Donald Gallinger was an English high school teacher in New Jersey who spent September 2004 through July 2005 in China with his wife. He kept a meticulous journal which is the basis for his “Memoirs of China.” Imagine an intelligent and eloquent American from the Midwest who has no exposure to China is suddenly plucked from his home and planted inside China. This was essentially the case with Gallinger. He is genuinely interested in learning everything that is China. His memoir is a fun read. I highly recommend following the link above. Here, I took the liberty of copying one of his entries:
|“There was no poetry”
[JOURNAL ENTRY, DECEMBER 2004:]
On the street in front of my apartment building the other night, I was approached by a young Chinese woman. She spoke to me—in Chinese, of course—and, being the polite guy that I am, I said, “Ni hui bu hui shuo ying yu?” (“Do you speak English?”) She spoke again. Eager to try out my pathetic few words of Mandarin, I said, “Wo shi mei guo ren,” or “I am an American,” to which the young woman promptly put her hand on my crotch and said, “massage?” Of course, I jumped about a mile in the air, not used to strange women fondling my genitals in the street. I said, “Oh, no, no,” shaking my head and probably acting like an embarrassed Wally Cleaver. A moment later she was accosting another Western gent. Apparently, there was no poetry involved in our brief encounter.
He has made a lot of observations about China. What are your thoughts? Agree? Disagree?