I suffered a bit of an identity crisis every time I attended a motor show in China (Beijing and Shanghai). After all, you can take the Chinaman out of Chinatown but you can’t take the Chinatown out of him.
As I practised my terrible Mandarin on the delectable booth babes in the expo halls, asking them for important information such as vehicle performance figures and their contact numbers, I realised that in China, I was more “Chinglish” than Chinese. Then my head started to spin, as I tried to reconcile my uniquely Singaporean blend of accidental Occident and incidental Oriental.Further confusing me were the various performances going on in those China motor shows I visited. On one side, there was a traditional Chinese dance, and on the other side, there was a modern hip-hop act. I saw teenage Chinese gymnasts doing a routine worthy of the Beijing Olympics, and I also saw teenage Chinese cheerleaders doing an American high school routine. I heard classical Chinese musical instruments playing English pop and modern violins playing Chinese hits.
My confusion was complete, and Confucian ethics wouldn’t help.