Monday, January 1

Mixed Eggs 101: Giant Enemy Crabs

To usher in the new year, I scored a minor victory for all frustrated Chinese-speaking foreigners in Taipei tonight. After choosing to piss away some money on a mediocre steak dinner at the Outback Steak House, I made my way to said location. The staff were friendly and the service was decent - nothing short of a minor miracle for the Taiwanese service industry - and so I did the standard being nice and friendly back thing, as you do.
Now, being the Outback Steak House, where they seem to pride themselves on their English, the whole proceeding took place in English, and the staff are by and large pretty good at the language, so no problem there. But as my dining progressed, I began to overhear the staff behind the bar - where I was sitting - cracking jokes and commenting about the foreigner there. Nothing offensive, aside from the fact they were doing it all in Chinese. This is by no means an exclusively local habit - lord knows there's a shit-ton of foreigners about that talk shit about locals and assume they speak no English, myself occasionally included. But the difference here is we're not in the service industry, and not at work at the time. So I just sit there, eat my food, read my paper, and keep listening, never even hinting at the certain piece of information they lacked.
My meal finished, I paid my bill and began to head out. I decided, though, to leave the staff with a parting gift. I went up the bar to the lass who'd been doing most of the serving, and in a perfectly deadpan tone, told her (in English), "You might want to tell your coworkers, some of us foreigners understand Chinese," after which I turned and headed out, but not before seeing the realization dawn on her face. As I headed to the escalators, my ears were met by gasps of shock and embarrassment. lol losing face to a foreigner.
Weak point attacked for massive damage.

1 comment:

Truant said...

Ha ha. Call me shallow, but that's a great reason to learn chinese...priceless.