Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Chinese people LOVE me! (5)

"Chinese people love me because...., amazingly, I can use chopsticks!"


The Chinese do seem to take a perverse pride in the trickiness of their chosen national method of food-wrangling, and they appear genuinely awed whenever they see a non-Chinese handling chopsticks with anything like competence (and I certainly don't claim to be any kind of 'master' with them - no Mr Miyagi-style catching-flies-in-flight for me!). They are taught that foreigners eat only with a knife-and-fork, and assume that we must therefore be congenitally incapable of learning any other method. They little guess that Chinese food is quite common overseas as well, that we usually eat it with chopsticks, that we have probably been doing so quite regularly at least since our teens.... and could thus handle the bloody things perfectly well long before we ever came to China.

Sometimes, though, it is nice to be able to impress people so easily.

15 comments:

Tulsa said...

Long before when I knew where China was (yes, there was a time - you've no idea how provincial much of my early years were), I sat with my two pigtails-braids down to my waist in my little elementary school plastic orange seat and tied rubber bands around my no. 2 yellow pencils until I created enough tension to pick things up with them.

isn't that the beginnings of chopstick maneuverability for everyone? or at least everyone with no.2 yellow pencils and rubberbands.

so now I'm sitting here listening to Sugarland wax poetic in her heart-twisting twang about Happy Endings and The Time in Between and I'm getting nostalgic for Grove and the Jehovah's Witness Hall next door and the open space in between where the monkey bars tempt me to run up and hang upside down from my knees.

On that note, I'm going to comment on your other post here - so toughie - Enjoy your time in between and your trip to Chongqing... if you find any no.2 yellow pencils, bring me one or two back.

The British Cowboy said...

Sugarland...

Hmmmmmmmmm...

Tulsa said...

TBC, explain.

So, I'm working my way through a monster DD report - the more we dig, the more we find that needs some digging. Conservative estimate as of an hour ago is 12 Group Companies. Tapping my boots to the tunes is giving me perspective, as is the view out my window of migrant workers working 40 floors off the ground on the new CCTV Tower... Anyways, perspective or no, I won't be going home any time soon. I have the Country station on through the internet all day today and came across this line

was sitting there selling turnips on a pickup truck, munching on pork rinds

and I thought.... well, this is sung for Ramona, Oklahoma, but could so easily be the Chinese Farmer who drives his 3rd-world style pick-up* into the city every morning before dawn to sell me fruits and veggies.

*The farmer pick-up trucks here are distinctively provincial and serious workhorse vehicles... no mistaking them for the shiny red Ford F-150 the guy in the suburbs bought for fun.

The British Cowboy said...

The sad thing is I new immediately what song this was, though I had to Google to get the artist...

Good Directions, by Billy Currington.

It's a "nice" "harmless" overly mainstream for me country song...

Sort of how I view Sugarland, though I do think she has a wonderful voice.

Are you an Alison Krause fan, Tulsa? Talk about a voice I could fall in love with...

Tulsa said...

yes, "harmless" is a good description.

and yes, it's all in the voice.... Krause included.

Speaking of voices --- Evanescence? Not sure what their standing in the USA is now, but I was in love with that lead singer a few years ago. She accompanied me through many hours of litigation prep when I was working across the Key Bridge in Arlington. Listening to her sing out all the angst was good for me.

Tulsa said...

TBC,

now look what you've done... I've been singing Allison Krause all day... you say it best when you say nothing at all

Tulsa said...

Whiskey Lullaby anyone??

The British Cowboy said...

I have a huge man crush on Brad Paisley.

There, I said it. Now it is out on teh interwebs for everyone to see.

Tulsa said...

Wow. way to go TBC.

considering I've admitted to my love for all these women singers, I guess your declaration of your man-crush is okay. though I'm sure for women to admit crushes on other women is not as stigmatic.

How's your day been so far?

I don't get any sleep and people tell me I look great. It's a messed up messed up world I tell yah.

Leah said...

Ugh. If I get *one* *more* compliment on my chopsticks skills...

Froog said...

Crikey - I go away for two days, and the lunatics have taken over the asylum.

Tulsa, I suppose you missed Lee's Diner USA? Little place on Dongdaqiao, just opposite the hideous Mexican Wave. Small, and hardly ever had any customers, but the food was a decent slice of smalltown Americana, and they used to play continuous tapes of (sometimes quite recent) a Texas country radio station. A good place for forgetting you were in China for a while, if you were ever so inclined....

Of course, it's gone now. None of the things I like ever last for long.

Tulsa said...

LOL... Froog, this is why you must never leave.

and to add to my nostalgia, you tell me about a great place to which I can never go.... thanks.

The British Cowboy said...

Work blows. Families blow harder.

omg said...

Alas, I am one of those people and have never mastered the art of chopsticks. My failure makes me lash out and wonder things like, how could people who developed gun powder not see the advanced utility of the fork and knife? And especially with a diet so full of rice. Chopsticks are a much more graceful thing than stabbing food though, I'll give them that. (Right up until you've got noodles and chunks of meat hanging out of your mouth, that is.)

I'm going to Thailand in a few months, and have been advised to bring my own fork.

Froog said...

Good luck in Thailand, OMG. I have to say, I thought they were more of an eating-with-the-hands culture down there.

I am contemplating one or two follow-up posts on this. For me, the special perverseness of the Chinese lies not so much in their centuries-long refusal to adopt the fork, but in their parallel development of the world's slipperiest cuisine. Even Chinese people sometimes have difficulty eating with chopsticks!