A sinoboo is very similar to a Weeabo. I’m going to take it that for anyone reading this, Weeaboo and Sinoboo will not be obvious terms. Filthy Frank explained the ins and outs of what a disgusting Weeaboo is already here. I seen the video back in 2014 and I was immediately hit with the realization that a lot of people who study Mandarin in or out of China can become fatally ill with a form of neurasthenia called “Sinoboosia”.
I took the definition of a Weeaboo and tweaked it slightly to explain the ins and outs of what a Sinoboo is.
The term ‘Sinoboo’ is a negative term directed towards anyone that is overly obsessed with Chinese culture to the point that they become annoying.
Most sinoboos are educated about their obsession of choice and are often noobs who are overly zealous, trying to impress others with their knowledge. Another trait of a Sinboo, is their desire to “be Chinese”.
While a regular person may be just as enthusiastic and knowledgeable about Chinese culture, a Sinoboo must boast about their knowledge.
The Sinoboo has become more widespread since Chinese studies became far more mainstream. A lot of colleges offer Chinese minors and majors and a hell of a lot more have sold their soul to have a Confucius Institute to organize their Chinese studies at the cost of having a politically watered down version of what “Chinese” is. These institutes teach students what China is, not what Chinese is. Sensitive issues are not taught here. Instead, a more PC version of history and Chinese culture is presented to ‘foreigners’.
Now imagine someone learning Mandarin for the first time. There is a huge niché right there already. A lot more people are studying Mandarin, but that small number grew from an even smaller number and just to say smaller number again, an even smaller number of that small number can speak a decent amount of Mandarin because Mandarin is fucking hard.
As such, putting the time and effort into learning Mandarin is insane. Put it this way, according to the Foreign Service Institute, Mandarin is ranked one of the hardest languages in the world for an English speaker’s perspective. It would take roughly 88 weeks (2200 hours) to learn a proficient amount of Mandarin. To put that into perspective, it takes an English speaker 23-24 weeks ( 575-600 hours) to learn the same level of French, Dutch, Spanish or Italian. By the time you learn Mandarin, you could have learned a few European languages that are going to be just as useful to you. You can already see that for anyone who is crazy enough to learn Mandarin, there is a lot of work to put in. For many people it is too much work for payoff that they might not get.
Unlike Weeaboos, Sinoboos study Mandarin and Chinese culture. Japanese culture has got a big hook into pop culture in the Western part of the world. A lot of 4chan and Reddit is full of discussions on Japanese culture. From Manga, Waifus, anime and the Japanese language, the image of Japan elsewhere in the world is really well rounded. If you were to write on sentence to describe Japan, you might write ‘futuristic’, ‘Samurai’ or maybe ‘Anime’. On editing this, I realize that is not Japanese culture, and 4chan and Reddit don’t serve to provide a well rounded view of Japanese culture, but my point is that Japanese culture, even if it is distorted still has a bigger impression than the Chinese one abroad.
Japanese soft power is really effective and a lot of Weeaboos base their image of Japan on the pop culture references they see in their everyday life of effectively pretending to be Japanese. Fuck, some of them are still on the same stage of Rosetta Stone for the last 2 or 3 years and think their terrible Japanese is in fact ‘Japanese’. Because of all of this, Weeaboos don’t generally study Japanese in college. There is no need in their mind. In their minds, going to Japan is like returning home. The reality is, unless you are going there as a student, you would probably not get a work visa because the requirements for the visa is too high for someone without a degree. Even with a degree, it can still be pretty tough.
Sinoboos study Mandarin and Chinese culture. The pop culture image of China is nowhere near the same as Japan’s. Chinese soft power hasn’t been effective because it wants to paint a very inorganic view of China. As a result, anyone who wants to study Mandarin and Chinese culture, will probably end up doing so in University. The massive build-up of ‘China Rises’ helped fuel universities to offer courses in Chinese and students flocked to it by the promise of China becoming important in the future. My view is China will be big, maybe not too important.
For a lot of Sinoboos, their opinions are usually the result of the programmes they study. While some universities offer broader insights into Chinese culture and history, many other state funded programmes neglect many parts of Chinese culture and history in order to paint and image of China as a country where we never did anything wrong and the world fucked us over. Either way, your outcome is you are knowledgeable to a point. More knowledgeable than a Weeaboo, but that isn’t setting a good standard to compete against.
So from here you get two types of Sinoboos:
- The Outspoken Sinoboo. These are people who openly discuss issues in China that many others would deem to be sensitive. Some Outspoken Sinoboos genuinely care about the country, but a lot of them just want something to complain about and a narrative of an evil government is always a good one to play along to. Although there are a lot of issues in China, you can’t use them to explain why your life sucks. With that said, there are a lot of topics to be genuinely outspoken about, from the increasing class divide in China to issues in Tibet. A lot of these people are keyboard warriors and they do not tend to get involved on the ground with many the issues they are fighting against, mainly because 1. They would never get a visa again and 2. They might end up being detained. Reddit’s /r/China is where you will find a lot of Sinoboos who constructively complain about China. I stopped reading the subreddit because it genuinely got boring to hear people constantly post moaning soliloquys about how shit their circumstances are in a country they chose to live in.
- The Willingly Blind Sinoboo. These are people who ignore sensitive issues about China and instead opt to get a long with their surroundings. To them, they are being quite neutral, but in reality they are not on the fence, they are in the field next to the fence. Their fascination is somewhat guided by their own sense of ‘orientalism’. They would rather distort China to be what they want it to be, rather than face the reality that the Qing dynasty is long gone and the language is not a mystical means of communication, but simply a language. They tend to avoid heavy discussions and would rather learn their characters in peace. But like all things in life, nothing is straight forward. These Sinoboos can be found on a lot of different Reddit subs that have anything to do with language learning. A lot of them are on /r/Sino, but I must warn you, this is a really terrible subreddit filled with submissions that rarely look beyond the PG news that you would probably see in China anyway. You would be better off going literally anywhere else for your information on China than /r/Sino, it is full of people with inferiority complexes who will jump on the fact you are foreign to shout louder and drown out your point of view.
Being a Sinoboo doesn’t necessarily guarantee that their language skills will be anything other than adequate to make sure they know how to say “thank you” and “no thank you, I’ve no idea what that is”. A lot of ‘foreign experts’ on China don’t speak much Mandarin and a lot of foreign academics don’t research in Mandarin either. It seems crazy that someone could be so ignorant that they could call themselves experts on a country and not speak the native language.
In Summary, Sinoboos are in no way visible to pop culture. Weeaboos got a bad name for themselves because to be frank they really have taken a culture and fucked it around until it became waifu pillows and hentai. In comparison Sinoboos are have some of the language sussed and have a better understanding of the culture. Still though, a lot of them distort the country and it’s culture for their own desire. How do I know this you ask? Well I use to be a Sinoboo.