9/27/12

Americans As Seen By A Chinese Visitor

        Accounts of Chinese immigrants written by Americans often smugly dwell on the strangeness of their customs, behaviors, and beliefs. Rarely do we find accounts of how Americans might appear to the Chinese, but one exception is a book by Zongren Liu, Two Years in the Melting Pot (1984).



        Liu came as a visiting scholar to study English in Chicago and in this book he describes his mostly depressing stay there and in other parts of the country.  Among his observations,  he described some American behaviors that we might not think of as out of the ordinary but which he found to be perplexing, if not downright irrational.
        Here is one charming example that shows that the Chinese do not have the corner on irrational behaviors.


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