It was a subtle awareness that started about half a year ago. An interesting thing has come to my attention.
That is whenever I head out to shop or eat in HK, should I choose to go bare face wearing just T with shorts, there is a 50-50% chance that the staff will speak to me in Mandarin and the other half would be in Cantonese.
However, if I decide to just put on eyeliner with or without mascara, NO ONE will ever speak to me in Mandarin. They would either speak to me in Cantonese or English. It was quite funny that once while I was window shopping, the retail staff standing behind me without seeing me enter the shop started her sales speech in Mandarin but the minute I turned around, she said sorry and immediately swap to speaking English. Hahaha! I was really chuckling inside.
Today was even weirder, the staff at the Japanese tempura place for some reason decided to converse in Japanese while taking my order. Secretly I was happy...hahaha...did i even remotely managed to pass off as Japanese? hahaha! Are my Japanese-brand clothes and hairdo by Japanese stylist paying off? hahaha!
I was asking with my husband, do I look that ching-chong cheena without makeup?!! Why would they even think I look like Mainlander?! I didnt think that I look all that different! Husband being husband was of no help when I ask him for his views. Man! hahaha!
I didnt know which was worse, being mistaken as a Mainlander, or as a Filippino helper when I first arrived in HK 7 years ago (figured I was still too tan then and wearing tanktop, shorts with flip flop the bo-chap Singaporean style). I have had since completely let go of my Singapore wardrobe from then onwards and revamped it with everything non-SG bought clothes.
Anyway, so for a long time now, I havent gone out without minimally my eyeliner apart from grocery shopping! The last thing I want is to be mistaken as a ..... regardless if we share the same ethnic race. I rather be mistaken as an Indian, Vietnamese or whatever. Just not "...." please. No thank you.