Alright, so Chinese people want to stare at us laowai. It’s time we quit complaining and start cashing in. The “like a monkey in a zoo” thing is something I got chatting with a friend about once and he had the wonderful suggestion that I might just bank on. As I started to delve into it on a friend’s site, I figured why not elaborate on the idea a bit here.
Though China has a lot of poverty, they don’t corner the market on it. There are more than enough homeless and un-employable people out there in Western countries, and I’m betting Chinese people would pay cold hard renminbi to have the chance to see a REAL “French”, “Irish” or “Canadian” … which is why I think a Foreign People Zoo (老外动物园) is the English language mill of the next decade.
Picture it, franchises set up in every first and second tier city from Haerbin to Yunnan. The homeless people would, of course, be cleaned up, and provided with suitable “traditional” (or ‘as Chinese expect’) attire. After a brief orientation (and drug rehab if needed), the foreigner would then take up residence in their new “home”. A double-glazed Plexiglas enclosure (to prevent spectators from throwing unpalatable foodstuff or dangerous objects as well as curbing the bothering of the occupant with continual banging to get it to move around) would provide a living environment designed to display aspects of the foreigner’s culture and style of living.
North American Pavilion
Americans would be required to continuously eat steak & hamburgers, while dressed in a rather casual manner. Their lack of seriousness would be personified by perpetual couch sitting/TV watching with occasional crowd-pleasers like “The Jump Up And Flag Wave”. Beards and mustaches are encouraged; body hair, likewise.
The Canadian habitat would be kept at a balmy -30 below, and largely would be full of trees. Otherwise, it would look identical to its American neighbour.
The English enclosure would be set up with only one simple chair and tea table where the Brit could take his five minute “Tea Time” to drink red tea. Dressed in a suit, the occupant would be encouraged to continually pace around the perimeter and exude a sense of busyness and purpose (pocket watch and briefcase provided). A door and fembot would also be included so as to give ample opportunity to display gentlemanly behaviour.
A fembot, bed and a long curly-haired wig will be standard issue to all French enclosures across the country. The French occupant will be expected to eat bread, drink wine and romance the fembot at scheduled show times.
** Zoo operators are welcome to adjust the French cage’s flag to both Italian and Spanish, subject to the zoo’s foreigner availability.
Aussies and Kiwis (again, dependant on foreigner availability, but virtually interchangeable) will be dressed in appropriately relaxed and free gear. Due to keeping management simple, and a general lack of understanding about this species, they will be fed the same diet as their North American counterparts. Shows will include the use of pet koalas and kangaroos. Managers replacing Australians with New Zealanders are advised to add an additional day of training for animal handling.
The Random People Pavilion
A series of small enclosures will house deligates from a number of smaller nations that though draw a smaller crowd, are needed to round out the validity of the zoo’s name. The details of these enclosures are left to management’s personal preference; however, all white South Africans are required to black up before public display.