What I’d Say To You

August 4, 2011

What would I say to you, Korean man who felt compelled to yell “HELLO!” at me in the middle of the night as I hurriedly rushed from the supermarket to make a late dinner? What would I say to you if my Korean weren’t so laughable you’d interpret everything I said in English as confusing and unwarranted, when in fact it was completely called for? Why didn’t I talk to you, you might ask?

You weren’t talking to me. That’s right, you weren’t talking to me. You were talking to a face that looks different than your own. There are many people who look different than you. Grouping us all together doesn’t exactly give me warm, fuzzy feelings.

Why are you yelling greetings at someone who wasn’t even close to you? Approach me and address me in a normal voice. In any other circumstance, we would have to have met each other before, in which case you’d be trying to get my attention, or I’d assume you were mentally challenged.

Why speak in English, when you clearly can’t say more than “Hello” and “Sorry”? If I were to actually talk to you, what would you do? If your language skills are so limited, why not try and see if I speak Korean? I’d welcome the opportunity.

You spoke to me not to greet me, or even to make an acquaintance of me, but to feel better about yourself. To feel as though you’ve accomplished something by shouting English to a bewildered foreigner. To show off to your friends. To insinuate Korean is too difficult for a non-native speaker to learn.

Why do you keep poking your children in the arm, telling them to say “Hello” to the foreigner? Is this how it starts? Let me understand this cause, ya know maybe it’s me, but I’m a foreigner how, I mean a foreigner like I’m a clown, I amuse you? I make you laugh, I’m here to amuse you? How am I such an anomaly that you can’t even consider me a human being?

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