Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Ask A Korean! News: Open Letter to Non-Asian People

(Sorry about the unannounced absence, folks. The Korean hosted three little Korean Nephews from Colorado Springs for a whole week, and then the Korean visited the Korean Girlfriend at Aspen for a week. Hope all of you have enjoyed some nice vacation time.)

Dear Black, Hispanic, and White People:

My name is the Korean, the host of a popular blog of Ask A Korean! The Korean keeps the blog in order to edify non-Koreans, and more generally non-Asians. That means you. The Korean had been thinking that he was making good progress, but visiting a region in America mostly populated by you people made the Korean realize that more direct approach is necessary. Therefore, the Korean presents the behavioral guide of interacting with Asian Americans.

- When you meet an Asian person in America, listen to the person's English. If it's fluent, assume the person is American. Do not say "Oh, your English is so great!" unless you want a punch in the face.

- Do not ask "Where are you from?" to an Asian person unless you are reasonably certain that s/he is outside of his/her American hometown. If the Asian answers, say, "Los Angeles", do not follow up with "where are you originally from?" or "where are your parents from?" Our precise ethnicity is none of your fucking business. Do we ever ask you whether you are from Dominican Republic, Ireland, or Ivory Coast?

- Do not holler any Asian celebrity name at any Asian person. The Korean is 6'1", and plays basketball frequently. If the Korean hears one more "Yao Ming!" from one of you, he will shove a basketball up your ass.

- Do not say "gonnichiwa" to an Asian person in America, unless you are absolutely positive that the Asian person is a Japanese tourist, or you are a host/hostess of a Japanese restaurant greeting an Asian customer. (Although if you are a host/hostess, the proper greeting would be iratsaimashe.) There are relatively few Japansese Americans in America compared to Chinese or Korean Americans, so you are most likely wrong; and if you had been reading the blog, Korean people really don't like being mistaken for a Japanese. Chinese people are not all that different either.

- On second thought, don't say any Asian phrase to any Asian person, unless you are at least conversational in the language. It's the 21st century, people. We are no longer impressed by your amazing ability to say "hello".

- As a corollary, especially don't say any Asian phrase to an Asian American woman in the hopes of hooking up. Your schemes are as transparent as they are idiotic.

- While we are on the subject, although equal opportunity dating is to be encouraged, blatant yellow fever is disgusting. Nothing drives Asian women away faster than your submissive girl fetish. Plus, if you really think Asian women are domestic and submissive, you obviously haven't dated one.

- Let's change the subject a bit. Stop patronizing expensive Asian restaurants with shitty food and fancy decoration. (Way too many of them in New York.) You are just as stupid as the Russian people who wait in line for hours to eat at McDonald's. Recognize which Asian food is rightfully fancy, and which one simply has a fancy name and a $30 price tag.

(True story: The Korean went to this one chic Korean restaurant in SoHo, where they made every effort to make it seem trendy and, well, not Asian, down to 100 percent non-Asian waiting crew. We had barbecue, and one of the waiters offered the Korean a platter of "Seng Shew". It took about 10 seconds to realize that he pronounced "sangchoo", i.e. red leaf lettuce, as if he was reading French. The Korean broke a soju bottle on his head, and never returned.)

- Do not use chopsticks if you are going to make a fool of yourself and spray food all over the place. Use a fork. No one cares.

- On the other hand, if you are at a Thai restaurant and don't have chopsticks, do not act all high and mighty and ask for chopsticks. Thai people don't use chopsticks.

- On a broader topic, stop fetishizing Asian culture, like its movies and cartoons. Like everything else in the world, some Asian movies and cartoons are fantastic, and some are just plain shitty. As the Korean mentioned before, he cannot believe the number of people who liked Bicheonmu on imdb.com, which is generally considered the worst Korean movie of the decade, perhaps all-time, on the same level as Battlefield Earth.

- However, stop copying excellent Asian movies/TV shows, replacing Asian actors with white actors, and sell them in America as if you came up with that brilliant idea. Martin Scorsese, the makers of The Ring, The Grudge, and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, the Korean is looking at your direction.

- Do not make an Asian person around you a representative of his/her race. Do not ask questions like "Why are Korean girls so slutty?" or "Why are Chinese people so loud?" because the answers will be either wrong or incomplete. Do you know all there is to know about your heritage? Neither do we, for the most part.

- But if you must ask, send an email to askakorean@hotmail.com

p.s. Asian people, anything else that annoys you? Please email.

-ADDENDUM: 2:37 p.m. Sept. 11, 2007- One more thing the Korean thought of (because some idiot just pulled this): If you meet a Korean anywhere, never ask "North or South?" North Koreans have no freedom to travel outside of their country -- that's what it means to have a communist dictatorship. The only place that you will likely meet a North Korean is within North Korea; at that point, you wouldn't really have to ask. Everywhere else, all Koreans are South Koreans.

124 comments:

  1. This is brilliantly funny and very true.

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  2. Very good! I can personally attest to points 1 and 2. I was adopted when I was 5 months old and have lived in Colorado ever since. Yet the number of times I've been told that "my English is very good" fucking baffles me. It's just plain rude.

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  3. I like this one a lot. I have e-mailed the link to some of my Asian American friends and family.

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  4. Nice job, very funny. I am half-Korean, look full and don't speak much Korean at all. I have lived in California my whole life and have never had anyone tell me that my English is very good. I think I wouldn't be able to hold in my laughter if someone did.

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  5. very handy list! which scorsese movies are ripoffs?

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  6. Loved it! Funnily enough as a monolingualwest african i agree with a lot of those points, with some substitution of course. Do you ever get the question "I have friends in [insert random asian country here]. Do you know them?" Irritates the livin' daylights out of me...

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  7. Yellow fever in guys annoys me and I'm not even Asian.

    And don't forget The Lake House, that mediocre remake of Il Mare.

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  8. Funny. You should contribute to a facebook group "Allegiance of Asians being tired of stupid questions". Can't agree on the North/South Korea point. My ancestors were from North Korea, who illegally immigrated to the Soviet Union, so I can say, that originally I am from the North. Anyway, it doesn't undermine the stupidity of the question itself

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  9. The movie thing...well...

    I disagree.

    The collaborative nature of film is what allowed Kurosawa to learn from Leone, who in turn learned from Kurosawa. Similarly, we wouldn't have had Star Wars if it had not been for Lucas's keen eye toward Kurosawa.

    I don't mind filmmakers aping other filmmakers, especially if we get excellent results from it.

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  10. Actually, maybe we should allow some blatant yellow fever to persist. Maybe some of our girls can whip these pasty boys into shape and bend them to the Asian will.

    Yeah, I hate being asked North or South, especially because the answer is usually irrelevant to the one who asks. I've learned not to hate anyone who asks this with undying enmity, however.

    This attests to my ignorance. I had no idea the Thai didn't use chopsticks. Fortunately for me I didn't have to learn this the hard way, since the only Thai I've had is take-out and I have my own chopsticks (thus I've never asked for them from a Thai restaurant).

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  11. i know that asking north or south is rude, but every korean i meet seems to tell me a story about his/her family escaping from/still stuck in north korea. Perhaps I am a magnet for this because of what I study (North Korean Foreign Policy), but this makes for really depressing and akward conversation. What does a white girl from suburbia say after you tell her that your family is being tortured in dissenter prison camps?(answer:nod & make concerned face)

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  12. Kate --

    Although those conversations probably happen at the most inopportune and unexpected times, you study North Korean foreign policy for reason right? Find a way to incorporate what people are willing to share with you -- it's not that common to have family tragedies revealed to strangers. Just accept that people want to add a personal element to your studies. It could be a blessing in disguise.

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  13. been through a lot of those, thanks for listing them. (Also possible in Germany)
    I'll copy some into my blog

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  14. Hi there. I have blatant yellow fever, and my korean girfriend is both domestic AND submissive. But then I guess I just got lucky.

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    1. Gross. Lucky you have a girl with a poor self-esteem, eh. Great, good job. Hopefully you're not ugly and/or old also. I always hate seeing that. Poor girl.

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  15. Hehe, quite true, especially the yellow fever and asian girls comment.
    I hated being asked if I was Chinese and it'd take them ages to figure out that I'm actually Vietnamese (embarassingly though, I found out that I actually am part Chinese >.< but it was kinda annoying that they asked in the first place...like it actually mattered..)
    I also hate this idea of an asian group. People don't seem to understand that some asians do stick together because it is easier to speak or relate to each other...

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  16. I enjoyed The Korean's post on things that non-Koreans shouldnt say to a Korean. But as a non-Korean white person, I have a list of things Koreans shouldnt say or do to non-Koreans
    1) SOME of us can actually speak your language fairly well. So if we greet an FOB Korean in his or her native langauge, please do not reply in broken English. Especially if your English sucks (despite the fact that you've been here 20 years and have had ample time to study English) and our Korean skills are pretty good. Just use Korean. SOME of us spent our time wisely while we lived in Korea -- i.e. learning your langauge, instead of drinking and whoring, which, unfortunately, too many white guys do in Korea.
    2) Same thing if we order food in Korean at your resturant in North Jersey. Yes, some of us can indeed speak Korean fairly well. Dont just snicker and think all we know is An Young Ha Sey Yo. Again, our Korean is likely better than your English, if you are a recent FOB, I mean.
    3) When we get in a taxi in your country, please do not give us a lecture on how SOFA is unfair. We already know that. We didnt write the agreement.
    4) Please do not give our Korean girlfriends a dirty look when you see them with us. Yes, at one time in Korea, it was true that most Korean girls dating white guys (U.S. soldiers, for the most part) were prostitutes, or "yankee yoja." But that time was over decades ago. We care about our Korean girlfriends a great deal (we also respect our girlfriends' parents and family).
    5) When we ask you which part of Korea are you from, dont just assume we are asking that stupid North or South question and answer "South Korea, of course." LISTEN to what we are asking, dont just assume we dont know the difference between North Korea and Korea. We were asking you WHICH CITY IN KOREA ARE YOU FROM???? SEOUL??? INCHEON???? DAEGU????? DAEJON???
    6) Dont serve us jajang myun and pretend its good food. That's like giving an egg role to a Chinese. They would spit it out!
    I understand The Korean's frustration, because I have experienced the reverse, both in Korea and in North Jersey and NYC.

