8.21.2011

Asking for Forks in Asia

FORK!?
 Humiliation:
to cause (a person) a painful loss of pride, self-respect, or dignity; mortify. (Dictionary.com)

Nothing cuts down your pride like when you have to ask for a fork in Asia when you can actually use chop sticks.


"...May I please have a fork?  My hand doesn't work."
"Cho, fo-kuh chuseyo.  Son-ul anduessunikka."

When I broke my hand (metacarpal) in Korea I was unable to show off my Level V chop stick mastery.  It hurt because it made me feel like I was just a lame foreigner who was afraid of chop sticks.  Does anyone have similar experiences where you had to do something like this?  It could be speaking English in a foreign country when you know it makes you look ignorant.  You know the feeling, so why don't you tell me your experience?

9 comments:

  1. Ironically, I first learnt to use chopsticks in London when I was 8.

    Actually, I've felt like a foreigner in my own country quite a number of times. There's such a distinct difference between people who've lived their lives in villages and in cities when you're in Malaysia, by the way you dress, use of slangs and your mindset altogether.

    So whenever I enter a village to visit distant relatives or for a traditional event, I always get stares because I apparently have a different vibe to me! Hate the feeling. I just feel like covering my face with a mask. I always end up looking at the floor.

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  2. your title is a bit misleading. i mean, do they use chopsticks in saudi arabia? or india? or the philippines? those are asia too! ;)

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  3. Wow, Jay. You made my mind go poof.

    And I can't think of a moment like that, but I can relate, I'm sure I have I just can't think of it.

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  4. I like chopsticks. They're not that hard to use! :)

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  5. I know how to use chopsticks, but there are times I use spoons and forks to eat my food... and sometimes people look at me funny! ;)

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  6. RS, living somewhere else for a while really makes you stick out. I can't help bowing to people and sometimes it feels natural to kiss friends on the cheek when saying goodbye, but it's not really normal here. I imagine even the way you walk is different from people in those small villages! But it's neither good nor bad :)

    Jay, I wish you weren't so right... But how cool would it have been to say: "...In chop stick wielding Asia?" I know this but I always generalize and people remind me, just like you did! I could try to say that the majority of the bodies in Asia use chop sticks, but boy we'd be trying hard to make a point, heh. It just doesn't feel like Asia, but it is. It might be like when we say: "Oh, I'm from America." and all the South Americans say, "Oh, we're Americans too." Maybe saying "American" means USA more often than not and Asia means chop stick wielding countries? Thanks for pointing that one out!

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  7. D4, it happens to all of us at some point. I have those moments pretty often!

    myday...they're not hard if you use them correctly. But can you cut things with them? My wife can pull stuff apart only using one hand and her chop sticks. She must be at level X chop stick mastery. I'm not!

    Shutterbug, in Korea people generally use their spoons for rice. When I first arrived and used my chop sticks people would look at me funny. I just wanted to adapt but they didn't even go that far. In Japan I believe that chop sticks are used for rice, and I feel that the same is true in China. Not in Korea! People look at me and my wife funny too. I think it might be for other reasons though! ;)

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  8. I've never had to ask for a fork, because I've never gone to Asia. :D

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  9. My 2 Pesos: I hope you can go to Asia one day. It's absolutely mind blowing... Acaso no eres hispanohablante? I have to write more posts in Spanish... I feel like all of Latin America could benefit from the little piece of Asia that I've seen.

    Thank you very much for stopping by!

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