27 January 2007

Molson's Ale in Montreal and Chinese Goats

In the summer of 1966 I was studying Chinese at Middlebury College in Vermont when a friend and I decided to drive up to Montreal for a Molson's and to visit some friends at McGill University. I had bought an old red Triumph TR-3A which we drove up. I had met my friend that summer at Middlebury. Not only was he an extremely talented advanced Chinese student (who spoke fluent Mandarin with lovely pronounciation), but he was also a cracker-jack mechanic and that old Triumph was more trouble than it was worth (and I was worthless at keeping it maintained).

Sometime that evening my friend and I, both ex-military, but now bearded, were walking down a street when a young Chinese couple came walking toward us. As the coupled approached us, the young man made a comment in Mandarin to his girlfriend to the effect of, "Look at those two old goats."

Much to his surprise, and, I suspect, embarassment, my friend ran after them and chased them down the block, scolding him in impeccable Mandarin, and asking why he would ever dream of calling nice 'foreigners' like us, goats!

I imagine that he became more circumspect about talking about non-Asians in Chinese for a good while!

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