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  #81  
Old 21.04.2017, 15:29
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Re: Female and Asian here in Switzerland

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Mmmmmmmm ! Should that be Down . After all it's about sexism
well .....

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.....
(My preferred food are meatballs)
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Only foreigners eat meatballs.

Tom
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Really? I acquired that taste in Warnemuende, fabulous klopsen.
.....
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Warnemünde is Germany ...... are the Lederhosen gonna come up next again?
But of course you're right. It's the first thread ever on EF that got a little side-tracked .....
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  #82  
Old 21.04.2017, 15:34
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Re: Female and Asian here in Switzerland

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Yes, there are all sorts of reasons why anyone could be surprised or impressed by someone else's language skills.

And that works on quite convulted ways. Many of us who've been away from the country in which we learnt, or most used, a particular language have had the experience of visiting, only to be told how impressive/fluent/accent-free/quaint/old-fashioned our use of language is. It's a very odd feeling, when one is caught between a certain wish to squeal: "But it's my language, after all! I learnt it here, just like you did!" and the admission that time has moved on, and that there's a certain undeniable gap between my version of that language and the current one.
I know this from Spain. I have several relatives living out there in the expat bubble. Some of these people left England more than 20 or 30 years ago and sway between worshipping some sort of idealised image of the old country and foaming about how its all so gone down the drain since they left and how they're never going back. Their dialogues sound cut out of some 1980s soap opera.
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  #83  
Old 21.04.2017, 16:29
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Re: Female and Asian here in Switzerland

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As a fellow Asian female immigrant, I'm sadly familiar with all of the above exchanges (except for case 1 as I did start off as a trailing spouse). I'm not sure whether "Asian female" really has much to do with it though as my male expat friends of all colours and origins seem to get them too

I still find those remarks always annoying and sometimes offensive after a few years of dealing with them, but I have also learnt to take them as a sign of lack of worldliness and sophistication from the person and use it as a cue to guide my future interactions with them.

After all, they are basically just spitting out the first thing they can associate with you and that's never a sophisticated way of communicating with anyone!
A bit like on EF then.


Seriously, there is a lot of hate (or ignorance) around these days...if you allow yourself to be affected by every ignoramus it means they win, well, sort of. Laugh it off.
I have friends from many countries and when I think of them, am still touched by the capacity of human beings to break any language, cultural and...tribal barriers. It is like I know them for ever. This is what it counts, really, not the pettiness of some.
It doesn't happen only in Switzerland, it doesn't happen only to females, or to Asians. Nobody has it "easy". I think lots of those unsophisticated reactions are actually a natural response of some frustrations, some sort of defence mechanism.
Don't sweat it, it's not worth. People tend to believe that it only happens to them, for some reasons. It happens to white, black, Swiss, non-Swiss. It's human nature.

Last edited by greenmount; 21.04.2017 at 17:05.
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  #84  
Old 21.04.2017, 17:35
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Re: Female and Asian here in Switzerland

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Yes, there are all sorts of reasons why anyone could be surprised or impressed by someone else's language skills.
I like when people compliment me on my language skills! It takes a lot of work to learn a language and aim at proficiency, so it's one of those things that really make me happy.

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That's really not as bad as trying to get Swiss German terms out of your head when you return to Germany... I must give people the impression that I have a mental condition when I am searching for basic words that are just different here.

(and don't get me started on the reactions you get when you order a Stange in a bar by mistake...)
Me: "Mom, how do you call the thing.....the thing....in Italian? Yeah, that thing... [insert English word]"
Angry mom: "That's your bl**dy mother tongue, how can you forget???"
Me:

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I know this from Spain. I have several relatives living out there in the expat bubble. Some of these people left England more than 20 or 30 years ago and sway between worshipping some sort of idealised image of the old country and foaming about how its all so gone down the drain since they left and how they're never going back. Their dialogues sound cut out of some 1980s soap opera.
Will be interesting to see what happens after Brexit fully kicks in. I saw a documentary recently about older British expats who have been living in Spain for a long time and voted in favor of Brexit, perhaps without fully connecting the dots.
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  #85  
Old 21.04.2017, 17:58
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Re: Female and Asian here in Switzerland

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I like when people compliment me on my language skills! It takes a lot of work to learn a language and aim at proficiency, so it's one of those things that really make me happy.
The OP is Singaporean. English is her mother tongue. "You are quite fluent for a Chinese" might be intended as a compliment, but really won't make her happy...
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  #86  
Old 21.04.2017, 18:20
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Re: Female and Asian here in Switzerland

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Jokes are always so much funnier when explained.

