By ZHONG ZULUN
Race Relations Correspondent
BEIJING (China Daily Show) – It’s the news that has every Russian saying, “Na zdrovia”: The results from a recent China Daily Show poll to find the best – and worst – expats has left all participants feeling slightly more racist.
The biggest non-surprise was the news that Russia maintained its position of having the world’s most intimidating expatriate community. The victory, Russia’s fourth consecutive win, was celebrated in style at Beijing’s downtown Moscow Restaurant last night, where a trio of bodybags – believed to contain dead prostitutes – was seen being smuggled out in the early hours Wednesday morning.
Sergei Nikolayevich, a shark-eyed Shanghai nightclub owner, said he wasn’t especially celebrating the win, as he normally drinks two bottles of vodka a night anyway. But he agreed the poll was an accurate reflection of Russia’s status abroad.
“The happiest moment of my life was when I gave my mother a tracheotomy in the husk of a burning car,” recalled Nikolayevic, who moved to China after a particularly harsh winter during which most of his family perished except his arch-enemy, brother Uri.
Russian melancholia is understandable, pointed out historian Sir William Buckfast, whose Somehow It Gets Worse (OUP, 1998) is considered a definitive account of the former Soviet Union. “Think about the worst possible thing that ever happened in your country: something that haunts you, shames you, worries you, terrifies you,” Buckfast explained. “Well, the Russians doubled it and likely did it for fun.”
Other expats that made readers reach for their passports include South Africans, Israelis and Nigerians. Agbani Enwonu, a Political Science professor and author of the critically acclaimed Things Fall Apart, Again (411 Books, 2010), says the stereotype is an outdated one.
“Yeah, yeah, I tell you,” Agbani told China Daily Show. “The only way to peaceful cohabitation between nations is a leveraged and balanced trade policy. The understanding and compassion of people is not enough. For example, I myself am a son of the deposed General [Sani Abacha]. But I would be happy to share the contents of my frozen accounts with you, if you’d just supply me with a few bank details.”
The poll spells bad news for China’s overseas muscle, however: Chinese people came in at an over-friendly 167, mostly because they “bring food,” while its dictatorial neighbour, North Korea, failed to even register.
The news was also greeted with dismay in Australia, which only just squeezed into the 2011 Top Ten despite a very strong showing last year. “It’s ridiculous,” complained aggrieved sports-bar manager Bruce Thompson. “Statistically, at any given moment, in any given bar, an Australian is punching someone while shouting.”
And disproving the old adage that it is impossible to not offend a Canadian, the Canuck abroad is merely considered harmless, according to pollsters. “They have infiltrated every nation. They can live in any climate,” explained anthropologist Wen Luo. “ In short, they are so polite and unassuming, it’s just plain rude.”
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