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#111 Being a Banana

Posted March 7th, 2009 by Peter · 41 Comments
21,196 views

This is a great post (and one of our longer submissions) from suchda. It gives a lot of insight into the thought processes of Asians that have today become more like “bananas” and “twinkies” than embracing their culture. Enjoy!

banana11

What do you think of when a banana is mentioned? There is more to it than being a yellow elongated fruit. Let me explain. The fruit is native to the tropics, and so is the subject of this entry. for the bananas I refer to are not edible, but are Singaporean Chinese. In case Singapore does not ring a bell, here are the facts: an island nation 1 degree north of the equator in south east asia, which became a first world country within 40 years. I have to say, through these 4 decades, not only have the HDI risen, but also the ‘illiteracy’ in Mandarin. I believe they are directly proportional. Why do I call my fellow 3rd generation Singaporean Chinese bananas? We are yellow on the outside, but white internally. Banana.

It is strange that the standard of Chinese is so low when the population is dominated by chinese: 70%.
After independance our British eduacted leader decided that all citizens must be literate in English, having less emphasis on the native tongues of the three races. This has resulted in a generation of kids who regard anything Western or English to be cool, anything orient or traditional, not.

kelly1Recently, Kelly Poon (潘嘉丽), a Singaporean singer, was invited as a special guest on a Taiwanese reality show. There was a acrobatic performance and each special guest was asked to describe the performance with a 成语(idiom). when it was Kelly’s turn, she said非常厉害.Oh the embarassment. She made news and was branded a disgracement to Singapore. Forums from China belittled, derided, hooted, jeered, lampooned and mocked Singapore, the atoll of bananas.

Even more atrocious is the fact that our founding father Lee Kwan Yew does not speak Chinese fluently. An example of the few 1st generations who are so.

I witness the effect of Lee’s mistake in this day where my classmates classify exchange students from the Motherland ‘China Bastards’. It shames me to be a Singaporean.









In light of rising China, the use of the language is now advocated, free tickets to 相声performances are given out to students, and the words ‘华语cool’ can be sighted on bill boards, buses, propoganda adverts and, basically every where. It is as silly as injecting yellow dye into a banana, hopeing that it will turn out to be a lemon-yellow inside out. All these efforts are in vain. The textbooks must be revamped; they are not. Enough said.

lunarparade_11

I find solace in the fact that there are still a fraction of us who are not bananas. There is still recognition of our culture. Lunar New Year is celbrated where some travel hundreds of kilometers home, Mooncake is served during the observance of the Mid Autumn Festival. We are still essentially, Chinese. English speaking Chinese.

Disclaimer: I do not pretend that I am not a banana as well.

Thanks Suchda!

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

41 responses so far ↓

  • 1 G // Mar 7, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    Nothing like calling us on our colonial mentality. Ah, when will be free of capitalist white patriarchy?

  • 2 LOl // Mar 8, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    Singapore is a weird ass country. It is an Asian country full of white worshiping. All the billboards are of white people. White people roam around with more privilege than Asians.

    It is quite sad. I am glad Chinese are seeing this. It is ashame that Asian don’t values Asian culture. It is because of this lack of values that will keep Asia poor. While would people value your products, when even your own people don’t value them.

  • 3 Shaun // Mar 9, 2009 at 1:17 am

    This is an unfair comparison piece. By picking on Singaporeans for the so-called “adopting” of Western culture and the apparent abandonment of “Asian” culture seems to me to be more of a personal attack on Singaporeans rather than an informed analysis of the situation.

    I am not an expert on Singaporean culture or anything, but surely the adoption of Western culture in Singapore obviously had something to do with the English language and Western culture being imperative to Singapore expanding as a country. My question would be: where would Singapore be as a prominent affluent nation without Lee Kwan Yew’s insistence that the English language and relations with the West become as prominent as it has been?

