GoKunming Forums

stuck up lao wai

lao_wai (18 posts) • 0

This kind of goes along with gaoxings' whining and complaints and is one of my sore spots with the expat/lao wai community in Kunming... Why is it that when a foreigner meets another foreigner on the street here in Kunming, they will do anything to not make eye contact or acknowledge the others' presence? It seems that almost all of you will go out of your way to ignore a fellow traveler. I have lived in Kunming for 3 years. Our section of Kunming (probably) has one foreigner living in it...me. I can go weeks without seeing another lao wai. When I see a fellow lao wai, I usually smile, perhaps try to make eye contact and nod my head in acknowledgement and greeting. It is such a rare occasion to see another person like myself that it is hard not to display some sort of reaction. This ignorant reaction is far more common from the expats. The tourists and backpackers seem overall to be a friendlier bunch altogether. The reason I attribute this to you expats is that I have seen most of you on more than one occasion. My wife (Chinese) and I have sat downtown and watched you as you walk by each other and us with your noses up in the air as if the clouds are much more interesting than your surroundings and neighbors. I have even gotten up and stood directly in front of you so that it would be impossible not to see me but lo and behold, you must have radar as you can pass within fingertip reach never looking down. This little trick brings us much amusement, but is very hard to explain to her and our friends. So folks, what's up with that?

Danmairen (510 posts) • 0

If the only common denominator is that we belong to the 5 billion people who aren't Chinese then I can't see what the big deal is. If some laowai jumped in my path and began a staring contest I'm fairly sure I'd avoid him as well, just saying.

lao_wai (18 posts) • 0

I think you know,Dan, I'm not staring like some psycho and positioning myself like this is just a game I play for my wife and friends. They get a laugh out of the contortions you all make to avoid eye contact and even they find it all incredibly rude. Just talking about little common courtesy, that's all.

sequin (8 posts) • 0

lao_wai, I know what you mean and it's always puzzled me, too. When I moved to this country, I was in the habit of making eye contact and hopefully exchanging a smile or at least a friendly expression with people I passed on the street. The locals generally don't seem too receptive to that, although they will generally stare back, albeit somewhat coldly. The foreigners don't stare back, they stare right through me as if I don't exist. Not sure which is worse, being stared at or being stared through.

lao_wai (18 posts) • 0

I know both, Sequin. I get plenty of stares from the xenophobes who detest that a Chinese woman would marry outside her race. Plenty of xenophobic comments,too. But, that "stared through" feeling really sucks!!!

no way (104 posts) • 0

perhaps the fur'ners are just trying to be polite. after being

here some time, they too gits tired of being stared at, so are

going to some length to avoid seeming to stare at you.

YuantongsiYuantongsi (716 posts) • 0

I have noticed the same thing Lao_Wai,,I guess they are too cool to admit they are not the only Laowai on the block,,A simple nod or wave is all it takes,,

I ride motorbikes in Oz, as you pass another bike its the custom to nod or wave, most if not all motorbikers do this,,EXCEPT for Harley Riders who think they are too cool,,

But on the other hand due to the heavy staring that Laowai get,,many dont make eye contact with people on the street.

Login to post