10/07/2008

The Banana Phenomena

Being a Chinese girl who can't speak/write fluently in any of the Chinese dialects, I've lived with the term "banana" for most of my life. It's a term that I've gotten used to & it no longer annoys me *partially true*

So what does the term "banana" mean? Plainly speaking its the group of Chinese people (associated with being yellow-skinned) who is fluent in English (associated with being white) but isn't proficient in their mother tongue (Mandarin, Cantonese, Hokkien...you name it). How bananas come to be is varied, but the banana phenomena is slowly taking over the world. You see more & more Chinese kids speaking with the American slang but not able to speak to their grandparents in their Chinese dialect. This isn't just in KL; it's happening in other parts of the globe; plus there are other analogies, like Oreo (for an African-American being "white" inside) in the US.

There are varying degrees of banana-ness, I'll try to clarify:
  • Type 1: you can speak fluent English AND a Chinese dialect; interpreter material.
  • Type 2: your English is good, definitely better than your Chinese dialect; but you can converse with Por Por without trouble...although you wish she could speak English
  • Type 3: you're midway between the two, neither one is superior to the other, & you're not a master at both. 
  • Type 4: English is your mother tongue. You struggle when you speak in a Chinese dialect. You can NOT get any more banana-ish than this. 
I can testify that I'm a Type 4. I'm not gonna elaborate how I got to that stage (there are reasons, believe me) but well, I'm coping with it. I can still order Chinese food although I tend to mix up with the dialects, sometimes order the wrong dish etc.

Don't hate me pweese

The only thing that bugs me is that some people think bananas are bad apples; sometimes I am discriminated by my own race! What happened to "one for all, all for one", eh? I understand that we should be proud of our culture & history, but gimme a break. I've done nothing wrong to you. My Princess Sis at UMT told me that the Chinese people isolate her & ask dumb questions like "is everyone at KL like you ah?" as if we're a bloody plague. 

Get a grip people. 

Didn't we all learn to look past our backgrounds & aim to appreciate a person for who he/she really is? Not because of how he/she mangles the language? I admit I tend to correct people who make mistakes while speaking English but do I call them a fruit? 

I can only try my best to pick up the language *I could say the same to you buggers* 
Don't get me wrong, I've many friends who are mainly Chinese speaking but they are GREAT people. They never insult me or try to degrade me; in fact, they try to help me to improve my proficiency in the language. Dudes like them are the salt of the earth.

So brace yourself, peeps. The banana phenomena is here. 

And it ain't leaving.

PS. Bananas are good for you. Seriously.

7 comments:

adhijunsu said...

yeah...bananas are good 4 ur health...esp 4 digestive system....huhuhuhu

bebelulu said...

Haha..trust me..you're not the only banana i know..back in my days at convent,heck every Chinese i knew was (still is )a banana..
So yea,'The Banana Phenomena' might have been around longer than you think..
Ohh.And you're not a damn plague rowie.neither are your sisters..lol

Cheers.

jaray said...

erm erm... am i one of the 'much' salt out there? hahaha...

i was a type 4... sorta... coz i cant speak mandarin... now, i think i'm type 1 "p

no worries jojo, u hav me!!! hahaha... banana rulez!

rowan said...

Yeah you're a salt haha :p

charangela said...

if Rowie's a banana, then i'm a coconut, and hell yeah, we're here to stay...lols

[XiAo He] said...

hi hi....
wanna learn mandarin??
we r here to teach u ... :)

*learning is a whole life process...

Rwi Hau said...

lol..if you're type 4, well then i guess i am a ****ing type 2 banana. and why the hell are we talking like we're contagious or anythg, rowie? type 1 influenza? hahahahahahha