Why Asians Do Everything Fast

When it comes to work, a lot of Asians are fast and efficient. Sometimes scarily fast and efficient (when compared to others). It’s like a super power that some of us have.

I’m a fast worker. Part of my job at work involves processing: I stamp application forms and divide them into batches of 100, which takes me around five minutes per batch. But that’s not as fast as my Asian colleague, and let’s call her Mandy. Watching Mandy grab a stack of papers, flick the papers up by their corners and count each one until the 100th one in a matter of twenty seconds is like watching a magic show – the papers flick up in a blur, actually disappearing for a second.

If we move too fast, we might just miss the finer things in life. Bolte Bridge, Docklands |Weekly Photo Challenge: Minimalist.

If we move too fast, we might just miss the finer things in life. Bolte Bridge, Docklands | Weekly Photo Challenge: Minimalist.

Maybe some of us Asians do things fast because we want to be first, first to cross the finish line. Coming out on top and getting titles and rewards is admired in Asian cultures. When I was younger, my parents nagged at me to finish all my homework as soon as I got home from school so I could start the next set of questions in the maths revision books. I did that, because back then I naively thought keeping ahead of the pack made us truly happy.

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Why Are We Afraid Of Standing Up Against Racism?

I’m no stranger to racism in Melbourne. As an Asian Australian, racist encounters have been a part of my life here for as long as I can remember. But I don’t remember doing much about this.

Over the years, I learned there are different types of racism. I’ve had insults about my non-Aussie accent and yellow skin thrown verbally in my face by non-Asians. There have been times where I met new people who immediately assumed I wasn’t Australian and asked, “Where are you from?” That is, there is direct racism and casual/everyday racism, one of them more subtle than the other.

Light zig-zagging over chess pieces. No matter our culture, we're all in this world together | Weekly Photo Challenge: Refraction.

Light zig-zagging over chess pieces. No matter our culture, we’re all in this world together | Weekly Photo Challenge: Refraction.

It’s not hard to spot either kind of racism. But it’s not always easy speaking up about either one, at least in Australia.

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Why We Love Living In Cities. Especially Asians

City life. Some of us love a lot of the things that come along with being in the city.

I’m one of those city-loving folk in Melbourne. Whenever I have a free day, I usually head down to the city and see what’s going on there.

Silhouettes of Melbourne as the sun goes down. Princes Bridge | Weekly Photo Challenge: Silhouette.

Silhouettes of Melbourne as the sun goes down. Princes Bridge | Weekly Photo Challenge: Silhouette.

We love living in cities because everything is literally at the tip of our fingers here. Shops and restaurants are just around the corner in Melbourne: Nike shoes to Nintendo games, Hong Kong yum cha to Spanish paella. Convenient, and variety is never dull.

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Why We Get Names Wrong

When I was born, my Malaysian parents named me Mabel (may-berl). They also gave me a Chinese name, Li Teng (lee ting, 丽 婷), which is my middle name on my Australian passport.

I’ve always went by my English name. Growing up, my parents called me Mabel at home. I introduced myself as Mabel when I went to school and still do today.

When we look in the mirror or reflect on who we are, we see imperfections in ourselves. Our name is a big part of who we are | Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflections.

When we look in the mirror or reflect on who we are, we see imperfections in ourselves. Our name is a big part of who we are | Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflections.

In this world made up of so many cultures, there are countless of us non-Caucasians who have Western first and last names. But there are times when some assume we go by “exotic” names if we aren’t Caucasian. If we’re dark-skinned, some might think we’re a Muhammad or Suresh. If we’re Asian, our first and last names might be Lee or Nguyen.

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The Lunar “Chinese” New Year: A New Beginning

When I was a kid, I celebrated the “Chinese New Year” in Malaysia with my family.

When we moved back to Australia seven years after living in Asia, to my confusion I learnt that the “Lunar New Year” is often used to refer to the “Chinese New Year” in Melbourne. Both phrases are used interchangeably literally everywhere here – on posters, flyers and billboards to name a few – time and time again.

Call it the Lunar or Chinese New Year, the start of the lunar calendar is a new beginning | Weekly Photo Challenge: Beginning. Photo: Mabel Kwong

Call it the Lunar or Chinese New Year, the start of the lunar calendar is a new beginning | Weekly Photo Challenge: Beginning. Photo: Mabel Kwong

Do the two phrases mean the same thing? Do people confuse the two terms?

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