Only if the “Undo” Command Worked in Real Life

Our favorite geeky command – whether it is Ctrl-Z or Command-Z, this is the quintessential keyboard combination when things don’t work the way we want it to. Didn’t like the line you drew in your graphics program? No problem, “undo” and try again. Renamed the wrong file? There’s an “undo” for that too! This was the beauty of technology. In a way you could say this was a form of trial and error in a more unemotional and analytical procedure. Now only if this worked in the real world.

Just like many of you I have had my relationship blunders. I’ve been paralyzed by complete fear of messing up conversations, forgotten many important dates (uh oh), or came off a little too intense in relationships. While I am not proud of those moments, I look back realizing they were important life lessons. I have done it all. Missed the kiss on her lips because I prematurely closed my eyes? Yup, did it. Confessed my feelings to a girl who I thought was interested but got completely shot down? I did that too. Being completely oblivious to a girl interested in me when I ditched her to go cram for my final? Yes I actually did that.

As much as I would like to fix my embarrassing relationship blunders (good thing I don’t talk about the other things), there is no “undo” command.  I have learned to accept my tribulations with a smile. Then it kind of hit me. I was certain that I was not the only Asian Male in the world that royally screwed up things. Had I been raised in a very tradition Asian environment filled with shame as the social regulator, I would have burrowed deep into my shell to avoid contact with the public. Friends and family would endless harass me for my gaffes. Instead having guilt as a form of social regulation in Western Culture, I feel somewhat liberated sharing my mortifying moments in life.

Back to the “Undo” command, when it comes to actual real life situations, there is no reversal button we can press when we stumble.  This is very common with new relationships as well as long-term ones. For the Asian Male, this now becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy “No mistakes will happen if we take an inactive/passive position”.  Who needs to “Undo” things when there is nothing to “undo”? In other words, it comes back down to our favorite Asian Male inhibitor, fear. The fear of utterly embarrassing yourself and face a lifelong earful of shame from friends and family is definitely a strong deterrent for Asian Males when it comes to approaching women (and also while being in a relationship).

So what can Asian Males do? The first part is to realize that perfection in real life does not exist. While theoretical and analytical procedures allows us to create hypothetical models, that’s all it is, just theory. As much as we want that 100% in love and relationships, it’s okay, you aren’t going to get lectured by your Asian parents for the missing 2% when you get a 98%. The next thing is to go for it. Just give it a try. Yes you will stumble and blunder, but it’s still better than doing nothing. Finally, look back at the moments learn the important life lessons and try again (with the newfound knowledge). When you can look back and laugh about it, you will be fine – no Ctrl-Z or Command-Z required.

Does She See You as an Asian Stereotype?

The idea of being stereotyped is one that many an Asian man has faced at least once in his life. In America it happens, maybe as a joke by one of your buddies. It probably had a good intent, maybe to strike up a laugh from friends, or perhaps you may have even made jokes about your own ethnicity. Joking between buddies or poking fun at yourself is one thing, but when you think it has the potential to affect the way the WF sees you, that is something very different.

So yeah you all know it, so I’ll just say it.  There are two stereotypical ways Asian men are sometimes viewed. Your either a “Twinkie” (as we say in America)/“banana”, or you’re pinned as a FOB or “fresh of the boat” type. If you’re a Twinkie, besides the fact that you look Asian, there is little to distinguish you from white people. You speak English, and you grew up in western cultures, you have few Asian friends, and you barely can understand or speak an Asian language (or you choose not to speak it). If your pinned as a Fob you were not born in America, you speak your native language fluently and so do many of your friends( who are mostly Asian), your parents do not speak any English, and you have trouble  using the past, present, and future, tenses correctly. But whichever stereotype you may at times find yourself falling under, as an Asian man in an ever growing dating market, your choices are unlimited. In fact if you were born in a western culture or not, you have most likely found that your choice of significant other is not Asian, and might never have been.  With an interest in the opposite sex, from an opposite race or culture, how can you confidently know that these types of stereotypes would not lessen your chances in the dating market.