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  17. kimchiguy,

    While the Korean admires your familiarity with Korean language and culture, your kind is few and far between. (Definitely much more so than Asian Americans.) Cut the fobs some slack. The list you provided read like the private diary of Hendrick Hamel.

    But how dare you insult jjajangmyeon! That's almost a ban right there.

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    1. ha! i love jjanjangmyeon! any delivery service in any tiny town in korea is better than any restaurant in the US, as i have recently found out since visiting korea.

      (i'm korean).

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  18. well its sort of like this with me and some of the FOBs:
    I go into a Korean resturant and order in Korea. They giggle in my face. I continue to order in (grammatically correct, for the most part)Korean. They giggle again and answer me in (very grammitally incorrect)English. I continue speaking Korean, but they act as if they are in a forest and a tree is speaking to them. Trees are not supposed to talk right? Therefore this white dude must not be speaking our langauge. No no no...He must be from the South or something and is speaking English but I just cant understand his accent. Meanwhile, they turn and speak Korean to my FOB Chinese wife, who doenst speak a word of Korean and resents being assumed to be Korean, as she looks VERY Chinese.
    Anyway that was the case in Fort Lee, where we used to live. And this happened several times a week, as we've hit most of the resturants there (you're in NYC right, Korean guy?)...
    But now that Im in the DC area, I havent experienced this as much, for reasons unknown.
    Oh, and Im not insulting jjajangmyun as such. It's just that Korea has much higher quality food to boast of. So I'm not against jjajangmyun, although my wife, an FOB Chinese (for clarification when I mentioned Korean GFs in the last post, I was refering to something from several years ago)is personally insulted by the idea of jjajangmyun, as are pretty much all FOB Chinese I know, who equate jjajangmyun with egg rolls. I think you might have the same reaction if you went to a bulgogi place in Osaka. All the side dishes taste weird, the kimchi tastes weird, etc. Same idea.

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  19. Thank you. I will be sharing this with all my non-Korean friends.

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  20. Who insulted Chajangmyun? The bastardized Korean version of Chajang noodles is quite possibly the tastiest food on earth! That man is lucky he didn't insult patbingsu, or I would have to find him and hurt him.

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  21. I get the same as Kimchiguy for the language thing. I feel like Ed the talking horse, everything I say is comedy central..I could be talking about the weather..it's mad funny. Talk about how I am in Korea but I don't teach English..mad funny.

    I was asked to do a show for SBS 그것이 알고십다 for being able to speak Korea fluent, eat kimchi so damn well and use chopstick.."I'm almost Korean!" I think a slap in the face would have stung less.. I have been in almost all my life (Dad was USAF).

    I wonder how that would fly back home if I roll up into K-town and said the same..Damn! you eat Burger King! You're almost American! LOL

    I suppose you could say, well this is a generalizing right. But from what I read, that's what your blog is about..how not to get caught up with that. Anyway, all your points were valid and even a few of the family that were not stationed over here still ask my girl(Korean) stupid stuff, but she usually schools them right away to nip it in the bud. I'm sending the link to the blog to a few people that come to mind ;) good work Korean, keep up the posts.

    -Ed The Talking Horse Busan

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  22. Jajangmyun is awesome btw! sure you can get the cheap 2000 won crap, but the good stuff with roasted baby octopus with shrimp and extra spicy! It takes all hands down.

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  23. Hello "The Korean", Ive read some of your posts, this being the one I wanted to comment on, so in the spirit of cross-cultural issues and debate don't take my words as mean. We don't live in a utopian world society (thank god) and we have different views but it takes communication to make sense of individuals different take on things (i.e culture).

    SOOOO lets get to the dirty talk ;)

    I am a white suburban male from NY. And I TOTALY understand where your from on this post. American white culture is somthing to behold indeed. But after a few years of research and self exploring Im not going to be too hard on whites as I was in the past. Now this is not to say the majority of whites have a cultural handicap, cause I frimly believe they do, but "White" despite how real it seems and effects our lives in america (i.e the 2008 presidental race) is imaginary. White does not exist except in the minds of men, so its an unseen force that impacts social reality and thought, in other words white is a culture. Being a culture, it can effect EVERYONE then since its within any capable humans grasp to enculturate into it. Ive seen 1st hand the americanization, which is whitification(since for some stupid reason whitness is the unspoken normalcy of america) being acted out in west to east, central europe to east, south asia.
    true seeing a bunch of wapanese fags debase an entires cultures history to anime gets me extrmly pissed, but this superfical treatment I have experinced in other parts of the world being a white american. It does get anoying when everyone thinks you live life like a frat boy, or can go to a resturant with constantly getting bland food (thai resturants, indian,korean) cause other whites have a traditional bland diet (in terms of spice use in foods), seeing everyone ware disney shirts despite what kind of a company and message they send out. I can go on and on and have my post even more garbled but lets just say It effects everyone not just whites. Its popular and just for a non white in america to point out white peoples faults yes, cause whites in this coutry have an unjust privledge even to this day. But this is only a problem BECAUSE people still think America is the shit and blah blah land of the free and blam whites for alot of stuff. But trust me im not attacking you, Im very frustrated how my ancestors gave up there native cultures to assimilate into being "good americans" way back when. But once you get over america being the end all of the places to be, you can see american and white culture in specific is actually not so bad! I hate to admit it but I cant deny what I have seen and learned. Japan for instance, EXTREAMLY XENOPHOBIC job market, not to mention many establishments with sigs for no forienrs. Say you want to make ur hope in japan as a white, your gunna have a hard time and plus face the extream xenophobia you face here in america as a non-white such as the places youve been to. Even though american culture is shit, at least you can "get into" it but still east asia is rather hard for non asians. Even though I <3 Korea, and am a fan of the theory of cultural relitivity, try giving blood there as a non-korean and see what happens! You will get turned down (even though they test everyones blood anyway for impurities).
    Im not knocking any of the examples I listed, every society has its norms and they will seem odd or different to a non-native, but just I feel its important that as we need to put more of a focus on whites, we also have to keep in mind why it even happens with whites in the first place, there are bigger issues at foot then sheer stupidity ;) But I cant be to howtie towtie I live close to NYC and flushing queens so IM lucky to have the exposure to the cultures I do. Mid-westeners ehhhhhhhh I feel bad for them.

    One time I got lost in Kyoto Japan, some really offbeat area where they havent seen whites since ww2, and it was cute cause poepl would all stare and look and I passed by a resturant and an entire group of elderly people started pointing out of a window and waving! It was a cool experince cause if you grow up as a "white" in the USA you raaaaarley have the opprotunity to be an ousider or an oddity. But keep[ in mind mr.korean, whites DONT have that opprotunity yet so always be proud of your non-whitness and make them feel stupid (but willing to guide)for not knowing whats up with non "white" culture... sooner or later more will get the hint :) But we have to keep an eye on Asia too cause with so may girls getting eye lid opening surgery, collored contacts, and so on clearly a cultural value is replacing an existing one and that is being proud of your natural self. Sorry for running on enjoy the story of typo-s I just gave you.

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  24. "Don't ever speak to a Korean in Korean."

    Wow. You're a bit of a snob, aren't you? Koreans like to say hello to me and I don't mind. Oh, look. It's a bunch of other Asian-Americans that agree with you. And nobody else. You guys are really open-minded.

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  25. Bob I like your point! With what "The Korean" Said "Dont ever speak korean to a non-koream"

    I hgave to say its mounting evidence that "The korean" Is a total Bah-nah-nah or twinkie. This sort of state ment could have ONLY been made by someone who is a native born american, or someone who knows nothing of Korean culture in Korea. Either way someone is improperly displaying the voice of the real koreans in korea and its ironically "the korean" :)

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  26. The "North or South" question was very funny! ㅎㅎ

    Here in the Philippines, we also do not use chopsticks ^^

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  27. Before i read all the posts i was in love with Korean culture (at least the very few i know about)and now i´m sad.

    I´m from Mexico and, well about you asian people hate about being asked about you and stuff well i want to say something, maby you hate foreigns and our stupid cuestions or interest about you and you´re culture, maby we or I am the stupid one that wants to know people and like asian guys (cuz im a girl btw)and personally i will be thriled if a foreign of ANY part of the world says or at least tries to says "hello" in spanish, i will be exited to teach others about my culture or music or personal intrests, at least it´s better to be asked 1000 times the same shit about where are you from or whatever than beeing hated or ignored.

    Many people don´t like asian people, now i know why.

    We latins are very lovable with evryone.

    I personally like them/you asian people physically and in SOME cultural ways and i never, never will mind if any foreign person ask me anything in order to know more about me or my country.

    *Sorry about my english, hope you don´t hate me because of that.

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  28. Mafervolta, hola mi amigo. Dont be to mad at "asians".
    The ones that come from America are two types. The ones who feel like they are in a special club and you can never talk about it, and the nice ones who want to share culture with everyone. The korean like I said before I think MIGHT be a platanos. Looks asian but acts like your average white kid. The real koreans in korea are extreamly nice and friendly and love sharing culture. So dont take american koreans(the bad ones) to much to heart, most koreans dont look at american koreans as koreans anymore anyway. But in america its odd you know how raciest this place is, all ethnic groups get into pack mentality and become xenophobic.

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  29. bob,

    If you bothered to finish the sentence you quoted, you may have noticed that the statement is qualified by the following clause: unless you are at least conversational in the language. Also, if you bothered to read the right sidebar of the blog, you may have noticed the Korean is a Korean American. What Korean people in Korea do has no application.

    mafervolta,

    Puede escribir en espanol si quiere. El Coreano no odio curiosidades sobre cosas coreanas. Esto blog se llama "!pregunte a un coreano!" Claramente me gusta recibir preguntas.

    andwhenwebreak,

    Your first comment made no sense, and your second and third comments dared to question the Korean's authenticity, especially when the Korean clearly stated his background in the front page of this blog. The Korean does not tolerate that. You have been warned.

