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#19 Arriving Late

Posted February 28th, 2008 by Peter · 60 Comments
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There is an old Paris By Night proverb: “If it doesn’t eat beans, it ain’t Mexican. If it doesn’t come late, it’s certainly not Vietnamese.” Have you ever wondered why asians always give ridiculously early arrival times to their peers and family when holding some type of social gathering? The answer is quite simple: Asians know that nobody will arrive at the designated time. Though this may seem to you like a very unprofessional and disrespectful manner of conduct, asians view it with a sense of pride. Pride for their own country. Pride for their own people. Pride for, well, themselves. “Why does everyone come at 5:30 when the party starts at 5:00?” Asians know why to arrive late. It is a secret asian code that has been passed down for generations. The fact of the matter is that Asians come late because they:

Asian Loner1) Do not want to be noticed. Asians are very sensitive creatures, and they do not want to spoil another person’s fun even if it’s a very very tempting thing to do. That is why asians will arrive late to most social gatherings. By arriving late, they accomplish a diffusion of attention that might otherwise have been achieved if they had arrived during, let’s say, a welcoming ice breaker. Asians know that the first 30 minutes of a social gathering are the most awkward, so they come late to avoid it. Who knows? The first 30 minutes could be when a meteor, by chance, strikes the building. It is precautionary to arrive late and unnoticed in case anything actually happens.

party2) Do not actually want to be there. Yes, you heard it. Most asians do not even like being at the parties they attend. They are either there because it will be “the first and last” party they will or will ever attend. They might also be appeasing their girlfriend of boyfriend by attending the party. In that case, one wrong move could ruin an asian’s reputation towards their asian peers. It is widely known that asians only like parties that asians are attending. If it is a very diverse party, asians will feel very alienated due to the lack of familiarity. This will cause the asian to cower and feel sorry for themself while drinking their 20th cup of fruit punch in the corner of the room. At that moment, they will regret being there and realize that they could be doing so much better things like playing Maple Story. It is indeed very asian to bring along a more ostentatious friend to diffuse the tension between their peers or family members, if any shall exist. This helps the asian co-exist better with their peers.

Food3) Are there only for the food. An old decrepit woman walks into a crowded restaurant about an hour late. “Wow… there’s a lot of food. I wonder if my son or grandson will want some for his family?” Miss Chan thinks to herself as she stares at the plate of untouched house-special fried rice. Two minutes later, the other guests are beginning to leave. She quietly stalks her prey, waiting for the right moment to pounce at the left-over food. She pulls from her purse a heavy-duty generic zip-lock bag and “BAM!” Asians love getting food for other people. It is a cheap and easy way to say that they love the other person without actually having to do any work themselves. Remember that asians love bargains, so restaurants with left-overs are an asian person’s Costco. At parties, it’s a quick in-n-out, and they’re scot-free.

All these factors play heavily upon why asians arrive late. Asians know that being late is customary. This holds extremely true in asian countries, where traffic and swearing on the road is a way of life. In some areas in Asia, roads are only wide enough for one car (that’s for both traffic directions). Asians do not want to put up with the trouble of preparing their clothes an extra hour earlier just to beat the traffic and arrive earlier than a few other people. It is a lifestyle that is even seen in rural asian areas, where people have to walk everywhere. This slow paced-lifstyle highly contrasts the new upbeat American and European style, where everybody has to make everybody else happy by arriving on time. Asians only care what they themselves think, allowing them to perform this feat free of guilt every time.









Late Arriving

There you have it, Another asian myth is busted. Stay tuned for more fascinating asian truths on the Discovery Channel at 8:00PM EST (Just Kidding). For those that are confused, just add 30 minutes to any time assigned by an asian, and you have the correct time they expect their peers and everyone else to arrive. Also know that the next time you encounter an asian person at a party, it is probably due to their friends or family that they are there. They don’t even want to be noticed, which is why they will try to blend into the walls on the side of the room. Moreover, it is only proper for them to bag food and bring it home if they are at a restaurant because, chances are, they could only be there for the food. It could even be their culture and biological predispositions that cause them to arrive late (protection). Arriving late is a universal truth. Nowhere is this more evident than in asian people.

Side Note: Times have changed. As more and more asians are assimilated into their surrounding societies, less and less are doing the things necessary to survival like saving food and arriving late. They may not even know their own languages. “gasp” However, these traditions will always endure because they will live on in asian masses, recent immigrants, and the elderly. These are the only people that truly know why: Asians Love Arriving Late.

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Tags: Activities · Customs · Environment · Habits · People · Social

60 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Chinkygirl // Feb 28, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    im not a recent immigrant or old…and yet i can’t get rid of this habit =(

  • 2 Dr. Chan // Feb 28, 2008 at 11:17 pm

    It’s built into my mental clock.

  • 3 Kid // Mar 1, 2008 at 8:34 am

    I actually am early and a majority of my friends arrive on time. If anyone is late it is cause they overslept or something.

  • 4 kam choo choo // Mar 2, 2008 at 9:17 am

    At least Asians arrive late. Better late than never. Some guests don’t even bother to come, let alone inform their hosts of their inability to be present.!