You can’t know for sure, but speaking from a women’s perspective, these stereotypes do not carry the negative associations that you guys think. In fact we actually view it as two different types of men with associated characteristics, and neither one is better or worse than the other. In fact it’s all about personal preference. If she wants to be immersed in another culture or learn a new language, she may in fact prefer a man from Asia. If she perhaps likes the Asian look without the complication of a long distance relationship and language barrier, she might find herself interested in a guy who’s right around the corner. So are you seen as a stereotype? No not really. Your just another guy who has a an exotic look, or accent, that makes you interesting and unique.  Will being Asian lessen your chances of winning the heart of that beautiful WF, absolutely not. Any man can sweep a lady of her feet by just  being confident and letting her know that  no matter where you are from, or what your first language was, that you can be the man that she needs.

 

The Commonality of Language

As more and more people are living, working, and studying abroad, one of the byproducts of this is that there are more and more intercultural marriages. But before marriage there is the long process of dating, and when your first languages are different, this makes for more issues then in the average dating process. Anyone who has dated someone with a different culture from their own will tell you that dating can be both exciting as well as frustrating at times. Of course, dating always has its ups and downs, but adding cultural differences, like a language difference, to the natural course of dating can make this a bit trickier.

In the AMWF relationships it is often the case that one partner speaks their second language (English) while the other partner speaks English as their first language. In this case, the one for whom English is a second language has to put significantly more effort and time into communicating with their partner. It’s only natural that this can cause some strain on the relationship, as misunderstandings can arise in any number of situations. For example  the little signs and signals, that are so natural to a native speakers English, are missed, or misinterpreted, by someone who learned English only in school and rarely spoke it in everyday life.

Communication is absolutely vital to any relationship because it allows for the relationship to develop further and more deeply.  Rather than having one partner take on all the responsibilities of learning another language, both partners should work together on their communication. It’s important to be willing to put a lot of extra effort into communicating, because with an even level of communication can make people feel connected with one another. Especially for your WF, the need to be in a relationship with someone who is ‘in tune’ to her is very important. But if you can’t communicate your feelings to her and that you understand  her feelings, then she will be left feeling like you do not care.

Dating and relationships are about making connections with another person, and as human beings, talking is one of the most important ways that we can connect with one another. This is why communication of a high quality is so important in a relationship, especially as it develops from casual dating into a more serious relationship. Intercultural relationships, like the AMWF relationship, can be rich and fulfilling when communication is open and highly developed.  It’s about working together to share yourself and to create a strong bond between each other thought the commonality of language.

Another Scholastic Year Begins – Asian Educational Differences

With the exception of locations south of the equator, September brings about a new scholastic year for many students. It’s sad to see the sunshine and warm weather fade away, but for many of us, it is exciting to reconnect with fellow peers. At one point in time I began to wonder if it was any different for individuals going to school in Asia. I definitely remember hearing about the kindergarten entrance examinations for Hong Kong students, and of course the uniforms. Somehow it sparked some interest researching into the school life in Asia. Perhaps it may bring some key behavioral elements unique to Asia and may explain why Asian Males behave in a particular way.

When I speak of the educational differences I loosely regard it to K-12 and Post-Secondary education. I will admit that most of my influence comes from Hong Kong but I am certain there are many similarities across Asia.

The Beginning of it All – Kindergarten

Unlike where I reside in Canada, students are free to choose their elementary, junior high (7-9), and high school (10-12). The educational model is open access for public and separate (mostly Catholic) schools. There are some private schools, but for the most part K-12 education is covered by the government (Provincial). From what I remember, in order to achieve a successful path, an Asian family must plan their child’s scholastic path from kindergarten. A good kindergarten will lead to a good junior high and high school, and then to post-secondary. Since there is limited space, there is really only one way to get accepted, be the best. Trivial things such as arithmetic (yes, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) was something my former classmates (moved to Canada later as a child) had to prepare for.

