“Get the Hell Out of Asia, American Bastards!” or when not to gather insider tips from locals

Scrolling through my Twitter feed this afternoon,” I stumbled across this incongruous pair of tweets:

Twitter feed screen shot _ expatlingo.com

The first tweet relates to the American [foreign policy] “pivot to Asia” and China’s annoyance that the US has involved itself in the South China Sea dispute between China and just about every other Asian country in the region.

Protesting America’s involvement in a “local matter,” a group of ex-People’s Liberation Army soldiers in Shenzhen donned their old fatigues and pledged that they were ready to die for their country in order to “protect its borders.” They also, apparently, spent a lot of time shouting “Get the Hell Out of Asia, American Bastards!”

Photo of May 18 Shenzhen veteran protest from 163 News via The Nanfang

Photo of May 18 Shenzhen veteran protest from 163 News via The Nanfang

Their protest took place over the weekend, but I’m sure their anti-American sentiment has only been further fueled by today’s FBI-produced “Wanted” poster indicting five Chinese military officers for hacking US commercial targets.

FBI Wanted poster for Chinese army officers

FBI Wanted Poster for Chinese military officers accused of cyber-espionage.

What is the advantage to the US of essentially “flipping the bird” at China in such a public way? I’m not sure.

One thing I am sure of: now is not the time to follow the advice of the second tweet via @expatexplorer and

“find any excuse to talk to locals (taxi drivers, hairdressers, waiters etc.). It sounds simple but often the best tips and insights will come from them.”

Maybe those Shenzhen veterans have a great tip on an unknown Sichuan restaurant. And maybe they’ll share it with me between shouts of “Go home Yankee!”

Expat tips parody _ expatlingo.com


(I suspect Chinese expats in Vietnam are also not talking to locals about the nightclub in scene in Hanoi this week.)



  • Expat Explorer: I love you and I understand (and agree with) the sentiment of the tip, but I couldn’t help myself!
  • Read about the Shenzhen veterans’ protest here (links to the article in @zhongnanhai ‘s tweet).
  • For more on the FBI’s charges and wanted poster, see the BBC article here.


24 responses to ““Get the Hell Out of Asia, American Bastards!” or when not to gather insider tips from locals

  1. On the other hand, I’m kind of tempted to somehow try the experiment. Kind of like that xkcd cartoon where two people are flaming each other on the internet and then a giant bird picks one of them up and flies them over to sit in front of the other one and… you know the one, right?

    I’d bet probably $50 on an American getting a good tip for a local restaurant or public transport system from just walking up and asking in a casual, friendly manner. You don’t think?

  2. I would like to see that experiment – I bet it might work out OK. People are weirdly good at hating an idea or group, but having no problem with something on the individual level.

    Give it a try, go on!

  3. You say the local was explaining how to save money with the 互痛行card. I thought you meant 互通行. 互通 means mutual passage while 互痛 is mutual pain. Or maybe that’s what the local was really referring to? 🙂

  4. 阿玉米 (Mr. Corn, I’ll call him) was a vendor by my school in Luo Hu. The third night I went wandering around for dinner, I came up to his stall. I told him that I was from the US. 我讨厌美国, he said. Every night I went to get some grilled corn.

    This subject is awfully amusing though. Cambridge, MA’s population would be about ten if it weren’t for the mainland.

  5. The past two weeks in Vietnam were also eye opening. First in my area it was not the Americans who were the bad guys. I had the experience of going to a Taiwanese factory and seeing hundreds of protesters waving VN flags and anti Chinese banners. Luckily they were outside the gates then. It was that night that the protesters returned and burned the factory that employed 10000 Vietnamese. It is such a waste and meaningless destruction that will impact the country for years. It also shows that Asians also cannot tell the nationality, since Taiwanese received the most damage from these actions. I think the Vietnamese government got a little insight into it’s people. Maybe that will also spread north. All these protests can be redirected quickly, then we will all have bigger problems.

    • I’ve been thinking about you and wondering about your experience in Vietnam during these anti-(Mainland)-Chinese protests. Glad you shared this comment.

      Utterly ridiculous that they are burning down Taiwanese factories that employ thousands of Vietnamese. Stay safe.

  6. a) without the americans (and allies), PRC China would be speaking Japanese.
    b) without American (and foreign) investment, how much longer would PRC China’s economy to reach today’s level?
    c) without American grains, what the heck the PRC Chinese eats (corn, soybeans, wheat) since they import over 50% of their grains from the US?

    PRC China got caught stealing R&D worth billions (if not trillions) plus possibly suspected hacking into the US Power Stations (which could cause a very large power outage or nuclear plant meltdown)

    PRC China finally got its just rewards in 2014 since their nationalistic anti-Japanese riots in 2004. 2008. 2012 where Japanese factories were burned down in China and beat up Japanse workers in Shanghai/Beijing along with massive commerical damage to Japanese firms and embassies. Not to mention PRC China started this ‘fight’ with Japan, Vietnam and Phillipines by claiming entire East and South China Sea is PRC area. PRC China secured an oil rig in Vietnam waters (remember Russian invasion of Ukraine and Georgia?)

    Hope for Peace and Safety of Humanity. However, Karma exists.

    • Nulle, somehow it doesn’t bother me nearly so much when you complain about the PRC government (rather than mainland Chinese people).

      Anyone targeting people because of their race/religion/nationality are perpetuating hate and causing unnecessary harm to the blameless. And yes, that includes anti-Japanese riots in China as well as anti-Chinese riots in Vietnam.

    • I completely don’t understand the point of it at all. I assume they had a strategy, but I can’t figure out what it might possibly have been.

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