About

My name is Jack Kavanagh I don’t really want to put a photo on here. Let me explain what this is and why it exists.

Whygwarren is phonetic English and is the closest to the correct pronunciation of the phrase 外国人(wai guo ren) which is Chinese for foreigner. It literally means outside country person. This is the most politically correct label in Chinese. It is not to be confused with the potentially offensive and negative expression 老外(lao wai) or 鬼佬 (gui lao). The former literally means old outside, but has much more significance, the latter means ghost faced-man and is a more accurate representation of the history behind the expressions. This phrase wai guo ren is a label and therefore becomes a kind of identity. I’m not sure if spelling the link phonetically was for the best but fuck it, who cares, it’s done now.

There was a time in China known within the country as the 百年国耻(bai nian guo chi) meaning 100 years of humilation. Beginning with The First Opium War China was challenged by many countries and lost all the wars it fought and had to give major concessions to the great powers in the subsequent treaties. This led to many countries annexing areas of China and damaging the self esteem of the people. To this day a majority of Chinese people will be personally offended by a criticism directed at Chairman Mao. This is a national identity imbued into people by Confucianism and carefully redacted history curriculum in school.

While in China you can observe a odd kind of intolerance. Some people will announce to the world at large, ‘Look! Foreigner!’ whereas most others just think it and stare. Often those people will take out their iPhone and start snapping you like a undercover paparazzi. Fully aware of how strange they are behaving this is outweighed by the opportunity to show their friends and family the foreigner they saw today. It is quite likely if you board a bus, you will be giving a passenger their first glimpse of a foreigner up close.

The function of this blog is to allow me to express my opinions and provide reference for myself and others who may use the information presented for reference. Initially is there will be posts waiting to be written consisting in note form, please don’t be put off I’ve only just started. Thanks.

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