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aimei

"Helloooooo....."

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aimei

Seriously, why do Chinese find this so hilarious? Everytime I am in a place where I am probably the only white person, (which includes the place I live) I have this yelled at me, and after living here for three months now I'm pretty damn sure this isn't some kind of polite greeting. When I let the ppl know that I don't appreciate this they just laugh and point....why can't I just participate in this culture without having my whiteness thrown in my face at every turn? Also when my boyfriend and I are at the supermarket whatever checkout girl who happens to be there finds it nessecary to say, "Wo shou hua nimen ting dong ma"? like were some kind of idiots, then proceeds to giggle with her friend when I inform her that yes, "women ting dong." But getting back to "Hellooooo...." thing, I usually am greeted with this at least a couple times a day, but I have only been called a "laowai" once, which is what I usually hear foreigners in China complaining about being harassed with. Can anyone give any insight into this Hello thing and why Chinese feel the need to say it so much with complete indifference to any offense taken? Sorry I am really complaining here but some days I really reach my limit with China......

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JohnSmith1980

http://www.talktalkchina.com/

Everything u ever need to vent about is covered here. it closed down recently but would sill make for interesting reading when u need to let off stteam.

good luck

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imron

@c_smith85 I was going to say the exact same thing. When the cycle of funk has got you down, TTC was the perfect place to go to release some steam. And now all we are left with is the google cache and the wayback machine.

@aimei the post you are looking for is this one... You Say Ha Luo’r, I Say Piss Off

If any of the D's are reading, won't you at least consider putting the archives back up?

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Hero Doug

China has A LOT of racism still, (and no one said other countries don't) and after reading that archive page I easily spotted a few Chinese people on there who simply don't know the tone and implication of the way hello is said. This is the problem when the Chinese start to defend something they simply don't understand, and the racisim get's ignored.

In Canada I say hello every day to so many people, but I say it like a human not like some retard on the Price is Right.

I think the proof is in the pudding. Remember the fiesty foreigner in Beijing. Many Chinese called out that guy and denounced him publicly, and even harrased him so much he had to change his phone number. The fact that Chinese defend this hello behaviour shows they simply can't put themselves in the shoes of others and thus can't comphrend it, otherwise it'd also be denounced.

There's a huge difference between Hello, and HHHHEEEEEELLLLLLOOOOOOO :lol:

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aimei

Thanks for the link to the Hellor piss off on TTC. I have been on that blog a few times before when I need to rant about China. I think what that guy was saying before about how the "Hellos" are innocent is crap. If they genuinely wanted to say hi to me, why do 99.9% of them turn, back to their friends, laugh, and point and me and my bf afterwards?? The only ppl that I think really just want to greet you are little kids! I also agree with you Hero that there is a lot of racism here in China, (not saying that the US is excluded from that of course though.) I think it comes from a unwillingness to understand any other culture that is different from China's, since from what I have seen here it seems like they take it as a given that Chinese culture is superior. Any thoughts?

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liuzhou

Ignore it and get on with your life. There is nothing you can do about it.

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aimei

I realize that there is nothing I can do about it, but I was just curious as to why they behave this way.....

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imron

Putting yourself in someone else's shoes can sometimes be a difficult thing to do, regardless of nationality. The Helloooo thing (and while we're at it, the laowai thing), is very difficult to see when it's not directed at you, especially as these are words which aren't negative by nature (which is not to say that they can't be used in a negative way, just that the words themselves don't contain this meaning). Even if they see it happen a few times, a Chinese person might still not think anything of it or see any problem with it.

In fact I have a Chinese friend who used to argue with me all the time that I was overreacting, that nothing was meant by it, that people were just being friendly etc. It wasn't until I visited his hometown which was a tiny town in the middle of nowhere, where the calls of helloooo, laowai, and the stares came in such a constant stream that he actually realised and saw for himself what it was like, and decided that perhaps after all, my viewpoint had some merit. In fact, it got to a point where he was so embarrassed by it, that he decided it would be better if perhaps we went back home and stayed indoors.

