Monday, 30 January 2012

Why British Born Chinese Shouldn't Be Expected To Speak Chinese

- Do all British Africans speak African?
- Do all British Pakistanis speak Pakistani?

You dont hear of British Born Pakistanis or British Born Africans do you?

Establishing your native language is an important part of  defining your cultural identity - look at the following video clip found on youtube - courtesy of BBCzeitgeist member and blogger BBCRonin.

 BBCronins original link can be viewed here:


The above capture which I stole from BBCronin's site which is basically a capture from the comments section of the video with youtube usernames deleted -  as you can see - plenty of racist comments made about the  show presenter, Kai who is a BBC - and the perception that its odd for him to be a native English speaker- why do you think that is?

Has anyone thought that by having our own media exposure - even without expressing the complexities of our own cause- that the most necessary cause is to express the fact that English is our native language?

Can anyone imagine what it's like to be thought of as not being able to speak English despite it being your native language and live in the UK and have to go to local shops and be assumed that you cant speak English wherever you go and only to have to live there for years to 'earn respect of the locals' through familiarity, until one day the neighbourhood changes and you have to justify yourself all over again to those new people who have just moved in despite having you having lived there for over 10 years? Embarassing much?

Despite our British Chinese media image being made invisible by HAPAS and our Chinese in Britain status over-emphasized and orientalised by FOBS who cannot help but speak bad English, if we want to be seen as 'regular British natives', then we have to make an EFFORT to portray our image as just that.

Let's face it 'British Chinese' identity is a loose generalised apolitical term for 'Chinese living in Britain' .

Do FOBS honestly even consider themselves British Chinese? Or just Chinese?

If we have British Chinese FOBS who cant speak English and HAPAs are happy to be 'East Asian' - a deliberately loose terminology that has been adopted to replace the only slightly worse term 'Oriental' but still does little for the British Chinese identity...

 The only way forward is for British Born Chinese to empower ourselves to make our name distinguishable from the other British Chinese, recognisable and not one that is apologetic to FOBS, HAPAS or anyone else, but one that is clear and concise, with more meaning than 'Chinese in Britain'


Some of you may be reading this and ticked the following boxes:

- speak Chinese language and English language
- embrace my Chinese culture
- havent interbreeded and my children if i have any are full Chinese.

But creating culture unfortunately isnt the same as reproducing and  dumping the responsibility onto your future BBC child who could end up being a well spoken accountant .To break the stereotypes that have bombarded for ages, we have to start now.
PS: BBCRonin if you are reading this, please get back to me so I can get full permission for using your capture, your blog doesnt have an email address to contact you, thanks


  1. It's NOT called 'Chinese', it's called 'MANDARIN' you idiot!!! Anyway BBCs speak Cantonese or Hakka!!! >.< Anyway, BBC having a British accent is not weird but I hardly even as a BBC myself, I hardly ever come across a BBC with a strong posh/middle-class British accent. Most BBCs I know have the 'inner London' accent lol!

  2. I'm not sure in what world you're living in, but there are plenty of British Born Pakistanis and British Born 'Africans' (although they would take the name of their country, not their continent, otherwise you'd be British Born Asians too).

    The rest is the same as usual.

  3. @Kai I wrote Chinese language - covers Cantonese, Hakka, Mandarin. With more immigration most future BBCs will probably speak Mandarin anyway.

    @anonymous British Born South Asians and British Born Africans dont have to make that distinction of being British Born unlike BBCS, because unlike British Born Chinese, they have a clearly defined and organised culture.

    So put it this way -

    If people as I read still we get the perpetual foreigner stereotype and the whole 'where are you from' comments, wouldnt it be an idea to establish that British Born Chinese ,like British Africans, British South Asians , have our own clearly defined BBC culture rather than having to live in the shadow of FOBS...

    'well im british born chinese' oh ok.

    'Well, im like, well im ASIAN...and well my Cantonese is a bit rusty but my friends are all white'

    Great. nice. Asian - but you dont look Indian or Pakistani. Do you speak Urdu then?

    'No im ASIAN' - so is that a cultural identity? or some kind of cool terminology?

    Whats the difference between British Chinese, and British Born Chinese? And if theres no difference, why is there that distinction specifically made for the Chinese in Britain?

    Is it because British Chinese simply means ' Chinese in Britain' who dont have to speak English very well because it isnt their first language?

