At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


Given that I spend a lot of time in Chinatown, some of my friends, both Chinese and Caucasian, assume that I should ideally find a Chinese girlfriend. The concept is mildly appealing. But only mildly. At best.
It's also frightening, and somewhat appalling. Imagine, if you will indulge me, being the white person in that relationship.

"Take bath, you smell like white person. Again."

"Take bath, my mom is coming over. Again."

"Take bath. Ney hou chau ge! Again."

Actually, it's downright terrifying.

This and similar indignities are often paradigmatic for the white person involved in a relationship with a Chinese person. The Japanese are even worse, of course. If they acknowledge that we're human at all, it is only as freaks with hairy skin and body odour; an imperfect stage of human.
Good lord, imagine being married to a white person!
Fuzzy clammy flesh, fuzzy clammy flesh!
Wet dog smell!

The Chinese aren't as bad, but they do consider it unfortunate when someone marries a white person. Perhaps he or she couldn't find anyone else?

Refined Cantonese people tend to assume that whitey stinks, and they pity the relatives of the anyone who gets married to one of us.

They like us alright, sometimes a lot, but they just can't get over the fact that we're smelly, hairy, large, loud, and clumsy.

Oh, and we don't think quite right either.

Some training is required.

That doesn't describe my previous relationship, as she was Chinese in appearance only, plus a few minor behavioural patterns, and had a bad sense of smell. As well as a keen wit, an admirable sharpness, and an active festering mind. Much more Monty Pythonesque and San Franciscan than one would expect from a Chinese person.

Except maybe a mainlander from one of those far Northern provinces where everyone reeks of garlic or cabbage, and speaks Mandarin with that furry sound. Those are nice people, but they're quite nuts.

My ex is not like that. For one thing, her aforementioned poor sense of smell, and a keen appreciation for the very white people who did the Monty Python stuff. For another thing, she never introduced me to her relatives during the two decades that we were a couple.

She was born here, and thinks in American English.

Her maternal unit always thought in Toishanese.

I've heard that according to her mom, white people make great tenants, because they don't cook but go out for pizza every night, never do their laundry in the bathtub, and are seldom home. Nor do they require the home-town discount (five dollars mei kam), they pay on time, and the apartment is in good shape when they move out in a few years.

Although they do stink a lot.

Not a problem if the next occupants are also white.
Who can be presumed to likewise have an odour about them.

All white people smell bad, dress funny, and eat too much.

I was reminded of this verity while riding the bus the other day. I had taken a seat next to a little old Cantonese lady, who promptly clapped her hand to her wee nose to shield herself from the phenomenal pong.
Not only am I a white person, but I'm a smoker (pipes and cigarillos), and therefore more than average fragrant. She looked quite sick.
If I had a Chinese girlfriend, THAT would be her mom.
Wah, sei kwai lo, kwai-sei gam chau-ge.
Ngo ding yan-m chu ah!

White folks so stink!

Thank you, auntie.
Hei-mong nei sei.
Chau nei-ge tau.

[All you need to know to grasp the gist of the utterances above is that 'sei' (死) means dead, and can be used as a verb, 'kwai' (鬼) is ghost-devil as well as damnable or sinister, and 'chau' (臭) means putrid and rotten.]

Suck it up, auntie. I'm a kwailo, and quite happy with that.
As are also many of my friends and relatives.
It's a white thing. Like milk.

[See, when two white people procreate, the result often is ....
Now imagine several generations of it.
Hundreds of them!]

My ex, however, still lives with me. She has her own room, and likes being in a place where she can let her hair down. She feels safe here. And in all honesty, I like having her around.

She's rather a splendid person.

Who else will yell out when I tell her that the phone is ringing (and more than likely for her), "I'm covered in mango!"
That was her excuse for not answering. Because, perhaps, when you're covered in mango, you cannot talk properly. Honestly I fail to see why that would make a difference, because she yelled just fine, so talking in a normal tone would not have been any challenge at all, even if she were covered in other fruits too, like bananas, lychees, or Anjou pears......

But she has high standards. Certain things cannot be done.

One should not come to the phone covered in fruit.

I think that must be a Chinese thing.

"I am covered in mango!!!"

She never told me I stink.

I appreciate that.



There are also the stuffed animals. They like her too. She voices for them.
Having a senior teddy bear as head-roomie is not, strictly speaking, part of the traditional Chinese family hierarchy. Remarkably, they are frequently food-obsessed. Which is very Chinese of them.
Or leastwise, Cantonese.

She's unique.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.


  • At 11:54 AM, Anonymous I smell good! said…

    But white people are a bad smelling lot! Large number of them have too active sweat glands, and bacteria!

    We Chinese do not have armpit bacteria, and bacause that are not so.

    You, a smoker, must be the most nasty thing auntie encountered that day. You should be sorry.

    Stinky man.



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