    But of course, this response is written by a banana too, but is that necessarily a bad thing? According to the writer of this piece, the answer would probably be yes…

  • 4 dbals // Mar 9, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    Singapore was built with american principles – Suck the juice out of Immigrants and grow on it. In the process it has lost all asian identity. White worshipping might be a shortcut to success but in the long run you’ll never earn a white’s respect. So far, the only Asian country that has managed to grow and still maintain a (somewhat) unique identity is Japan. White’s really fear and respect Japan. They don’t really care about the rest of the asia as they will be their boss for ever.

    It’s not surprising to see asian people born in US act as Banana’s. In fact, they should, because they are really americans. It’s really shameful to see some yellow/brown ass back in asia acting all white.

  • 5 SD Steve // Mar 9, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    I disagree with the general comments. Singapore is Singapore, a very unique place. It’s not western though it has western influences. It’s not Chinese though most there are of Chinese ancestry.

    As a crossroads city-state, it is not only natural but necessary for Singapore to embrace many cultures, also including Malay, Thai and Indian. It’s survival and later success depended on adapting to the world surrounding it. Why take something complex and make it so simple? There are more shades of gray than the black/white “banana or not” comparisons.

  • 6 That Dude! // Mar 17, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    Asian people need to read “White Mans Burden” by Rudyard Kipling. Its about how colonial minded white people view non-Whites, specifically S.E. Asians, as racially inferior and how its white peoples right to rape and pillage Asians and their land. They call Asians “Half-Devils.” It was written in the 1800′s. Please read it.

    Also watch the movie “Rabbit Proof Fence.” Its a true story about how “white” government tried to get rid of non-white by “breeding them out of existence,” meaning: white people had a right to rape non-white women.

  • 7 Billy 'Redneck" Bob // Mar 17, 2009 at 11:56 pm

    Is this sort of thing still going on today??? I’m ashamed to be WHITE

  • 8 jenn // Mar 21, 2009 at 9:21 am

    I still have no idea what you were talking about. To be frank, I think this is one of the most poorly written, executed, and researched article/post. First of all… I have no idea what “非常厉害” means, nor did you explain for that matter. Ending your ramble of how ‘embarrassing’ it is to be Singaporean, you used a pathetic statement of how Lunar New Year is celebrated. That was weak, for a lack of better words.

    How can existing as an Asian be ‘shameful’ if you talk about how inadequate those who ‘pretend’ to be white are in your eyes? Not only is your piece full of contradictions, it is offensive and personal (mostly towards yourself because no one really cares how much you as a person hate ‘bananas’.) Everyone KNOWS the existence of Asians who pretend or want to be white. But aren’t you the same by saying “It shames me to be a Singaporean?” So clarify…. what the hell is your point?

  • 9 Rocking the Great wall of China // Mar 27, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    The ridicule that you are piling on Singaporeans is irrational & unfair. Singaporeans should be free to adapt whatever culture they want. Being proud of being Asian is not feeling superior to westernized Asians, it’s about feeling good about yourself. And the fact that you use generalizations to back up your ideas just points out the holes in your article. Can you speak for all Singaporean youth? Hell no.

  • 10 nawab ali // Mar 30, 2009 at 6:59 am

    i sense a lot of resentment here, who stepped on your tail? in any case singapore is made up of 4 different races and a mishmash of languages. who are you to insist on cultural hegemony you chauvinist pig?

    and yes, those PRC chinese bastards are making it hard for me to even order a meal without resorting to sign language. i feel like a foreigner in my own country.

  • 11 Hard Reality // Apr 3, 2009 at 12:44 am

    Many Asians reject China not because they love the US but because they can’t trust China.

    China has paid agents posting all over the place trying to sell Chinese culture but the truth is the Chinese government gets their money by whoring their children into a lifetime of slavery to Walmart.

    Anyone who dares to speak up, they drag away and cut out their liver and sell it to some Russian who drinks too much.

