Conflict of interest

We are currently staying in a friend’s huge viennese apartment now (only for the night) and while it is luxurious my patience has been sorely tested the past few days. You know how you see other typical PRCs on your travels? And you always think that they’re so uncouth and loud (especially when you understand what they’re saying) and unlearned or small-minded? well i was basically travelling with the worst of the lot. which is rather ungrateful considering i am staying in her apartment for free and it is a really nice place. but i really don’t want to become the sort to treat people nicely just because there is something to be gained from them.

she takes photos of almost everything, and not just normal photos – they have to be taken with flash. everything has to be taken with flash (which is already kind of an indicator of an utter lack of artistry). it’s so embarrassing to be related to a trigger happy chinese in a nice restaurant. and she also tries to speak to all the people we meet in chinese. like the people at the ticket counter, the tour guide, any shop owner, as if chinese is like THE universal language. it’s crazy the times when she chooses to use english is when she is dissing austrians as a race and as a culture because she is too narrow-minded to learn about them while she is living here, instead clinging to chinese values, chinese restaurants. in the space of time we’ve been travelling in austria trying to eat something they are good at cooking we have already eaten at THREE chinese restaurants. granted the food was good but still! Yes, chinese food does have very complicated spices and subtle flavours but how shameless do you have to be to call it the best?? And how thick-skinned to declare (loudly, with no self-awareness as usual) that “austrians really suck” and “austrians are so lazy!” etc. etc. in a sea of austrians! is she asking to be lynched?? i fear for my safety here everytime she makes a racial slur.

today she literally tugged on the plait of an unsuspecting austrian girl “just to see how smooth is was” and that “it wasn’t very” it is unsurprising that many people think of the chinese as uncivilised beasts. i mean what’s up with the complete disregard for the girl? what makes them think they can do as they please? when liangze and i talked to her about it her rationale was that “oh she’s only a child” and we told her “you can’t just go around pulling other people’s hair, EVEN if they are children!” That girl was 16-17, according to liangze. it’s utter madness.

and she cuts people’s queues with no consideration for anything, without having made up her mind about what she wants to eat, and stands there pondering things for ages and ages while the people behind get pissed with her and her cabal (me). what makes her think she can behave with such impunity??? how is it possible that she can reach the age she is and not be taught basic courtesy? it’s not like she lived in china all her life, she did her undergrad at cornell and her masters at oxford and yet she behaves with the social grace of a wildebeest.

on the plus side she can be really funny at times and our chinese does improve when we are with her. i don’t think we should speak that much chinese to her though because once she gets started speaking to us in mandarin she starts speaking to everyone in mandarin and does not understand why nobody else understands her. I really don’t know what to feel or think about such a personality. She’s so much older than me but does not behave as such, however she is extraordinarily kind (I can provide her no service or benefit) and well, un-utilitarian. to me at least.

It’s difficult relating to somebody who is so unabashedly pro-china, so unabashedly chinese, and who doesn’t actually admit another worldview. It’s difficult relating to somebody who has not gone through the same education system I have that makes us think about political correctness, that has a faint tinge of white supremacy, and that embraces all cultures for lack of our own. How can anybody feel imprisoned in Vienna? She’s living in Vienna! The cultural hub of Europe! In a lovely apartment! With so many pretty gardens and a well-paying job. What manner of prison is this?? Someone who has travelled all the way here to work but persists in eating chinese food, hanging out with other chinese and basically recreating an entire chinese enclave for herself with no interest in the country she resides in must be some kind of dumbass.



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