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  30. To the Korean.

    Im sorry My first comment didnt make sense, I had one of them moments where you just bash the keyboard angrly ;)

    But I have to totaly disagree with you that being a korean american has nothing to do with it, and that what koreans do in korea is of no importance either.

    To a degree I will give you the fact that ethnic groups in america exist in a different dimention then they do other places in the world. BUT I will say in this case I dont think ur owning up to how much it really does matter being of korean heritage to say "an asian guide for non-asians" is in order. Im not trying to attack you so sorry if I came off that way. But as a fellow american you can attest to the effects of ethnicity and race play in our culture. Koreans just didnt poof into existace here in america so its my informed oppinion that being tied to that ethnic group (of koreans in korea or not) does matter in how you inform your own identity as an american and as an "asian" ( I hate clumping such diverse cultures into one lable, but in America you HAVE to do it most of the time or no one understand you). Im just saying DONT think being from korea has nothing to do with what korean is, look what happened to the "whites". Sure everyone thinking white is great, the best of the best, but everyone who is considered "white" had to totaly ignore and throw away their culture. Just look at italians here, they always boast being italian blah blah but italians in italy just dont even consider them italian.

    But "asians" arnt immune to this effect either. My heart breaks when I see beautiful girls dye there hair blond, whare makeup ment for a white complexion ( not being racial this is from an a color mismatch point of view), waring blue contacts...... essentialy trying to look caucasian.

    Anyway Ill write a billion pages, Im a sociologist so I have an unhealthy atytention to ethnic/cultural/race issues so dont mind me.

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    1. *****"But "asians" arnt immune to this effect either. My heart breaks when I see beautiful girls dye there hair blond, whare makeup ment for a white complexion ( not being racial this is from an a color mismatch point of view), waring blue contacts...... essentialy trying to look caucasian".

      As an Asian woman, this sounds ridiculous. If white women and black women can dye their hair blond or white or red --who are they copying?, why can't Asian girls dye their hair blond (or white or red or blue? and the guys do it too...some of this is also anime inspired), its fun and a way to make themselves look different....its all about trends.

      As for the white complexions? This goes way back culturally as being a standard of beauty -even before Marco Polo trekked east. Being dark skinned meant that you were a peasant that worked in the fields for a living, being light skin means you can afford to not work, which implied a particular class. Light skin is seen as youthful --pure and luminous.

      White people go tanning bc it use to means you lived a life of leisure, ---sunbathing was for the "leisure class" -- it became quite chic when Coco Chanel would sport a tan and widely spread. This became a western ideal of money and influence.

      AS for blue contacts, they are unusual and fun....as the hair....no one believes they look caucasian by sporting these trends. White & Black women dye, straighten, curl, perm their hair, and wear colored contacts too. Don't break your heart over that either.

      Also, somewhere there was a comment that Asians get eyelid surgery to look Caucasian?! ALOT of Asians, especially the Chinese and Japanese have double folds naturally and do not get surgery for it. The ones that do it do so because they feel that it makes them more attractive....NOT CAUCASIAN. Asians have their own standard of beauty and role models that really does revolve around looking Caucasian. Get over yourselves.

      I think some of you read way too much into it and yet not enough. Women are women, its in their dna to strive to stand out attractively.

      Delete
  31. andwhenwebreak,

    The Korean doesn't think you understood his point. The Korean's point is that this letter is meant to be a (joke) guide for non-Asian Americans to deal with Asian Americans.

    So, for example, some commenters have said something like "why do you get annoyed at XYZ when Korean people in Korea do the same XYZ?" And the Korean's answer is: "It doesn't MATTER if Koreans in Korea do the same XYZ -- this is for Asian Americans." That's it.

    A separate point here -- the Korean would believe that you had no ill intention, but don't call an Asian American a twinkie or a banana. Few insults are greater. The Korean barely held back the urge to ban you straightaway.

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  32. Hello again guys!!

    andwhenwebreak:
    Thanks for make me notice about the 2 tipes of korean, i think both are special but in different ways.
    And thanks to you i´m no longer mad at them LOL.
    And BTW, you said: Hola mi amigo and i´m "amiga" cuz i´m a girl, ;)

    The Korean:
    *Gracias por permitirme hablar en español, intento hablar en ingles para que todos me puedan entender y aunque estemos o no de acuerdo contigo se reconoce que tienes un muy buen blog. Felicidades!!
    *Thanks for allowing me to speak in spanish, i try to do it in english in order to be understanded by everyone and even though we agree or not with you let´s face it, you have a very cool blog. Congratulations!!

    For All:
    Thanks to everyone i´m learning so much n___n

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  33. The Korean,

    haha Im sorry about the "twinkie or a banana" if it upset you I was just ribbing you. I will keep this in mind but Im from an area where its pretty commonly used by all (asians and not)to poke fun at the "dilution" of ethnicity in America. Im in lower NY, and I get called an egg some times, I really cant think of a point where it was ever used in a bad way. But this is not to take any validity behind you choice to think of it as an insult (whats so bad having white on the inside?Not ALL white people are bad;). Ill keep this in mind, but it was meant to be joking not mean.


    mafervolta:

    perdon por el error, yo no sabía qué sexo usted era :)

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  34. I'm going to say this, though I'm sure it's been said again and again. It simply cannot be said enough times.

    DO NOT say an Asian phrase to a passing Asian girl. Okay, I admit that I was impressed when a Hispanic dude said, "Annyeonghasseyo," mostly because it wasn't "Ni hao" or [dear god] "konnichiwa," but it got old after I hit 15, believe me.

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  35. Oh, wow. It's so true. I personally am not Asian, but I have a very good friend, who's name is Dahye. (She's orignially from Korea.) And, people will say these completely inconsiderate things. I know sometimes people aren't doing it deliberately, but I sometimes really want to cup my hands over my face and walk away. Your blog was absolutely hilarious, but everything you said was so typical of the typical American.

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  36. As someone who is trying to learn Korean on her own, I know how embarrassing it can be to try and talk to someone in Korean when I know so little. I can read the words on menus but I'll be damned if I'm going to try and sound high and mighty saying them :) I can certainly appreciate The Koreans point here. Also, on a related note, I worked with this sweet Vietnamese woman named Trinh (to me, a fairly obvious Vietnamese name) and if I'm remembering correctly her last name was actually Nguyen (unmistakably Vietnamese as far as I know). One day This sort of regular customer was sitting at the counter and to get her attention he said Konnichiwa! and I actually blushed *for* her. At a bar I worked at there was an Asian guy sitting near me and the guy I was there with. I had no idea where he was from (or even if he was actually foreign) but as me and my friend were talking about Korea... my friend leans over and asks the guy *in Korean* if he speaks Korean. The guy was Japanese and did not stay long after that :( I know these things are often harmless mistakes, but I agree with The Korean that unless you know the person (KNOW them), try not to make an ass out of yourself. I do my best, but out of my own vague yellow fever I can't help but get curious after I've known someone a while! (It's shameful I know) But I am super polite about it and just so curious :)

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  37. The Korean, very amusing blog entry. Too bad some of your readers are having such a hard time picking up on your satirical streak.

    To non-asians or non-Koreans who feel victimized by Koreans who don't give them credit for their attempts to speak the language. Uh . . . been in the US lately when an immigrant has an accent? Folks here are merciless! Let me also say that I am Korean American and (1) my relatives in Korea schedule comedy festivals centered on my poor pronunciation, (2) the Korean language contains far more intonations that can change the emotional or definitional content of a word or phrase so having a mere technical understanding of grammar does not a fluent speaker make. It's a crap (unnecessarily difficult) language to learn in that respect so while you may think you are proficient, chances are you sound like a Korean Corky from Life Goes On. Hence the laughter/giggles. Hey if I can suffer through the ridicule, so can you. And call me when someone has said some things that are so hateful based on your race that a little piece of you dies inside. "The Korean waiter made fun of my accent!" Tears are flowing for you over here buddy.

    "Where are you from?" I am a bit perplexed by this question whenever it is asked. Simply because I never see the person again. I wonder if they are storing the information in a massive Asian Faces database somewhere. I've had white folk on the train just ask me out of the blue, "Are you Chinese?" with a look of eager anticipation on their faces, like they're going to win Jeopardy or something. Or that I will exclaim, "Sh*t you are one amazingly perceptive white man! You guessed it! Here's a coupon to China Pavilion restaurant on K Street for you and the wife! And while you're at it, can you use your powers of perceptions and let me know if this is cubic zirconian or a real diamond?" What is this urge to know? Is it like walking outside, seeing a dog and asking the owner, "Is it part border collie? I see a little german shephard in it, am I right?" I have a bit of advice for those who REALLY need to know: get to know the person and perhaps the information will come out in the natural course of conversation. "(30 minutes into the conversation) So, my grandparents are corn farmers in Iowa. Oh really? Your grandparents are rice farmers in Korea? Very interesting." See how this is a more facile technique rather than the more clinical: "Give me your genus, species, blood type, racial phenotype. Pronto!" It's called being a human being. Try it.

    Yellow Fever. It's always a bit amusing to me when I'm walking down the street with my non-Asian friends who are suffering from the fever. They'll see an Asian chica who is a complete, unadulterated, down-home, Grade A, bomb sniffing, dawg (woof, woof) and my feverish friends will trip over themselves trying to get in her pants. I always ask them, "Dude, do you SEE her?" Of course whenever someone fetishizes a thing or a person they don't see the actual core or essence of the thing or person. What my friends are fixated on is the archetype/stereotype of Asian women. It's like those people who drive those cheap Pokemon sized Mercedes Benz. "Hey, at least I own a Benz!" It's harmless fun I say because if the girl is stupid enough after the first week to stay with him then she deserves it. "Chinese, Japanese, whatever, you Vietcong all look alike to me, just get that sweet asian butt over here!"

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  39. So, heart to heart? I am a Korean-American with an American citizenship. I am being approached by multiple white women from Ireland, Germany, England, and Australia. How much should I charge them for a green card? White guys, what's the going rate? Thanks for your input!