Maybe its time to write a piece that in real life John Cleese is not actually nasty to Spanish waiters. Just in case somebody misunderstood.

Just trying to be helpful. Not everyone here has heard of Gerhard Polt, nor understands German.
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Old 21.04.2017, 18:44
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Re: Female and Asian here in Switzerland

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I like when people compliment me on my language skills! It takes a lot of work to learn a language and aim at proficiency, so it's one of those things that really make me happy.
Aye an me too! 'Specially when I used tae cross the border from Scotland to Engerlund! My reply of "och ye wee stoater you" would leave them looking like this

Last edited by MusicChick; 22.04.2017 at 08:54. Reason: fixed quote - pls, use the quote button to quote somebody correctly
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  #88  
Old 21.04.2017, 18:46
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Re: Female and Asian here in Switzerland

crap...can't edit the quotes to work properly on my previous post...now I'm going to get a telling off message in my in box again!
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  #89  
Old 21.04.2017, 18:55
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Re: Female and Asian here in Switzerland

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The OP is Singaporean. English is her mother tongue. "You are quite fluent for a Chinese" might be intended as a compliment, but really won't make her happy...
Agreed, but I think it might be ignorance rather than racism. Ignorance of not knowing, for example, that Singapore's mother tongue is English, or that the OP is Singaporean. Not disputing the daftness/inappropriateness of the comment either way, but I think that in 99% of the cases, it's ignorance before anything else (IMO).
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  #90  
Old 21.04.2017, 19:22
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Re: Female and Asian here in Switzerland

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crap...can't edit the quotes to work properly on my previous post...now I'm going to get a telling off message in my in box again!
Why??? Mods just correct it
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Old 21.04.2017, 19:39
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Re: Female and Asian here in Switzerland

When living in the US, I just thought it was interesting to watch a foreign tribe and how they handle things differently than I was used to.

Being judgmental is maybe the first thing you do - because I just see things differently, being raised in another culture. But it makes no sense to be judgmental - it will not help you to get acquainted with different customs and why they are helpful in that corner of the world.

But there might be a lot of sense in what other cultures do differently in a different climate and different surroundings and traditions. This might not be ignorance, but just another way to do it.

It is easy to tell yourself that you are just worldlier and more travelled and better educated. This might be not the case. It makes you just feel better about yourself, but it does not help in understanding why those customs exist and have been successful for the people who live in that country.

I remember reading a book about the "Brady Bunch" with my not so great English at the time and my roommates took notice. They prepared a Brady Bunch evening with peanut butter sandwiches and the best episodes of the Brady Bunch, reveling in the times when they watched it coming home from school. One of my roommates had a very similar family story, too. Unforgettable!

You might still not agree with all things, but there is always a reason why people handle things like they do. I made good friends who I'm still in contact with and asked them about why things were done like they are done.

I made a pledge not to mingle with my own folk, lived with Americans who taught me a lot about their culture. I wouldn't say it was easy at first, it took some effort. But it made me understand the culture and language much better and made me appreciate many things american.

And I will never forget that experience - sometimes I also felt lonely and I felt my european roots hurting, being lonesome and alone in the beginning. But I would have missed out a lot if I had not taken the plunge and immersed myself into that culture.