    That’s a “culture” I can do without.

  • 12 Spectator // Apr 3, 2009 at 9:23 pm

    It’s rather funny how people went up in arms in a humor website that offers no promises of “careful research.”

  • 13 Redtreo // Apr 18, 2009 at 5:43 am

    I don’t care much about the culture , but the self hate must stop.

  • 14 Lee // May 3, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    Now hold on just a sec. I’m a Singaporean of half chinese half white descent. Our country is multicultural, cosmopolitan and unique……we are not China. Just because the largest ancestry group in Singapore is Chinese DOES NOT mean that we have to speak perfect Mandarin and be in touch with traditional Chinese culture to a tee. And just to let u know, the rate of Mandarin literacy has actually increased. Back in the day, Chinese dialects such as Hokkien, Teochew, Cantonese, Hakka and Hainanese were much more common but nowadays Mandarin has replaced them. We are Singaporeans, not China people…….SPEAK SINGLISH LAH!

  • 15 Lee // May 3, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    To add on to the last comment, we Singaporeans refer to our culture as “Rojak.” It is a local salad of sorts made of many different ingredients. Colloquially, we say our country is Rojak because of the many cultures we have that meld together and unite us. Chinese, Malay, Indian or watever u may be, u can be Singaporean. Our country is not just some “chinese place” thats lost touch with its roots-we celebrate many holidays for example-Chinese New Year, Lunar Festival, Christmas, Hari Raya (Eid), Deepavali, Vesak Day, etc.

  • 16 areya // Jul 28, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    Singapore is a country built on migrants. It is too young to have bred enough generations to have its own culture, hence the rojak. Nonetheless, as descents of migrants, it only makes sense to remember where our elders/forefathers came from. Keeping our roots is not just celebrating holidays, it’s also in the language. My guess is that the author, although having failed to maintain objectivity in a public article (even if it’s in a satirical website), just wanted to highlight how shameful it is that Chinese people in Singapore can’t be bothered to improve their mother tongue and worse still, adopt a superiority complex to the new migrants from the mainland, who in actual fact speak better Mandarin in kindergarten better than they could in university. Neither is she wrong in stating the probably underlying cause for this — the poor emphasis and standard of CHinese education.

    ON a more personal note, it does disturb, when one has been away from home for more than 12 years, yet can still speak, read and write Chinese better than one’s friends who remained in Singapore. (and yes, I did make the extra effort back in school before I left.)

  • 17 Candace // Sep 1, 2009 at 2:25 am

    Instead of criticizing people of Asian ethnicity growing up in a Western foreign country and not being able to speak the Asian language fluently, we should focus more about how that came about.

    For example, a lot of racism occurs, which causes peer pressure for the ethnically asian individual to assimilate.

    Instead of criticizing those who can’t speak their native tongue well, think about what pressures they went through growing up, and you’ll be more understanding.

    And another thing — race isn’t just black and white. Similarly, it’s not yellow and white. I feel like it’s problematic when people call asians who can’t speak an asian language fluently as bananas. It’s like you have to be either white or yellow. Can’t people understand that a multicultural identity can exist? Instead of strictly being black or white, someone can be a mixture of both cultural influences. Why is this so hard for people to accept?

  • 18 omg // Sep 13, 2009 at 8:41 am

    omg racism was true.
    arabian and western colonialist were right

    http://www.harbornet.com/folks/theedrich/JP_Rushton/Race.htm

    yeah.. cold reality.

  • 19 jerson // Nov 16, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    Sorry, I don´t mean in any way to offend Singaporeans, and my opinion may appear just like being weird, but that´s the only way I can think. This article shows not simply some Chinese “weakness”, as some may infer, but rather the dissimulated brutality of English domination mentality, which always meant selling their values by force, of course even by stealing, no matter what to do to get it, anywhere, either they having being governors or not, since at least the XV century.

