Saturday, May 26, 2012

"But they should learn bloody English!"

Recently at my work someone was complaining about Asians. One of them had tried ordering food with imperfect English and asked for fries by saying "chip" as in singular. This co-worker of mine was busy having a rant about it in the staff room.

"They shouldn't be here if they can't speak bloody English, it's so damn annoying. I can't stand it!" and so on.

How inconvenient it must be for her to have to deal with someone who doesn't speak perfect English. I mean can you imagine just how difficult it must be for her when she had to come against that one person who couldn't order properly? I mean what is this? This middle aged lady is so linguistically disadvantaged that she can't even order food properly. And I work in a restaurant! Food is our thing! Out of the 20+ million people in this country, most of which speak English, it is so annoying to occasionally run into someone who doesn't. I mean, don't they understand that English is the 3rd most spoken language in the world? Why is that lady even bothering with her native language, which might be Mandarin, the most common one in the world? She should learn English, like everyone else in this country. In fact, a billion Chinese people should all just learn English so they can go and visit countries like Australia without annoying a few of us. It's their fault that they weren't lucky enough to be born in a country where English is a native language.

My co-worker lives a different life to me. I don't get to experience the awful personal inconvenience of running into people who are incapable of communicating with anyone around them, all alone in a world of strange unintelligible words that they can't learn because the ability to learn new languages diminishes with age. She should have thought of that 40 years ago when she was in China. I mean, surely she had the same opportunities to learn a second language at school like we all did right? And we ALL speak second languages thanks to our public school educations right? See? Easy. Can you imagine how awful it must be to have to deal with someone like that? A break from the normal everyday routine of having people talk to you in a language you speak, and having to deal with someone who speaks a foreign language for a few minutes? It must really get in the way of her job of customer service when things aren't really simple and easy for my co-worker.

I cannot begin to understand just how terrible it is for my co-worker. I mean... how does she cope? I don't know man. I don't know how someone can handle that sort of language barrier on a once-every-few-months basis even if it is for a few minutes. You can see why on a separate occasion she was in a car crash and as soon as she discovered the other party involved was Asian she drove off without giving insurance information. That's totally understandable and justified...

Seriously. If you don't speak the language you shouldn't be allowed to travel, let alone migrate to another country. I mean, that's always been the case right? We English speakers were here in way back even in my grandfather's day, and his grandfather's day, and... well actually it runs out and stops abruptly at 1770... but still...

My co-worker leads a very hard life...

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