Chinese & Asian Stereotype

Jun 6th, 2008, in Opinion, Society, by

An Indonesian-Australian looks at stereotypes of Chinese in Indonesia, Asians in Australia, and western men who like Asian women.

Stereotypes & Generalizations

When I first came to Australia, I went to the Blue Mountains. While sitting in a café near the Three Sisters, I accidentally spilled some ice cream on to my clothes. I went to the bathroom to clean it up at a sink. While I was doing that, an old lady went in, checked out the cubicle -- and then swore at me –

Bloody Asian! You just can't keep things clean, can you?!?

I was gob smacked. I was not even the one using the toilet!

Most of us have experienced narrow mindedness like this in our life, but a lot of the time, we make generalizations about people ourselves. Why?

Indonesian Chinese in Jakarta

I am of Chinese descent, grew up in Jakarta. I really did not realise the "Chinese problem" until I went to Universitas Indonesia to do my bachelor in Politics. I made a few friends in the first few days of University – everything was hunky dory, until one of my new friends asked if I was Chinese. Well, no point of lying, so I said, yes. Next thing I know, I lost my first new friend.

I found what happened really baffling as I was friends with mostly non-Chinese when I was in High School. I rang my friends from High School who then told me that they saw me as my own person first before they saw me as a Chinese, therefore I was OK. But in general, they said they would prefer to have "Indonesian friends".

  • Chinese are rich,
  • Chinese keep to themselves,
  • Chinese are arrogant,
  • Chinese think that money can buy anything.

They said I was not like that, though.

Alrighty – so those are the stereotypes.

Indonesian Women Who Date Foreign Men

After university, I worked for one of the foreign embassies in Jakarta. By chance, I met a very nice Dutch guy and we started going out. It was long before all the movie stars started going out with foreigners and set the trend. If I could choose whom I would fall for, I wish it was another Indonesian person. Going out with this guy was hard, not because of him. But because I was living in Jakarta and Jakartans had in their minds that if you go out with a foreigner, you are a gold digger, an ayam, someone who should not be respected, - it was really difficult.

What made it more difficult, my family was against the relationship, too. They said he was just going to 'use' me. He would leave me when he returns to his home country. No way would he marry me – I was just his holiday romance. I should break up with him at once, or I'd be disowned. I was a disgrace to the family according to them.

Fantastic. This silly thing is also in my own family!!

Australian Men Who Like Asian Girls

Things got more interesting once I realised that I unconsciously do exactly the same thing, judge people according to stereotypes.

It's not difficult being an Asian girl in Sydney these days. Sydney has a huge Asian population and you will see many mixed-racial couples. However, every time I was approached by a non-Asian guy – the first thing that came into mind was

hmm.. is he an AA?

(this is a joke amongst some of my friends, that some guys who are really into Asian girls, or the other way around, should join Asians Anonymous)

"Does he like me for who I am, or does he like me because I look Asian?"

I have a huge chip on my shoulder about this. If a guy dates only Asian girls, no way I'd date him.

Only now I have realised, I have generalised about these guys too. How would I know that they date Asian girls only because of the way they look and other stereotypes that are attached to Asian girls? Maybe they are just like me, I like tall and dark guys, I have my own preferences -- maybe they just find girls with dark hair and darker complexion more attractive?

Well, that was small in the scale of things, but the question I guess, how can I stop making generalisations and treat people as they are? Maybe we will live in a better world if we stop making silly generalisations about others?


134 Comments on “Chinese & Asian Stereotype”

  1. avatar kinch says:

    Lairedion: I prefer just about any women over screeching Australian harpies… so we agree on that. I’ve lived in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Jakarta, Bangkok amongst other places, so I think I can claim to speak with some small authority in this matter. There’s no doubt that a certain degree of genetic mixing is a Good Thing and it’s no coincidence that my favourite Indonesian word is ‘Campur’… so perhaps not a pure Sundanese – maybe 1/2 with a little bit of Arab, Portuguese, Chinese (and we’ll throw in the obligatory Madurese for the hell of it) lurking around back up the family tree 🙂

  2. avatar Lairedion says:

    So there’s no reason for you to hide your feelings for Farah… 🙂

  3. avatar kinch says:

    I’ll fedex her a few durians and see if I get lucky.

  4. avatar Lairedion says:

    I’ve lived in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Jakarta, Bangkok amongst other places, so I think I can claim to speak with some small authority in this matter.

