How do Asians define success? What does success mean to an Asian person?
For different Asians living in different parts of the world, success crops up in various forms.
Success in general is hard to define. For some, success is coming in first in class or landing that dream job. For others, it is finishing an entire 12-inch pizza by themselves. But to put it simply, success is considered personal achievements, achievements sometimes influenced by society’s expectations .
Asians living in Asia and Asians living in Western countries usually define success differently. Drawing: Mabel Kwong
Long-held Asian beliefs and customs are at very the heart of livelihoods in many parts of Asia. The mentality of success here, also usually shared by the older Asian generation, tends to be steeped in Asian traditions.
Over the past year, tons of my Asian friends in Australia, Singapore and Malaysia graduated from university. Along with this, I noticed tons of “graduation trip” photos – photos of my friends striking poses in scenic countrysides, photos of mouth-watering exotic cuisine – popping up on my Facebook news feed. And this actually points towards changing Asian attitudes and culture in society today.
A graduation trip is typically a trip overseas, a reward for studying hard and finally finishing university. A decade ago, graduation trips were not all the rage. For many Asians then, post-uni life meant jumping straight into the workforce or hunkering down and finding a job that pays decently and is well-respected by the Asian parents.
Asian graduates are increasingly making it a point to see the world prior to entering the workforce. Photo: Mabel Kwong
Today, graduation trips are the norm for young university graduates, akin to a rite of passage before entering the workforce. I have never been on one, but judging from the photos my Asian friends post on Facebook, these trips look fun.
This is a true story that happened to me a few weeks back. All names have been changed.
“Have a seat,” Frank says.
I take a seat in the small room just about cozy enough for a large table, two chairs and two people. No, this isn’t a room in the building of the career consulting firm I am paying a visit to after they rung me last week. It is one of the probably thousands of meeting rooms in a sky-high office tower in Melbourne’s CBD. And career consultant Frank had rented/booked it out for our appointment.
“Tell me about yourself,” Frank says, leaning forwards in his chair and fiddling with the laptop on the table between us.
“I’m currently working here and there. I’m looking for something full or part time,” I reply.
Finding a job is a tedious process. Sometimes, career firms may not be completely upfront with their clients. Photo: Mabel Kwong
“Have you had interviews? You’re applying for jobs through recruitment firms?”