As for why they do it, well, for some it's curiosity, others genuinely intend to be friendly, and others do it for the same reason they might make barking noises when they see a dog - because they get a kick out of provoking some sort of reaction.

I wouldn't go so far as to say this is racism. It's just that unfortunately, when someone calls out hello, they don't realise that they are perhaps the 10th (or 100th) person to do so that day, and that the joke has already worn pretty thin.

In a similar vein, I'm a reasonably tall person (192cm - or about 6'3" for those that don't do metric) and even in the west, when I meet someone for the first time I'll get comments about being tall (like I didn't know that already!). Often what one person sees as a novel and fresh comment, is something that is old and tiring for the person the comment is being directed at.

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aimei

You make some good points Imron. In fact my Chinese friend responded with something pretty similiar when I questioned her about this phenomenon....she basically said that it may be the first time that some of these ppl have seen a foreigner and that they are so curious that it's almost like they can't help themselves from saying something and laughing about it with their friends and forget that this might actually be offensive.....this actually makes a lot of sense because we've only had this happen to us in areas not frequented by others, and by construction workers. Also you're right they could also just be trying to provoke you for cheap "joke," and don't realize how thin it wears when you hear some many ppl do it everyday. I was very good about ignoring it for the first two months but today I just reached my breaking point and havd to vent to some other laowai (thanks for listening!!) :D At least they didn't get their reaction out of me though....

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Hero Doug
Ignore it and get on with your life. There is nothing you can do about it.
Wow, just bend over and take it eh? You know of course no one is going to stop subtle racism or annoyances, but you can give one person such an uncomfortable, enlightening, or embarrasing experience that they'll think twice before doing it again.

As I mentioned above with the Beijing bike thrower, do you think he's going to throw someone's bike in public again without giving it a second thought? I doubt it. I know I give some things second thought's after some experiences.

And racisim is becoming a very broad word nowadays. It means the belief that one race is superior to another, but with such a belief it could lead to unfavourable actions to a race one might see as inferior.

So I'll rephrase it to "acting differently towards someone who is noticeably a different race towards in an annoying/demening way".

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mpallard

I honestly think the people who yell HEEELLOOOOO at foreigners think they're the only ones who have thought of doing this.

I agree it's really anoying but I don't know what one could do about it. Usually I just do my best to ignore them.

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wushijiao

I think, in addition to what imron said, people from rural areas, and the such, just have never imagined themselves using English as a language of communication. If you have ever taught in rural areas, I'm sure you will have noticed that the first student to say something to the foreign teacher in English usually recieves a huge round of laughter.

Another example, when I taught in Beijing, I had a really cool driver who would drive me around from school to school. He was a chatter, and so I got a chance to practice my Chinese all day long. Anyway, when we'd go to a specific restaurant for lunch, we'd go to sit down at the table, and he would tell the staff something like, "他也在教我外语(....wait for it....): Khalllloooo! Moshi! Moshi!!!"

The staff would almost hurt themselves laughing everytime.

So, the "Helllloooo" is a laugh at our expense, but we have to admit, in its our circumstances, it is a pretty damn funny joke. :wink:

I just see the "hello", "laowai" and the staring as the flip side of being praised for even saying the most simple Chinese, which is probably more encouraging than the "helllooo" is annoying. Both stem for the fact that some Chinese people have absolutely no experience talking to foreigners.

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aimei

I am getting to understand after three months of being here that the Chinese are an extremely isolated ppl that have pretty much zero experience or understanding of outside cultures, so can we say that this attitude prevents them from seeing why the "laowai" or "helloooo" behavior is rude and unwelcome?.....I did a great job the first month of ignoring it even while I felt pretty hurt when they would point and laugh at me like I was some kind of monkey in a cage. But then after hearing it for the hundreth thousandth time I started to glare and even tell them that this was not appreciated, this did not make the slightest impression on them. I mean even if they are incapable of understanding why this is rude (which I believe they are), wouldn't they at least stop the behavior just for the very fact that it is clearly upsetting someone....sometimes I really don't "get" the Chinese.

