You Know You’re A Banana When…

A banana is a Chinese who is thoroughly Westernized…

Born and raised on English language and culture, at the cost of their own Chinese heritage. 

Yellow on the outside, but white on the inside. Like yours truly.

So you know you’re a banana when…

You’re watching a Chinese comedy and laugh before the joke happens… Because you’re reading the subtitles.

You can’t remember how to write your own name in Chinese, because it’s been years since you last did.

…Who needs it to know how to write their name in Chinese anyway? Okay, now you’re just a slave to the West. Just wait till China becomes the new world superpower, then you know.

Before saying anything in Chinese, you carefully rehearse what you’re going to say.

…But your intonation ends up completely off anyway, making you sound like the banana you are.

When at a hawker centre or coffee shop, you have to look at the actual food being prepared to know what the hawkers sell… Since you can’t read the signs.

Your Chinese vocabulary is limited to ‘How much’, ‘Big’, ‘Small’, ‘Don’t want spicy’, and numbers. And that’s good enough for you to buy food outside and survive.

Sometimes, you choose a Malay or Indian stall because at least then you can speak Malay or English to them. No need to say-lah about Western franchises.

You intentionally use a dialect that the locals don’t normally speak, to even the playing field a bit and make you seem less inept by comparison.

For some reason, your pronunciation of a certain dialect becomes worse when you’re speaking to people who speak that dialect well (e.g. Your Cantonese is more fluent when you’re using it on Hokkien speakers). Probably due to feelings of relative inferiority when you’re among real speakers of your dialect.

You don’t get half of Chow Sing Chi’s jokes, but still somehow catch the funnyness of them.

…Who is Chow Sing Chi? That’s Stephen Chow‘s Chinese name, you ultra-banana! Kung Fu Hustle, Shaolin Soccer? Hello?

You know who Jolin, Sammi and F4 are. You just can’t name even one of their songs.

You hear a Chinese song you like, then find out that the singer/band is long dead/disbanded. (Case in point: Beyond)

You can’t quote a single Chinese wise saying, in Chinese.

Your friends are amazed when you actually say something in perfect Chinese. Often, so are you.

You laughed at any of the above because they hit so close to home.

And finally, you’re an ultimate banana if you have any more examples which weren’t included above.

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13 Responses to “You Know You’re A Banana When…”

  1. jaime Says:

    hey scott!!

    darn good write up! :p LAUGHED all the way 🙂

  2. jedyoong Says:

    wow. sounds like me man. 😉 ha ha ha ha. i have to thank my good hong kong buddies at uni for teaching me some canto…

  3. hutchrun Says:

    Beware! A grotesque mutation is affecting Asians moving to Hollywood. Black hair miraculously turns fair, dark eyes lighten and Asian skin turns pink.

    This horrendous disease was first noticed in 1956, when my father watched a movie called The Conqueror, about Mongol warlord Genghis Khan. It revealed that on his way to the screen Mr Khan acquired white skin and an American accent. “Yah didn’t suckle me ta be slain by Tarters, mah muth-err,” Genghis (played by John Wayne) said to his parent.

  4. simon thong Says:

    Scott’s grandpa Thong was the one who made bananas of his children, all six of us. Put all of us in English-medium schools. Three now live in Australia, 1 in the UK..Naturally, I ended up making bananas of Scott, Jamie and Kerry..but NO REGRETS. Great guys have they become, with little Chinese chauvinism.

  5. simon thong Says:

    Early days at primary school for me was fun where chinglish was concerned. Chinglish, by the way, was very much what bananas spoke back when I was a kid. That’s the 1950s, btw. Bananas in Malaysia today are more at home with the Malay language, as pointed out by Scott with his preference for Malay and Indian stalls to avoid using Cantonese.

    Examples: when the teacher was late to class, someone had to watch out for his arrival while the rest played and shouted, etc. The person chosen was told to “see water”. If you challenged someone to a fight, you said, “send horse over”. Binoculars were “see-far glasses”. A KPC, kaypohchee, was a busybody. A PCW, pokchoiwong, was someone who argued with parents or teachers. Cantonese expressions were converted to English word for word. Chinglish in its raw forms.

    Later, we moved onto insults in “proper” English: nincompoop, dunce, bastard, SOB, etc. The Americans gave us shithead, ass-hole (and its

    Bananas are very special people. I should know..I’m one.

  6. wits0 Says:

    There’s something about the Chinese Educationists sort in the MCA who loves to treat with disdain and who nicknamed others as the Banana group. I think the fact remains that many Chinese educated people are not even good in Chinese, not even as(equivalently) proficient as the Banana Group with English. The fact is many of these Chinese educated are not even good at any one of the 3 major languages that Malaysians are/were exposed to.

  7. sloone Says:

    hahaha – good one. i suppose i win hands down.

  8. Scott Thong Says:

    Don’t worry gals, there’s always Babelfish for reading those Chinese language blogs… 😛

  9. simon thong Says:

    Hutchrun is right..Chinese educationists are Chinese chauvinists, and some e are stupid enough to believe that someone educated first in the Chinese language always can and will speak BETTER English than Chinese educated in English! They can be loud and rude about their view, and we bananas are too well-mannered and kind to shame them. They may even put forth their view in Chinglish but we never laugh out loud.

    In Chinese private secondary schools, bananas are often despised but are usually efficient, and English teachers.

  10. wits0 Says:

    Simon, some of these “pure” non-bananas’ Chinglish are so typically accented that I’ve even heard a few Indians remarked about that common affliction. (Some Indians too, do have the ability to overcome the stereotyped ayam Inglish and sometimes became the preferred Disk Jockeys and PA affiliated workers.)

  11. simonthongwh Says:

    Bananas and Chinaman Types « simonthongwh

    The Chinese in Malaysia are conveniently lumped together by others as one homogeneous mass. However, the Chinese see themselves differently. There are several types of pieces in the Chinese pizza. There are differences among the Chinese.

  12. wits0 Says:

    Simon, I would say that the Chinese are the most variegated community of all here.

  13. simonthongwh Says:

    Yea…and when it comes to food!!! One of our students from Guangxi University of Ethnic Minorities made a presentation of the 8 main types of food in China (dialect based, of course, such as Cantonese, Hakka, etc..) and I felt that several types were missing.

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