This week I went to lunch with a family friends named Becka Chester. Becka works as a interior designer and a while ago spent some time living in China and working there. She has always been a very good friend and always told me the best stories.
This story is about one time she was in China. She told me how at the time she did not think it was funny but afterwards she couldn’t help but laugh. She also said how she will remember that day for a very long time because, though embarrassing it was still hilarious.
“So, I was living in China, and one time I went to the store. I usually wear glasses and I didn’t have them with me for whatever reason, I can’t remember. Anyways, I was at the store and I wanted to read the special deals but I couldn’t because I did not have my glasses. As a young girl, before I had glasses, I had learned that if I couldn’t read something I could always pull down the edges of my eyes, kinda like squinting, and it would make the letters legible. At the time I didn’t see anything wrong with “squinting”. So, I was standing in front of a Chinese store clerk squinting trying to read the specials. If you haven’t figured out the problem by now I encourage you to think harder. My “squinting” offended her. She though I was mocking her and started yelling at me in Chinese, at the time it wasn’t funny. I hadn’t realized what I had done and I was very confused. So once I realized what I had done I felt awful and began apologizing to the lady, she understood and I proceeded to buy what I wanted from the store. All in all it could of been a much worse day, at least now I have a funny story.”
The message from Becka Chester to all of you is: If you need glasses cary them with you wherever you go, “squinting” often offends people of Asian decent, and don’t push it with that one, learning the hard way could get you in some serious trouble.