Thursday, January 20, 2011


There have been countless studies done about neuro-imaging ... how people recognize same-race faces much better than, say, if they were trying to identify a person they had seen once out of a line-up of people of another race.

So I have found, after living in many different countries, that when you first move to a place, the people in it all kinda look the same. I'm not sure how to say this, but it has always been particularly difficult for me to tell Chinese faces apart - or tell some Chinese faces from other Asian races. It has also been hard for me to tell accents apart - when we first moved here I had a really hard time telling the Australian accent apart from UK accents.

But something strange happened to me while I was in the MTR yesterday. I looked around and I had a very sudden, very clear, realization that I could actually tell the people apart. And it wasn't like I had even been thinking about it. It just struck me like a bolt of lightening. All of a sudden, everyone looked very unique. Like I could identify anyone in a line-up.

This happened to me last time I was in Asia (12 years ago), but then I lost it. So it is really strange that when it came back, it was so very obvious to me. I just wanted to write about it, because I find it fascinating and odd at the same time.