中英对照版 2009年第1期 伯特 2016-06-02
Chinese-English No.1 2009 Bert Ameel2016-06-02
A teacher once told me her experience at the Lanzhou Railway Station. That night she always found herself surrounded by curious people every time she woke up. People stared and pointed at her saying “Look, wai guo ren! (foreigner)”
I was studying Chinese at Lanzhou University last year. Since I have blond hair, and much taller than most Chinese, I am quite eye-catching. Whether young or old, they would stare at me at first sight. Initially, I don’t like being treated like that. Every time I was stared at, I would become angry or stare back at them. But later, I gradually got used to it.
Fortunately there are other foreigners learning Chinese language in Lanzhou, but most of them are Koreans or Japanese. It seemed to me that they could not be called a “true foreigner”, for they looked Chinese. Sometimes even the Chinese could not differentiate whether they are Chinese or Japanese. In the year that I stayed in Lanzhou, I seldom see people with blond hair. I recalled the first time when I was on a bus in Lanzhou, I was stared at by all the Chinese on the bus. People along the road outside the bus stared at me too. I was like a rare animal. They also pointed at me and said: “Look, wai guo ren!” just because I have blond hair.
One of my friends could hardly bear it, so he made himself a T-shirt. On the front it says “wai guo ren is coming” in Chinese, and on the back it says “wai guo ren is going away” also in Chinese. In this way, he brought much fun to the Chinese people. We also find it funny.
Although being called “wai guo ren” in Lanzhou many times, I still think that Lanzhou people are nice. I finally came to love Lanzhou and Chinese people. Frankly, I would also stare at other foreigners when I see them, because foreigners seldom go to Lanzhou. I have finally become like a Chinese, just that I am a Chinese with blond hair.
(The story is originally written in Chinese, contributed by the Confucius Institute in Brussels & the Belgium-China Association)