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Is learning Chinese really all that worthwhile?


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Companies from all over the world are looking to do business in china now and will certainly give high regard to any foriegner particularly from their country that can speak good chinese

You're probably right, but your own countrymen occasionally won't believe you (or will think, "right, he can order spicy chicken"), so you have to 'sell' yourself better than an Asian-looking guy whose proficiency is taken for granted (kind of like English teachers in China).

maybe 20% of the time i was taken as asian. funny

I'm Italian, which I guess is kind of darkish white, and someone occasionally asks if I'm Chinese (more like 2% though). Yet many people do treat you normally even if they know you are a foreigner, while others go into anaphylactic shock when they see you holding chopsticks. This kind of 'limbo' existence can be stressful in its own kind of way.

I was rereading David Kwan's "Broken Portraits" recently, there is a passage that says something like, "I can't really fathom what the Chinese want from foreigners. They bring us in and make us ape their ways, while holding us at arm's length. I don't think they know...." I sometimes get the same impression.

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