "Hua qiu"?
    The "hua" comes from "zhong hua" meaning chinese. So you can be called chinese and overseas chinese, yet when you are physically in China, then these same people say you are not chinese!! Doesn't that seem strange?


    "also, many are foreign born but don't give a damn about the Chinese, the only thing "Chinese" about these people is their skin color. do we call them Chinese?"

    Even some of these people don't regard themselves as chinese since they don't think chinese. But they are not the same ethnic origin as the country they where born in either. So what are they? I think they should be called chinese....but of another country's nationality....

    Here's a funny story to illustrate the dillema:
    Although born outside of China(HK), I have no English name. My name is romanised in spelling. I have chinese characters for my name. So one HK (chinese) person at work says to me "you are not chinese". I say "I have no English name, yet you use an English name. Maybe you are not chinese as well. Both of us cannot speak PuTongHua."
    His reply "no, no, I am chinese because I have a chinese education"

    (Can you see the irony? He claims to have a chinese education but cannot speak the national language. Isn't that a bit strange? BTW, this is not an uncommon situation for many HKer's...many have never looked at the situation from this point of view)

    So I say, "There are many illiterate people in China without an education. By your definition, all these people are not Chinese!"

    After some thought...
    Reply "you have to be born in China"

    I say "My wife has chinese name, speaks cantonese, Putonghua fluently, reads and writes chinese, has chinese education but born in M'sia. So has chinese education better than many HK people...she not chinese?"


    This time, enlightment is suddenly starting to bear on my work colleague. For any definition, there can be found very common exceptions.
    Attitude is only cultural sense. A caucasian can be very 'chinese' but not a chinese person.
    Education has nothing to do with being chinese.
    Birthplace only defines your nationality!


    Funnily enough, something interesting about chinese descendents of migrants many generations ago is their chopstick skills. They usually are far more adept at using chopsticks than any ethnic group. That seems to be one chinese skill that is never lost going down the generations!!
     
  20. Cheung

    Cheung Moderator

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    Adel, what is your race? You said it was very important to you.
    Are far as I can make out, there is no such thing as a "S'porean race". If there is can you explain:)

    I wonder what other S'poreans think on this matter.
     

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