Last edited by marischi; 21.04.2017 at 20:22.
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  #92  
Old 22.04.2017, 00:27
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Re: Female and Asian here in Switzerland

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Agreed, but I think it might be ignorance rather than racism. Ignorance of not knowing, for example, that Singapore's mother tongue is English, or that the OP is Singaporean. Not disputing the daftness/inappropriateness of the comment either way, but I think that in 99% of the cases, it's ignorance before anything else (IMO).
Oh, I feel fairly sure that many Europeans or North Americans - even some who'd consider themselves to be travelled or sophisticated or worldly-wise - who don't happen to have spent much time in Asia, could not name the languages in the various Asian countries, nor be able to distinguish, visually, the many different kinds of Asian persons, nor do they know much of the history, or at what stage of colonisation a particular Asian country took on English as its language.

I think many Africans, even with tertiary education, would have difficulty to draw a map of Europe, and similar inability is probably common amongst Europeans or Asians trying to draw South America.

It seems to me that the more we can simply google things, the less anyone actually bothers to, or indeed needs to, memorise the capitals and languages of the countries of the world, etc. And oddly, I don't think it really matters. This is not an appeal for dumbing down, but perhaps a sigh of relief that now, if and when we have reason to meet someone from any particular culture or country, or to have dealings in a certain country, we can, if we so feel inclined, just look it up.
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  #93  
Old 22.04.2017, 00:41
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Re: Female and Asian here in Switzerland

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Oh, I feel fairly sure that many Europeans or North Americans - even some who'd consider themselves to be travelled or sophisticated or worldly-wise - who don't happen to have spent much time in Asia, could not name the languages in the various Asian countries, nor be able to distinguish, visually, the many different kinds of Asian persons, nor do they know much of the history, or at what stage of colonisation a particular Asian country took on English as its language.

I think many Africans, even with tertiary education, would have difficulty to draw a map of Europe, and similar inability is probably common amongst Europeans or Asians trying to draw South America.

It seems to me that the more we can simply google things, the less anyone actually bothers to, or indeed needs to, memorise the capitals and languages of the countries of the world, etc. And oddly, I don't think it really matters. This is not an appeal for dumbing down, but perhaps a sigh of relief that now, if and when we have reason to meet someone from any particular culture or country, or to have dealings in a certain country, we can, if we so feel inclined, just look it up.
To be sure, when I say "ignorant", I do not mean "stupid" or other derogatory terms. I mean "ignorant" as in "they do not know", "they ignore".
In case it was not clear from my post

Google is awesome, so is talking to people - I have an issue though when people just assume or make daft remarks. Not knowing doesn't equal license to make inappropriate comments. If you do not know/ignore, listen and ask polite questions. At least, that's how I was brought up even before the world travels.
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  #94  
Old 22.04.2017, 00:53
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Re: Female and Asian here in Switzerland

A Nigerian once told me, the first few months all white people look alike and he couldn't distinguish them. I said but they got different color of hair etc. etc. but apparantly not being used to that he didn't perceive these things.

I once told an English guy that German is dead easy as all letters are pronounced exactly as they are. "No they're not", he answered ..... and he is right, rofl. Our I is and English E ......

It is fascinating when you listen to people. Most people don't bother though.
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Old 22.04.2017, 02:14
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Re: Female and Asian here in Switzerland

When I was in Brunei for the Crown Princes wedding, I was among many fellow asian and south asian journalists who looked alike for the firs two days.

At the end of the week, I couldn't believe how I had percieved them alike a week ago - they had very distinctive faces and body types like my colleagues in Europe. That was a real eye-opener about brain -rewiring :-)
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  #96  
Old 22.04.2017, 08:42
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Re: Female and Asian here in Switzerland

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crap...can't edit the quotes to work properly on my previous post...now I'm going to get a telling off message in my in box again!
The message is automatic and delivers mod's comment, that we add when somebody quotes incorrectly.

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To be sure, when I say "ignorant", I do not mean "stupid" or other derogatory terms. I mean "ignorant" as in "they do not know", "they ignore".
In case it was not clear from my post

Google is awesome, so is talking to people - I have an issue though when people just assume or make daft remarks. Not knowing doesn't equal license to make inappropriate comments. If you do not know/ignore, listen and ask polite questions. At least, that's how I was brought up even before the world travels.
The idea of daft/inappropriate is indeed cultural. It is probably fine and dandy for them, funny - on top. Humor and making what seem to us as inappropriate remarks is cultural.