Examinations

While it may differ across Asia, the majority of examinations are still strongly based on rote memorization. What makes matters worse is that after an exam, the scores are publically posted for the eyes of society. Not only do you see your score, you know exactly where on the “totem pole” people are after the assessment. The brightest students are awarded with praise from the teacher and the bottom-feeders are placed under public shame and pressure to perform better. This feels completely absurd in my opinion, but I have been raised in an environment where information such as this must be kept private and it is protected by government legislation. Shame does exist beyond parenting, and the general public, it exists among your classmates for supposedly healthy competitive reasons.

I would not even be remotely surprised if there were monetary incentives for those who achieve perfect scores, or even if the teacher was offered financial bonuses for the number successful students. When I talk about successful, I mean those who have the ability absorb information and regurgitate it as proof of amazing memorization skills. It doesn’t matter if you understand what is written in the book, as long as you can recite the information perfectly. Personally, skills such as empathy, critical thinking, creativity, mediation, positive criticism, or innovation have no place in many Asian education systems.  While I am not saying the rote approach is wrong, I am simply stating the inflexibilities of the system. Not everyone is meant to be a brilliant analytical stoic genius, but the perceived status is simply too powerful to be ignored. This is probably the result of government policy to eliminate any potential threats by pacifying its nation.

Uniforms & the Classroom

Along with my fellow North American colleagues, we did not have uniforms K-12 or in Post-Secondary.  We pretty much had free “tasteful” reign of clothing choices, but with my strong Asian influences, I often ended up defaulting into my most versatile “Asian” color: black. Perhaps it just matched my hair, or it was the fact that it black was the easiest color to work with. I admit I have changed my ways, but it must have been a style in the 80’s and 90’s. Otherwise it was silver, the alternate choice for our electronics and motor vehicles.

Outside of North America, uniforms are commonly used for K-12 education. While some may agree it has a standard clothing appearance for its users, I would also believe there are problems created because of it. Hypothetically, if everyone had the same clothes, the evaluation of a person in a school setting is really by two ways – grades and appearances. We have gone over the grades but when it comes to appearances, since it is standardized when someone has bad acne, poor body weight control, or bad hygiene, they are immediately identified and end up ostracized from their own peers. As I have talked about in previous articles, shame is what regulates Asian society, and not guilt. To stand out as an individual may lead to incarceration.

What makes matters even more difficult is the nature of a class. More commonly than anything I have seen a hybrid cohort system for K-12 classes – especially for Japan. The class remains in the classroom and different teachers for different subjects move around the school. This seems counter-intuitive to North American standards for secondary and post-secondary where students freely move from class to class. Often there is a class representative who acts as the liaison for the class, and assists with their fellow peers in the school cleaning duties. While this does have a strong militaristic approach, to be successful requires strong obedience and hard work. I appreciate the discipline put into their education, but I wonder if it truly robs Asians of their own identities and just being a caring human being.

The AMWF Link

The reason for writing this was to find another reason why Asian Males behave in such a manner. Yes we often have to deal with strict parents and possibly and overbearing mother, but do we blame that on Confucianism or just the way things were, and still are? Our own Asian education system produces excellent students who shine in rote memorization, but have been so hammered into subdued obedience designed for introverted professions such as the common doctor and dentist – whereby both are highly respected and well paid. Other skills in manufacturing and processing are useful as well.  The sad truth is that I believe that it makes us into a quantifiable unit of labor – not a person.

This is one of the greatest issues when it comes to AMWF relationships. A White Female needs to be with someone who cares for them as a human being. Someone who listens to her, respects her, and is willing to show his love beyond the provision of physical means. I am not saying attraction is not required, but when I talk about concerns like this, I mean for long-term and permanent relationships that expand to marriage and family.

There really is no absolute perfect approach to solving this situation either. Asian Males will not be able to leverage their rote memorization skills, but have to develop a new set of skills – an emotional capacity, and a willingness to be emotionally generous as well. It is definitely not an easy task either. Even I am always learning how to be a better man, but when I was younger there were definitely times where my AMWF relationships fell apart because of my aloofness. It’s a work in progress.

Just remember Asian Males, as Bruce Lee says, “Don’t think – feel.”

