Thursday, April 17, 2008

Special People

The Chinese have a hard time with mental disabilities, they tend to take the ignore approach (like many things) as opposed to tackling the issue head on. However, this is a restaurant that we go to sometimes called "The Swingers" (we give english names to all these chinese places, something about a language barrier), and every Wednesday they place host to the local special kids to help give them some job training.

I'm usually not that sentimental/soft but when I saw what they were doing it made me feel like "Wow, people actually care about their own." So we went back there last night and it was the "Special" night and there was this kid who was just fascinated by us. Usually rural Chinese are just amazed to see a non Chinese, but they have the werewithall to look away when they are staring (at least some of the time). But given this guys predicament I was gonna let it slide.

The funny thing about this event was that the kid, was very polite, nice, could speak fine he was just a simple man. But he failed to grasp that we spoke another language, to him we were just different looking Chinese people I guess. He would speak to us and I would speak back saying I'm sorry I don't know what you are saying I don't speak Chinese. So he would respond accordingly, speaking slower, it was very funny. But then we noticed that what he was doing never happens, to him we just didn't understand what he was saying so he clarified, but when you are talking to a "normal" Chinese person, they tend to get flustered or speak very fast at you or get really embarassed and just quit. This kid, though, had tenacity he kept at it, and it was very refreshing that he wasn't "scared or embarassed" to talk to us. It is amazing that it takes a mental disability to make me feel like people are treating me normal.

The question then becomes who has the mental disability? Me or the Chinese people? Bias leads me to say them but who knows, right?

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