    But of course you can. Well-traveled bules looking for tight Asian pussies can always claim authority. By all means continue to do so.

  5. avatar kinch says:

    Now now… don’t go putting words into my mouth.

  6. avatar Lairedion says:

    Now now… don’t go putting words into my mouth.

    Like you try to do with Farah. Doesn’t feel right, mate? Have a VB and get over it.

  7. avatar kinch says:

    There you go again. I’m sure Farah is perfectly capable of defending herself against the evil Kinch.

  8. avatar Lairedion says:

    I’m sure she can. Her she is with enough life experience and being able to speak and write English despite you labeling her as “kampungan”.

  9. avatar Oigal says:

    “Stealing ideas from the Asians and claiming their own innovation.”
    ho di ho… I was wondering where the hills hoist came from…Although I think the ozzies did invent the the “black box” for aircraft..which is fortunate if had been in invented in Indonesia never would have been exported too much domestic demand.

  10. avatar kinch says:

    What happened to BJ’s widowmaker factory in Bandung?

  11. avatar Farah says:

    @ Lairedion

    I’m sure she can. Her she is with enough life experience and being able to speak and write English despite you labeling her as “kampungan”.

    hehe… maybe Kinch doesn’t know that my kampung use english as daily launguage, ha-ha !!

    I’ll fedex her a few durians and see if I get lucky.

    .. awwww don’t you know sweety, not need to do that already. Everything from kampung taste much better than anything from town, or abroad.. things like durian, ayam kampung.. or cewek kampung maybe ????

    I’ve lived in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Jakarta, Bangkok amongst other places, so I think I can claim to speak with some small authority in this matter.

    For someone that traveling a lot he should be the one that called “kampungan” instead of me. Just travel few miles and he have rights to be big head, and have big mouth.
    There’s plenty more traveler traveling around the world.. but i think there’s only several that have combination of big mouth and big head at the same time like these kinch guy.

    he is definitely type of person rare to find, ha !

  12. avatar Jarule says:

    diego… A cock is a rooster.. “a male chicken”
    Look it up.. A cock in reference to a penis is strictly slang.
    A cock fight is common in many countries. So call upper class countries as well as 3rd world countries.. It usually involves lots of gambling and lots of booze. Not my thing. But it apparently isn’t your either or you wouldn’t have thought it was referring to men fighting with their penises.. Then again, maybe thats your thing?

  13. avatar kinch says:

    Everything from kampung taste much better than anything from town, or abroad.. things like durian, ayam kampung.. or cewek kampung maybe ????

    Ignoring for the sake of politeness the redundancy in the above sentence, you’ve managed to inspire me to resolve to get back to Indo for a holiday ASAP.

  14. avatar Farah says:

    @ Kinch

    its all up to you

  15. avatar kinch says:

    Farah: You’re supposed to provide incentives… 72 Raisins or something like that.

    Jarule: I love the Singlish expression ‘talking cock’. Google for the Coxford Singlish Dictionary.

  16. avatar dewaratugedeanom says:

    @ Farah

    Are these wings comfortable when you play pool? Or do they serve a different purpose, like fanning your charms when you bend over, ready for the take-off once the shot is taken?

  17. avatar Lairedion says:

    dewa,

    If I’m not mistaken you still have an invitation by Farah to play pool among other games. Date and location have not been set yet.

  18. avatar Farah says:

    @ Kinch

    i thought you never like kampung foods, or girls or.. language ?? sorry we don’t have raisins, we only have “ikan asin”.
    you come over you bring your own food, and your own accommodation, tent or sleeping bag.. i think the security post have empty spot at the corner of my village.

    And watch out some of us might still like to eat human flash too…

    @ Dewa
    the wings ? well.. its just some distraction for anyone to see it.. so they wont see clearly when i do the shooting trick…. just the same effect like red high heels charms i think.. its bring good luck 😉

    @ Lairedion
    hehehe.. you turn off my offer…. well.. you had your chance.. but yeah.. maybe dewa could teach me some new tricks.

  19. avatar Matunuwun says:

    Yo Diego… Were Indonesian or overseas “gay” people who doesn’t know balinese traditions?? they drank arak and watch cock fight.. The cock fight is not your dick it a male chicken being fight be respectfull of another people tradition dude

  20. avatar Lairedion says:

    Farah said:

    hehehe.. you turn off my offer…. well.. you had your chance.. but yeah.. maybe dewa could teach me some new tricks.