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  40. Hahahahahaha! Just change the perspective to a foreigner living in Korea and the Koreans being the ones saying and doing all the stupid shit, then you're on to something Mr. Korean. Seriously, I thought you made a few typos at first, then I realized you were actually targeting stupid white, hispanic, and black Americans. Hahahaha! This is too funny.

    Examples are in order:

    --When you meet an Asian person in America, listen to the person's English. If it's fluent, assume the person is American. Do not say "Oh, your English is so great!" unless you want a punch in the face.-- Can be changed to...

    When you meet a Western person in Korea, listen to the person's Korean. If it's not fluent, assume the person can't speak Korean well. Do not say "Oh, your Korean is so great!" when all the Westerner said was "안녕하세요" unless you want a punch in the face.--

    --Do not ask "Where are you from?" to an Asian person unless you are reasonably certain that s/he is outside of his/her American hometown. If the Asian answers, say, "Los Angeles", do not follow up with "where are you originally from?" or "where are your parents from?" Our precise ethnicity is none of your fucking business. Do we ever ask you whether you are from Dominican Republic, Ireland, or Ivory Coast?-- Changes to...

    When you ask "Where are you from?" to a Western person, be prepared to hear the same question asked back to you. We know your fucking Korean, so don't say "I'm from Korea." Say your from Busan, Daegu, Seoul... Got it?

    --Do not holler any Asian celebrity name at any Asian person. The Korean is 6'1", and plays basketball frequently. If the Korean hears one more "Yao Ming!" from one of you, he will shove a basketball up your ass.-- Changes to...

    Do not holler any Western celebrity name at any Western person. Westerners look the same to Koreans, but we are different. If this Westerner hears one more "Bruce Willis!" or "Brad Pitt" from one of you, he will shove a black market dvd up your ass.

    --Do not say "gonnichiwa" to an Asian person in America, unless you are absolutely positive that the Asian person is a Japanese tourist, or you are a host/hostess of a Japanese restaurant greeting an Asian customer. (Although if you are a host/hostess, the proper greeting would be iratsaimashe.) There are relatively few Japansese Americans in America compared to Chinese or Korean Americans, so you are most likely wrong; and if you had been reading the blog, Korean people really don't like being mistaken for a Japanese. Chinese people are not all that different either.-- Changes to...

    Do not say "hello" to a Western person in Korean, unless you are absolutely positive that the Western person is someone you know, or you are trying to get a date. There are relatively few Westerners in Korea who like random people to approach them for impromptu English practice, so you are most likely pissing them off.

    --On second thought, don't say any Asian phrase to any Asian person, unless you are at least conversational in the language. It's the 21st century, people. We are no longer impressed by your amazing ability to say "hello".-- Changes to...

    On second thought, don't say any English phrase to any Westerner, unless you are at least conversational in the language. It's the 21st century, people. We are no longer impressed by your amazing ability to say "hello".

    --As a corollary, especially don't say any Asian phrase to an Asian American woman in the hopes of hooking up. Your schemes are as transparent as they are idiotic.-- Changes to...

    As a corollary, especially don't say any Enlgish phrase to a Western woman in the hopes of hooking up. Your schemes are as transparent as they are idiotic.

    --While we are on the subject, although equal opportunity dating is to be encouraged, blatant yellow fever is disgusting. Nothing drives Asian women away faster than your submissive girl fetish. Plus, if you really think Asian women are domestic and submissive, you obviously haven't dated one.-- Changes to...

    While we are on the subject, although equal opportunity dating is to be encouraged, skinny Korean men dating obese white girls is disgusting. Nothing confuses white men more than your fat girl fetish. Plus, if you really think fat women are great, you obviously haven't considered why skinny white men don't date them.

    --Let's change the subject a bit. Stop patronizing expensive Asian restaurants with shitty food and fancy decoration. (Way too many of them in New York.) You are just as stupid as the Russian people who wait in line for hours to eat at McDonald's. Recognize which Asian food is rightfully fancy, and which one simply has a fancy name and a $30 price tag.-- Changes to...

    Let's change the subject a bit. Stop patronizing expensive Western restaurants with shitty food and fancy decoration. (Way too many of them in Seoul.) You are just as stupid as the Russian people who wait in line for hours to eat at McDonald's. Recognize which Western food is rightfully fancy, and which one simply has a fancy name and a 30,000 Won price tag.

    --Do not use chopsticks if you are going to make a fool of yourself and spray food all over the place. Use a fork. No one cares.-- Changes to...

    If you're all so good at using chopsticks, why do you wear bibs when you eat 삼겹살 or 닭갈비? Can't you eat without making a fool of yourself and spraying food all over the place?

    --On a broader topic, stop fetishizing Asian culture, like its movies and cartoons. Like everything else in the world, some Asian movies and cartoons are fantastic, and some are just plain shitty. As the Korean mentioned before, he cannot believe the number of people who liked Bicheonmu on imdb.com, which is generally considered the worst Korean movie of the decade, perhaps all-time, on the same level as Battlefield Earth.-- Changes to...

    On a broader topic, stop fetishizing Western culture, especially the English language. Do you really want your children and grandchildren to be speaking Konglish? Seriously, I saw an advertisement for cell phones with the Konglish word 컬러 (pronounced: color) instead of the Korean word 색 (pronounced: sek). Use your own damn words, or you may lose them.

    --However, stop copying excellent Asian movies/TV shows, replacing Asian actors with white actors, and sell them in America as if you came up with that brilliant idea. Martin Scorsese, the makers of The Ring, The Grudge, and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, the Korean is looking at your direction.-- Changes to...

    However, stop copying excellent Western music, replacing English lyrics with Korean ones, and sell them in Korea as if you came up with that brilliant idea. I'm looking at everyone.

    That was fun. I tried my best to mirror your thoughts and not simply say everything I could if I were to write an open letter to Korean people. I would have to write a book to that. The point is, as I read your letter, I thought nearly the same things about Koreans in Korea. Stupid people are everywhere...

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  41. Don't know why but I feel really stupid right now. My father was full Korean, my mother full German but I identified more with my father and have more Korean traits than German ones. Never learned Korean language because then family could not talk about us/me in front of us. Kamsamnida

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  42. I'm half-Korean (half-Yugoslavian), and though I actually don't look Korean, I look fully Asian, and it's annoying when some people I meet for the first time talk to me like I'm a baby, in broken English. It's also annoying when Korean friends of the family get surprised when I know Korean.

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  43. I agree with what you said about not asking Koreans if they are from North or South Korea. If I were from North Korea, I would either be brainwashed, starving, or dead―in North Korea. I think people ask this to show how up-to-date they are on geography or something, since most people didn't even know what Korea was when I was in elementary school and junior high.



    A few additions:

    (This applies to middle-school and high-school students) When classmates with an Asian, don't assume they are extremely smart and then compare your homework, test scores and quizzes with his/hers. In my experience, this often leads to excess whooping and boasting when you happen to score one more point on a test than the Asian, leading the Asian wanting to kick your ass or contemplate suicide.

    Don't bug us about hanging out, staying out late, or about how our parents are too strict. We know our parents are strict, and you don't know the first thing about why we can't back-talk our parents or blatantly ignore their commands/rules the way other cultures can.

    Don't think all Asians are geeks, or gangsters.

    Don't assume Asians are the smartest or best at everything. Although this is flattering, if we do even slightly worse than you in school, and you say, "Wow, but I thought all Asians were smart!" you will be jumped. Of course the majority of Asians in America are smart! The "stupid" or "lazy" ones all stay in Asia, what would they be doing in America? Also, it's because our parents are involved in every facet of life and studying and doing well is the number one priority. But if there are Asians around who just don't try that hard, this makes all Asians in the vicinity uncomfortable and hurts the person's feelings. It's not like we assume all non-Asians are stupid.

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  44. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA... OMFG. All so true! I get asked that "where are you from" question all the time!! mebe i should ask them where they're from - like really. actually i do. only fair right? freakin' hilarious! thanks! =)

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  45. I agree with you completely when you ask a non-Asian to not comment on an Asian person's English even though the Asian would've been speaking only English throughout his/her life. I'm of Indian origin and really don't understand why people keep telling me I speak very good English. Hello, like the majority of the population in India speaks excellent English and they're definitely better spellers than most people in the west. Look at the number of writers we have in the country, that should be proof enough!
    But you know, it's really weird because among Indians too, when one meets another in a different country, they always insist on asking "where are you originally from?".
    And yea, a foreigner will always say 'Namaste' (it means 'hello' in Hindi, an Indian language) and although it's not as infuriating as the rest of it, it's so presumptuous of them to assume that a person is Indian, I mean he/she could be any other southeast Asian from any one of the countries in the subcontinent - Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka etc. Just because we all have similar skin tone and features doesn't make everyone Indian or from any one of the other countries.
    And also the Indians living in northeastern India have features like the west Asians do and so they just presume they're from either China or Korea or any of the other countries.

    Also, the whole Bollywood phenomenon, it's really lame that they think Bollywood is all about songs and dances. I mean, there's more to Bollywood than just musicals, yea, there is music, but it doesn't mean that there are no serious films. There are actual films just like Hollywood, with a narrative, characters and some darn good movies if they would care to find out. The whole stereotype is crazy. They keep asking any Indian celebrity they interview about Bollywood about how they find the whole song and dance routine as if that were the only thing that defines Indian cinema.

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  47. I think this link would illustrate better what I was trying to say in my previous post, the myths about India, it's people, Hinduism, the turban, the bindi (if you don't know what I'm referring to, it's the "red dot on the forehead") etc.
    http://forums.civfanatics.com/archive/index.php/t-197521.html

    Gosh, the stereotypes are just endless. And the funniest one, that India is full of elephants, snakes and tigers. Haha, have you even been to India?!!!

