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. kinch says:

    good… let’s have some batak stereotypes… i love those!

  2. Farah says:

    good… let’s have some batak stereotypes… i love those!

    not interested cause its out of topic.

  3. Lairedion says:

    kinch said:

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

    What’s the single largest “suku bangsa” of Pekanbaru and Riau or Sumatera as a whole? Horas, horas, horas…

  4. Farah says:

    @ Lairedion

    What’s the single largest “suku bangsa” of Pekanbaru and Riau or Sumatera as a whole? Horas, horas, horas…

    hehehehehehehe……. can’t deny this that they are every where, but i don’t think they are the major suku bangsa tho… ever see “masakan minang” or “warung padang” in every corner of indonesia cities ?.. including in bali or even in usa.. hehehe

    At least you will find ONE in every city in indonesia.. yupp that was masakan padang or west sumatra cook. So.. i don’t think in sumatra we do have major gap between “suku bangsa”

    ….hehehehe but it does made me giggle when you said horas.. hahaha !!

  5. kinch says:

    I didn’t realise it was the folks wot have given the English language the gift of ‘orangutan’. Well you learn something every day. Now I know that there’s less probability of being randomly accosted by a Batak, I might just go to Pekanbaru to visit Farah – that’s if she’ll have me. Seems to be a bit of a shrew.

  6. Lairedion says:


    I wasn’t referring to orang Padang. Orang Melayu are still the largest group, at least in Riau, Jambi and Sumsel unless they have been overtaken by other Sumatrans.

    I never have received a pic from you but please send it to

  7. kinch says:

    come to think about it, farah should be minangkabau… seems to wear the pants around here.

  8. dewaratugedeanom says:


    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.

    I haven’t forgotten yet. But business comes before pleasure. A planeload of sheila’s just came in.

  9. Farah says:

    @ Kinch
    You could meet your fave orang utan in kalimantan…. they were in sumatra but less.. sorry !
    And nope i am not at pekan baru, WRONG again ! hahahaha !!!
    And once again WRONG i am not from minang kabau… silly !

    @ Lairedion
    I thought you had your wifey already.. i don’t want to mess with married guys !

    @ Dewa
    ha-ha !

  10. kinch says:

    farah – i once found myself in kota kinabalu (if gonna go to the jungle, gonna go to the less lawless jungle by preference) and couldn’t quite summon up enough motivation to get on a tour bus to be driven off into some remote location where money could be extorted from me so that i might eventually see some grumpy-looking organgutan. fortunately they were selling tasteful stuffed toy orangutans in the resort gift shop.

    i know you’re not minang… i was just teasing you that you should be – what with your ball-breaking persona and all 🙂

  11. Lairedion says:


    It’s OK for me to look to other hotties. It’s one of my favourite pastimes and the missus sometimes joins me.

    So it’s OK to send the pic, preferably in a pool playing bend-over position and then I forward it to dewa so he can prepare himself.

  12. Farah says:

    @ Kinch

    Yeah.. rite.. nice try…

    @ Lairedion
    I wont show my secret shooting “move” i’ll send you my picture, and don’t blame me if your wife find out and let you sleep in couch !

  13. kinch says:

    so do i get the pic too?

  14. Farah says:

    @ Kinch
    Nope.. you were not close enough to even be a friend.. wait until we debate and commenting until page 4, ill send you 😀

  15. kinch says:

    oh well… i’ll just have to pull more and more words out my rear end then. the things we do for love!

  16. Farah says:

    what so ever

  17. Farah says:

    @ lairedion
    It was sent.

  18. Lairedion says:

    Got it. Thanks, I replied with a pic of me.

  19. Farah says:

    ok thanks

  20. dewaratugedeanom 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’.

    Aha. Now we know why you became WNI. Because you don’t fit the stereotype, do you?


    So it’s OK to send the pic, preferably in a pool playing bend-over position and then I forward it to dewa so he can prepare himself.

    Can you ask Farah to wear her red high heels in the pic. Pleeease?

  21. Aluang Anak Bayang says:

    Alhumdulillah, horny girl.

  22. la vie says: chinese indo…not rich..not poor..I date bule/farang 😉 …some1 from different culture..excite me learn new things everyday. 😀

  23. Lairedion says:

    Sorry dewa, no high heels involved but after you’ve taken care of the plane full of sheila’s I suggest the two of you set a date and location for your pool billiard sessions. I’m happy to hear of the trick shots you have performed afterwards.

  24. Farah says:

    @ Aluang
    Who’s horny ? chinese indo…not rich..not poor..I date bule/farang 😉 …some1 from different culture..excite me learn new things everyday. 😀

    hmmm.. i don’t know.. sometimes my friend a chinese, said she is not rich… but her parent have money to send her for university in australia, and she drive a matic blue peugeot sedan at year 2006.
    Or another one said he is poor, his mother just a tailor, and dad ONLY had chicken farm, but then his father just got back from UK and got him original manchester united fans foot ball uniform, that time 1995 Rp 500,000,-

    I don’t know what the rich and poor standard for chinese.. this is sincere thought, not accusing, okay ?

  25. kinch says:

    haaa la vie… better drop me a line since farah is already taken 🙂

  26. Farah says:

    @ Kinch
    none “claim” me… who said i am taken ?

  27. kinch says:

    Farah.. that’s OK then. I’ll up my daily Jamu dosage in anticipation.

  28. Farah says:

    @ Kinch
    Don’t get over doze, you’re trying too hard.

  29. kinch says:

    you’re right. i’m putting the cart before the horse. i should put the dukun to work on you before the jamu starts to work on me 😀

  30. Farah says:

    @ kinch
    well.. you will need all of that.. mix dukun and jamu.. try your best..

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