Heard a very interesting story a couple of days ago regarding some interesting analogies the people from a local chinese newspaper uses to attract potential clients to advertise in their newspapers, this case in particular my friend’s company who currently advertises in English newspapers. Note that the company has a Chinese majority staff, which is how this incident could occur.
It may seem strange to some people, but it’s quite common here in Malaysia for Chinese people to not be able to read, write, or even speak Chinese at any degree, myself being one prime example although in my defense I *am* able to read, write, and speak a little bit here and there. I have always known all along the non-derogatory-but-comic “banana” label attached to people like me: yellow on the outside but white on the inside. Yellow synonymous with Chinese skin, and white being English speaking.
I’ve heard it being used so many times that it never occurred to me to wonder what other types of fruit analogies out there, until the story of the “mangoes” was told.
What are mangoes you ask? Well, they are the non-banana Chinese. The ones who are not only yellow on the outside, but yellow on the inside as well. In other words, what that chinese daily refers to as the “real” Chinese people who CAN read, CAN write, and most definitely CAN speak Chinese, in essence the type of people who subscribes to their newspaper. It was interesting – and rather courageous – to hear how the reps from tat chinese daily could insinuate that only true Chinese people aka “mangoes” are more helpful towards their own community where as the “bananas” only know how to look out for our own selves.
Furthermore they go on to say that “bananas” are very confrontational unlike “mangoes” who know how to jaga muka / save face and will go all out to help one another without question. They keep going on referring to themselves and their fellow “mangoes” as the 华人 (Chinese people) like as if we “bananas” are not, and I think it’s just a very “racist” thing to say eventhough they’re making derogatory comments about their supposedly own kind.
I don’t feel offended by it, because I am generally not offended by racism or racist humour. If anything, I think their small-mindedness is quite entertaining, and I honestly do not feel confrontation as being a negative attribute to have because you’re standing up for what you believe in and not being a submissive drone as part of a larger dictatorship regime.
Some people look down on Chinese people who can’t speak their own language because they feel like it’s disregarding their own cultural heritage, but sometimes we can’t help it that we’re brought up in an environment filled with English speaking people and have parents who are English-educated and sent us to study in English and BM medium schools. This is Malaysia afterall, where Bahasa is placed more importantly followed by English. But I guess that’s another problem, when the country you are a part sometimes regards you as an immigrant and not its own native eventhough you have direct connections to it and not to the “home country” where your ancestors came from. Oh well. We don’t live in an ideal world, do we? 😛
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On a lighter note:
CheNeo: Did you know that English-speaking Indians who can’t speak their own language are called “mangosteens”?
Me: Hahah isit?
CheNeo: Yeah. I wonder what are Indians who can speak their own language called?
Me: “Rotten mangosteens”? 😛