  • 20 Chris // Jan 28, 2010 at 5:51 am

    Hmm, since I used to live in Singapore, here’s my own two cents’ worth: Singapore is not a Chinese country and never has been. If anything, it is British at its core and resembles US and Australia in this respect, since it is made up of various immigrants who have adopted English culture, customs, law and language. To Singaporeans I would suggest a visit to the excellent Peranakan Museum, which makes it abundantly clear how the Chinese-Malay elite abandoned their chineseness in the 19th century and have become largely British, though they retained their chinese-malay heritage to some extent as well. The Indians of course were loyal British Indians from the beginning and remain so. BTW, Peranakan culture kicks ass, and is a real shame so little is known about in the west.

  • 21 Chris // Jan 28, 2010 at 6:25 am

    To provide some backup to the degree of Britishness in Singapore, consider the following:
    Streetnames: Chancery Lane, Elizabeth II. walk, Dublin Rd, Mountbatten Rd, etc…
    Furthermore, Singapore is about the only post-colonial country not to have broken with her colonial past. Look at the number of things named after Raffles, Victoria and obscure, long-forgotten British Indian officials and military leaders like Clementi or Blair for instance. The HDB projects were based on British Fabian Socialist Ideas, libraries and Bookstores are overwhelmingly English-language, etc…
    My favourite example is Fort Canning park, where every path and terrace is named after some obscure, long-dead British colonel or major.

  • 22 Danster // Feb 8, 2010 at 3:21 am

    I wanted to say thanks for the article although there were so many disagreements. I don’t think the author was trying to be rude or prejudice. I appreciated the blunt honesty.

    I don’t really consider Singaporeans to be as “Asian,” as the rest of us. I would say the same thing about Koreans and Filipinos as well. All three races tend to glorify white people and they seem to hate their own cultures. It’s really disgusting.

    I’m proud of my Asian culture and I think anyone who is as well is worthy of respect. Asians who hate their own people or culture are really messed up. I have seen a lot of these types of Asians and they will never be happy no matter how hard they try. You can only find happiness if you are true to yourself.

  • 23 Straight Asian Man // Mar 5, 2010 at 10:42 pm

    You insist on further division? OK, we get that you have a political entity that is Singaporean, but Singaporeans are chinese ethnically and must see value in adopting a positive line in with the West. Western hegemony needs to end. And this is from someone born in the US, who sees how evil and hypocritical the US of A really is.

  • 24 Straight Asian Man // Mar 5, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    Seriously, I hate the Asian sycophancy and self hate. And I hate whites for creating such a system. Isnt there any way we can form some kind of political entity to battle this rising Western menance?

  • 25 Erik // May 11, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    How is one “white” on the inside ? What an idiotic and racist article on an otherwise cool blog. And what definition of “white”? There are over 200 Ethnic European languages, ethnicities and cultures.

    Or are they acting “white” by not speaking the way you like and by becoming a first world nation ?

  • 26 Erik // May 11, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    Nothing like calling us on our colonial mentality. Ah, when will be free of capitalist white patriarchy?

    :::::

    What an idiotic statement. So making money and being successful is a “colonial mentality” ?

    “Hey, let’s run an nation into the ground just to prove some elderly and dead Europeans wrong!”
    ::::::::

    Singapore is a weird ass country. It is an Asian country full of white worshiping. All the billboards are of white people. White people roam around with more privilege than Asians.

    It is quite sad. I am glad Chinese are seeing this. It is ashame that Asian don’t values Asian culture. It is because of this lack of values that will keep Asia poor. While would people value your products, when even your own people don’t value them.

    :::::::::

    Cite your source that Europeans have more priviledges and rights in Singapore than non Ethnic European Singaporeans. And who cares what ethnicity the person in a billboard is ? Are you really that full of low self esteem ?

