No longer is China the small man of the world so why do you act like it? Ann Liang.

"No, I am not her translator. We are friends and we walk to Beijing together"

I've repeated in many conversations we have had on this walk. A university student who spoke Advanced English rode past us and stopped. After she knew Darrah's nationality, she said to me "Foreigners are so brave to do things like this, especially Americans." I said "Yes, but some Chinese are as brave as them."

She said "But only small numbers of Chinese would do this. She is so great. Americans are great." She didn't see me, the Chinese woman who is walking beside her.

When a foreign girl and a Chinese woman are walking to Beijing, 99% of Chinese people give a high praises to the foreign girl. Instead of praise, I get this question: how much does she pay you to walk with her? Now here is my question: why don't the majority of Chinese people think that a foreign woman and a Chinese woman can walk to Beijing as equals?

Last week we were invited for dinner by a generous man. During the dinner, our host kept saying how polite foreigners are and how bad mannered Chinese are. He put an emphasis on how great Darrah is and how much he admires her and hopes Buddha will bless her for what she is doing for the Chinese. When we said goodbye, he gave me a Dizigui, which is a book of discipline for children. When the book was in my hand, it was clear that I was inferior in his eyes. I was doing the same thing as Darrah and he didn't say I was great, but gave me a book of discipline. Really?

I have been assumed to be Darrah's translator many times, even by other volunteers. Once in Jiangxi, we met up with a group of volunteers. Someone introduced us in this way: "This foreigner, (he turned to me and asked Darrah's name again) Darrah is walking to Beijing for people with disabilities. And this is her translator." I didn't correct him in front of people but I told him later that I wasn't Darrah's translator but a partner. But my words didn't stick. Even though he was looking at my name card, he said I was Darrah's translator again the same night at dinner.

The next day while we were walking, a volunteer said to me "So, you are Darrah's translator." I said "Can you explain to other volunteers that I am not Darrah's translator? We walk together as a team." But she said "If you are not her translator, why are you doing this?" I was upset that a volunteer asked me why am I walking to Beijing after we introduced ourselves and after I gave them my name card.

A few days ago we walked across the Yellow River, then stopped at a restaurant for lunch. A man asked me what we are doing and I told him about our walk. He pointed to Darrah and asked, "Are you her translator?" I said "No, we are friends and we walk together as a team." Then he asked Darrah where was she from. Darrah answered “I am an American” in Chinese. The man said to me immediately “She said she is American. So you must be her translator.” I corrected him but he refused to believe me and kept saying I was Darrah's translator. Well, there is no point to argue with a person who doesn't listen to you. It's like arguing with a bag of rocks. So I said “Yes, all right, I am her translator.”

Thankfully, I am secure enough in myself not to let these close-minded people affect me. But these encounters do raise questions in my heart. Like, why don't we Chinese believe that we can do the same amazing things that a foreigners can do? In China, under the same conditions, foreigners are regarded more highly than fellow Chinese. Why? It's time for a change.

Read More From Ann in Chinese and English here:

Read Darrah's Blog Here

If you admire what the girls are doing and wish to help their charities:

Use this link. for Darrah

Use This Link for Ann


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Comment by 上由 Leonard 李安 on 在May五月 28, 2015 at 添加的评论5:49

Daniel Agreed and I must point out it is not just on ZSR that the conversation is running. On every site and group it has been posted conversation is running hot. The staff can't keep up! 

Personally I lean to Phil's thinking but it has been associated to so many facets of life. It is very remarkable. One another front it has shown me the power of quality material with so much activity on ZSR, I need to sack my writer, so if you need a job let me know.

Comment by 上由 Daniel Stine on 在May五月 27, 2015 at 添加的评论23:39
Ann, Darrah, do you see what you have done here? People are talking, looking inside, reaching out. There is no greater power than a step in the right direction.
Comment by 上由 John Picariello on 在May五月 27, 2015 at 添加的评论23:00
What an eloquent well phrased bunch of comments. Daniel, your point of view was very interesting and well said. As was Sophia's. And Jerry's and Robert's supportive comments to.

Anyway, this blog has given me something to think about, a way to articulate into words the feeling I've had for a while now. Apparently, Oprah says "You teach people how to treat you, by your actions". Anyway, I've been thinking about this more and more. I know it comes from the lens of a foreigner, and someone who's only lived here for a few years, but yes, I agree, that Chinese people in some way that I can't quite articulate deserve better, that (based only on what I've seen and certainly not a blanket statement) should treat each other better. And on the other hand have not so much, what's the word I'm looking for?, towards foreigners.
And in addition, in any event, you Chinese guys that are posting here are kick-ass :) I dream to express myself so fluently in another language like that :)
Comment by 上由 Sophia Wang on 在May五月 27, 2015 at 添加的评论21:55

As a Chinese, I am so familiar with what Ann describes in the article and it, as Robert Cole  commented,  highlights very real underlying issues.

Comment by 上由 Daniel Stine on 在May五月 27, 2015 at 添加的评论18:35
China and it's native inhabitants do seem to have major self-esteem issues. I suppose it is all related to the turmoil suffered during the civil war and invasion by foriegn countiries, lastly Japan. The cultural revolution stripped away a lot of dignity and pride of the Chinese people as well, I think. i came here originally to learn more of the philiosphies born here, only to be disappointed by their absence. Maybe it is time to reclaim Chinese pride, national self love, return to the classics, let the people rediscover just how great this country has been, let them make it great again.
Comment by 上由 jerry lin on 在May五月 27, 2015 at 添加的评论10:47

dear ann/darrah,

god bless you both. i have been reading your articles since the very beginning, and i need to add that you two are amazingly brave and adventurious.

there were times i hitch hiked all over the place with a partner and shit just hits the fan from time to time. but, we got over it and continue the adventure. everyday is different; different people and different places. some good and some bad and the music never stopped.

do your best to keep all the good energy and throw away the crap stuff. no time to hate. one day you will look back and you will see this trip you two are taking is for the keeps.

iced cold beers will be waiting for you at friends bar and terrapin station when you guys get back.

love, peace, and happiness

Comment by 上由 Robert Cole on 在May五月 27, 2015 at 添加的评论8:27

A very well written and amusing piece which highlights very real underlying issues. 

Comment by 上由 John Picariello on 在May五月 27, 2015 at 添加的评论7:18
Dear Ann. This was so well written. And it had lots of thorough examples. Thank you for writing this. I agree with you 100%

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