Wednesday, November 28, 2012

You'll never be Chinese by Mark Kitto

Mark Kitto wrote an article in Prospect Magazine creating a tirade of opinions and discussions(Here ).

His article in essence provided various reasons why an ex-pat from UK will never be a Chinese in China. Despite his 16 years in the country, learning the language; finding a fortune and then losing it; marrying a Chinese wife and producing mixed-children, it did not help him. In this article, he announced his withdrawal from China, a country he professes he once loved. Mark's parting gift is his vitriolic observation of the country.

The truth may reside in the simple fact that one can never be a Chinese when you are not Chinese, just as one cannot be a Englishman when you are not English.

The experiences of an Asian student migrant in Australia in the 70s humorously detailed in the ebook "The Yellow Banana" might shine light to this whole discussion (Here). Regardless of the author's 30 odd years in the country, his command of English, tertiary education, Australian wife and mixed-children, he too will never be a "Westerner". The difference to Mark Kitto's story is, he chose to stay in the wonderful host country and celebrated his difference instead of spitting the dummy and leaving.

Perhaps the trick here is to stop being who you are not - and start being who you are.


  1. I agree, sometimes we all try to be who we are not instead of just be confident in who we are. It must be hard work to be someone else - the internal conflict must just kills.

  2. I read the ebook "The Yellow Banana" it was excellent. I read it in one sitting and for those who wants to know a little about what non-Westerners go through in a Western country this will be THE book.
    I do not remember laughing so much when reading a book - but the way the author looked at the most mundane and ordinary experience brings a tear to my eyes.

    A must read - here is someone who truly celebrated the difference took it on the chin and became a better person because of it.

    I have learned a lot about how to handle similar issues and I have the ebook to thank for.

  3. Thank you dear "Reader" for your comments. I am glad the ebook is of help to you.

  4. The title of Mr. Kitto's article may be misleading. It is not so much about problems of assimilation. It has more to do with the difficulty of doing business in an environment of pervasive corruption. He blames this corruption on the Communist party. He also mentions such things as serious pollution and ineffective eduction; which he also blames on mis-managment on the part of the Party.

    There are several other threads through the article. Whether one agrees or not with the theses presented there, they all appear to have been well thought out.

    As for The Yellow Banana: being an old fart myself and having lived through that period, I just purchased an e-copy and have begun reading. So far, so funny.

    1. Thank you for your comments. I fully recommend Mr Kitto's book, 'China Cuckoo' if you have not read it. He wrote the book before his article giving you an understanding why he loved China.


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