    So where does that leave BBC's? apologising for having rusty Cantonese when the official language of British Chinese is English or Cantonese or Hakka or Mandarin despite being the only ethnic group that owns that clearly identifies us as 'British Born'?

  4. I think a lot of BBCs do actually have a sort of organised culture. I also know British Born Asians/Africans who have a lot of white/a lot of other races friends, don't speak their native language/their native language is very rusty. I read tons of articles of people who look a bit brown or whatever, and they're constantly being asked where they are from in the UK, even if they were born and raised here. I don't see how BBCs are the only ones affected by this.

  5. ^ What is the BBC culture , you say its organised, how is organised? Facebook?

    I was on there the other night and one of the latest posts says ' theres 4000+ people registered on here but its only the same 30 people posting' why? Okay so there could be many reasons but again i ask what is the definition of BBC culture? The usual confused identity issue? No? Okay, then WHAT?

    Why dont we have a BBC central political cultural base run by BBCs for the British Chinese community that deal with racial issues like British South Asians and British Africans?

    Doesnt anyone think that part of the problem of our coerced BBC invisibility in the media issue, with no thanks to orientalisation ( ie people think we dont speak english) and exclusive misrepresentation by HAPA actors, ( that its not acceptable to be a fully ethnic english speaking Chinese born in britain) is all part of this?

    British South Asians had their music culture in the 90s, British Blacks definitely have theirs - what is ours?

    The two most developed cultures of choice are black and white. It can be argued that British South asians have more of a representative network in the arts. An example:

    Look at EMMA - Ethnic Multicultural Media Academy that represents fair equality in the media - now regardless of the usefulness of this...where's our British Born Chinese representative, or simply , where's the Chinese representative who at least represents the interest for all Chinese in the UK?

    Knowing that Chinese have to contend with an anti-Chinese western media should make us even more of an effort to develop our own BBC culture - music, media etc - for ourselves as well as showing to others who we are artistically, and inadvertantly that we arent perpetual foreigners that the media repeatedly tells everyone we are.

    Some BBCS on facebook love to identify with Asian American - yet if they did their research, they would understand that Asian Americans have their issues too, but the difference is that some of them actually give a crap, and take initiative despite the odds, but BBC's just seem to want to piggyback off that effort without wanting to develop our own unique culture.

    In fact if you compare BBCS to virtually every other overseas Chinese representation - you would quite possibly find us at the bottom of the evolution ladder in terms of cultural development despite being the oldest group of overseas Chinese. Wheres our initiative? Numbers means nothing if noone wants to do anything.

    We have to do things for ourselves because we WANT to not because we are forced to. But then on the other hand if noone wants to, then as usual we are left in the lurch posting on forums and whatnot sharing cake recipes.

    Why do we get excited when we see ourselves on TV halfknowing its going to be laced with orientalisation and racist connoitations like the British Tiger mums programme featuring FOBS that dont speak English properly - similar to our FOB parents who denigrate us for not speaking Chinese properly - living in the U fucking K no less!

    Wheres OUR BBC cultural representation for US? There are a million ways to create a unique British Chinese culture without having to live in the shadow of FOBS.

    Part of the BBC character is being laid back and easily satisfied - this is something inherent from our Chinese parents. The solution to that however, is recognising that complacency is not the answer to cultural development, positive initiative IS.

  6. I agree with Kai, I've never met any BBC's that have that guy's accent in the video, he doesn't sound like most BBC's that I know either, he sounds remarkably like a strong voice-over man just like a British journalist or a Jeremy Clarkson, he sounds 100% white. Normally, when I hear other BBC's speak, I'm not talking accents here, I'm talking about how sound is produced, you can often tell if they're British Born Chinese just by listening to the voice, rather like how a Black person sounds when he speaks, if you cannot see the face, but listen to a Black person's voice on the telephone, you can tell they're Black by the sounds they produce when they speak, even though they're British born and speak with an English accent regardless if its posh or regional. But the guy in the video sounds 100% like a White British man.

    I was also surprised when I watched TVB's English channel in Hong Kong recently, there was a journalist reporting with a really heavy Manchester or some kind of northern British accent, when she said her Chinese name at the end of the bulletin, it was obviously a British Born Chinese working in Hong Kong, I was very surprised, I thought it was a White person.

    Indeed, I was also surprised when I saw bubzbeauty and the other BBC make-up gurus speaking on youtube with such strong regional northern accents, I'm very much a southern BBC and have no connections whatsoever with BBC's in the North, I personally find strong regional accents on BBC females (esp northern/ghetto accents), a bit of a turn off.