Relationships, Marriage, and the Four Horsemen

Regardless of the fact that the level of relationship may be dating, courtship, or even marriage, there are always trouble signs that will greatly predict the success of the relationship. Strangely enough I stumbled upon literature from Dr. John Gottman using the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse analogy from the Bible. Bear in mind that disagreements and fighting every now and then are signs of a healthy relationship. In any case here are the four key behaviors:

Criticism

Criticism in my opinion has two variants, a positive form and a negative form. Positive criticism is about improving the situation without any intentional personal attacks on your partner. There is possible frustration expressed, but definitely not offending. Take for example you were watching your favorite reality competition and one of your favorite competitors was sent packing. I know for one I would be in absolute shock. “How could he be eliminated?”  I would exclaim in discontent “that’s not fair.”

In that situation I do not wish harm on the judges, but I am clearly disgruntled by the apparent unfairness. Now when it comes to negative criticism, this behavior may start out as dissatisfaction but then becomes unbearable. They start with phrases like:

“I can’t believe you…”
“Every time you…”
“What kind of (noun) is this?”

The usual intention is to claim that you are right, and the offending partner is clearly wrong.  Unfortunately it comes with a vicious attack on your partner’s character. I can honestly admit criticism in this regard is almost considered normal in Traditional Asian upbringing. Not only do we get criticism from our parents, we are expected to accept it, as it is supposedly their way of expressing how they care.  The tragedy is that then if we start to believe our actions bring criticism, then as Asian Males we resign ourselves of apathy, and stop believing in anything.

Contempt

Although contempt is very similar to criticism in the fact that there is intent to draw some form of mental abuse, it differs by not focusing on a particular event, but as a global degrading feeling. You could almost say that criticism occurs as a reaction while contempt is a lingering feeling no matter if it is premeditated or reactionary.

Examples usually come from verbal insults, mockery, and most often through body language combined with tone. Since most of contempt is something that is “read between the lines” I will describe obvious situations where it could happen. A couple fictitious examples I have spontaneously thought of is as follows:

Example One:

Shen and Ashley decide to spend their Friday night window shopping at a local trendy district. While passing by an eclectic store Ashley stops to point at a cute summer dress.

“Are you kidding me?” Shen said as he rolled his eyes in disgust, “that dress makes your arms look even bigger.”

While Shen was able to voice his opinion, Ashley would be more disappointed over with the implications: he shows indifference to her opinions, and reinforces her apparent weight issues.

Example Two:

Han and Angela have been officially dating for a couple years. In preparation for Han’s cousin’s wedding, there is a banquet party group dance that both of them are involved in. Unfortunately being a typical male with two left feet like Han, the steps do not come naturally. To make matters worse, Han not only has to remember his steps, but also has to lead Angela. Trouble arises with alignment issues. Angela stops and glares at Han.

“I don’t get it” Angela voices in frustration, “this is so easy.” Han recollects his composure and tries for a second time. Failure ensues. “Nope,” she says while biting her lip. Completely petrified Han tries for a third time, only to get a tongue lashing.

While not as direct as the first example, there are many situations when the male feels emasculated by his partner. This is something that comes with experience, and no video game is going to teach you this.

Defensiveness

Just as criticism and contempt are more offensive approaches, there are defensive approaches that Gottman classifies as action and inaction. In a sense it is an approach that minimizes the incoming threat to give an opportunity to respond back offensively by both criticism and contempt. The defense comes by evading a perceived attack or using a victim mentality. It is only natural for us to protect ourselves from harm, but things get muddled when things are tense.

“It wasn’t my fault…”
“But remember the time you…”

Now by developing the two examples above, we can create both a defensive and non-defensive approach.

Example One Development – Shen & Ashley

A: “That burger you had for dinner isn’t helping your waistline either.” Ashley quips as she pokes his belly.

B: “Great,” Ashley smiles, “I’ll be sure to wear it next weekend for your mom’s birthday dinner”

Development A used a diversion to place the weight issue onto Shen, while B turned the situation from displeasure to humor. Mind you Ashley may get the last laugh if she gets all genuine compliments for the dress next week.

