Saturday, January 19, 2008

Thai Chinese

Me: Are you a Chinese?
Thai (proudly): No, I'm a Thai Chinese. Thai first, Chinese second. I can only understand a bit of Chinese.

Here in IUJ, we meet a lot of people from all over the world and we communicate freely. A large percentage of students are from Indonesia. A lot of us are Overseas Chinese (Indonesia Chinese, Thai Chinese, Malaysia Chinese etc).

Overseas Chinese are not really considered Chinese evidently when there was a 'Chinese' gathering, only China Chinese were invited. The rest of the Indonesia Chinese, Thai Chinese, Malaysia Chinese, Taiwan and Hong Kong Chinese, we had our dinner separately. OK, no big deal. Most of us can't speak China Chinese anyway and we Overseas Chinese communicate in English.

However, most most of them prefer to be addressed as their own country's citizen, like the Thai Chinese, who refer themselves as Thai first, Chinese second.

This is so contrasting with Malaysians, who would very much want to distance ourselves from our country. Malaysians say "Chinese Malaysian" with Chinese first, Malaysian second. Wonder will we have a day when everyone would tell others proudly, we are "Malaysian Chinese", Malaysian first, Chinese second.

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