When I came back from a trip to Hong Kong back in high school, a Mean Girl criticized my shopping habits. She thought that I should have shopped at the more expensive boutiques, rather than standard Hong Kong mall stores. Why? Because she’s a Snooty Hong Konger. Snooty Hong Kongers can be found everywhere Hong Kongers go (especially in cities like Toronto, Vancouver and San Francisco). To them, it’s all about Keeping Up With the Wongs, a bragging right.
As soon as they can afford it, asians go out and buy that Bensee (Mercedes-Benz) or Boe-Mah (BMW), that (mini) McMansion, and the latest designer wardrobe (many seem to like Prada and LV). I’m not kidding! Country club membership and a prep school education for the kids are also part of the picture.
While there are men (I saw several guys on the subway with designer man bags”¦ very metro looking. Let’s save Metro Asian Males for later) who do this, the women are worse, especially the middle aged women (i.e. tai tais or Ladies who Lunch). They criticize you from your shopping habits, your car, your favorite restaurants, your job, majors to even your school. You shop at Old Navy or H&M? They’d say ‘HOW CAN YOU SHOP AT OLD NAVY?” To them, even H&M’s one-off designer lines aren’t cool, because they aren’t the ‘real thing.”
Sometimes, it’s like they want to make you cry on purpose. Mean Girls (they certainly are), enjoy dim summing (omg”¦I just turned dim sum into a verb) at nice Chinese restaurants that aren’t in old Chinatown because they prefer those in new predominantly Asian suburbs. If they’re not dim summing, they’re probably golfing at the country club. One that wouldn’t have admitted them just decades earlier based on race. At the golf club, they’ll also criticize technique, your golf clubs and of course, what you’re wearing.
When it comes to clothes and accessories, it must be a brand that people in Hong Kong recognize. This means the big ones like Prada, Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Gucci. The older the Snooty Hong Konger, the less likely they’re going to accept brands like Nanette Lepore or Tory Burch. Even Lilly Pulitzer, the pride of anything WASPy won’t fall into the ‘acceptable” category, let alone the Lululemon yoga pants that you see many young people wear. For the tai tais, it’s about the logo. For example, the LV monogram must be displayed prominently. They have to show off what they can afford, after all.
Unlike old money WASPs, subtleness does not exist, especially when it comes to accessories. Thinness is also very important. You can never be ‘too rich or too thin” right?
Education? Once again, the brand name is important. Smaller east coast liberal arts colleges, no matter how difficult the admission processes, are not acceptable if people back in Hong Kong haven’t heard of them. In Canada, this means NO to places like Acadia or Mount St. Allison. In the US, Amherst and Middlebury are not as acceptable as Big Ivy League Schools. To a certain extent, high schools are also important.
Many send their kids to private schools that remind them of the colonial British education they had back in the old country. This usually means an old line prep school. Of course, the piano or violin lessons are a must, as is going to see live theater. A Snooty Hong Konger must be well ‘cultured.” In rare cases, slightly tacky singers are, for some reason, also acceptable. I’ve heard of Snooty Hong Kongers talk about their trip to Vegas just to see Celine!
The showiness of many snooty Hong Kong immigrants isn’t that different from other “new money” cultures. They just want to announce to the world that they’re ‘here”. I don’t think it has to do with racism in the western world because you see snooty Hong Kongers do the same thing in Hong Kong too! The girl who criticized my Hong Kong shopping habits wasn’t an immigrant who came to Canada, but a foreign student!
Written by YASPY Chick
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