Once upon a time we went to an all-Chinese mall in Vancouver, Canada to practice Chinese. We overheard this group of college-age girls say, “Hey, those wàiguórén speak Chinese!” Wàiguórén (外国人) meaning “foreigner.” And never mind who was in whose country.
Anyway, saw this shirt tonight and had to share. Reminds me of the mzungu shirts worn by wàiguórén in East Africa during bad reactions to culture stress. But with a twist. And not worn by a mzungu/wàiguórén:
Aside from just being funny, it’s also interesting because of China’s general love/hate relationship with wàiguórén/the West. Just this week I come across usage of “fake foreign devil” 假洋鬼子. And not to mention Chinese Christianity‘s complicated relationship to the English language, Western culture and Western Christianity in particular.
Maybe the t-shirt’s just a Bible joke and not meant to reference any of that. Or maybe it’s deliberately redefining the terms. Either way the joke’s historical-cultural context is hard to ignore. Because historical-cultural context is always hard to ignore. At least for this 外国人。
P.S. – And lest anyone feel like accusing this guy of being a fake foreign devil (假洋鬼子), I should point out that not only does he not speak any English, he doesn’t even have an ‘English name’. Dude is just not interested in “sniffing after foreigners’ farts.”