China Girls Abroad

Girls on Ipanema BeachI've been so disappointed by the interpretation of the song The Girl From Ipanema at the Rio Olympic Games opening ceremony. 


When the man started singing to the piano, I was immediately taken back to the scene when I was walking down the Ipanema beach, listening to the street artists singing and watching sunset going down behind the Sugar Loaf. It was one of the most romantic places I've been to and I don't know about you, I've certainly imagined myself being that 'girl' walking down that beach, without noticing some man being heart broken because I didn't see him. Isn't that beautiful? And a nice capture of romance? But, suddenly, this super model, as you can imagine, a tall, long, blond hair woman cat-walking out from the back stage, showing a pair of long straight legs, smiling and waving at everybody, confident and extremely glamorous. I was stunned, and couldn't help shouting, 'you cannot be serious!' This isn't right, this is not the Ipanema girl, this is just somebody who live on this body shape and glamour! What about us? What about the majority of women in the world who don't have such a 'perfect' appearance? Do we not deserve the dream of being an 'Ipanema girl'? I mean, it doesn't have to be any of the girl in the picture above, but wouldn't it be nicer if we have the tour guide who organises a charity project for the school in the nearby Favela? Or a group of women of different background, age and nationality all walking out in their own stylish way? Or even the tiny girl running and laughing on the nearby beach?

I don't care!After living in Britain for 18 months, I am very impressed by three well used phrases which can be seen as the western spirit in miniature. They are “I don’t care!”, “Why not?” and “So what?”


1, “I don’t care!”


Have you ever said something like this during the first month of your arrival in Britain?


“Oh my God, look at his jacket! So long, he is like a man from Harry Potter!”

“Oh my God, look at her breasts, almost jumped out!”

“Oh my God, look at that boy’s hair, he has a pigtail under his ears!”

“Oh my God, look at her big bum, her skirt is so short!”

“Oh my God, look at her hair, it’s all pink!”



I waaaant a hug!!!The first time I went back to China after being in Britain for 1 year and saw my parents waiting for me at the airport, I was so happy to see them, and I wanted to give them a big, big hug. But I didn’t do that, because we had never done that before.  Also, I didn't want to make it too sentimental.

Then I saw my aunt, I was so excited and instantly opened my arms, but my aunt didn’t have any reaction seeing my arms held high, probably didn’t even notice, suddenly I realized this is not Britain! CHINESE PEOPLE DON’T DO HUGS! So I took back my arms embarrassed.

Another Chinese friend of mine also had the same experience. She has been in Britain for 6 months. When her western friend gave her a big, powerful hug, she felt that hug was very supportive, very trustworthy, very warm. But when she wanted to hug another Chinese girl who had been in Britain for the same period, that Chinese girl just felt very weird to be hugged.


Chinese boy, a perfect gentleman!

Britain is seen as a country of gentlemen and gentle ladies. But we Chinese can be gentle too! When my parents came to Britain for my graduation ceremony, my father suddenly transformed into a gentleman! He was holding the door for people behind him! I was so amazed as I hadn’t told him that British people have these manners to be polite but in China we don’t really do this. Still he had noticed the difference, and he did it all by himself. I was soooo proud of him! But he did it so much that after about 1 minute, he was still standing there in our busy hotel holding the door for people. Lots and lots of people came in, and he couldn’t really stop. And at the same time, he was smiling to everyone! My mum and I were just standing there, watching his new gentlemanly behavior, laughing and laughing…Then I walked up to him and said “you can leave now, you can do it for the one immediately after you!” But he barely heard me talking. Because he was too busy smiling and nodding to everyone, and everybody was smiling to him as well, thinking “um, this hotel is international, never seen such a handsome Chinese guard!” Oh God! I couldn’t believe this, so my mum and I found a place to sit down, waiting for him to finish his “job”, then after another 1 minute, he finally came back covered in gentlemanly glory, but by then my mum and I had already laughed ourselves to death. And the story hasn’t finished, the next day, when we walked through the same door in the same hotel, he didn’t bother to hold the door for his wife and daughter! Can you believe that!!!