Fun with For­eign­ers

Special Focus - - Humor - By Yi Ming Trans­la­tion by Sam Bow­den

Iwas walk­ing around Bei­jing when a group of for­eign­ers sud­denly stopped me and asked, “Where is Heaven?”

Think­ing that they were try­ing to preach to me I replied, “In your heart.”

They looked at me like I was mad.

It wasn’t un­til later that I re­al­ized that they were ask­ing me about the Tem­ple of Heaven.

An Amer­i­can friend of mine was head­ing back to the States for a spell and asked me to take care of his cat while he was away. When he brought the cat over, he said to me, very sin­cerely, “Tony, please, what­ever you do, please don’t eat him.” I went speech­less: do all for­eign­ers re­ally be­lieve that Chi­nese peo­ple will eat any­thing?

One time I was ac­com­pa­ny­ing a friend of a friend, an Ital­ian guy, around Nan­jing. We were strolling around the city and had made it to Fuz­imiao where we stopped in front of the sign for the sight. We were there read­ing the de­scrip­tion for the place and the

Ital­ian guy was look­ing in­tently at the Five-A rat­ing, read­ing it aloud, “Ah, Ah, Ah, Ah, Ah,” con­fus­edly ask­ing me what it meant.

Iused to work at an R& D com­pany that my Swedish co­worker and I started in Shang­hai. This Swede was six foot three and skinny as a rake. At that time, he’d only just ar­rived in Shang­hai. One af­ter­noon we went to a Sichuanese restaurant for lunch, we or­dered a few dif­fer­ent dishes to share and then the wait­ress brought over a big bucket of rice for us.

The Swede was quite as­ton­ished ask­ing who was get­ting such a large “bowl” of rice. With­out think­ing about it I started jok­ing around with him say­ing, “You are an im­por­tant guest here. Ac­cord­ing to our cus­toms: this rice is all for you.” He stretched his hands out, look­ing re­luc­tant, “Your guys’ cus­toms here are quite pe­cu­liar.”

My phone rang just as I laughed at his com­ment. I stepped out to an­swer it and ended up chat­ting for a bit. When I came back about ten min­utes later, the Swede had eaten up the en­tire bucket of rice. He sat there fixed, look­ing blankly at the empty “bowl,” telling me, “I fin­ished it.” He was so full that he couldn’t even have a bite of any of the other food we or­dered. Af­ter that I avoided him for many a day at lunch time, not dar­ing to have lunch with him, feel­ing that I had wronged him.

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