Example Two Development – Han & Angela

A: “It is sooooo easy” Han responds.

B: “Backseat driving.” Han grins.

C: “As expected from your formal training” he sighs.

In response A, Han repeats what Angela had said earlier, with a slightly altered tone. This has the intention of having her believe that Han was listening. For response B and C, Han diverted the perceived threat by countering with a comment that may actually escalate the situation. While this may seem the most viable option, it does nothing to help the relationship. The problem really is not the small disagreements but the fact that this will accumulate over time and the behavioral response will be the same. Only when enough is enough, then a sudden change tends to follow.

Stonewalling

I confess that growing up this was my main arsenal when it comes to dealing with conflict. It made perfect sense to me, keeping a neutral tone would make the other person feel that I not offended and won’t retaliate. I was always taught to turn the other cheek, but it often is with physical conflict. When it comes to an emotional connection with a woman and especially a White Female, it conveys actually a lack of effort in the relationship.

Examples include:

  • A blank face
  • Crossing arms and refusal to communicate
  • Leaving the situation without any explanation during or afterwards
  • Using the pseudo-agreement of “yes” responses

Granted that the natural response for a male is to hide in his cave to regenerate himself, constantly disconnecting yourself as a male towards a female is extremely hurtful over time. This is a serious issue when it comes to Asian Males as we are taught to maintain a stern disconnected composure.

Fortunately this can be worked around by giving signals that you really want to connect as an Asian Male. Get into her personal space, hold her hands, tell her how much you really care for her – she will forgive you for the lack of expression and recognize your sincerity to be with her. Remember it is a healthy relationship to encounter conflict, but what is important is that you both ultimately respect and acknowledge each other.

You Don’t Need to Buy Her Fancy Things to Make Her Happy.

Did you learn that the best way to be a good partner is by being a provider financially, and placing a strong emphasis and spending lots of time on that?  So much of an emphasis that you have not ever really considered the social and emotional needs of your relationship?  Now don’t get me wrong, a man who provides his family is a good thing, better than a man who does not, but do you feel that to have a good relationship this is a top priority? Maybe because that is the model of behavior that you have seen for most of your life?  Dad would make money and focus on giving his family all the material things they needed and mom (even if she works) would take care of the emotional side of things. But you rarely saw mom and dad spending time together, making the essential emotional connections with each other. They seem to live peacefully in that relationship with each contributing to the family life, and as long as the basic needs are met everyone is happy.

When I look at the older generations of Asian couples I often see this situation, and to be honest this mentality can be very confusing to the average WF in today’s society. I can understand as a man, Asian or otherwise, there has been a long history of that type of relationship structure and providing for the ones you love makes you happy. That is a great thing, but for your average WF who was raised to be independent and care for herself she expects more from her relationship with you then just the basic comforts and material needs being met. She is looking for you to be her best friend, her confidant, and her lover. She wants you to share the financial responsibility of having a life and a family, but also expects you to be emotionally available for her and any children you have. The structure of the relationship is a 50/50 one where each contributes to the overall health and wealth of the family and your relationship.

I think today’s generation of Asian men is in a very different situation then their fathers before them.  Ten years ago your father would have not considered marring a non-Asian women, it just would not be the norm. The fear of cultural differences and pressure from family expectations would have not allowed it. I’ve sad it before, Asian men are pioneers when it comes to choosing who they want to be with and so understanding the dynamics of the AMWF relationship is important. The model of behavior that your parents provided for you cannot be fully applied, and if you think that just being good provider for her (like fancy cars, LV bags, and, etc…) without up keeping the emotional side of the relationship, it will inevitably end in failure.

I hear Asian men say it to me over and over, that they don’t want women who are materialistic. They want to get away from that because they see it a lot in Asian culture. Your WF won’t mind that nice gift you bought her, but it’s not required to show your love. She wants you to be emotionally there for her, she likes to see your softer side, and she wants to support you just as much as you want to support her. Only you don’t need fancy things to show status, or to prove that you love her, she simply wants you.