    What keeps most of Asia poor is corruption, authoritarian governments, low education, lack of freedoms, lack of property rights, equal rights for women, ethnic cleansing, political repression, and the list goes on and on. And who can change that ? Asians. That’s who. That’s just as idiotic as the Africans who spout that same stupid shit.

    ::::::::::

    White worshipping might be a shortcut to success but in the long run you’ll never earn a white’s respect.

    ::::;

    That very statement says two things, one is that you’re very ignorant about “white” people, the European diaspora is a very diverse in thought, culture, religion, language, thought and geography. And two is that we’re not a monolithic group of people who’re all the same, we’re quite diverse and picking up a book and not equating mainstream European Americans with all ethnic Europeans.

    :::::::::::::

    White’s really fear and respect Japan. They don’t really care about the rest of the asia as they will be their boss for ever.

    ::::::::::::

    What a stupid statement. Most ethnic Europeans I know and myself included, don’t really give a fuck about Asia one way or another, we’re like most folks the world over, concerned about putting bread on our table and our loved ones. We’re not an alien species, we’re a branch of the Caucasian race who’re just like any other people on the planet.

    ::::::::::

    It’s not surprising to see asian people born in US act as Banana’s. In fact, they should, because they are really americans. It’s really shameful to see some yellow/brown ass back in asia acting all white.

    ::::::::::

    How does one “act white” , or “act Asian” or act any ethnicity ? Can you lump any race into one kettle ?

    ::::::::::

  • 27 Erik // May 11, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    I disagree with the general comments. Singapore is Singapore, a very unique place. It’s not western though it has western influences. It’s not Chinese though most there are of Chinese ancestry.

    As a crossroads city-state, it is not only natural but necessary for Singapore to embrace many cultures, also including Malay, Thai and Indian. It’s survival and later success depended on adapting to the world surrounding it. Why take something complex and make it so simple? There are more shades of gray than the black/white “banana or not” comparisons.

    :::::::::::

    Well said SD Steve.

    I think that much of what the Singaporeans have done and including their leader and essentially father is pragmatic and this discussion reminds me of an excellant National Geographic article which touched on this subject and other subjects involving Singapores uniqueness in relation to her Asian neighbors.

    :::::::::::::

    How can existing as an Asian be ’shameful’ if you talk about how inadequate those who ‘pretend’ to be white are in your eyes? Not only is your piece full of contradictions, it is offensive and personal (mostly towards yourself because no one really cares how much you as a person hate ‘bananas’.) Everyone KNOWS the existence of Asians who pretend or want to be white. But aren’t you the same by saying “It shames me to be a Singaporean?” So clarify…. what the hell is your point?

    ::::::::::::::

    But my question is this, what is meant by “wanting to be white”? Is it a want to be European American ? Anglo Saxon ? To me as an European American, it’s confusing when folks say that because I know that ethnic Europeans are a very diverse group in every way possible and that we’re found indigenously all over the Eurasian landmass. And even in America we ethnic Europeans are diverse, from the Amish, Cajun, Southern, Acadien, Appalachian, Mormon and Ozarkian.

    :::::::::::

    The ridicule that you are piling on Singaporeans is irrational & unfair. Singaporeans should be free to adapt whatever culture they want. Being proud of being Asian is not feeling superior to westernized Asians, it’s about feeling good about yourself. And the fact that you use generalizations to back up your ideas just points out the holes in your article. Can you speak for all Singaporean youth? Hell no.

    ::::::::::

    I think it’s a matter of self esteem of the person.

    I think it’s the’s personal issues with being Asian and then calling out Singaporeans with insults that they themselves feel. Reminds me of self hating guilty European Americans.

    :::::::::::::

    Many Asians reject China not because they love the US but because they can’t trust China.

    :::::::::

    Same thing in Eastern Europe, the Caucaus Mountains and in Western Asia with regards to Russia. But many people raised in America and born here have a hard time dropping their American ideas about race, ethnicity and nationality with how it’s seen in the Old World.

