Being Banana

Posted by Philip on October 21st, 2007 — 3:22am

A Banana is a person who is in the peculiar position of being yellow on the outside and white on the inside. To my white friends, I’m the Chinese kid; and to my Chinese friends, I’m the white kid. This is not necessarily what they actually think, but is my own interpretation of myself when I’m with them.

It’s a strange privilege to be able to have a foot in both cultures, which of course are completely at polar opposites. You see the quirks and oddities of both, the good points and the bad points, and you settle your own personality at some middle ground that’s uncomfortably lodged in-between somewhere. The Chinese kid is constantly analysing the white kids when he’s with them, and the white kid is constantly analysing the Chinese kids when he’s with them. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Would it be easier to be one or the other, rather than an amalgam of both?

It was Chung Ying’s birthday the other day, and it was to be an (almost) entirely Chinese affair. Hell, even the Pringles had to have rice in them.

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When I enter a room full of Chinese people, there is only one thing I need to know; and that’s whether I’m the tallest person in the room. This time, I was. Obviously. I’m pretty damn tall for a Chinese person, and I love it. There’s just something fantastic about being able to stand amongst the packed streets of Hong Kong and being able to look out into the distance over the sea of heads like a periscope.

Much like Spider-Man’s powers, my height is both a gift and a curse. Hong Kong is not designed for someone to be over probably 2 or 3 foot tall, and being over 6 foot can not only be an annoyance but is sometimes a hazard to your own health. I’ll give you an example. In Hong Kong this year, there was a typhoon. Here’s a picture I took of the fallout:

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You probably didn’t even know there was a typhoon in Hong Kong, right? You know why? Because it’s really rather insignificant. It literally happens at least once a year. Anyway, the typhoon is not what I wanted to talk about.

The weather for the next few days following the typhoon will inevitably be heavy rain, and when there’s rain, there’s umbrellas. Do you know what the consequences are for tall people in Hong Kong when it’s raining?

Let me spell it out for you:

The sheer volume of people on the streets of Hong Kong
The sheer shortness of the Chinese population
An impenetrable blanket of moving umbrellas floating at precisely the optimum height to poke me in the eye.

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The number of times I got poked in the face by an umbrella, or the number of times I walked into someone I couldn’t see because they were so fucking short was verging on the ridiculous.

Anyway, that’s enough for today. Class dismissed.

19-10-2007 22-12-15

Category: General, Social Awkwardness 4 comments »

4 Responses to “Being Banana”

  1. Michael


  2. Nigel

    Being Banana needs to be a featured blog!

  3. Michael


  4. Philip

    Yeah, I’ve always wanted to start a blog about my life as a Banana. I wasn’t really sure if it would fit on mm, since it’s slightly deeper than the usual stuff (except for Thomas’ Oxford-educated material obviously). If ever an incident reminds me of my half and half upbringing then I’ll blog about it. I can’t believe I even managed to get Chan onto the comments.

    Also, this reminds me of the time Burr went on for ages about why they don’t sell bananas in a can. We kept telling him it’s because they have no juice. But he kept talking anyway.

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