Official Artist
Sean Tierney
Actor , Screenwriter , Musician , Comedian , Author
1,952,527 views| 2,421  Posts

It's Stupid at the Top

No, the air is not cold up here.

No, I don't rent out my size 13 (US, HK 47.5) shoes as boats.

Yes, people behind me at movies docomplain.

Ever notice how some songs, or commercials, just seem to be everywhere and inescapable, and drive you frigging batsh*t?

That's how I feel about jokes about being a larger than average person.

And if I don't laugh at these (or similar) jokes, it's because I have heard them too many times in my life. They may sincerely be new and funny to you, but to me they are tedious.

Especially since there are never any new ones, just the sameones.

As you can imagine, living in Hong Kong hardly makes the situation any better. For a lot of reasons.

I hate getting in the elevator in my estate when people are in it. Especially people with kids.

Because people always push their kids to speak English to me. And these poor kids are often justifiably reticent at talking to some hulking, hairy-legged (remember, kids are short) leviathan who looks nothing like Mommy, or Daddy (or anyone else). The kid wants to hide, and Mommy keeps dragging them out and pushing them to talk to me. Leave the poor kid alone, will ya?

As some of you may know, I am not generally fond of kids, but I admit they are awfully cute when they say hello. Children stare at me, but I understand; I look like an albino Godzilla to them. Usually, I just wave at them and smile.

Yes, I can smile.

Sometimes they wave back, and it makes me happy. I'm actually glad that they're not afraid of me. Like I said, I wouldn't blame them. Imagine a person 10 feet tall. That's what I look like to them.

The messed up part about that is all the people who tell me my tattoos scare children. No, they just scare tight-asses, which I consider a benefit. Children lovetattoos.

I play a game with little kids; I ask them if they like dogs or cats. I ask if they like dragons or tigers. Depending on the answer, I show them that tattoo. The fact that I do it in Cantonese is probably why their mothers allow it.

The kids think they're funny, or pretty, or they want to get one. That's when their mother snatches them up and walks away. 

And at least kids are honest. Grownups just talk about you. In front of you. In Cantonese, of course. Waaah, so tall gweilo. He must be 2 meters tall.

Sometimes I say to them, Yes, I am tall. 193cm.

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaah, gweilo can speak Cantonese.

I get that a lot too. They never say another f@#$ing word to me, though.

That's the vast extent of my social interaction; I tell people I'm tall, and they tell me I speak Cantonese.

In fairness, some people will speak to me, especially after I say good morning. My Cantonese is not very good, but I can talk about where I'm from, what I do, and a couple other things. I'm just glad for the conversation.

But while some grownups talk, other grownups stare. They stare at the gweilowho is speaking their language. So even when I have social interaction, it is still, contextually, at least partially a freak show, yours truly of course being the freak.

A lifetime of this gets old...

Where I come from, staring at people is wrong. In many American cities, it might get you shot. So I admit that I am still learning to temper my reaction to getting grilled. Particularly because people know they shouldn't do it, but do it anyway.

(Like those swine who think the queue for the train is voluntary. When you tell them where the end of the line is , they sheepishly go to it. Asswipes...)

So when I am minding my own overgrown business on the train and every time I look at someone and they're stillstaring at me, I will eventually ask, in Cantonese, What are you staring at? They immediately stop, because they know they're wrong.

It's a shame that people are so surprised that gweilocan speak Cantonese; most apparently never make the effort.

In a related manner, I always get a kick out of local people's surprise with my familiarity with the local film industry. I once asked Jo Koo/Kuk Cho Lam for a picture, and she looked at me funny until I said "You're Jo Koo, aren't you?" Then she seemed okay with it.

I took a picture with Francis Ng once, and someone said Waaahhhh, gweilo fan-see!

That same night, I asked Yung Yung Yu if I could take a picture, and she asked me why. Frankly, she looked uncomfortable (not that I blame her). When I told her she was in In Love with the Dead, she seemed shocked, albeit pleasantly, that I knew about the movie and/or her.

Even when I go to the movies, people filing into films like Playboy Cops will notice me, then speak to their friend, who will turn and look at me. Which frequently makes otherpeople turn and look.

All I wanted was to sit in a dark room and watch a movie. Is that too much to ask?

So I guess sometimes I do feel rather tired of the whole situation. I've been tall my whole life and so I can't blend in. Obviously in Hong Kong I am taller and, of course, even more incapable of blending in, for reasons more than height.

And while I may seemingly complain about my elementary Cantonese being an object of fascination, it still beats the alternative; living in someone's home and not even having the common courtesy to be polite enough to learn to say thank you.

I don't blame kids, either. Their parents are just trying to get them to learn.

But I do have limits. Once, in the Mongkok KCR bathroom, I was standing there, doing my thing. The man next to me l eaned overto cop a look. WHAT THE F@#$ ARE YOU DOING? I said in a very loud voice. He hurriedly moved away.

I don't need that.

If you've read this far, thank you.

over 15 years ago 0 likes  3 comments  0 shares


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Languages Spoken
Location (City, Country)
Hong Kong
Member Since
April 1, 2008