    And also, the world has borrowed so much from India - Yoga, Curry, the concept of Karma (which people just throw around assuming they know exactly what it means) and the weirdest - Chai Tea which everyone thinks is an exotic drink. Come to India and say 'Chai Tea' to someone and it seems really lame because the literal translation of 'Chai' is 'Tea', so you would actually be saying 'Tea Tea', and in India tea is the most common drink apart from water, except in South India where coffee is the most commone beverage. And the chai tea that is really popular in the west is in fact tea spiced with cardamom or cloves and is consumed in every household in India.
    And I think this might be true of green tea as well, which is such a phenomenon these days, it's probably the most common drink in west Asian countries, or correct me if I'm wrong, at least most of them I guess.
    The worst part is that most people think India has one language when in fact each state in India (India has 28 states and 7 union territories) has its own language and cultural customs. So most people ask me "Do you speak Indian?" and I can't help but just say yea, it gets tiresome after a while explaining the whole story to everyone.

    Stereotypes are just ridiculous and so I can totally relate to your post, Korean. It just reminds of all the things I have encountered, it's all so familiar.

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  48. @Ed - I loved your mirror job on this post. These things should work vice versa as well.

    Personally, even though I found the entry intriguing and funny a few things bugged me like the north/south question. Seems to me like American Koreans all have terrible complexes about their roots and are prickly people to talk to.

    Which brings me to another point - the wide-pread phobia (since in there is no better word) of not being affluent in the english language make me angry. Even though I don't know the language of my fore-fathers I regret not studying it since it is a part of me; at the same time I am glad that I speak english since in I don't have this inferiority complex that some (especially korean) for not speaking english. It is true that koreans will lose their beautiful language if they don't stop covetting everything about america.

    Koreans also have the annoying habbit of thinking that english is only spoken right if it's spoken with what is their definition of the proper pronounciation - which is an american accent.

    I know knowing english is important to communicate with the majority of the world but that's not the reason with most koreans.

    Please don't get me started on the crappy insertion of english words into an other-wise solid korean song.

    You're korean. No matter how long you've lived in america you're still a korean. So find the beauty in it and move on.

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  49. Yumna,

    The Korean found at least 20 spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors in your short comment. Stick to speaking English, not writing it.

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  50. Very interesting blog. Though you may need help on the Japanese :P It's supposed to be "konnichiwa" and "irasshaimase"

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  51. Ari is being an idiot. I wouldn't be surprised if he can't tell the difference between an apple and a pear.

    This post gave me an orgasm by the way. I've had people say Gonichiwa to me so many times (with that funny little buddhist hand motion), and I've even been asked if they have TV in Korea. (when I answered "yes", they were dazzled and asked "colour tv?"). Also, some idiots should stop asking me if I'm North Korean.

    Funny thing - when I revealed that I'm South Korean, my white friend got mad at me for making nuclear bombs. Hopefully, he's got it figured out by now since he was in grade 6 when it happened.

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  52. Haha GREAT article, very funny. But as others have said, the reverse is true for Koreans talking to a non-Korean in Korea.

    Personally I don't mind the Koreans coming up to me and attempting to practice their English, I find it cute and funny in a way. Usually I respond with my broken Daegu-dialect Korean in an attempt to get some Hangulmal practice in. Made some really cool friends that way.

    As for "yellow fever", where there are at least two distinct types that I've run into being over here. First is the blatant "I love everything Asian" crap the young Americans have when they first get here, it tends to fade REALLY fast once they see what -real- Asia is about. The second is something I'm guilty of, and that is the feeling East Asians are beautiful as a culture and as a people. I won't date American women anymore (well Americanized white culture as an above poster put it) and will probably end up marrying a Korean at some point in time. So be careful with the term "yellow fever".

    And yeah, Korean food is awesome.. when I went home back in 2004 (visiting parents) I had a hard core craving for it after two weeks being at home. Do you know how HARD it is finding a decent Korean restaurant in western Louisiana?

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  53. Loved it! As for the North/South thing, I hate that question not because of the reasons you listed, but because my father's side was from the north and my mother's, from the south. But my dad's family fled from what was "northern Korea", because at the time, they weren't two separate countries.. it was simply "Korea".. granted it was all under Japanese rule, but whatever. My father never considered himself North Korean or South Korean, even though his family set up shop in Inchon.. he just considered himself Korean. He didn't want that divide because he still considered North Koreans to be part of his family.

    That's the answer I usually give to people who ask, and it usually shuts them up right away because they feel kind of stupid for asking. ^_^

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  54. "Plus, if you really think Asian women are domestic and submissive, you obviously haven't dated one."

    haha~ so true.

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  55. oh my god, so many times people have asked me if i'm north or south. gahhh! why are some people so ignorant.

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  56. I love one variation of this question that I hearn on the airport (somone else was asked, I am not Korean).

    - Are you from South Korea or.... (few long seconds of confusion) the other one?

    Priceless.

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  57. You should never tell someone their English is good unless you know for a fact that it's not their first language. For example, a good friend of mine is Korean, and she thinks her English is horrible. (It's not.) I tell her her English is really good. But if you meet someone and know nothing about them and tell them that, it's just rude. Some people genuinely don't know 9and mean well), but that would bother me if I were Asian so...those people should just stop saying that. Oh, and don't you hate when people either don't know North Korea exists, or don't know it's communist? I mean, hello! It's only all over the news!

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  58. Hilarious and scary accurate post. I am also an ABK.

    One of my friends once convinced me to go golfing with him in his home state of Alabama to prove the South is more tolerant.

    A Reese Witherspoon look-alike working the desk asked for my name at the first course. When I said, "Yang", she said, "Wow! That's easy to remember and it's not like Wang Fu or something!"

    I turned to my shocked friend, pointed to my watch and said, "Twenty minutes. I've been in your state twenty minutes."

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  59. Love this! You should also never ask or assume a Korean had some sort of plastic surgery (I also ready that post). I'm Chinese but a Korean lady once asked me if my nose was real. Hmm... lol you're post stirred up the memory.

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  60. "On a broader topic, stop fetishizing Western culture, especially the English language. Do you really want your children and grandchildren to be speaking Konglish? Seriously, I saw an advertisement for cell phones with the Konglish word 컬러 (pronounced: color) instead of the Korean word 색 (pronounced: sek). Use your own damn words, or you may lose them."

    I hope Koreans take this one seriously. I was watching a K-drama and they used the following English words which I KNOW have a Korean version: test, stress, privacy, fighting, playboy. I have no problem with Koreans using English word for objects or concepts which have no Korean equivalent, like computer but using English words for concepts which Koreans certainly understand is sad, quite frankly.

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  61. When I started teaching in a very multicultural school the first thing my students asked me is 'What's your Nasho?' Cute. Means 'What's your Nationality?'

    As a White girl from a very White area of Australia, I had a great deal of trouble answering. I didn't want to answer 'Australian' because while most of the students had close family or were born in Lebanon or Vietnam or Samoa, I would have still considered them Australian.

    So I answered 'One of My Great Grandparents was born in England, One of my Great Great Grandparents was from Hollend. Most of my family I know about was born in Australia.'

    One of the students solved my problem for me.

    'So you're a Skip Miss.'

    Short for Skippy the Bush Kangaroo.

    I guess I shouldn't take it all quite so seriously.

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  62. Oh, this is such a "Pot calling the kettle black" situation. I am tempted to print this whole thing out and use it in my advanced class.

    So, I've been living and teaching in Korea for 7+years. Here are my favorites, in no particular order, but that happen on a daily basis. (Keep in mind, I have lived in the same apartment, in the same small village, working at the same foreign language high school, in Jeollanam-do for SEVEN PLUSS YEARS.)

    Yesterday: At the Nong-hyup ATM-- two college-looking young men at the ATM next to mine: "Hello" Big, smug smile on his face. "Hi" I reply back (there were others watching, otherwise I would have simply ignored the stupid snot). They grab each other, laughing hysterically, in what appeared to be a very intimate embrace, except for the laughter, of course. The other half-dozen people around the 6 ATMs smile approvingly.

    At the hospital, still yesterday: While waiting to see the doctor a group of around 6 high-elementary age kids come over, stand directly in front of me, less than 5 feet away, begin pointing and giggling then break into laughter. 3 teachers, I know because I heard them called "teacher" in Korean, watched and encouraged the children to say "Hi" to the "foreigner."

    After visit to the hospital: At the only decent grocery store in Yeongsan-po: Three different times local ajjummas begin picking stuff up from inside my shopping cart and inspecting it as though they want to "Know" what the "foreigner" buys/eats/??. All the while, various groups of middle school girls, middle school girls are the WORST, follow me around, literally shouting "Hellllloooooo" at my back. Then giggling... must have the giggling..... After 4 or 5 times with no answer, one group switches from "Helllllooooo" to "Heyyyy! Looooook at Meeeeeee" Nice, eh? Insert heavy sigh here.

    And THAT was just YESTERDAY. So, please excuse me if YOU are ANNOYED by obnoxious questions by random passersby. Welcome to my world......

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  63. To white folk in Korea who are boo-hooing about allegedly mirror treatment when they are in Korea:

    These are completely different situations.

    The corollary to your white experience in Korea would be a Korean tourist or student visiting the U.S. for a bit and being made fun of because of his/her heavily accented speech patterns and decidedly Korean mannerisms.

    The Korean is making reference to situations where Korean-Americans have made a LIFE here in the United States and the underlying pain experienced (despite the humorous tone of this article) when so called "Americans" (white, black, or latino) marginalize us by asking these questions. We never feel part of the country, always a foreigner.

    Take my situation--I was 5 years old when I arrived in Kansas with my family. I've gone to elementary school, junior high school, high school, college (majored in English Literature -- ah the irony), and law school here in America. In that time I was a cub scout, a boy scout, ran track, wrestled, played on my high school football team, drove a piece of crap 1970 Plymouth Roadrunner as my first car, went to prom and lost my virginity, traveled the country, camped in Colorado, hiked Grand Canyon, been arrested for drunken & disorderly conduct a couple of times, served in the Air Force, got into bar fights, was the best man at a wedding, had my heart broken, drank too much at football tailgates, etc., etc., etc. I've had the quintessential American experience with some kimchee and bulgogi thrown in.

    While I'm quite proud of my Korean heritage, I'm also American through and through, not because of any indoctrination, but simply because I have lived as American a life as you can imagine in the great Midwest.