If there is somebody who thinks that all Asian (white...etc.) look the same (sound, behave, you name it), it is not surprising that commenting on it sounds just fine to them. Why expect our concept of diplomacy, finesse or manners, even? That would be unintelligent.

I think it is the same here with other stuff: "why do things better when we can do it the way we are used to (learned at school, teacher or boss told us...or 20min joked about)".

Openess to adjust cognition so it reflects reality is indeed a matter of intelligence...but massively culturally conditioned.

Sometimes it is good to be inflexible (when new trends impact negatively - I actually think, doropfiz, googling makes some people cognitively lazy while thinking they are the smartest). And sometimes being inflexible is just unintelligent.

The fun part comes when being confronted with these dumb jokes or inconsiderate oblivion. Do you say - "uhm, do you realize how redneck you are making yourself sound with these stereotypes"? I kinda like the fact that forced political correctness gets a test, too, one can be nice and say "in my world this would not fly for a number of reasons but I am getting used to it here"?

I spent a couple of hours on a train in FR yesterday. There was an Asian lady who emptied every few minutes the content of her lungs/throat/nasal cavity the ways I did not even know they existed. Loud and incredibly unsanitarily. Of course she did not notice how intrusive and unapetising it was...but then again, how long has she been here? Somebody would have to tell her. I do not think she represents her home, but certain sensitivity to one's surrounding is probably reasonable to expect when travelling. It was kinda funny. Nobody blows their nose in public in the US, but it is not actually so healthy. Maybe we all can lower down our bar of what "inconsiderate" or "hurtful" means. Sharing with an Asian our misconception of their reasons to be here is dumb but it says a lot about the person who opens their mouth without thinking. When I had somebody saying something about "you should be so glad to be here...how fortunate/clever of you", I laughed and felt sorry for the limits one's mind has to deal with. The self-righteousness amuses. Everybody is entitled to wrong ideas but only some endulge in them.
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  #97  
Old 22.04.2017, 09:26
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Re: Female and Asian here in Switzerland

Given the number of Asian WAGs in Switzerland, I've often wondered how life must be for a professional Asian female coming here for work. Sorry to hear my assumptions have been confirmed by the OP. Don't take it personally, you should be proud that you're breaking the mould.
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Old 22.04.2017, 09:46
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Re: Female and Asian here in Switzerland

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Yeah, the days where the skin color is a surprise (due to black and white photos in the catalogue) are over...

That is a piece of genius and was quite controverse when it came out.
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Old 22.04.2017, 09:49
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Re: Female and Asian here in Switzerland

Breaking the mould? LOL!

I have several asian-looking girlfriends and one of my sisters-in-law is asian and lives here in Switzerland.

None of them is a WAG, they all have studied, one is a professional ballet-dancer another has done an apprenticeship and all of are working for their keep, some of them part time, having family and children.

They all speak good to perfect German or Swiss-German - some were raised here - and would be astonished if they were told they had broken a mould!
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Old 22.04.2017, 10:17
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Re: Female and Asian here in Switzerland

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Breaking the mould? LOL!

I have several asian-looking girlfriends and one of my sisters-in-law is asian and lives here in Switzerland.

None of them is a WAG, they all have studied, one is a professional ballet-dancer another has done an apprenticeship and all of are working for their keep, some of them part time, having family and children.

They all speak good to perfect German or Swiss-German - some were raised here - and would be astonished if they were told they had broken a mould!
For each of your friends I'd be willing to bet there are four or five times as many of the WAG variety. I've often wondered if the reason for this is the macho attitude many Swiss men have regarding gender roles. Swiss women by and large seem to be progressive with wanting to study, get a job etc. Whereas the men can have a very outdated view of a woman's role. Hence many go to the Far East in search of their spouses.
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