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Pet Sins September 2000

Chinese woman fabricates 'European childhood' to impress non-Chinese

I had a "friend" from China while I was in college. In retrospect, it seemed she attached herself to me because she was not popular with other Chinese. I didn't know why they disliked her, and I accepted her with an open mind.

She told me she didn't fit in with other people from China because she was raised in Europe. Her father was an international businessman and her mother was a doctor. She spent her childhood in international schools in Europe, and only returned to China for her high school education. Or so she said. She told the same story to her other non-Chinese friends.

Later, some other Chinese students told me that it was all a lie. She fabricated a personal background about "European" upbringing to impress non-Chinese friends. These students from China claimed they knew people she went to high school and middle school with, and that her mother wasn't a doctor, and her father wasn't an international businessman, and that there was no way she could have been outside the country during the years she said she was.

I was very shocked. These students were also my friends and people whose word I trusted. On the other hand, the Chinese lady whose story was in doubt had told small lies to me on other occasions. Yet I couldn't understand at all why she would do this. If her purpose of fabricating a European childhood was to impress others, it wouldn't impress me any more than the story of a China childhood.

I raised the issue to her and asked her what the truth was. Rather than open her heart and mind to me, she chose to terminate the friendship. I was very disappointed. I believe she had lied. Someone also told me she dated men of European descent out of a "glamor" complex. But I still don't understand why some Asians think that being associated with Europe is more "cool" than being associated with anywhere else.