Sunday, September 06, 2009
To be a Chinese Citizen
Last night I was eating at restaurant with my friend Doug. Our waitress was an young Asian woman. We tried to guess her nationality. Thai, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese? We settled on Korean after a lengthy process of elimination. So we asked. Hong Kong Chinese. She then launched into a long explanation of the traits and differences. Interesting. Indo versus mainland. We got on the subject of her citizenship and she described the test. Mulitple choice questions like "who was the 13th president of the United States," what was the color of the uniforms of the North and South in the Civil War," and "what do the fifty stars represent on the American flag." I had no idea who the 13th was. I started counting and naming. Not sure. To my surprise she said that in China all you needed was a background check. No test. Then she laughed and said, "imagine if you had to know 5000 years of history and dynasties to become a Chinese citizen." We decided the citizenship test was pretty lame. Probably dated back to the days when the American gov't considered most foreigners inferior. One of the side effects of jingoism.