"Do you have a foreigner face?"

This job search is not looking good. Three interviews and two phone calls later, I haven’t come any closer to obtaining a source of income that’ll prevent me from going broke sometime next April.

The most recent of these episodes happened just now, two hours after finding out that my latest interview–for an English teaching position at an electronics factory–amounted to nothing. (At least I got a free cafeteria lunch out of that ordeal.)

The phone conversation went something like this:

“Hi this is Johnny, we received your application for the English teaching position at a kindergarten in Shanghai. I see you didn’t send us a photo with your application.”
“Oh…” [Struggling to remember which of my recent job applications this was; I thought I’d tried to avoid any that asked for a photo]
“So you’re from the United States?”
“Yes, I went to university there and lived there for five years.” [Oh, how I know where you’re going with this, but I’ll dance around as long as you’re dancing around.]
“But it says you were born in Hong Kong…”
“Yes, I was born in Hong Kong but I grew up in Canada.”
“So, uh…do you have a foreigner face, or…”
“No, I don’t, I’m Chinese–”
“Oh, you are Hong Kong person.”
“Yes. Is that a problem?”
“Uhh, well, the kindergarten would like to see a photo of the job candidate…”

And so forth. But you get the point.

I don’t want to sound emo, but this (i.e. coming to China) is the first time I’ve felt inadequate in my own skin since ninth grade when I’d wished I were white, because the white girls seemed to have everything a fourteen-year-old would want. I’m twenty-four now and have no desire to be white; I’m over that. I just want to be wanted for what I am, and what I am is Chinese, dammit.

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1 Comment

Filed under SH living

One response to “"Do you have a foreigner face?"

  1. Fiona

    (I know I’m commenting on old blogs, but it’s still fun. My weekends start on Friday this term, after all.)
    I guess you’re done applying to these kinds of idiots since you’ve got a/several(?) children to teach now, but next time the above conversation takes place and you know where it’s heading and know there’s no chance you’ll get the job because you’re Chinese, you could question their “foreigner face” policy out loud and totally waste his/her time and be as obnoxious as them. It’d probs never happen cos you’re more mature and polite than that, but still.

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