Originally published in The China Post (but not published anywhere else online). Read more of Rosanne’s witty and hilarious columns for the culturally discombobulated on her new website: rosannelin.com
Our community has a very strange lady foreigner. I worry about her because she doesn’t have foreigner friends; so please give me a little advice about how to help her.
Let me tell you her problem: This lady doesn’t like foreigner things. For example, one of our community members had McDonald’s coupons, so that member invited the lady foreigner to lunch, but the lady foreigner didn’t want to go. She says she doesn’t like hamburgers. I myself many times invited her to go to pray at the Christian church in our community, but she also doesn’t want to go there.
This lady foreigner likes to go to sing at the KTV; she likes to go to eat at the night market and small Taiwan restaurants; and her boyfriend is a short, fat Taiwan taxi driver. What’s wrong with her? I watch Hollywood movies; and I even traveled to San Francisco several years ago, so I know foreign culture. She should go to Taipei City and find a tall, handsome American man. Like this, then she can be happy.
Anyway, I told a missionary – you know the kind that wear nice white shirts and ride bicycles – this lady’s story, and gave him her telephone number. But when this missionary gave her a telephone call, she became angry at me. She said I “invaded her privacy.” I don’t understand her meaning. What is wrong?
— Concerned Neighbor in ChungHe
Dear Concerned Neighbor;
It sounds as if your strange neighbor is merely trying to adapt to Taiwan life. Maybe you need to work out some new stereotypes for defining your reality. Let me also add that religion is a private matter for most people – well at least the rational and the sane.
By the way, I am assuming that you went to San Francisco on a group tour with a large flock of other Taiwan people, only to stand around loudly exclaiming in Mandarin: “Look at all the foreigners!”
Hope you took pictures.
— “The problem with writing about religion is that you run the risk of offending sincerely religious people, and then they come after you with machetes.”
Dave Barry, American journalist and humorist
When I met my boyfriend at university in the US, he was a very logical person. Actually, we met in statistics class. However, since we came to Taiwan, he’s turned into a superstitious, defying-the-odds gambler.
I was so excited to come here to meet his family and learn about his home country, but all he ever does is hang around underground gambling houses losing money.
Last week was the worst. He spent his entire month’s salary on lottery tickets. But even after several hours of mediating and countless joss sticks, he still didn’t win.
Now we’re broke, and he’s suggesting I try to find work as a part-time KTV hostess as it pays better than teaching English.
I can’t bear the idea of leaving him, but I think it’s time to buy a plane ticket home.
— Beaten by Odds in Banciao
Dear Beaten by Odds;
You still have enough money for the plane fare? And just think the government wants to make gambling legal. Go figure!
— “You cannot beat a roulette table unless you steal money from it.” ~Albert Einstein
Read more of Rosanne’s work at rosannelin.com