Sunday, 7 February 2010

What Color is English?

In Asian, or at least Chinese speaking countries, the term 外國人 (waiguoren), meaning "foreigner", always carries a racial context. It seems in a typical Taiwanese mind "Foreigner" is mostly associated non asian people. However, there is a large amount of people from other Asian nations and pacific islands that don't speak English but do not stand out as much. Along side this thought is the stereotype that white people speak only English, no matter where they're from. Therefore, white face = English. . These misgivings lead to the common situation of a Taiwanese/Chinese initiating random conversation with a foreigner to practice their English. A harmless albeit most annoying stereotype for someone who came to Taiwan to learn and speak Chinese. I came to Taiwan to do just that. Live in a place where the national and very dominant language is Mandarin Chinese. So far it has been a bit similar as if I went to McDonalds expecting to order a hamburger only for the clerk to ask me "want kind of pizza would you like?"

In Taiwan being a "foreigner" most likely means you are doing one of two things. One, you are teaching English. Two, you are a student training your feeble tongue to speak Chinese. For those teaching English, race can became a very annoying obstruction. As I wrote above white skin means English and that means some jobs are open to whites only. Blacks, Asian, Hispanic, and Latino people of English speaking countries can have a hard time finding work because their ostensible qualities don't fit the expectations of Taiwanese stereotypes. Below is a conspicuous gem an example. Please note that ABC = American born Chinese, ABT = American born Taiwanese.

Seeking English Tutor for Auto Company employees
Kaohsiung City 高雄市10+Adult and School-aged1034Details
Kaohisung's biggest Auto Company is seeking Experienced English Tutor for employees. The purpose for employees to learn is to make them much more international and able to read English document as future concern. Class will concentrate more in “Pronunciation Correction” and “Business Conversation”. Requirements : 1.True Native Speaker, Caucasian is the best. USA or Canada tutor the best. ABC or ABT please hesitate. 2.Nice, patience & energetic. 3.Teaching Certificate is not required, would be PLUS if available. 4.Able to create great interaction during session. Class size can be 8~10 students, depends on tutor's condition. Interview is required if eligible. Welcome to contact by phone or write me mail, if you think you are the one!! cheers Eddie Yu


  1. Don't know what color English is, but would like to think it doesn't this naive? Now that music you wrote about back in Nov. It comes from the womb, you were surrounded by all kinds of rock and roll, but it was the 80's. Be happy that "play that funky music white boy" isn't bouncing between your ears.

  2. Im not sure what that means, 雪糕 .