Discovering the Joy of Bubble Tea – Ronny Chieng: International Student

Discovering the Joy of Bubble Tea – Ronny Chieng: International Student

August 19, 2019 100 By Stanley Isaacs


Man, white people
love protesting. There’s like shit going
down here every other day. Stop cultural appropriation.
Stop karaoke night. You’ve never felt injustice
you had to stand up for? Uh, even if I did,
I can’t do anything about it. The conditions
on my student visa prevent me from participating
in political protest. No, that can’t be true.
Yeah, it is. Wow. I had no idea you were
living under this oppression. You’re living under
this oppression, too. What do you mean? You’re here
on a student visa, right? Yeah, so? That means
you’re an international student. Yeah, but I’m American, OK?
Our rights travel with us. No, that’s not how it works. Guys, can I get you
to keep walking because we’re just going to
shut down this protest. Yeah, it’s fine.
We’re not protesting. That doesn’t matter. I just need you to move on
so we can clear the area out. Or else what? You going to
beat the shit out of us? No, I’m just asking you
to move on, mate. Look, it’s OK.
I’m– I’m sorry. He just doesn’t like people
telling him what to do. Yo, I will move when
I’m goddamn ready to move and not one second earlier. No, I reckon you’ll start
moving right now, champ. Oh yeah? You just going to
stand here all day now? Yeah. You can’t let people with
no authority push you around. That’s how dictatorships happen.
OK, Malcolm X, come on. Let’s go before
your visa gets canceled. OK, but I’m only moving
right now because I choose to, not because I’m following
your instructions. Yeah, whatever, asshole. Oh hey, look. They opened a bubble tea place
right next to where Asher works. Bubble tea?
What the hell is bubble tea? Bubble tea. You’ve never
had bubble tea before? No.
What’s that floating black shit? RONNY: It’s pearls. What the (bleep), man?
Pearls aren’t for eating. They’re made of tapioca,
you idiot. Still. God, looks like
something from “Fear Factor.” You get that reference? – Yeah. No one’s asking you
to try it, all right? No offense, man.
It does not look good. You left America to not
experience any other cultures. Yeah, that makes sense. Hello?
Hi. Hey. Thanks for stopping by.
Yeah, no problem. Oh, do you want
some raw almonds? No, I’m OK. Is this a shop or where
people dump their used food? Not fancy enough for you? Fancy?
It’s a hygiene issue. People are going
to eat this, right? As long as I’ve been here,
we’ve never had any complaints. Maybe because everyone died
immediately after eating it. Why is it so grubby?
Oh my God, look at the fruit. Someone took a bite
out of this. And why does
everything look like it’s been dragged
through the mud? Because it’s farm-to-table.
More like shit-to-mouth. This is where socially conscious
people on a budget shop. Well, why are there
no price tags? How do you know
how much anything costs? It’s pay what you feel. Pay what you feel.
Yeah. We have a donation bowl. OK. So your business model
is begging. Got it. So then why do you
even need to be here? It’s just a job, Ronny.
Calm down. [phone beeping]
Oh shit. What? I totally forgot I have
a meeting with Professor Dale right now to discuss
my last essay. So go. I have to tell him
I can’t make it. What, because of this?
No, no, no. Your first job
is being a student. You don’t work and your parents
pay for everything. I can’t do uni work
if I’m homeless and starving. Wait. Wait.
Hang on. Hang on. How about I just cover
your shift for the day? It’s harder than you think. What if you (bleep)
something up? There is an open vat
of self-serve yogurt with animal hair in it. I’ll tell Todd
you’re covering my shift for me. Just please
don’t get me fired. Trust me. I got this.
I’ll be back in an hour tops. Take the whole day if you want.
We’ll see about that. Just stand behind the counter
and help customers. What, I can’t help customers
from the front? I’m joking.
I’m just joking. See? Behind the counter.
Go, go, go. I got it. What is this?
What is grass jelly? Red bean? And tea? What the (bleep)?
Oh. Hey, Wei Jun. So what’s good here?
Uh, bubble tea. CRAIG: What are you having? WEI JUN: Taro milk tea
with taro pudding. Yeah. I’ll get one, too. First time
for everything, right? Hey, can I get two taro milks?
You want pearls? Yeah, sure. You know what? Extra pearls.
Go hard or go home, right? Put that shit in.
Keep the change. Thank you. Cheers, everyone.
To international experiences. CRAIG (VOICEOVER): Wait.
What is this taste? It’s so creamy, but sweet.
And the pearls. Chewy and refreshing. I’ve never
had anything like this before. It’s– it’s– it’s– Amazing! What are you doing?
Get down. These animals. Paying for stuff with string?
What the (bleep) is this? Oh, sorry.
I don’t have any spare change, but feel free to take whatever
rotting fruit you want. I’m Todd. Asher told me
you were taking over her shift. Oh, Todd.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Thanks for letting me take over
on such short notice. No problem. How about you start
with the produce over here? Oh, like stacking it? No, rubbing dirt on it.
People love that organic, fresh-from-the-ground
feel with their produce. OK. Here’s a crazy suggestion. I– I think more people
would buy the produce if it looked clean and edible.
Just putting it out there. Are we going to have
a problem here? Because Asher vouched for you. No– yeah– ye– of course.
I’m sorry. You’re right. Whatever you want I’ll rub
wherever you want onto anything. You’re in charge. But when you’re done
with the produce, if you really want
to clean something, you can deal with the self-serve
grain station over here. Oh, you want me
to throw that shit out? Yeah, no problem. No, I want you
to sort through it. You want me to– you want me
to organize the grain? No pain, no grain. Yo, can I get a passion fruit
popping boba with pearls? Coconut grape jelly with pearls.
Coconut jelly popping boba. Huh! Huh!
Huh! Can you please put your shirt
back on?