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mrtoga

I always get the irritating "hello" thing from high-school boys and drunk men (and occasionally taxi-drivers, but I forgive them because most of them are bonkers anyway).

Most Chinese are embarassed by this kind of behaviour and wouldn't do it themselves. When young lads do it I equate it with kids in England being a bit "lary", except in England they would be more likely to moon people from passing cars or something - amusing for the participants but just embarassing for everyone else.

When drunk middle-aged guys do it that is more pathetic. But at least it gives me a warning that I am likely to get dragged into a tedious conversation about America's hegemony (美国,就是霸道注意) or the honesty of the Chinese people (中国人非常实在). Or a rant about the Japanese. So I actually rather appreciate this "hello" and adapt my generally friendly attitude as necessary......

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gougou

I think trying to link this behavior to a certain part of the Chinese culture is pointless. I had a Japanese friend in France complain to me that she people would shout "ni hao" after her pretty much on a daily basis.

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adrianlondon

I like random strangers sticking a hand in the air, fingers apart and saying "hellloooooooo!" to me as I walk past. I'm usually completely ignored when walking around London, so I like the attention.

I even enjoyed going to Xiangshan on National Day and having out-of-towners wanting to have their photo taken with me. I'd always grab them back and get my friend to take another photo using my camera.

I always wonder what happens when they show these photos to their friends. I have an excuse - I can say "see that strange Chinese lad clinging to me? For some reason, he wanted a picture taken with me, what a laugh!" but what excuse to they have? When their friend asked "do you know that bloke?" they must surely reply "no, not got a clue who he is, but wow, he's white!!". Eh? Oh well.

I usually respond to "hellllloooooo!" by sticking my hand in the air and saying "kneeeee haaaaaauuuuuuuuuuuu" in a similarly silly accent. Once, slightly worse for alcohol, I pre-empted their hello's by just picking some random guy and doing my "knee hauu" thing. They're probably posting complaints on laowai-forums.com as I type.

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roddy
I always wonder what happens when they show these photos to their friends. I have an excuse - I can say "see that strange Chinese lad clinging to me? For some reason, he wanted a picture taken with me, what a laugh!" but what excuse to they have? When their friend asked "do you know that bloke?" they must surely reply "no, not got a clue who he is, but wow, he's white!!". Eh? Oh well.

A friend of mine got really annoyed at me once when she showed me her photos from a trip to Beijing and I couldn't stop laughing - there was at least an entire roll of shots of 'me and random foreigners', and the looks on some of those people's faces was hilarious.

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liuzhou

I was grabbed (quite roughly) by a total stranger the other day and forced to pose. He was Korean.

This all reminds me of when I was a student in London (longer ago than I want to consider) and we regularly amused ourselves by picking on Japanese tourists, following them around and making sure we were somewhere in the background of every picture they took. They never noticed us, but we had great fun imagining their reactions when they got home, developed the pictures and found these strangers in every picture. (What we never considered was that they think we all look the same and probably never noticed anyway!)

The benefits of higher education!

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aimei

Yeah I've had quite a few ppl ask for my photo at the major tourist sites, and that doesn't bother me.....those ppl just seem genuinely curious and I will talk to them for a bit too and they get pretty excited. I was just annoyed but the "hello" thing because I can't stand rudeness and after three months the "joke" was getting pretty old.

btw does anyone know if talktalk china is only accessable from comps in foreigners apartments? At our old place my bf and I could get on any site we wanted pretty much, but now we are living somewhere else that doesn't have net so I have to go this net cafe and I can't get on here.....too bad that was an awesome blog.

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