Now, I'm not just saying about the Chinese looks, but they also thought that I speak like them. Haha - how's that for an English speaking & educated Chinese from Malaysia!
Anyway, here are some tips, I learnt on the ways the Chinese speak.
1. Ni Hao at the start of the conversation is used quite often, and not just in shops.
2. No need to be super nice/ polite/ friendly... just be direct.
There's no need to go round the bush talking about what we need, but just to the point. Eg in the cab, just say where you want to go.
There's no need to say "I want to go to..." but just "the place".
3. 'Zai na'? (Where?)
Emphasis heavily on the 'na' as 'nar'.
4. Emphasis on certain mandarin words in the sentence.
I don't know how to explain this, but for the fluent Chinese speakers, I'm sure you'll know what I mean. Even if you are like me, you'll roughly get it after a while.
5. Strong Mandarin accent
Despite at times being mentioned that I speak too strongly (and at times being mistaken to speak like Koreans/ Japanese speaking Mandarin), but this is roughly the standard way of speaking.
After a good 10 days, however, when back in Shanghai, I didn't 'score' too well thereafter as partly I was tired of putting so much emphasis on my speaking... and somehow, they kinda speak a lil differently (though I still got about 50% thinking I'm from mainland China)! haha.
The Chinese Look
But anyway, minus the slang, most couldn't guess by the look. Afterall, Chinese from all over (including the Japanese and Koreans) kinda look the same - except pointed by one Shanghainese: that the Shanghainese are taller.
And I also think they walk with a strut and a straight back, with full confidence (this mainly happens to the Shanghainese).
Talking bout looks, for the ladies, if you want to 'blend in' (which may come in handy when bargaining), wear high heels, and I mean super high heels. And maybe mini skirts with no socks but with boots instead - in the cold weather! (yes, they do that!) - brrr!
Honestly, it feels nice at times to be able to mistaken as one of them... and is especially sweet for someone who is still learning Mandarin lots! :)
Coming up next: the direct opposite - When I know these are not from China!