    When I invite 100 for a dinner party for eg. I would cater or cook only for 70 because somehow or other, one third will conveniently not turn up!!

  • 5 Heina // Mar 2, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    Only 20 minutes? I’m Asian Indian and at our parties, no one arrives until at least an hour or two after start time!

  • 6 Heina // Mar 2, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    I meant 30 minutes, my bad.

  • 7 Kevin // Mar 3, 2008 at 5:45 pm

    I’m Taiwanese born in America. I hate being late. I like to be early or on time for most events. If it comes to a party involving alcohol I like playing catch up and watching other people make a fool out of themselves first.

  • 8 Kevin // Mar 3, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    If I am late it’s because I’m waiting for someone that is making me late.

  • 9 TL // Mar 4, 2008 at 9:31 am

    since when do cantonese american equate to “Asians” at large?

    oh well i guess you can put down a new entry about “ethnocentrism”

  • 10 Jody // Mar 4, 2008 at 9:03 pm

    Hang on, I’m Asian and I always arrive early, but for the exact same reasons listed here. I hate to be noticed, and I really don’t want to be there. I’ve found arriving early is a good way to avoid attention, because you don’t have a whole roomful of people looking at you when you come in. Also, if you show up early you can leave early.

    And I’m usually only there for the food, yeah.

  • 11 StereoTypicalAsian // Mar 5, 2008 at 7:30 am

    How do you explain extroverted puctual Asian? Oh, maybe they are not an Asian. Almost all my friends are non-asians. They are almost always late for just about everything. Is this a human nature or Asian nature?

  • 12 Justin // Mar 5, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    I think it’s just funny to point out late Asians =)

  • 13 Natalie // Mar 5, 2008 at 9:11 pm

    It certainly ain’t Mexican if it don’t eat beans.

    But there is also a similar code for being late to a Mexican party. Notice that unless it has something to do with church, the Mexican events are always in the afternoon. It’s a little something called “PM”. Puntualidad Mexicana (in English, Mexican punctuality) is the code for “arrive 2 and a half hours after the time stated”. And if the party is in good old Mexico, expect to arrive home no earlier than 2am.

  • 14 Peter // Mar 5, 2008 at 10:47 pm

    Thanks for the heads-up.

  • 15 ihaveaznfriends // Mar 6, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    this is SO offmark. EVERY asian friend i have (and yes, i can count them on more than one hand) is at LEAST 10 minutes early to everything, to a meeting, a class, even if were just going to shoot the breeze and grab a drink. now of course, being the token black, im required to be late. so there.

    Asians – 10+ minutes early
    Blacks – 10+ minutes late

  • 16 Alice // Mar 8, 2008 at 10:12 am

    Now, hang on a minute!

    That statement may be true for many asian cultures, but beware that if you’ve got an appointment with a japanese person it’s best to show up 10 minutes early, since they are generally extremely punctual.

    This especially applies for buisness meetings. If you’re not there 10 minutes ahead of set time, you run the risk of being considered rude/arrogant.

  • 17 American Asian // Mar 9, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    I had to put in my wedding invitation that it starts at 10:00, but really it was meant to be at 11am because I knew most of the people will arrive an hour late as they usually do in other weddings I’ve been to. But ironically, I was the one late to my own wedding because we couldn’t find the ring bearer’s pillow and since I was on the way to the church, I tried to stop by a party supply store with my dress on jaywalking to pick up a small pillow. Anyways, I got to church “on time”, but to everyone else, I was late. It turned out, all my Asian guest came on time at 10:00, and not to mention, I heard someone snicker how Asian it was of me to be late!

  • 18 Asian guy // Mar 12, 2008 at 4:47 am

    It’s true. I’m always last to arrive somewhere whenever I hang out with my friends. :(

  • 19 Inter-sections // Mar 14, 2008 at 11:46 am

    [...] It seems that the operators of Stuff Asian People Like have taken the cue from Stuff White People Like, with the same witty comments about Asian culture from China, Vietnam, Korea, etc. The inspiration for this blog is to “blog about the good and not so good things [of] Asian people.” Stuff Asian People Like is already a month old and although it hasn’t generated as much publicity as Stuff White People Like, it nevertheless has provided interesting and hilarious commentary from rice to arriving late. [...]

  • 20 dbals // Apr 4, 2008 at 8:52 am

    So true….. One correction, its not just asians, it is the nature of every coloured person in general.
    Proof: This funny scene from “Undercover Brother” showing different clocks in the wall, one for each time zone and one special clock for “Coloured people” – set two hours late.

    If you are not white, you are not expected to be punctual.

  • 21 Charles A // Apr 4, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    Hey, 15 minutes past the “scheduled time” is still note late, it’s still somewhat on time!!! Heheheh

  • 22 Toby // Apr 17, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    I think this goes back to the procrastination post and poor time management and planning. I have a couple of friends who are almost always late for gatherings. It always has to do with not planning well ahead of time. i.e. the commute took longer than exepcted; getting ready took longer than expected, etc.