    ::::::::::

    Now hold on just a sec. I’m a Singaporean of half chinese half white descent. Our country is multicultural, cosmopolitan and unique……we are not China. Just because the largest ancestry group in Singapore is Chinese DOES NOT mean that we have to speak perfect Mandarin and be in touch with traditional Chinese culture to a tee. And just to let u know, the rate of Mandarin literacy has actually increased. Back in the day, Chinese dialects such as Hokkien, Teochew, Cantonese, Hakka and Hainanese were much more common but nowadays Mandarin has replaced them. We are Singaporeans, not China people…….SPEAK SINGLISH LAH!

    :::::::::

    I hear that, just like America is for the most part. We don’t speak the languages of the three largest ethnicities in an official manner. Or we’d be speaking German, Spanish and Gaelic.

    ::::::::

    You insist on further division? OK, we get that you have a political entity that is Singaporean, but Singaporeans are chinese ethnically and must see value in adopting a positive line in with the West. Western hegemony needs to end. And this is from someone born in the US, who sees how evil and hypocritical the US of A really is.

    :::::::::

    They’re their own nation and have chosen their own route. Why do they have to speak a language that they don’t want too ? That’s evil. Just like the actions of the Chinese government are evil and hypocritical.

    :::::::::

    To add on to the last comment, we Singaporeans refer to our culture as “Rojak.” It is a local salad of sorts made of many different ingredients. Colloquially, we say our country is Rojak because of the many cultures we have that meld together and unite us. Chinese, Malay, Indian or watever u may be, u can be Singaporean. Our country is not just some “chinese place” thats lost touch with its roots-we celebrate many holidays for example-Chinese New Year, Lunar Festival, Christmas, Hari Raya (Eid), Deepavali, Vesak Day, etc.

    ::::::::

    Lee, good post. I’d love to visit Singapore one day. And I loved the phrase and the analogy.

    :::::::

    Sorry, I don´t mean in any way to offend Singaporeans, and my opinion may appear just like being weird, but that´s the only way I can think. This article shows not simply some Chinese “weakness”, as some may infer, but rather the dissimulated brutality of English domination mentality, which always meant selling their values by force, of course even by stealing, no matter what to do to get it, anywhere, either they having being governors or not, since at least the XV century.

    ::::::::::

    But the thing is that every nation and people that have been in that position to do it, has done it.

    Not too long ago Asians were enslaving, oppressing and commiting genocide against European and ethnic Europeans and commited one of the worst acts of genocide and biological warfare known to man against said group. But that being said, the Europeans would’ve done if they could’ve. It was just the norm and for the most part continues to be so.

    :::::::::::::

    I don’t really consider Singaporeans to be as “Asian,” as the rest of us. I would say the same thing about Koreans and Filipinos as well. All three races tend to glorify white people and they seem to hate their own cultures. It’s really disgusting.

    ::::::::::::

    Because they don’t measure up to your own definitions of what Asian is ?

    The Philipines have had their own history and their own experiences. Does that make them any less Asian ? Same with Koreans.

    ::::::::::::::

    Seriously, I hate the Asian sycophancy and self hate. And I hate whites for creating such a system. Isnt there any way we can form some kind of political entity to battle this rising Western menance

    ::::::

    So you hate 1 billion people for what’s perpetuated and created by another ? How have I caused you to hate yourself ? How have 99.99% of the over 1 billion ethnic Europeans have done to you anyways ?

  • 28 Tim // May 30, 2010 at 10:07 pm

    So true.I’ve lived in America all my life. I can’t speak Fillipino. But, I uphold the unwritten favor system. I will be extra friendly or lend a hand to a Fillipino on the streets.

  • 29 Bananananana // Aug 6, 2010 at 11:11 am

    Why would “非常厲害” be embarrassing? I’m Taiwanese and I say “厲害” all the time. (Though I would use “很” instead of “非常.”)

