We came up from the Metro station in Paris and were blinded by the blazing sun. I was squinting and blinking to adjust my aging eyes to the sudden light. The first sight came into my view was a grand old massive building. Then the street sign Les Invalides. Having been living in New York for nearly quarter of century, I managed to understand a few words of Chinglish.
I was horrified.
Political correctness is paramount in my beloved USA. How would the human right groups react were this sign in America?
I do not have problem with different terms for the same thing but, as an English learner, I would rather have to learn just one term for one thing, instead multiple terms. And on top of that, I’ll have to memorize which term is the correct term, to be politically correct.
illegal immigrant, the right term is undocumented immigrant
negro, black although neuter but isn’t good enough. the right term is African-American
crippled, invalid, disabled, no no no. Should use handicapped
heathen, the correct term is atheist
sex change, the right way is sex reassignment
- immigrant or expat?
- Chinese Wall or Ethic Wall
I knew being an American won’t be easy. Guess the old Europa just doesn’t care.
Years ago, after I registered my domain for my book “Heathen Son“, an Indian-American friend, paused for a few second, then politely advised me, “we don’t use that term any more. It’s atheist now.” Too bad and too late. I already paid. Actually I did not even know how to spell atheist.
I believe if you talk about it thousand times, even a lie may become true. However, race is an elephant in the room. 2008 Obama became the first half black president. But all I heard is that he’s black. What about his white mother? Did she ever count?
P.S. 2014.12.05, Trayvon Martin of Florida, Michael Brown of Ferguson and Eric Garner of Staten Island are the cause of massive protest in USA now. Chef’s Table in Brooklyn, three-Michelin-star serves worst meat to Asians
And there are few myths ..
Karnak Temple, May 4, 1984
I don’t remember where we saw the light show, at Aswan or Luxor. It was at night, off to an island.
The Great Pyramid of Giza, April 30, 1984
I wanted to go to Istanbul but all the tours had sold out. The travel agent suggested Egypt tour. The only condition was that I had to fly in the night before. kidnapped in Cairo ..
The tour included Luxor and Aswan. View more pictures here
July 1-11, 1985
I was in Shanghai for the Automotive China’85, staying at Jinjiang Hotel 锦江饭店.
Judging from our cloth and the nature daylight, I must had more than one lunch a day ..
One of my favored qipaos .. ‘姚微 是黑白配，好看 – 黑衣女孩我上海的小姐姐(爸爸同学的女儿)现在澳洲 ..’
That business trip, attending the Automotive China’85 to Shanghai was full of stress and struggle.
Getting a decent hotel accommodation was difficult and I was lucky got reservation at the top hotel in town through a travel agency in HK. When we arrived at lobby about to check in, my boss said to me quietly but as matter of factly,
“Let me know if you need me.”
He’s a German, stationed in Hong Kong and traveled to China often.
It hurt. It humiliated.
I said nothing, determined to make it on my own. It’s my country, and they were my people.
I handed over the telex confirmation sheet from the Jinjiang Hotel.
A young desk clerk looked at it ceremonially and said firmly,
“We have no room for you.”
What?! What did this confirmation say?
“No room, we have no room at all.” He impatiently repeated.
My body language must had showed bec I saw my from Peripheral vision that my German boss began moving toward us.
Oh please, pretty please, I begged silently. Let’s solve this just between you and me.
“Are you ok Irene?” My boss asked as he stood beside me.
As if it’s on cue, the clerk’s old supervisor appeared. He took the sheet and scanned it quickly
“Oh, I do have rooms for you … but you need to move on the third day .. “ The older gentle explained that a head of state from an African country was visiting ..
“We will move your stuff if you can pack up in the morning.” He offered graciously.
We took the offer and moved, between our stay.
Then I found out that Jinjiang Hotel won’t let local Chinese in as I waited in the room for YZ to come. Self inflicted 华人与狗不准入内.
The Shanghai host gave a banquet on the first day of the exhibition; they only invited the non Chinese.
With YZ’s friends .. 红衣女孩家是北大地质系的住在中关园，考在上海交大，现在美国，叫钱美意，你帮着找一下
Sunday, July 7, 1985
I didn’t even remember that I’ve ever been to Wuxi if weren’t for those pictures.
I was in Shanghai for the Automotive China’85 which closed on Sunday. YZ was going to go with for the excursion but backed out at the last second. So it was me, the big bearded engineer from home office in Hamburg and Yu (couldn’t remember who’s girl was ..) More pictures here ..
… did I have 无锡肉骨头 for lunch?? …
A store located on 6th Avenue at 40th Street in New York
May 20, 1984 on Air Lanka cockpit, with the pilots, on my way back to Hong Kong from Frankfurt
The aircraft wasn’t full so the two pilots were nice enough to invite me to sit there while they worked.
Back to the good old days, when civility was paramount, and we didn’t have to debate if the full body scan is necessary ..