    While you may think the questions are innocent ("North or South Korea", "Are you Chinese", "You speak English so well"), it brings home the truth that no matter what, you will always be a foreigner and always standing in the margins. "Where are you from" can more accurately be described as Kansas for me and who I am can be described by my friends, family, travels and experiences. My experience is so far removed from some of these questions that these situations become opportunities to learn something about the person asking: that they are uneducated, that they may have led insulated lives, that they've never traveled, that they may possibly be a tiny bit racist, that they see me as an FOB ("Fresh Off the Boat" - bitch I'm wearing me some Dockers!), that they can't get past the way my face looks.

    So to say the experience of a white person visiting Korea is even remotely similar is just patently absurd.

    Just take The Korean's article for what it is, a humorous observation piece and nothing more. No political statement is being made here, no clarion call to arms is being shouted from the rooftops.

    But upon further reflection, perhaps this exchange should happen more: "Your people are from Scotland? Gosh you speak English without an accent at all! Listen buddy, I have to commend you people on that whole McDonald's thing. Freaking unbelieveably good. So what exactly is in that special sauce? Can you ask your grandma? She's home making Big Macs and Chicken McNuggets, right?"

    Or this from a white person to a black person in the US: "Shaquille O'Neal? So where in Africa is that from? Are you of the famous O'Neal tribe of Zimbabwe or what? I learned a little Swahili, can I try it on you? Have you ever killed a lion?"

    White folks, just look at it from that perspective and see how off-color your questions and comments are. And let us just have our little piece of the internet to laugh a bit about it. The whole "I'm white and I'm oppressed" bit doesn't go over very well. Sheesh.

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  64. Very well written and you made me laugh/smile! Thanks!

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  65. Your advice in this post is good, if it's geared towards people who are unworldly and mentally retarded.

    Also, where did you go where people were so stupid? I live in the Seattle area and we have so many Asian Americans here that nobody would dream to be so unintelligent as to ask an Asian-looking person that they saw where they were from or tell them their English is good. Asians are by far the biggest minority here. Did you go to the deep south or something?

    To kimchiguy, why do you bother ordering your food in Korean when you're at Korean restaurants in the first place? It's like you're just trying to show off that you speak Korean. I speak fluent French and some German and I would never order in French when I'm at a French restaurant in America because it's kind of... lame. No offense, but you have to admit there is really no point in you ordering in Korea other than a.) Trying to impress or b.) Practicing your Korea but if it's the latter, and you're familiar with east-asian culture, you should know that Koreans and Japanese people in their respective countries typically are weirded out by white people speaking their languages.

    Also, why do you (The Korean) refer to yourself in third person instead of using pronouns? Makes you come across as a little bit full of yourself as if you're Confucius himself.

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    1. Only 5% of Americans are of Asian background/ancestry. So, while there might be a lot of Asian Americans in Seattle, it's quite different in pretty much the entire rest of the USA. No need to go to the deep south.

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  66. If people walk up to you and yell '안녕" at the back of your head and scream and run away, get back to us. There is no mockery implicit in the encounters you describe whereas in mono ethnic 민족 Korea foreign in considered humorous and worthy of derision. Whether this is borne of inferiority (most likely) or embarrassment (the standard Korean excuse, also see: 'shy') is immaterial.

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  67. lived here ten years married to a Korean, with two kids going through the education system with plans to live several years more. I've worked at some of the most prestigious schools in Korea, contributing to the development of the country in a positive manner. I've studied Korean at a major university in Korea. In that time I've joined several groups including the parents' group of my kids kindergarten and a hiking club, driven a piece of crap 1996 Daewoo Cielo as my first car, deflowered a couple of virgins, traveled the country, camped in Soraksan, hiked Odaesan and Halla San, never been arrested for anything, was the best man at a wedding, had my heart broken, drank too much soju, makoli at times etc., etc., etc. I've had the quintessential Korean experience with some Subway and Outback thrown in.

    While I'm quite proud of my Canadian heritage, I'm also invested through and through in Korea, not because of any indoctrination, but simply because I have lived as Korean a life as you can imagine in the great Gangwondo.

    While you may think the questions are innocent ("American person!", "You speak Korean so well", "You like Kimchi?" What you think Korean girl?" "You know Dokdo?" "You like spicy food?" "You use chopstick??"), it brings home the truth that no matter what, I will always be a foreigner and always standing in the margins. My experience is so far removed from some of these questions that these situations become opportunities to learn something about the person asking: that they are uneducated, that they may have led insulated lives, that they've never traveled, that they may possibly be a tiny bit racist, that they see me as an FOB ("Fresh Off the Boat" - bitch I'm wearing me a Hanbok!), that they can't get past the way my face looks.

    So to say the experience of an Asian person living in the West is even remotely similar is just patently absurd. They have rights and freedoms I can only dream of. Me, I'll always be an English teacher and thought of as one. Suck it.

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  68. Mark,

    Also, where did you go where people were so stupid? I live in the Seattle area and we have so many Asian Americans here that nobody would dream to be so unintelligent as to ask an Asian-looking person that they saw where they were from or tell them their English is good.

    New York. Think of it this way -- it only takes 100,000 idiots out of the 8 million people city to annoy the hell out of Asian Americans, since we are few in number and get the same treatment over and over again.

    Binko,

    If people walk up to you and yell '안녕" at the back of your head and scream and run away, get back to us.

    Trust the Korean -- that happened so many times he cannot even count. And "gonichiwa" and "ni hao" too.

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  69. To be sure, the point of this post is not about having a "who suffers more" pissing contest. It is about being annoyed at people's ignorance. And the Korean is certain that expats in Korea are annoyed by the same token.

    There is something to be said about the pangs of being a perpetual foreigner that english_is_my_second_language describe. Certainly the types of annoyances described in the post add to that feeling. But again, the post is not a manifesto that we suffer more than others somehow.

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  70. Steroidmaximus: I could not agree with you more.

    "Hi! Hi! Hello moto!"

    "Nice to meet you!"
    "I met you 3 months ago jun seo."
    "My name is jun seo."

    "Do you like kimchi? Do you like korean food?"

    No lie, "You can use chopsticks well! You are genius!"

    I put up with this and much more everyday, as well as older Koreans blatantly yelling at the "waegookin" to GTFO, or just constantly staring.

    english_is_my_second_language: Do NOT say we don't "have it as bad as Koreans living in America." Bullshit. Some people treat us like exhibits at a fair; regardless, there are more respectful and nicer Koreans, just as there are more respectful and nicer Americans; the difference is, Korea is a homogenous society, whereas America is a melting pot. Understand?

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  71. Again, this point is not about having a pissing contest. If the following wasn't clear from the previous sentence, the Korean will make it clear:

    SHUT THE FUCK UP ABOUT WHO SUFFERS MORE. There are plenty of other places on the Internet to do that.

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  72. Fair enough; how about we just go with this: There are ignorant people everywhere that will say ignorant things.

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  73. Also, if you are an expat who must vent on how you suffer in Korea as Korean Americans are in the U.S., check out the post that is immediately following this one -- one of your brethren already addressed most of your concerns.

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  74. I have been to North Korea once so I have a fair idea of how they differ from South Koreans in terms of appearance (darker skin,more formal dressing and a host of other things).

    Just thought The Korean might want to know that some North Koreans are sent over to China to pursue their education. It's an opportunity the government gives to some of their bright students. They do of course have to come back home on holidays and when they're done with their education. Also, I distinctly remember seeing some North Korean expatriates having brunch at a hotel in China. They also have to report back home and for some reason, all the North Koreans I saw at Pyongyang airport had duty-free bags. No idea if that's supposed to be them showing off that they've been across the border.

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  75. I am constantly asked if I am North or South Korean. I would like to point out that that question in particular is idiotic. The answer is not important, what they really would like to know is if you are a communist.

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  76. I really agree with your points, and I would also have to say that those rules apply to getting along with any ethnic groups. I'm hispanic and I speak fluent english and spanish, but I hated when a non hispanic comes to me speaking horrible spanish. Is like they just want to humiliate me.

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  77. Great comments! As a white person who has adopted two Chinese children it drives me crazy when people tell me who good their English is. One was 10 months old and one 2 years old at time of adoption. These are people who know this mind you, friends and family. Oh the ignorance! And just plain rudeness.

    I also hate when strangers ask if they are 'real' sisters. Well, yes, they ARE real sisters, but not biologically related. And frankly, it is NONE of your damn business. Especially since asking in front of my kids like they are some sort of prop is hurtful to them and me.

    Thanks for the insight! And for letting me vent. Kim

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  78. However, stop copying excellent Asian movies/TV shows, replacing Asian actors with white actors, and sell them in America as if you came up with that brilliant idea. Martin Scorsese, the makers of The Ring, The Grudge, and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, the Korean is looking at your direction.

    YES, PLEASE! XD I'm a Jamaican and this irks the blern dawg out of me!

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  79. In reference to the post by ENGLISH IS MY SECOND LANGUAGE. I understand what you're saying. Understand, though, that there are some Americans who choose to live abroad and make their life in another country (for the rest of their lives) and they ARE treated the same way that you talk about being treated. Always looked at differently and always sortof on the outskirts looking in (not the same as everybody else). I've lived in different countries so I know what I'm talking about. Americans are usually treated well (but not always) and even if they are respected simply and only because they are "American", it is not always what is wanted. They just want to be "one of the crowd" and accepted the same as others. I imagine if an American made Korea their home and settled there that even after 20-30 years, they could still be stopped and stared at and asked where they are from and how old they are and people practicing "English" on them, etc... I think we all have to just accept that people are not trying to be mean. They are just curious and don't know how they are making the other person feel. I love different cultures and people groups and even though I'm educated and have travelled and lived many places, I have probably put my foot in my mouth and said or asked something to someone that I should not have. I was born in Newport Beach, California, but grew up in Illinois (my grandparents came over from Norway) and I am proud of that. Too bad that so many immigrants years ago did not teach their children the language and culture of where they were from. This post is too long (sorry). Let's say that my parents decided to live in Korea and I was born there and lived there my whole life. You can probably bet that the people there would still think I was a foreigner (except where I grew up and where people knew me and my family). People do say the dumbest things sometimes and I completely understand what you and others and AAK have said. We should stop and think before we blurt something out. Always try and put ourselves in the other person's shoes.