  • 30 Jess // Aug 14, 2010 at 9:10 am

    @Bananananana, because they were asking for an idiom and 非常厲害 isn’t one!

  • 31 Hair Straighteners // Sep 5, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    i love your web site!

  • 32 Andy Kwoc // Nov 26, 2010 at 8:56 am

    I don’t know about you… But me, Am so pround to be a banana :D
    And for the asian that don’t don’t know how to dress like an asian, well you must have a look at this website http://www.mysecret-closet.com

  • 33 Banana? // Nov 28, 2010 at 1:41 am

    I’m married to a Singaporean, worked there for a few years, live in Australia. Singaporeans are unique, definitely not what we understand as ‘bananas’ in Aust. The bananas in Aust are simply Asians who apart from their skin colour, behave & think like an Aussie. Singaporeans, on the other hand, are influenced by the Western culture, in their lifestyle and media, but they have their own unique culture , and most definitely do not behave or think like a true Westerner.

  • 34 Ricky // Jan 10, 2011 at 11:13 pm

    @nawab ali, Maybe you Malay assholes can go do business with your own kind and stop doing business with us. See how far that will get you. By the way, Singapore is 70% chinese, so go back across the Causeway.

  • 35 Ricky // Jan 10, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    @Lee, I think you are missing the point here. The writer is not focusing on the language, rather the blind worshipping of anything western, or white. He wants Singapore to have a self identity and self respect, rather than just blindly worshipping any white guy and putting down an Asian guy, because his skin is the wrong color.

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  • 38 POWinCA // Aug 18, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    Unfortunately, many Asian kids today are yellow on the outside and black on the inside.

    What do you call that, a “Harlem Taxi?”

    Bumblebee?

    Jayhawk? (from Kansas University basketball)

  • 39 POWinCA // Aug 18, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    Before people get too riled up about Asians acting “white”, bear in mind that many Asian families have been in America half a century longer than most descendants of European immigrants.

    The Chinese came to the US to work on the railroads in the mid-19th century. Ellis Island, where most Europeans passed onto our shores, didnt open until 1892. That makes many Chinese two generations more American than most European caucasians. Many Japanese came to America in the 1870′s during the Meiji Restoration. European immigration was less than half a million in the 17th and 18th centuries and peaked in 1907.

    When I lived abroad, I tried to learn the language and behave according to the customs of the local people. To do so too much brought the perjorative “going native.” To this day, I still eat with my fork and knife like a German, and count on my hand beginning with my thumb.

    Cultural melding and assimilation is NOT being a sell-out to your race. People who think so are the real racists, believing the culture into which they were born to be superior. I dont believe that all cultural norms are equally successful, and adopting the best norms is just good sense.

    Culture developed as a survival tool, not as a source of identity. When culture no longer serves to help you survive and thrive, you must abandon it. That’s how new cultures and traditions are born. Western European society has mostly been successful, and that’s why it’s often imitated or adopted.

    Old cultures belong in museums alongside other historical relics that were discarded because something better was discovered. That doesnt mean the “old stuff” is bad – just obsolete.

  • 40 wes // Sep 15, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    SO when are you going to talk about golden oreos?

  • 41 wai // Nov 9, 2013 at 5:55 am

    I live in America and bananas are the lowest scum on earth, speak English if you want to, or do western things that doesn’t make you a banana, but have pride in your culture. A banana is an Asian person that worships white people. I’m an ABC (American Born Chinese) and I take pride in the fact that I speak Chinese it doesn’t define me. When you worship white people and step on Asian people you make it difficult for every other Asian person out there. Don’t you people realize that when you worship white people they are looking down on you; you are no better to them than the dirt that they walk on. I see it everyday Asians belittling themselves to appease white people while treating other Asians like dirt. Study Asian history and you will see that it was the bananas in Asia that eventually led to the downfall of many Asian societies and turned Asian into second class citizens in their own countries.

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