    Did I? I cannot remember it anymore. But I won’t risk an extramarital affair for the fun of playing pool billiards. I’m aware of the danger of women putting a spell on men. Apart from that dewa, being a Kuta cowboy, has more talent and credentials to learn you some new tricks.

    However if you have the looks of Sheila Majid, I might reconsider your offer.

  21. avatar Farah says:

    @ Lairedion
    You did turn off my offer due to your marriage.. but its okay. I respect honest people 🙂 at least you said you were married, haha !
    I don’t ave any spell to cast. Just me, like it or not, take it or leave it.
    You know how i look, i think i ever send you my pict 😀

  22. avatar Janma says:

    This site is so informative…. I swear, I would never have known that I was an ugly, fat, shrieking, alcoholic parasite if I hadn’t read this little piece on ‘stereotypes’.

  23. avatar Farah says:

    @ Janma
    yeah me too.. think the same its very informative… never thought that sumatra people where stereotyped as:

    usual malay dream under the palm tree in the kampung all day except when it’s time to run amok culture..)

    …. sound like someone been traveling to sumatra kampung too much to decide what stereotype to fit to sumatra people.

  24. avatar kinch says:

    Farah: Don’t believe me, read Dr. M’s book 🙂

  25. avatar Farah says:

    @ Kinch
    i don’t believe you.

  26. avatar Farah says:

    @ Kinch
    .. i am talking as one of sumatra people whos already at office since 6 am in the morning and work 12 hours a day until 6 pm wit h other 1500 workers in my company. It was less people than the whole sumatra people, but still i disagree if you short of say all sumatra people do every day is sitting under palm tree and day dreaming.

    What time do you usually wake up mister?

  27. avatar kinch says:

    Farah, My Lovely: 12 hours/day in the office isn’t a bad effort – but that’s just bums on seats – productivity is another thing entirely.

    As for myself… I’m a software developer and vary between zero and 18 hour days – depending on: my mood, the urgency of the task, how many days I’ve been working straight… many factors. But one thing for sure, I would never measure my productivity by the number of hours I spend working. I’ve produced more in some 4 hour burst of creativity than in many 12 hour slogs.

    Now I have no problem imagining a Batak talking non-stop for 18 hours/day 🙂

  28. avatar Farah says:

    @ Kinch

    Farah, My Lovely: 12 hours/day in the office isn’t a bad effort – but that’s just bums on seats – productivity is another thing entirely.

    Ever try to work at oil and gas rigs ?? or ever even saw national geographic about this ? or you just too busy sticking your bumps on the chair in front of computer monitor ?
    Try to work on weekend, x-mast and new year eve with sched 20:10 in middle of jungle.

    Our production is 24/7 so you could drive your car to office, and still 24/7 not enough of course. With the whole world demand especially past few months, its busy months for us. I know what productivity is, since i work with multinational workers also. So don’t talk big about it.

    Now I have no problem imagining a Batak talking non-stop for 18 hours/day 🙂

    LOL, for your information.. sumatra not consist of bataknese only… but maybe mister traveler already know this.. aren’t you?
    Too bad….. i am faaaarr from your picture of sumatra people mister !! hahahahah !!!

  29. avatar kinch says:

    good for you… as long as it’s not pertamina and you didn’t have to PAY to get hired there :D. last i heard a few years back, entry level PE at pertamina job cost 200 juta – cheaper than getting into the police academy, but still there’s a message in there somewhere.

    but you said multinational… presumably pekanbaru, so u might actually be doing real work. in which case good. welcome to the human race. no prizes for working hard. comes with the territory.

  30. avatar Farah says:

    good for you… as long as it’s not pertamina and you didn’t have to PAY to get hired there :D. last i heard a few years back, entry level PE at pertamina job cost 200 juta – cheaper than getting into the police academy, but still there’s a message in there somewhere.

    but you said multinational… presumably pekanbaru, so u might actually be doing real work. in which case good. welcome to the human race. no prizes for working hard. comes with the territory.

    Sorry its not pertamina, i don’t have the bribe mentality just like your THOUGHT, hahaha, once again you are WRONG. The more you comment about me, the more i could see you’re just another twisted poor guy.
    You never met sumatra girl before as i assume you are. Maybe you met one, but is batak girl. Poor thing.

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