The Anglo Chinese
By: Bruce of Troy
f BBC, ABC and CBC strike you as the names of broadcasters, you are only half right. Instead, sometimes they mean exactly the people who contribute articles on Banana Writers.
When I walked on campus during freshers week a year ago, the former president of the BBC SOC approached me and gave me a cute flyer which I kept to this day. On it reads the letters BBC SOC. My first reaction was like that of some people: “BBC world service?” “No,“ she smiled, “It means British Born Chinese Society, where are you from?” “China” I replied. And then she switched smoothly into excellent Mandarin and told me that I could speak both Chinese and English in the society if I joined. The reason was not persuasive enough for me to join, but I started to know, for the first time in my life, there existed such a group of people to whom I would develop a strong attachment at some point of my life. Only later did I know she studied Chinese as an undergraduate. She once considered changing the name of the Society to make it less exclusive but couldn’t come up with a better one. I couldn’t think of anything better off the top of my head, either. But now, a brilliant name suddenly hit my mind, Anglo Chinese. Anglo, from Anglo-Saxon, either means something English, in the sense of England, or something about the English speaking countries which comprise the UK and its former colonial friends. Some people are born in China and go to the UK when young. They are de facto British, speaking English as their first language but can’t be call BBCs. That’s why Anglo Chinese is the most versatile name covering all the people brought up in an Anglo-Saxon country. The society is still called BBC SOC, where I am a hardcore member now, but Anglo Chinese is the very name I use in this article.
Anglo or Chinese? Can you speak Chinese?
Almost all the people I asked said they are more western than Chinese, though the indicator on the scale as a continuum is not set in stone. I met an American born Chinese in London and spent 3 days together exploring the city. “Do your parents interfere in your relationship with girls as people do in China?” I asked him when we talked about stalking girls in the streets of London. “No, they don’t care” he shrugged his shoulders and said, “My mum was also born in the States and they were Americanized.” Whether they speak Chinese is a routine question I always ask. Most speak Cantonese, some speak Hakka and only very few speak Mandarin, unless they learn it in the school. I enjoy joking with one of my BBC friends only because he speaks neither Cantonese nor Mandarin. I used to say he is a fake British with a perfect Chinese face and cannot speak Chinese at all. He was pissed off sometimes and only after I treated him to some food did he say, “Oh, let’s go to a club to talk to girls.” “Sorry, I am not interested. But did you get anywhere after so much talking? By the looks of things, not really.” Both the facts that he doesn’t speak Chinese and he likes to go clubbing to chase girls prove that he is more British, although his self-styled powerful dating skills should always be taken with a pinch of salt, or a grain of salt if you happen to be from the US.
Why do they all speak Cantonese? Because it’s small Hong Kong!
Why most Anglo Chinese speak Cantonese must be anyone’s guess, but still we can trace the reason back to history. It was very rare, perhaps not that rare now, that Chinese immigrants in Anglo-Saxon countries spoke Mandarin. Why, you may ask, was Cantonese so predominant? Because they were mostly from Hong Kong. And again, people will be puzzled at first but on second thought, it is quite straightforward, because Hong Kong was a former colony of the UK and it was far easier for them to immigrate than mainlanders, considering the political situation in a cultural-vacuum country resembling an awakening giant with feet of clay and writing on the wall. The biggest wave of immigration in recent history took place after 1989, a year more ominous than 1984 by George Orwell, a Cassandra whose prediction never failed to provide you with inconvenient truth. Beware the Nones of June! Richmond in Canada was nicknamed as small Hong Kong and Australia is full of Hong Kong immigrants.
Racists, wash your own pants!
Racists are those who are too thick and big headed to hide, so they rear their ugly heads all over the place. One BBC told me he would rather be born in Hong Kong owing to the rampant racism in the UK. It is true that racism in the UK and Australia is quite malicious, unlike north America where racists just like to make terrible jokes. Many people claimed to hear “Ching chang chong Chinaman, wash my pants” in the UK. I once carried out a meaningful conversation with Tom Price, a down-to-earth Londoner, (huh oxymoron?) - my best friend and worst language partner and I said, “Many British don’t consider BBCs to be British”. He replied, “They are racists, and I don’t consider racists to be British either” Brucy’s price is always right, so is Tommy’s price or Tom Price.
Embracing Chinese roots
Many Anglo Chinese go to university to study Chinese as a degree. Some of them do so to embrace their Chinese roots, but it serves a more utilitarian purpose because of the widespread use of Chinese around the world. More and more westerners are learning Chinese and to embrace the roots is not or should not be the main reason for learning a language. Recently, I read an article where the author said some parents who immigrated to the UK were quite worried that their children were not able to speak Chinese and acted British. Concerns of this kind are irrational and unnecessary, if not abject and ignoble. I am not saying it is not good to learn Chinese. It is very useful. What I am trying to say is that their parents should not be worried since their children were British for whom Chinese is not a must but a bonus if acquired. Value wise, both Anglo-Saxon countries and China have good values to abide by and absurd ones should be scrapped once and for all. Born in a Chinese family in an Anglo-Saxon country, they are the best of both worlds. There are many successful Anglo Chinese celebrities, such as Bruce Lee, (my namesake), MC Jin, Gary Locke, whom the Chinese government spared no effort to insult, Leehom Wang, and PP Wong. And my best friend is a BBC as well.BW
Dedicated to PP Wong, the first but not least British born Chinese writer, if anything, the best.
Check out my all time favourite MissYau, a British Born Chinese from Wales, her channel was an instant hit on YouTube.
Self-description: A total Anglomaniac
Stupidity may be your only saving grace.
We were ships that pass in the night.
Don't know whether to wind a watch or bark at the moon.
A fake smile can hide a million tears.
One day, we'll never have to say goodbye, only good night
You give me premature ventricular contractions - you make my heart skip a beat.
We snuggled, in my dreams.
Religious views: You. In fact the first time I met you, I was baptised. Remember, there is always someone who is willing to give his life for you and anyone you love. You have become my religion.
Political Views: The lesser of two necessary evils. Undersexed, underpaid, under David Cameron. Without hope, without future, without you.