You ever been caught in a situation where everyone speaks the same language except you? A room full of Mandarin-speaking people? Few years back, that was how it was day in day out at work.... almost till I've developed a selective hearing, as H puts it. Yeah, I've mastered the art of ignoring everyone and just go about my business without a care of what anyone is saying. I've learned to alienate myself because I am being alienated in the first place!
I was overjoyed when I didnt have to go through that anymore at the new workplace....that is until I was sent based at a client's place, where the people are mostly Chinese. Nothing wrong with that, except that there are also Indians in the same dept, and everyone just choose to speak Cantonese. I spoke to M yesterday about it. She and another colleague, G, both Indians are based at the client's place same as me. People around us who are Chinese like to speak Mandarin/Cantonese, I think that's fine, but you don't switch from English to Mandarin/Cantonese all of a sudden in the midst of a discussion with others, as if having another private discussion. As if you're alienating the Indians on purpose. As if they are not worthy of your respect.
Many would think that the rest of the minority group would just have to ACCEPT that these kind of situation happens because it's NORMAL as the majority group can't help it but to gradually converse in their mother tongue. I mean, what bullshit! I'm sure they know how to write RESPECT and MANNERS in Mandarin. Some senior manager actually said to me " aiya, you don't know Mandarin??? Work with me, must know Mandarin, if not very hard lah" How horrendous. I've proved otherwise that I can still do my job without conversing in Mandarin.
I thought we would have grown out of this. Years after our independence, we seemed to behave as if we are even more unrefined than before.