  7. I thought Bubzbeauty was Chinese-American?

  8. Hi, sorry I haven't been here in a while. Yes, you may use the capture.

  9. Thanks BBC Ronin.Good to see youre back bro.

    I read that Bubzbeauty born in Northern Ireland

    @BBCzeitgeist yeah id agree he sounds like a voiceover guy, bit nasally like a radio-DJ. He also uses very white-phraseology 'clearly a formidible camera' ' weird charlie chaplin throw-back'.

    Having said that, the fact that BBC's accents arent tainted by the Chinese accent say like a British Black Black or British South Asian ( which also borrow some of that Black mannerisms) as you both say BBCS have that London accent, and what ive noticed a feint calm quality.Also the american-accented influence is slightly getting more apparent like the asian american youtubesters

    It doesnt really bother me where the BBCS are from or the sound of our accent, it shows us as diverse. Whats important to me is that we embrace our regional british accent as an expression of our Chinese heritage in developing positive British Born Chinese cultural identity.

    Because its the reality and the norm, and anything else as far as being a BBC is, would probably seem false.

  10. i am beginning to think that happybritishchinese is a cia agent.

    1. no i just TRY to pay closer attention because i care for the development of our chinese cultural identity, and if more bbcs TRIED, we'd probably be better off as a group.

  11. well, British Born Chinese are only hellbent on leaving the country or disintegrating their Chinese bloodlines (i.e they want to reproduce mixed race children), thats the bottom line, why would they bother to develop a BBC culture if they want to disintegrate their own existence?

    1. Yes we will be soon known as 'British born mixed have my cake and eat it too arent hapa babies cute i get more racism than you chinese oh god why wasnt i born fully white im so misunderstood but now im going to enjoy watching england win the cup final' Chinese

  12. I have noticed a huge disparity between Chinese and other minorities in the white world. Other minorities are more easily and readily distinguished as separate entities than the Chinese are - e.g. black british vs black africans, or black caribbean.... british asians, british indians vs indians and those from other asian countries. Even those who do not shy away from disguising their asian roots e.g. regular visits back there to family etc. are considered more British than the BBC who shies away from their heritage - just ask any BBC woman, in their quest to be accepted as "one of them"

    1. That's exactly the problem i have with BBCs calling themselves 'asian' it's like a superficial escape from dealing with their real identity as British born Chinese.

  13. Also, his voice his brilliant!!! He should be a presenter or voiceover for something on TV or radio

  14. Those comments just stem from ignorance. The sort of people making those comments are probably not-very-cosmopolitan Americans who associate 'British' with 'posh British white people' (that's how American media conceives of 'British'/'Britain'), therefore it doesn't occur to them that there are any ethnic minorities that have any 'British culture' in them. This leads them to make ignorant remarks about Asians being 'British'

    In Britain itself, it's not strange to (most) British white people that non-white people can have British accents.

    1. No but whites validate the word Chink - like you seem to do - as being non-offensive which is even worse than assuming non-white people can have british accents.

  15. Since when did Oriental become racist or a a bad phrase? I think it was only the ill educated that decided Oriental has to be paired with a noun to objectify the phrase. So calling someone Oriental was akin to objectifying them, like an Oriental rug or Oriental vase.

    I've debated this for quite some time with my American friends who look at me as being racist against my own heritage. Learn some latin for goodness sake.

    That said, what kind of accent do people expect someone born and raised in England to have? I've seen his youtube videos before and think he has quite a Loyd Grossman style of presenting, which i find quite amusing.

    1. If you are referring to 'Orientalisation'; its an offensive term to a BBC when is British Born, and its also offensive to a mainlander or Hong Kong Chinese, who doesnt perceive of himself/herself as exotic, which is what the word 'Oriental' suggests.

      That the word Oriental been adopted in British culture is just because thats what some BBC'ers are used to calling it.

      Re: his accent, I have no real issue with it, but as I mentioned above, in regards to him being a technical person talking about technology based - culture, Its a fineline because technology is a very white area, and being that we are arent used to BBCs presenting Camera shows, he doesnt necessarily have to use white phraseology to represent us. But then bearing in mind BBCs dont have a vocabulary of BBC phraseology other than that which us regulars on this blog use, or borrow from each other, its down to, as usual, a lack of an established BBC culture than anything else.

  16. To these people its almost like its an insult that a man who looks Chinese can speak with a normal British accent. Goes to show much they believe in the western-influenced stereotypes.