conflictedinchina's User Profile
Date registered: August 21, 2012
Region: North America
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- August 21, 2012
Forums > Living in Chengdu > What do you think about the recent anti-foreigner/anti-Japanese vibe?
let me preface my response by saying that there are countless things that i love about china and chinese people. that being said, i do feel like it's changed. when i first came to chengdu in 2004 i got stared at with curiosity and even interest. it was strange, but didn't bother me. now i feel like i always get scowls and judgmental looks. what makes me most uncomfortable is that i don't even know what i did to garner this kind of hostile attitude.
a few months ago my 4yo son was surrounded by local children in mcdonald's while they laughed and pointed and gleefully yelled, "laowai! laowai! laowai!" this was a shock and very upsetting to both of us. the same day, believe it or not, when my son took a toy out of the hands of another little boy in the line at wal-mart, his mom went ballistic, even though i immediately intervened, made him give the toy back and say he was sorry. she yelled for several minutes on end, getting in my and my companion's faces and shaking her hand at us and even at my son as if she was about to hit one of us. she was yelling about us being foreigners in sichuanhua and a crowd formed and while i was angry, it wasn't until some men nearby started yelling at us and cursing us for being foreigners that i got scared. not knowing what else to do, i called the police and had them escort us to a taxi as my husband wasn't with us and i just did not feel safe with my son and 20yo relative leaving the store unaccompanied.
i just do not know what to do. more and more i feel like it might be time to move on, but for various reasons, that's not going to be possible for my family for another three years or so. this would have been unimaginable for me to say just three years ago as there are so many things about my life here that i love so much. it makes me sad and depressed and i've been pondering the ramifications of all this for some time.
i think that the main reasons for an increase in this kind of xenophobic behavior are this: inflation is painful for everyone, competition for jobs is increasing, social welfare is a mess to say the least, and the gap between the rich and poor is widening at a frightening rate. add to all this an inability to publicly air grievances, or have them addressed, and laowai scapegoats become easy targets.
just my two cents; i'd be very interested hear others' thoughts and experiences.
- August 21, 2012