Early this morning, as I walked out of our apartment, a Tico I have never met before greeted me, “Chino!” he said. Obviously, he thought I am Chinese. A couple of hours later, while I was with Dahl at the market, a vendor asked me, “Chinito, ¿qué necesitas?” He also thought I am Chinese. One time when we were visiting with friends, a neighbor greeted us, “Ni hao.” (“Hello” in Mandarin.)

jackie-chanI have a lot of Chinese friends and I have been to China once. I think I know how a Chinese looks like, and I certainly don’t look like one. Do you honestly think I look like Jackie Chan? And so in the past, every time I’m called Chino, I would say, “No. Soy Filipino!” Now, however, I just smile and say, “Hola!” I have long learned that many Costa Ricans somehow think, and I don’t know why, that all Asians are Chinos. (Well, almost everything is made in China these days, right?)

I am unashamedly a Bible-believing Christian. When people hear me speak and see how I behave, I hope they will know that I am not just a Filipino or a Chino but a disciple of Christ. If you are also a Christian, I’m sure you have that same desire.  The good news is that the Lord Jesus already told us how people can recognize us as his disciples. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34).

Of course, it’s easier said than done. But we need to do it just the same. Let us love one another–unconditionally, sacrificially, daily.

Begin with the Christians you will meet in church this weekend.

Photo of Jackie Chan courtesy of http://filmstudiesforfree.wordpress.com

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4 thoughts on “They think I’m Chinese!

  1. Hehehe…I always felt sorry for my European friends when they are called “Kano” in the Philippines — at least with me they were right. But never did get used to being called Joe…

    1. Thanks Joe, er, Jim. Here they call a Kano, “Gringo.” I am sure people groups have their reasons for giving certain nicknames for foreigners who visit or live with them. Some nicknames are terms of endearment; others are pejorative. In any case, both the local person and the foreigner are, knowingly or unknowingly, are presented with issues that could potentially enrich or harm their respective cultural identities. I hope they choose the former.

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