haolepake // Mar 24, 2008 at 12:15 am
How about a post about ‘having no qualms about asking personal questions/making blunt comments”
When asians greet people, they don’t use a simple “howdy” or “hello.” Instead, they follow ancient rules of conduct that have made their ancestors successful for the last couple thousand years. Rules such as: “bow before your elders,” “respect your elders,” “be loyal,” and “bring honor to the family.” There is no time to say hello or good bye because Asians in fact have these rules in their heads at any given moment. For this reason, asians must be as economical as possible upon meeting somebody.
That means saving their greetings and salutations for people that are “relevant,” like business partners, authority figures, elders, or house guests. That also means saving their small amount of “polite” speech for the very same people because let’s face it: Who can say hello to everyone when your country has more people playing basketball than there are total people in the entire United States? That’s why you will never see Asians saying “hello” to the clerk at Lee’s Sandwiches or Starbucks. That’s why they won’t say, “Can I have a Tall Latte?” or “Please pass the butter.” Instead, asians will say, “Tall Latte” or “Give me the butter!” Asians just have too much to worry about, and every ounce of time that passes is another second wasted.
All the worrying doesn’t mean that they can’t kick back once in a while. Asians have family gatherings so they can check to see if their offspring and their subsequent offspring are in fact carrying on the code of conduct that they were taught. After elders realize that their grandchildren are in fact leading “proper” asian lives, they are at ease. This unleashes the loud and obnoxious asian uncle or grandfather that most asians dread.
These people will pinch an asian’s cheeks so hard that their tongues will hurt. They’ll drink alcohol at family gatherings and spew confidential family secrets about what actually happened during the war. They will ask why younger females are so chubby or anorexic-looking at any given moment. The fact of the matter is that asians are very image-oriented, and will live model lives until they are with family or other familiar people that will understand them. That’s why asians require social events like Karaoke or DDR to unwind.
“I was frequently greeted by my Chinese grandfather with, ‘You look like you gained weight,” or ‘You can get that mole above your lip removed.” Recently an Asian man at the airport started talking to me and asked why I don’t have children. He had no sense of embarrassment when I told him I was having trouble conceiving and actually started giving me advice!
Has anyone received an answer to a question like, ‘Can we go to Disneyland?” with ‘Too expensive, too expensive!”? It’s never said once, always twice.”
So how do you deal with Asian people that seem like they’re apathetic to everyone but their families? It’s quite simple: Make yourself relevant. Wear a tie. Sport that shiny new monocle that you’ve stowed away in your closet. Exchange your business card with them (including text in their own language, which usually wins an Asian over. Don’t forget to present it with two hands as a sign of respect). Just do anything that appears professional, and asians will see you as somebody that might be of importance to them in the present or future. It’s all about first impressions.
Don’t expect asians to be polite or courteous unless they are second generation or culturally-cleansed. It’s not the social norm in the older generations’ countries, because to be frank: Try growing up in a country of billions and see if you’re a patient person by the time you’re an adult. That’s right, you’d feel the same way.
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