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  80. the departed was good i guess. but infernal affairs was better. well some chinese ppl like chinese jajangmyun, though its not high end by any means. anyways, funny post! gg!

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  81. I agree with the point made by EnglishIsMySecondLanguage viz that you can't compare the irritation suffered by expats living in Asia with the hurt felt by Asian Americans born and bred in the US. While the dumb comments mirror each other in their dumbness, to make a proper comparison we'd have to look at people of non-Korean ethnicity born and raised in Korea, and see how they feel about the gosh-your-korean-is-good-where-are-you-from type of comment.

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  82. A-MEN!

    I can't understand why some people can't understand the difference between an Asian-American and an Asian.

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  83. Hi,my name is Solace.Introductions out of the way here's what I have to say.Did someone seriously ask you "North or South?", my god what rock did they crawl out from under; I'm 14 years old and I know better than to go up to a Korean and say that, frankly I'm appalled at the thought of it.Did you threaten violence?I would've. Besides that,I also know better than to go up to someone and say "Your English is very good" plus I would rather learn their language; it makes me a more rounded person.I would talk in third-person but I'm not quite in the mood today.

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  84. This blog is very funny! I love it, it is very true with SOME people. I think that people are taking things a bit too seriously here. Honestly, there are many different people in this world each individual is different, and just because some people had a few things said to them by KIDS or some old people who are still in touch with their past tradition everyone on here started making a big deal out of it. Seriously this blog was to show how SOME people can be, not how the whole country can be! Lol Also each and every country faces wars, stereotypes, discrimination, etc. You name it each country has it, it's a very simple concept.

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  85. I love this...I think this type of list would apply to any ethnicity though. As an African American woman, I get asked questions that make me wonder if people really realize how unintentionally offensive they can be at times...AAK, you inspired me to write my own blog post about it!

    http://bigapplestyleworld.blogspot.com/2010/07/funny-commentary-on-great-post-from-ask.html

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  86. Thanks for sharing. Question about the speaking - I'm definitely not conversational yet but I do know how to order 2 beers and a few other things - would you look down on my attempt to use Korean in a Korean restaurant? Just curious. Thanks for your thoughts - great blog!

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  87. Steroidmaximus you are soooo cool. How dare these Koreans. They've got Jesus f'ing Christ living on the peninsula and they don't even realize it. Poor you.

    One would think that you having experienced the near very same thing as The Korean you would have some empathy for his and/or the minority experience. But like the lame ass American(Canadian=American + a few degrees north) that you are you have to invalidate his experience, trump them with your own, then scream that yours is more valid. What an attention deprived, whiny, sack of shit you are. Thanks for your input.

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  88. Justmega,

    Personal attacks are not permitted. Don't do it again.

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  89. I totally agree with the Korean. Nothing annoys me more than a non-Asian saying ‘Hello’ to me in either ‘Chinese’, ‘Korean’ or ‘Japanese’ depending on where I was or in what situation I was at the time. I’m from South East Asia although my grandmothers are both Chinese; so I do look more (Far) East Asian.
    I’ve even had people asking me where I did my eyes and nose – in reference to Koreans and plastic surgery (they’re natural idiot!). Was in Vancouver, Canada a few months back and again people ask me if I’m Chinese, Korean or Japanese. Went shopping at a high end store and asked one of the ‘white’ store lady if they have the latest model and I was immediately directed to her colleague (Asian) who nicely spoke Japanese to me. Like, ‘Hello!, don’t understand Japanese here!’.
    Another thing that annoys me is that when non-Asians (especially from the Americas; that’s North and South included – I have been travelling quite a bit there) think that people from Asia (East) have 3 names (i.e. Family name, 1st name-2nd name – they’d never thought that Japanese have 2 names). Since we’ve not been using our Chinese family name we’ve adopted a localized family name ‘Omar’. Happened in Vancouver again when I took up a local tour. We were supposed to wait at the hotel lobby, so the tour guide called my name several times and I of course replied, but each time he ignored me. Finally, I screamed on top of my lungs and said ‘that’s me!’ (well, exaggerating here a bit)! He was surprised that I don’t look at all Spanish!! Sigh….
    My years of studying in Europe have been both amazing and tormenting at times. Just because I’m an Asian woman, doesn’t mean that I will fall for a ‘white’ dude or is looking for a ‘white’ to go out with. I’m fine with Asian men any day, thank you very much (albeit brought up westernized – not so traditional myself).
    BTW, yes, I’ve had comments from non-Asians complementing my English and were rather confused that I do not speak Chinese (I only spent 2 years at a Chinese school and that was in kindergarten. My elementary education was at an English Catholic Girls school run by Nuns! – memories of which I wish not to recall). On the other hand, some would speak really slowly in case I don’t understand. Unless you’re Welsh or from Liverpool, you don’t have to speak to me as though I’m from another planet.

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  90. Haha. I love it. I also love how Koreans from Korea say, "Wow you're an American woman, but you're not fat!" (I heard that one three times, maybe.) My, Korean, roommate told me once, "Your face is so small." It was meant as a compliment but it sounded really funny. I had to leave the room I was laughing so hard. You know, some things Americans/people from around the world are meant as compliments, or are said kind of obliviously. Everything has to be taken with a grain of salt. This blog post was written in all in fun. I just started reading your blog, and I think it's neat.

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  91. A few months ago I had a customer ask to speak to a manager because she wanted to speak to "someone who has a better grasp of the english language". I am an American who happens to be of Korean, Irish, and Scottish decent. The only language I speak (at least fluently) is English! I also had someone ask "If your dad is white and your mom is yellow why are you so brown?" My response was "If you stay out in the sun for an extended amount of time sometimes your skin gets darker - also known as tanning! Sometimes people are just special.(sigh)

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  92. Regarding the North/South question, I feel like I hadn't gotten it in about 20 years but it's come back to me halfway around the world.

    I'm a Korean American who grew up in the DC suburbs. I'm currently living and working in Kyrgyzstan where the people look Korean and speak Russian. I was getting annoyed by all the locals who kept asking me if I was from North or South Korea until I realized I was probably the first Korean they've met who wasn't from North Korea.

    Also, if you're in Phnom Penh, they have a Korean restuarant there called Pyongyang staffed by North Koreans.

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  93. I get that "where are you from" question all the time from other ASIANS! Asians are more tribal than most. Non Asians just assume I'm Chinese or to less extent Japanese which frustrates me!

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  94. Thank you for all that list, here in Peru we are all called Chinese, it doesn't matter if you have korean/chinese/japanese/thai/etc background we are all called Chinese... and that's stupid

    And I hate when people say: "Can you say something in [insert Asian language]??", why do people take for granted you know it? and anyways they will not understand.

    Btw... here there are tons of Korean wannabes

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  95. hahaha this is brilliant yet sad. I hope we can get past this type of social stereotyping. I get it all the time and I agree it gets so old, especially when hardly anyone can guess my actual racial background.

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  96. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  97. @Terri, you are a dumbass.

    @Kim Kelley-Wagner, Yaaay! I'm glad you got to vent.

    @Annie, you missed the point.

    @Carolyn, I love: "Wow you're an American woman, but you're not fat!" Rofl.

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  98. Thanks for posting this :). I'm an Australian and I get asked all these questions here too. I often feel hurt and insulted when people do this to me. Now that I am older I can recognise that the people who do ask me these questions are all pretty stupid (I'm not joking). None of my friends would ever act this way. In fact they would be pretty confounded if they saw someone doing it.

    I liken this behaviour to the same stupidness that people who tell overweight people in the supermarket that they shouldn't be eating what's in their trolley (true story, a friend of mine has complete strangers tell her their unsolicited opinions on what diets she should be on to just how lazy she must be).

    This is the first time I've ever seen something like this in writing. Thank you, it has made me feel a bit better about the whole thing, especially knowing that others (including some other commentors) experience this also and have the same reaction as me.

    When I first started receiving questions etc from people as a little girl it would confuse me, and made me feel like an outsider in my own home, Australia (I guess especially hurtful as I was adopted and brought here as a baby and my parents are both white, so I have my own identity issues to deal with let alone proving it to others). And because most of the people weren't meaning to be malicious (just a bit thoughtless and later I realised mainly stupid), I was confused at how I should feel about it. It was pretty upsetting.

    I think it's so upsetting partly because it is quite intrusive; the questions are very personal and I'd never assume the liberty to ask another stranger the same questions. And another reason is that they come from the presumption that you aren't Australian/American or whatever. They question your place there. Or with the phrase konnichiwa, they don't even question.

    Thanks again. I've kind of gone on a bit :s. It was kind of funny too :P.

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  99. So what would one prefer? That we just be arrogant don't learn anything about the people, language or culture? This goes both ways though doesn't it? I have had plenty of instances where people are annoyed at the fact you didn't at least make the attempt to learn. True is it not? Even if it was clear my Korean ability was far better then their English lol. I usually just act like I don't understand English but I hate using these methods. Not to mention I usually get the same treatment if not worse when speaking English. So damned if you do and double dammed if you don't. :( If a Korean was trying to speak English here I wouldn't say "Don't speak English, Speak Korean" now would I! It just seems to faced is all and a double standard.I learned Korean partly because that is what I grew up around.

    The other is the ability to broaden ones own knowledge beyond their capability & experience. To allow for more opportunities & better ones education. Is this really so hard to envision? I can certainly attest to much of what has been said here. Although in retrospect the assumption that English being the international language? Well for one English is a bit overrated & native speakers ability to speak English doesn't mean much by itself. Although one's ability to speak English with whatever other language/s you happen to possess does. I wouldn't have anywhere the opportunities I have now if it weren't for my Korean, Native American ability. The same applies to Koreans only speaking their language doesn't really mean anything either. Although their ability to speak Korean with a command of English or whatever other language does. This is the best way I can think of why this may be the case.

