Meme Stories #1 – Characters, APRCs, and Kids That Say 外國人

Writing Characters Can Be Torture

I studied Mandarin for about four years in university, and I have to say, it was at times torturous. We studied with those Intergated Chinese books. Part of the homework was a character book that we had to fill in every week with the new characters we learned. Sounds okay right? Practice makes perfect right?

Nah.

Imagine writing a character like 龜 30 times over and over, and you’re finished you have to move into the next character! Imagine that, writing 30 characters that vary in the number of strokes. It was enough to nearly give me a stroke.

After filling in the character book, you then get beautiful dictation or 聽寫 as my lecturer would cruelly call it. I was a 學霸 so I usually did fine, but it was still frustrating to know you’re missing the 11th stroke in a 15 stroke character.

Today I thankfully don’t need to handwrite that much. Instead, I can just type on my phone. All I have worry about is writing my name and address on forms.

I Gotta Get One of Those APRCs

Having an ARC rocks. I’m a resident of Taiwan, and with the exception of voting, getting a phone contract without a deposit, and ever getting a loan, I’m a local! Yipee!

Well, having an APRC adds one benefit I’d love to have; an open work permit. I would love to do some freelance gigs in Taiwan, and hey, even start do something with Nihao’s It Going?, but without an open work permit, I’m very much only able to work and earn for the great company I work in.

I look forward to when I can finally get an open work permit because then I’ll finally be able to sell some or my weird Taiwansse t-shirt and posters I have designed, but cannot sell. But hey, I’ll be giving them away for free during some competitons next year! I’ll be running a “best meme” competition soon for my followers to submit the best meme to represent 2019. Other followers will get to vote on their favourite memes, and the winners will get Nihao’s It Going t-shirts. Stay tuned 親愛的.

Kids Staring at Foreigners is Kinda Funny and Cute

I remember one time in PX Mart/全聯 there a small kid and her mother. The little kid turned around and noticed me. She switched to her mother and said “There’s a foreigner.” I heard her and shen she looked at me again I said “Hello Taiwanese/你好台灣人”. The wee kid got shy and hid next to her mother. She was about to tell her kid not to say foreigner but I just said she’s only being curious and it is totally normal for kids to ask questions.

If it was a middle-aged man pointing at me, I’d probably have a little bit of an attitude. But hey, it’s a kid, they’re curious and honestly, it’s cute and funny.

When I was six, I went to the swimming pool with my dad. After throwing me around the pool like a cannon ball for fun, we were kindly asked to leave the pool for causing a ruckus. We regretted nothing because I was the best six-year-old cannon ball in a pool enjoying myself. Well, we went to the community center canteen and got some lunch and a seat. Next to me, there was a man in a wheelchair. I kept staring at him and I asked my dad “Why is he in a wheelchair?” Well, my dad felt awkward as hell. The guy in the wheelchair didn’t take offense. The fella in the wheelchair then said he sometimes feels tired and needs a wheelchair. I then said, “Sometimes I feel tired too, can I have one?”

Long story short, kids speak their mind and look where they want and you just got to roll with it. I think kids calling out 外國人 to be hilarious because it makes their parents feel awkward.

Tomás Swinburne

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