As a Singaporean-born Asian, I am here to represent all my fellow Asians in telling you the 10 things NOT to say to us.
Considering how much globalization is such an essential part of the economy, it’s depressing to see how much people still stereotype. After living in the UK for 2 years, I have encountered many comments that made me want to go, “just stop talking.” I’m not saying that these are particularly racist comments, but they are insensitive comments that can be avoided with just a little lesson of the world. So here are the basic 10 comments you should stop saying to an Asian.
1. “Your english is so good!”
First of all, was it supposed to be bad? Just because I’m Asian, it doesn’t mean that I did not have an education. And believe it or not, English is my native tongue. Trust me, you do not want to trust me with Mandarin translation.
Also, in case you haven’t noticed, English is such a dominant language in the world that it has been the common language in which the world communicates with each other. And second of all, Singapore was colonized by the Brits for years. The least you could do was leave us a good command of language.
2. “Is that actually your real name?”
Yes, my parents picked it out for me. And yes, it’s on my birth certificate.
Why won’t you believe me? Should I actually believe that “Mercedes” is actually your name? What do you mean I don’t look like a “Faith”? What are Faith’s supposed to look like?
3. “You’re so pretty for an Asian”
Is this a compliment or an insult because I can’t tell.
Are Asians not pretty in general? The thing I’ve noticed most of the time when I’m being complimented (or not really), is that I’m “pretty” because I have some non-Asian features, like freckles. Why can’t we not pull race into the standards of beauty? Why can’t I just be “you’re so pretty”?
I’m sorry that Asians can’t be attractive in your book because we don’t have white features, but in my opinion, I think we are pretty damned HOT.
4. “Nihao” “Konichiwa” “Sawadika” or any variation of “Hello” in the Asian language
This is so plain stupid. You do realize that Asia has more than just “Nihao” right? India already has 22 languages by itself, and every country in Southeast Asia speaks a different language. With you saying “Konichiwa” to me is pretty much the equivalent of me saying “Ciao” to you. What? Italians are white, you are white so you must speak Italian.
So if you understand why European countries are different in culture and language, why is it so hard for you to understand that it’s the same with Asia?
5. “What are you?”
I am a human being studying in Bournemouth University. I am currently writing a a blog post about what not to say to an Asian person.
Why do you have to put race and ethnicity into this? Do I ask you what you are?
6. “You look like this one Asian girl I know” or “your people look the same”
7. “You probably came here because university isn’t that good in your home country. You must be lucky”
National University of Singapore (NUS) is ranked #15 on TopUniversity.comand #1 in Asia. It is a university that has led in many ingenious inventions such as an ultra-thin multilayer film for data storage led by a NUS professor. Not to mention, according to Business Insider UK, NUS is ranked #15 best university worldwide to study business and management.
I just chose to study in England to be exposed to different cultures and get a more worldwide experience.
8. “So are you… you know, tight down there?”
Okay, this is very sexual and I apologize, but this comment has to be addressed. Many men have asked me this, as if the tightness of my vagina wall is going to determine my attractiveness. It shouldn’t and you’re not going anywhere near me. Your chopstick width of a penis won’t even feel a difference anyway.
9. “OMG! You’re the first Asian person I know. I call dibs for you to be my Asian BFF”
What’s up with the obsession of wanting someone different from the norm to be their BFFs? It’s like the Gay Best Friend sort of thing. No!
And I didn’t know you can call dibs on a human being.
10. “So where in China is Singapore located?”
Fine, this isn’t really a general Asian comment but you can’t deny that many thinks Asia is just China and India. No where is Singapore located in China. It’s like 6 hours away to Beijing from Singapore! And don’t even try to argue that Singapore was once part of China historically. I think I know my history better than you do.