    Sure your ability to speak one's language well might help in some situations but mostly has no relevance. Although just having a language ability to put on a resume showing your level of education will benefit you more then not. I have a friend that grew up in Osaka and is completely fluent in Japanese. People are shocked at his perfect accent & language ability lol. People wonder how did you get so good. What is funny though is that his English is worse then his Japanese but people still insist on speaking English. I kinda feel sorry for him in a way. What about foreigners that grew up in Korea where Korean was their first language. How insulting would it be for someone to tell them to speak English when it wasn't their first language! Don't assume that all non-Asians are completely ignorant of the people, language and culture. Wow I can use chopsticks.

    I also can cook many Korean & Native American dishes amazing lol. Part of the fact is I damn near grew up on chopsticks might explain part now doesn't it. Add to the fact I grew up around mostly Native American, Asian population. Most of my friends were Native American & Asian as well. So the fact I take interest in it might explain a bit doesn't it. I would be interested in the Koreans take on this. If people were truly meant to never coexist together then what the hell is the point in this world!! Language & culture to me is life and I can't imagine living without it. Maybe people who have never been exposed to this can't understand that philosophy. Although don't assume either that we just have some fetish which I certainly do not. This is just what fate has brought me.

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  100. Wow, some of this is just common sense. You know?

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  101. First time I've commented on a blog. White american female in relationship with korean american husband for 17 years. He grew up in Korea and still retains a Korean accent. These issues are very interesting to me because of things he deals with. It's interesting that there are new comments being posted to this blog entry going on 4 years after it was initially written. Is this common for blogs?

    I grew up in a predominantly white town in southern California. Did not learn much about Asian stereotypes until moving to San Francisco as an adult. In San Francisco, was the only female working with males of many different cultural backgrounds who teased each other with stereotypes and educated me about said stereotypes. Told me things like, "Joe is cheap because he's Chinese." I'd say, "I didn't know Chinese tended to be cheap." And they'd affirm that yes, that is the case. These were a very gentlemanly group of men, and their use of stereotypes was in a friendly, teasing manner- yet they truly did believe a lot of them. They were very kind to me(much better than other places I'd worked)so I felt comfortable sharing relationship issues. I'd share characteristics about my husband that were difficult for me, and I'd be told that's how Korean men are, for the most part. Took me completely by surprise- I thought those characteristics were unique to him and being told they were common to Korean males did not let him off the hook.

    Final observation to this very long comment entry. Previous to moving to San Francisco, our relationship had been carried out only in predominantly white areas, where I was in the majority and was sympathetic to his struggles as an immigrant and minority. I blended in to our surroundings and he stood out. I remember being at a Chinese restaurant in Scottsdale AZ, and a waiter telling him he looked like Jackie Chan. I was very offended, though I didn't tell the waiter, because I think he is much cuter than Jackie Chan. Anyway, once we moved to a predominantly asian area of San Francisco, I had the experience of being a minority for the first time in my life, and now I stood out. This verbose comment I'm leaving belies the fact that my whole life, until that time, I'd always been told I was too quiet, needed to talk more, etc. All of a sudden, I was getting scolded for being too loud in restaurants. It was strange, I tell you. I was the same person, but the background had changed, and I looked different against this different background. My husband didn't realize it was the background that had changed. He thought it was me. He was used to going from one background to the other, and he melded so fluidly into this background, he didn't recognize it was because of the change in background- I just seemed different to him. After being in this background for awhile, I melded in as well, and now can go back and forth with the same fluidity, I believe. At least, no one complains about my behavior in restaurants anymore.

    Interested if anyone has had similar experiences.

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  102. @sunnybrook thanks for leaving that comment. It was a very enjoyable read and great insight :)

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  103. Thanks Lisa. A couple things I forgot to mention. At the Chinese restaurant in Scottsdale, the entire wait staff was white. So it was a white waiter who told my husband he looked like Jackie Chan. Actually, the waiter was very nice, and seemed excited to be serving someone who looked like Jackie Chan, even though he wasn't Jackie Chan. That was weird to me, and again- I don't think my husband looks like Jackie Chan! Other thing I forgot to mention, when we went to family style Chinese restaurants in San Francisco, there were no complaints about my behavior. There were large families being louder than me, so it wasn't an issue, as there was no way for me to stick out. To this day, I love family style Chinese restaurants for their energy and friendly feeling.

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  104. I've never done any of these things, but I can definitely say that they get done to me here in South Korea. I'm African American and if someone touches my hair one more time without asking I'm going to go crazy - and no, I don't like rap! LOL

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  105. Hahahaha, this blog and its comments always makes me laugh. XD

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  106. I agree wholeheartedly with a lot of the points you mention in this post. I mean, I don't live in the States, rather I'm an Asian living in Spain, and sometimes I just want to punch some of these Spanish people. It's amazing the number of times I've heard people say "Ni hao" to me and try to ask in terrible English "Vere are choo from?". (This doesn't apply to all Spanish by the way... just the ones that I've run into.)

    And as a side note, there was this one question on Yahoo that I read just yesterday asking why Koreans didn't like it when Westerners post videos of them dancing to K-pop songs or doing other such things. Many replied that they didn't like that Westerner persons fetish with Asians and their idolization of Asian culture. (That and they don't like Westerners being racist). It just came to mind after reading this post~. Mind you, I'm just stating what they put.

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  107. Westerners and their idolization of Asian Culture lol. I don't see where having interest in another language or culture be it music or otherwise is a fetish or that I am idolizing anyone. You know we can say the same damn thing of Asians to now can't we. I get so tired of this elitist attitude coming from all sides. Whites are to good for Asians. Asians are to go for Whites. Blacks are to good for Asians. Whites are to good for Blacks etc. People are just born to be different and accept that. Well with that attitude then I wish the world would end as what's the point. Just because you have someone that digs Kpop doesn't mean they are clueless. Is it not Ok for me to idolize someone like Rino Nakasone which is like my freaking Idol. It is not because she is Asian but because she is one hell of a dancer. Just like someone be inspirited by someone like Boa, 2NE1, Utada, Kaba Modern or anyone else.

    It is about being inspired by someone else regardless of race, ethnicity or origin. I can understand Melissa and her frustration with people saying Ni Hao. Just as assume all non Asians speak English which is not always the case either. I wouldn't call that being raciest but ignorant. There are a plethora of reasons one might show interest in something or someone else. Not all of which everyone is going to accept or even fully understand. To somewhat answer the question about why Koreans dislike Westerners posing videos of K-Pop songs is simply because they want them for themselves and don't want to share. Many Korean friends have told me that even though they admit it is wrong. When Boa released her English Album many Korean Fans were upset and thought she went to the dark side. Even though this had been a long established dream of hers. Does it mean she has a fetish? I feel one cannot learn about oneself without first learning about others. Otherwise this thing we call humanity would have been a complete waste of time.

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  108. I had to stop and let the giggle fit and the tears subside before I could continue past the 'We are no longer impressed with your amazing ability to say Hello' part. You made my night.

    Most assuredly sharing this.

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  109. I would also like to add: Don't say any Asian phrase to any Asian person (or ask them to translate) until you know if THEY know the language. I'm a Korean adoptee and don't know much more than a handful of vocabulary words in any other language other than English. You'll have a more thorough conversation with Google translate than me!
    The only way I know you're greeting me and asking if you can sit in the chair next me when you speak in Chinese (or any language for that matter) is when you point to the chair.

    ---

    And yes, I totally agree with the Korean's addition of being asked North or South. Every time I hear that question, I lose all respect for the asker.

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  110. This is hilarious except, none of this stuff has ever happened.

    People asking for chopsticks in Thai restaurants? Really? This is a big problem?

    American versions of Japanese movies like Ringu? Really? You seriously think this is an issue?

    Sounds you basically don't want ANY foreigners to consume Korean food/culture. Fucking brilliant. Wow, it's like a blog post from the 1920's!

    Lastly, I find it HILARIOUSLY ironic that you basically don't people to lump all 'Asians' together in a group, except THATS WHAT YOU DID. Instead of talking about Korean culture (eg. the point of this blog), you're all over the map...basically going to battle for every Asian country there is... so Instead of representing a country with about 50 million people, you want to represent... what.. 2.5 billion people? So all Asians cultures are unique and interesting, or.... pretty much the same.

    What was that famous Korean movie that is getting copied left right and centre? What was that famous Korean pop song that keeps getting ripped off.

    Oh right. That never happened.

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  111. I really want to understand here, and not ask what you would consider a stupid question. Is it ever okay to ask what the nationality is? I truly am interested in Korean culture, language etc. How would I approach the subject (or should I...) if it's truly only from the perspective of understanding the culture, etc?

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  112. Now I know why those two Korean girls looked at me as if I said extremely stupid or offensive after I yelled 안녕하세요! Should have found this blog earlier.

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  113. I'm half Korean, half Caucasian, but I've lived in North America all of my life. The most irritating thing is when someone walks up to you and starts yelling slowly at you.

    "HHHHHEEEEELLLLOOOO. HHHOOWWW AAAREEE YYYYOOOUUU????"

    I am neither deaf nor stupid, so I don't see how this seems appropriate.

    Additionally, I need to mention while I did laugh at this post and absolutely related, I'm not usually offended by this type of ignorance. People generally just don't know any better. . . . which I guess makes this pretty useful. :)

    ReplyDelete
  114. People always assuming an Asian is Chinese. I'm asian, but thet doesn't mean I'm chinese. Even if i told people what ethnicity I am, they will 99.999999% have never heard of it. It also pisses me the fuck off and when people try to imitate chinese, but sound like total idiots. How do I know they are trying to speak Chinese? because I know they are freaking ignorant.

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  115. My Russian roommate always got "Welcome to America", even though she's lived there since she was four (she's in her twenties now). Good intentions...just really badly played, askers. Oy.

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  116. Good grief Charlie Brown! Lighten up! Surely you can distinguish mockery from honest interest? Anyone who attempts to understand, practice a language other than their own, or appreciate another culture is to be commended. Honest questions may be annoying and insensitive, but have the good grace to overlook that because of their non-malevolence. Mockery, on the other hand, is just cruel.

    ReplyDelete

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