  • 23 Gen // Apr 28, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    I’m late even when I leave early. =/

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  • 34 lewis // Jun 18, 2008 at 6:01 am

    err. im asian always arrive late for everything but this is not because of those lame excuses up ther, its because i am lazy just like “most” people.
    So thats why people at uni always stared at me when i arrive late..”theres that late asian guy again, he just doesnt want to be notice!”

    I never thought arriving late was an asian thing, well i guess u always learn new stuff :)

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  • 37 jen // Jun 21, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    i’m either hella early or like … late.

    wtf

  • 38 iris // Jul 1, 2008 at 11:41 am

    oh god. everything on this website is true.

    i am always late. every asian i know is always late. i think my white friends are fed up with that.

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  • 41 gian // Jul 6, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    I’m like jen, either very early or very late. I somehow don’t understand the concept of on-time…lol.

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  • 47 European Girl // Mar 7, 2009 at 7:58 am

    Ah.. I think it’s true! … I have this Asian friend, and she shows up when the party is almost done, and she do that every time! @___@ . . . But! It is really funny to listen to her excuses, you know! x3 (Sorry, about my bad english)

  • 48 Chinese Girl // Mar 10, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    I completely disagree with this post. Traditional Asians will arrive early because it’s a form of respect and Asians are generally extremely respectful.

    I think this post -only- applies to school dances and large scale events (where nobody cares about you) hosted by a non-Asian.

    Plus, Asians are generally extremely punctual because as little children, we know what the consequences are for getting to school late. Not sure what it’s like in Asian countries, but I remember going to Chinese school (in Canada) and we get kicked out of school if we miss 3 classes, and 2 lates = 1 miss. So at most, we can be late 5 times. You can’t even be 1 minute late.

    A lot of jobs too…if you’re late a certain number of times (probably less than 10), you can be sure that you’ll be fired really soon.

  • 49 DailyBento » Blog Archive » Stuff Asian People Like #19 – Arriving late // Feb 11, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    [...] here to read the reasons why Asians arrive [...]

  • 50 totesose // Feb 12, 2010 at 8:12 am

    SOOOOOOO TRUE *@ least 4 me it is*

    However.. ONLY half an hour late??
    WELL, that’s the amount of time I’D b late.. In weddings & other friend gatherings there r those who r late 2-3 or even more hours!!

  • 51 Danster // Feb 12, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    Wow, another dumb article on this site. Good job! I too can relate with some of the things people have posted, I don’t think Asian people like to be late. I also don’t think the majority of Asians arrive late.

    I will say, however, that many Asians I have met have been very nice about meeting other people who do come late. This doesn’t mean they like it or tolerate it, it’s considered extremely rude in all cultures.

  • 52 Mel // Feb 19, 2010 at 8:37 am

    @Chinese Girl, I definitely agree. I’m from an Asian country and the school is freaking strict on punctuality. We’ll get a warning if we were late 3 times, and on the fourth time, uor conduct grade will be deducted…yikes O.o

  • 53 laila // May 1, 2010 at 4:59 am

    i don’t think it’s fair that you think all asians like being late, they might have their reasons, not all asians go to a party because of the food, you make them sound like beggars, i went to a party with my mum and the hostess was asian and she gave us food before we left, and almost everyone else too, because most of the asian families i know cook a lot of food for a gathering and not all gets eaten so they give it away, the way you wrote it made it sound like they’re stealing food when no one else was looking

  • 54 IAM_EASTASIAN // Aug 11, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    Cool post, good laughs. My social circle is about 1/2 and 1/2. At my wedding, all the non-Asians arrived early and almost all the Asians, particularly Southeast Asians arrived late. Go figures.

    http://mirror.uncyc.org/wiki/Asian_Timing_Syndrome

  • 55 Lan // Aug 20, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    Am I the only Asian that never like to be late? Well I used to being late few times before. In school I most likely to be very early or on time.

  • 56 ciao // Aug 29, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    guilty.

  • 57 Anonymous // Aug 31, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    No. I’m Asian myself and I am always 30 minutes early for formal meetings, even informal parties.

  • 58 Christina // Aug 6, 2011 at 1:53 am

    I’m usually early (even if it’s something started by an Asian person), unless I can’t find something I need to bring with me. Then I can be later than just about anyone.

  • 59 Yadira // Aug 20, 2011 at 8:30 am

    lol this is too funny.
    Here in Miami there is something call Cuban time.
    Let’s say I have a band class and there is a concert, I have to be in by 7:00pm we the teacher will always say be here by Cuban time at 6 :00pm …’cauze if you tell a cuban to be at 7:00 they show up at 8:00 so if you want them to be at a place at 7 tell them to show up at 6:00 ,so that way they will arrived at the right time .

  • 60 Meow // Sep 9, 2015 at 8:33 am

    This is not true!!! Every East Asian person I know is early or on-time for everything, they look down on being late. I don’t know about Vietnamese cultures. Indians are the ones that are always 30 mins late. Case in point: in college I worked at a wedding that started at 5 pm but not a soul arrived until 5:30 pm. Everyone was Indian! The only people to arrive before 5:30 pm were the couple’s white friends.

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