Here’s an HK local’s response to Kayo’s post. The only thing I’ll add about this ABC thing, as an American, is that people who identify with this label “ABC,” are confused about what the word American means. Anyone born in the US, as per the 14th Amendment, is American. Is the president of the US an “American Born Kenyan” because his father was Kenyan? Are he and I “American Born Europeans” because we have European ancestry? No. He’s American. As am I. The 14th Amendment does not make an exception for people with Chinese ancestry either. I know people who call themselves Chinese Americans, and I know people who call themselves ABCs (I had only met Chinese Americans before I came to HK). I believe the self-described ABC does not understand American culture, and it’s worth noting that they often talk like an MTV clone (don’t they know that nobody actually talks like that?) and generally subscribe to the lowest, basest, most corporatized and least sophisticated aspects of American culture. Why anyone would want to imitate this is beyond me. Yet they do.
So my friend Kayo found out last week that she was treated nicer in Hong Kong when she speaks in English than in Mandarin, as the latter seems to be seen as the imperialistic language by the locals (post). The discomfort with the increasing Chinese influence of our city, along with the locals’ nostalgia of our colonial past, not only leads to bitterness towards Mandarin speakers but also perpetuates the white supremacy that has been prevalent in Hong Kong.
A common phenomenon in the recent years caused by the locals’ discomfort of their Eastern self under Western influences is the “Fake American-Born Chinese” (Fake ABC) style.
(Image source: Plastic Thing)
As depicted by popular local illustrator Plastic Thing, Fake ABCs have a certain fashion style (flip-over hairstyle which may hurt your cervical vertebrae and A&F/Hollister outfit), as well as a special way to talk.
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