Date: Thu, 31 Dec 92 01:41:07 PST
Subject: oriental mission
[Originally from Solomon Chang <SCHANG@pitzer.claremont.edu>]
This is a true story that happened to me only a few years ago...
I'm a 3rd generation Cantonese-American and have pretty much forgotten
the language. Hey, I wasn't even raised with it spoken in my household,
but I live in a predominantly Asian neighborhood anyway. Mormons, whom we
all know and love (*cough*), have to save their money during childhood so
that they may go on missionary expeditions when they hit seventeen years of
age or so. Some even become Urban Mormons and trek to distant(?) parts of
Suburbia, seeking converts.
One day, there was a knock at my door. Upon answering, lo and behold,
who should I find standing there, but two young, aspiring Jehovah's Witn-...
I mean, Mormon Missionaries. Both were Caucasian, and one was holding a
copy of Halston's Mandarin/English Dictionary. The Mormon holding the
dictionary greeted me in a foreign language, presumably Mandarin, that I
didn't understand. However, I chose to say nothing; I merely furrowed my
brow and intensified my gaze. Astute as they were, the missionaries were
quick to realize that I had not comprehended a single word they said, so
Missionary #1: I told you he wasn't Mandarin.
Missionary #2: Apparently not. He's probably wondering what
we're trying to say.
Missionary #1: Maybe he's Vietnamese.
Missionary #2: (Pulls out Vietnamese/English Dict.) Perhaps.
The Word of God was meant to reach all tongues.
So the second Missionary repeated his greeting in Vietnamese. I only
shrugged my shoulders. The other Mormon pulled out a Japanese Dictionary,
assuming that I might be Japanese. Again, I merely shrugged. We ran the
same gauntlet for the Korean language. I had to admit, though, that I was
beginning to tire of this game. So, taking a deep breath, I shouted,
"YOU DAMN FOREIGNERS! WHY DON'T YOU GO BACK WHERE YOU CAME FROM AND
STOP TAKING OUR JOBS?!?"
With that, I slammed the door in a grandiose fashion and couldn't stop
laughing for two hours afterward.
© 1992 Peter Langston