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(Letter from Joel) How should foreigners feel about being called “鬼子,” “鬼佬,” “老外,” etc.?

April 15th, 2009 231 comments

I’m on an extended visit back to my hometown, Vancouver, a Canadian city full of Chinese. Chinese is the second-most commonly used language after English. My wife and I were running around a Chinese mall for fun to practice Mandarin and buy some Chinese DVDs when we overheard Chinese people talking about us in Mandarin saying, “Those foreigners are speaking Chinese!” I thought it was funny that even in Canada, Chinese people would call white people “foreigner” (in this case: “外国人”).
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