Monday, March 14, 2011

Asia Is Not A Country

In case you haven't gotten the mood of this blog lately, I'll make it clearer. It's irritated mood. And this post is going to reinforce that mood just a little bit deeper.

On top of everything I haven't been fancying lately, there's another thing. It's talking about Asia like it's a damn country. Notice when people say Asians, the things that come to their minds are yellow people with slitted eyes wearing big cone hats holding chopsticks speaking in an undecipherable language consisting of only two words : ching and chong.

It's one thing to stereotype Asians with only one look. It's another thing to group them into one people of the same culture. Don't they realize they're generalizing about 3.879 billion people? That's more than half the population of the world. It's okay to be stupid, because God doesn't bestow everybody with the same intellectual capacity. But to be ignorant is just unacceptable.

Asians are not all Chinese. Neither are we all Japanese. And not all of us speak in Sino-tibetan languages. We don't all have pictogram-based writing systems. A lot of us have double eyelids. Eating with chopsticks is not cultural to most of us (ask the 1.2 billion people in India for example, or people from the Middle East). Not all of us are Buddhist or Taoist or Confucians. We are not all good at maths. We don't like singing that much. Okay, we do. But not all of us, aside from Indians, Koreans, the Chinese, the Japs, Filipinos, Malaysians, Thais and Indonesians. Haha.

Self-deprecating jokes aside, we are not all just 'Asians'. If you want to seem less ignorant, say East Asians when you're referring to people from China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Hong Kong, Macau, Mongolia and Taiwan. Or even better, specify the country. But don't just guess. Just because I speak a language you don't understand and I have slitted eyes, doesn't mean I'm Chinese. For all you know I might be an Inuit person from Alaska. And just because I smile a lot doesn't mean "Asians love to smile".

Once I read this article about 'How To Do Business with Asians' and it made me laugh out loud. Tips like 'Bow down lower than a person with a higher ranking than you in the office hierarchy', or 'Avoid direct eye contact' are ridiculous. In Malaysia, we don't bow down... ever. Unless you're talking to the king, which most people don't get the chance to do in their whole lifetime. It's like the author just went to Japan for a month and clumsily concluded that Asians = Japanese.

In short, Asia is not a country. Stop saying "Asians do this, Asians do that". Because only some of us might do it, and I'm pretty sure most of us don't. Asia is a fucking continent, literally, because Asia's population has quadrupled in the past century. If that's not a fucking continent, than none of the continents are.

Osama bin Laden is as Asian as Kim Jong-Il, but you wouldn't see them as people from the same culture now would you?


WP said...

Irritated mood, huh? Well, whatever it is, I totally agree with this post. People have got to stop thinking that Asians are all the same.

Kahuna said...


Anonymous said...

All i cud say is u're totally right!