How Do Some Asians Say ‘I Love You’ To Each Other?

‘I love you’. Just three words. But three words some typical Asians like those of Chinese heritage find hard to say out loud when it comes to dating and romantic relationships.

There’s this common stereotype: Asians are reserved about expressing romantic sentiments towards each other. In a progressive world where traditional and modern perspectives collide, sometimes this is still true, and sometimes not.

Love is colourful as much as it is complex | Weekly Photo Challenge: Dense.

Love is colourful as much as it is complex | Weekly Photo Challenge: Dense.

There are different degrees of love, physical and emotional. Different ways of expressing romantic love during different moments – depending on our personality, the ways we are actually comfortable expressing it and what we believe in. Personally, I’m reserved about my love life and won’t be sharing my serious relationships here; it isn’t the whole world’s business.

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Why Some Asians Don’t Outright Express Affection In The Romantic Sense

For some of us stereotypical Asians, showing physical affection and love doesn’t come easy. For some of us stereotypical Asians, expressing one-on-one intimacy like holding hands, hugging and kissing someone who matters to us feels hard or doesn’t cross our minds often.

All throughout school in Malaysia and Singapore, my Chinese-Malaysian parents wagged the finger at dating and romantic escapades. Physical contact with any classmate whom I fancied was frowned upon. Part of me resented this, part of me didn’t.

Love and physical affection may or may not go hand-in-hand in harmony | Weekly Photo Challenge: Harmony.

Love and physical affection may or may not go hand-in-hand in harmony | Weekly Photo Challenge: Harmony.

Love is often entwined with affection. When it comes to expressing love by the means of touch, at times we hold back because of what we’ve always known.

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Dining Etiquette: Why Do Some Asians Fight To Pay The Bill?

Fighting over paying the bill for meals is something some of us are guilty of. If we’re the stereotypical Asian eating with other stereotypical Asians, coming out on tops to pay for a meal is often a big battle, sort of a sport in itself.

This is the case with my Chinese family. When I was a kid living in Malaysia, we had countless family gatherings with extended relatives. We’d have dinner at air-conditioned Chinese restaurants where waiters gave us clean plates after each serving. These nights always ended with lots of yelling, relatives arguing at the top of their lungs as to who would pay for the ten-course meals in cash.

Many of us like to be greedy and eat a whole pizza. Just like how some of us clamour to pay for entire meals | Weekly Photo Challenge: Life Imitates Art

Many of us like to be greedy and eat entire pizzas. Just like how some of us clamour to pay for entire meals | Weekly Photo Challenge: Life Imitates Art.

In Chinese culture (and other Asian cultures), offering to pay the bill at the end of a meal out is regarded as polite. This goes for family and business-related dining affairs, and no matter the occasion, bill fights are usually amusing.

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Why Some Asians Love Cute Toys. And Why Some Of Us Love Stuffed Animals

All around the world, a good number of us are obsessed with stuffed animals and toys. If you’re Asian or have been to Asia, chances are cute, kawaii-looking toys are something you might be familiar with. Maybe even love.

I love stuffed animals, especially stuffed monkeys. In my apartment I have a shelf full of them collected over the years. I’m particularly fond of this one that I call Mr Wobbles: knitted with light brown wool, long skinny arms and legs, fat belly, sans tail. One of the more odd-looking toys around.

A stuffed toy can mean the world to us. All the more reason for us to take good care of it | Weekly Photo Challenge: Careful.

A stuffed toy can mean the world to us. All the more reason for us to take good care of it | Weekly Photo Challenge: Careful.

We might be obsessed with teddy bears. Or obsessed with stuffed lions or penguins. Hello Kitty, Sanrio and Rilakkuma plushes are ever so popular in Asia. But no matter the toys we’re fond of, usually the stories of our past, and our desire to find our place in this world, play a part in why these inanimate objects often matter to us a great deal.

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When And Why Do We Trust Strangers? And Why Some Asians Don’t Often Trust

To trust or not to trust? That’s the question we often ask ourselves when we meet someone for the first time or encounter strangers. Trust: it’s about believing others, taking their word and seeing the best in them.

I’m not one who trusts easily. The number of friends whom I hang out with regularly can be counted on one hand. Generally, I avoid talking to people I don’t know outside of work, be it at social occasions or on the streets. It takes a while for me to warm to someone.

Trust. Getting close with and sharing moments together usually doesn't come easy | Weekly Photo Challenge: Connect.

Trust. Getting close with and sharing moments together usually doesn’t come easy | Weekly Photo Challenge: Connect.

Trust. It’s embedded within the unconscious rituals of everyday life: walking to work, we trust passer-bys won’t stab us. We trust shopkeepers will give us the correct change at the cashier. We trust no chef spat into food we ordered. Trust. It’s about going forwards: we trust and travel to get on with our lives. And whether we trust others usually depends on where we’ve been and where we’re from.

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