Bill Belew has raised 2 bi-cultural kids, now 34 and 30. And he and his wife are now parenting a 3rd, Mia, who is 8.

It used to be said that if America catches a cold, the Japanese will sneeze.

It seems that Japan is not the only country that copies America.

A story about an ugly Chinese American with a twisted ending.

Ugly Chinese American

Ugly Chinese American

Last night, Mia, her mother and I (Ed. Daddy) went out to eat at a local Chinese restaurant in Palo Alto, CA.

Due to traveling on my part it had been awhile since we enjoyed a meal out and we were hoping for a pleasant evening.

It started off well, but … then 4 Chinese people came in … in their 60s maybe?

They sat down and started talking. It was early evening yet and the large room for about 100 people was not very full.

They talked very loudly. Particularly the fellow. My wife could make out their entire conversation – it was in Chinese.

I asked my wife if she minded if I told them to turn down the volume a bit. I didn’t want to embarrass my wife or my daughter.

“No, daddy. Don’t go,” said Mia.

I tried to rationalize  why they were so loud.

“They are old. Maybe they can’t hear each other very well.”

“They are not that old,” my wife countered.

They got louder. No booze. Just loud talk.

Finally, I had enough and walked over to their table.

“Do you speak English?”

“Yes, we do,” one lady said with a smile.

“Yeah!” said the loud mouth dude.

“Then would you mind not talking so loud. We can hear everything you are talking about.”

“….”

They did turn down the volume and we were able to enjoy our meal.

One of the waiters (Chinese) came by our table and tapped a thank you to me as he walked by.

I considered thanking the group before I left for their consideration for my request. But they still weren’t that quiet. So I passed on the opportunity.

While my wife and daughter were making a potty run before the drive home, I stood next to the check in counter and paced a bit.

The head waiter raised up his hand, (he’s Chinese), “High five!”

I obliged not knowing why.

Still waiting for my daughter and wife the waiter came back.

“Do you know who that is you spoke to?” the Chinese head waiter asked.

“Nope. Don’t care. He was too loud.” I can be as gruffy as some people can be annoying.

“He’s the owner of this restaurant. And we HATE when he comes here. Because he is ALWAYS so loud and annoying. He makes it unpleasant for everyone who comes here and we wish he would stay away. We need him to help us control other customers. But he is the worst one of all. Thanks for saying something to him.”

” …” Nothing from me in response.

Ugly Chinese American was all that came to mind. And we went home.

Be sure to check out my series on influential Chinese-Americans.

Talk to Bill and others about their experiences raising bi-cultural Japanese-American kids.

 

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Mia Mei

Mia Mei

Professional Blogger, social media marketer, professor of marketing, Christian and dad.

20 Comments

  • Chinese says:

    Are you chinese? Or your wife a chinese? Why you said Ugly Chinese American because one or ten chineses make you unhappy?

  • Wayne Zhou says:

    I won’t come back this place,…was such a mistake.
    You are a born racist. Period.

    • Mia Mei says:

      This is not what I think of all Chinese. This is just an incident with one.

      Do you know how famous the expression the “Ugly American” is?

      • Mia Mei says:

        I think it’s because this 1 in 10 Chinese Americans was ugly. But certainly not all Chinese are. You should see my mommy!!

  • Stella says:

    I think your mom is UGLY because her daughter she raised has an ugly mind.

    • Mia Mei says:

      Stella,

      This is the story of one person, not what I think of all Chinese. I am sorry you don’t like my mommy. But she is beautiful. And I want to grow up so all people will be proud of me as a Chinese American.

      Thank you for reading.

  • Chen says:

    Mia,
    You sound like a reasonable kid. I don’t like people talking in a loud voice but sometimes it is just a habit of Chinese people, especially those who grew up in China. I guess there are too many people there so you have to raise your voice to be heard. It really has nothing to do with the character of a person. My relatives in China all speak in a rather loud voice but they are very nice people. Environment can be very influential. Once I was sitting in a plane to China and when it was about to land, everyone was excited and I heard one person talking very loudly in Chinese. It really surprised me when I turned around to see that person was a white person who spoke fluent Chinese, apparently a businessman who had lived in China long enough. I bet if that restaurant owner talks to a group of English natives in English, he might lower his voice a bit. It is really just a habit developed in a particular cultural environment and does not necessarily reflect on one’s character. Let’s be tolerant and do not jump to wrong generalization.

    • Mia Mei says:

      Chen,

      This is an excellent response and great insight.

      My daddy has told me some stories of the “Ugly American” which I am sure you know is very infamous term in the world.

      The point of my story was to make fun of Americans and the bad influence we have on the world. I understand there are differences in the world and as a 5-year old I want to grow up as a global citizen with an understanding of all people everywhere.

      I would like to meet you sometime. I would like for you to be a guest writer at my site sometime.

      You didn’t call my mommy ugly or call me racist either.

      Thank you for reading.

      Mia

  • Pamela says:

    What a big deal! People in this country got spoiled! A lot of people talking very loud in English too! You really need to go travel to China and the world so that you become inclusive! Go to see more cultures when you grow up, little girl.

    • Mia Mei says:

      I have been to China several times. Other countries, too. Yes, people are different everywhere. Not better or worse. Just different. Which countries have you been to, Pamela?

  • See enough says:

    I don’t see a twist at the end in this story. You had a meal. Since you did not say the meal was bad, I assume you have nothing to complain about that. So You have served your purpose. Very common culture phenomenon of Chinese people speaking loud in the public. Lots of American speak loud too. Learn to be cultural sensitive. Have an open mind.

    • Mia Mei says:

      The twist is my daddy was trying to think of good reasons why they man was talking so very loud. But it turns out that the Chinese staff at the restaurant was hoping somebody would tell their boss to not be so loud. It was the Chinese staff who did not want their boss to be so loud.

  • Adams says:

    Mia,

    If you want to be a global citizen, u need to understand or at least to try to understand the reasons behind. There must be a reason for many things, good or bad. The more open minded people are, the more humble they are. And don’t jump to conclusion so quickly.

    Culture is very complicated topic, and it is very hard to “learn” culture without being there. For example, u will see different behavior between south China (speaking Cantonese) and north with Mandarin, but you won’t know it by simply reading books and hearing stories.

    I also had experience in Shanghai restaurant that Americans were joking that waiter’s accent on “bill” vs. “beer”. I went to them saying “you are supposed to speak Chinese here, so don’t make laugh at the waiter when he tried to be nice to you”.

    Chen’s explanation is quite true. Actually American enjoys the life style by consuming the whole world resources, so please don’t judge other country or people simply by the limited information been told or seen.

    • Mia Mei says:

      Adams,

      I have been to China several times and I am just 5 years old. And other countries, too ….

      I don’t see any judgement in my short article.

      It surprises me how many people are judging me for my article. It is Americans who created the “Ugly …” word. And sadly people imitate the bad parts of America, too.

      It was the Chinese staff who judged their own boss. Did you miss that part? My daddy tried to defend the old man at first.

  • Adams says:

    It does matter how many countries I have been to, I am from China instead of “been to China several times”.

    I am simply telling you the real story that some American individual’s behavior in Shanghai financial zone restaurant laughing at local people in local city for their English accent. It’s very individual behavior instead of whole community. I am not going to judge if they are “ugly” or not, there might be a reason behind.

    • Mia Mei says:

      Agreed. And the Chinese staff relayed to my dad what they thought of the individual behavior of their boss.

      I am also Chinese American. This person we met in the restaurant is certainly not like me.

      Thanks for reading and commenting and your insights.

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