AMWF Love Asks You: Do You Bury Your Love Away?

So you’re interested in that WF, but for various reasons you’re not sure how things will work out? The reason could be anything from parent’s disapproval, long distance relations, or just the fact that you’re not sure how to approach her? With any or all of those reasons being a possible factor, I often see Asian men just bury their love away and force themselves to move on. I’ve seen men just stare at a beautiful girl from afar and even when the situation might present itself as a perfect opportunity to take action, it never happens.

I never really understood why. I see it in anime, dramas, and etc… the idea of self sacrifice for a greater good..or for a better future? I’m not really sure. My guess has always been that if you feel that it might be difficult, if there is not a very strong chance for marriage, then somehow you learned just to suppress the feelings of love and force yourself to move on? Did your parents perhaps influence the way your life should be lived and the types of risks that you should take?

In all honesty, why not give it a try and see what happens. Just say hello! I know it can be scary, but love it’s never easy. I think people forget that relationships take work and compromise. True, there is a point where you might know it’s not the right person and moving on is the best thing, but if you never give something a chance, will you never know how good it could be?

When it comes to relationships I think you should ask yourself this important question. Will I regret not talking any action?…. and if you answer yes then just go for it!

No regrets ! What’s your story?

On Appearances & Fitting In

Our eyes are something to be marveled of. Not only does it provide us with sensory information related to our daily lives, but vision has also is often our first line of preventative defense. Why endanger yourself when there is no need to? It’s easy when it comes to physical preventative measures like noticing that the edge of a cliff is unsafe, but when it comes to human interaction, it becomes muddled.

Consumerism & the Predetermined Lifestyle

Having the economic freedom and a vast array of consumer products available is one of the great qualities of a market system, but when it comes to choosing products there are many factors that come into play. When I think about it carefully there are really two predominant factors: society and friends.

Society includes mass media and major corporate brands that portray a vision about how to behave and act within the society. We tune into our favorite shows following the characters as if they were our alter ego.  Subliminally we align our lives to reflect that also though our purchases.  We buy into the “lifestyle” that should let us fit in with society.

In a sense unlike society as a whole, your friends are those whom you share some sort of common ground with. It could be as simple as the same alma mater, work, or just general interest. While this may seem rather trivial for those without an Asian background, friends (and family for that matter) play a significant role in determining our preferences and lifestyle.

Would you prefer: Happily married with a house in the suburbs with two kids and a dog? Or perhaps the downtown loft? We make choices in life based on the lifestyle we want to live.

The “Asian” Collectivist Mentality

What I have experienced with my upbringing and conversations with my friends over the years was the inherent nature of Asians adopting a passive behavior to submit into the common opinions as a whole. These common opinions are far from philosophical, but rather a level of acceptance. Personally I do not have much interest in the latest luxury designer brands, but social status is clearly important for Asian culture. While it may garner some sort of quasi respect, it is certainly better than the latter. Otherwise from an Asian viewpoint it may be considered shameful. Shame in the regards of not being successful in some sort of capacity, and as a result there is this invisible social barrier one will face. What makes matters worse is that shameful events in Asian culture will be remembered and will be rehashed.

Now where does this all tie in with appearances? When somebody clearly stands out not looking typical (usually below average) Asian society has the informal belief that they can be targets for gossip. My parents used to hound me all the time as a teenager when I had facial blemishes. At the dinner table my father would give the condescending surprised tone pointing at my face. It outraged me that he was entitled to pick away at my imperfections (usually physical) while I could fire back over a dozen of his faults. I learned to brush it off, but my parents still get on my case for having longer hair (Communist military buzz-cuts are horrible).

We have devised a clever way to avoid these problems – blend in. This works wonders in Asia, but the styles and tastes in North America or Europe are distinctly different from Asia.  Sometimes our quirky Asian style for men might be more suitable for Asia as it can often be emasculating. I admit times are changing and Asian Males have made strides to improve their style, but you are what you project yourself to be.

On AMWF & Appearances

As an Asian Male I can understand how difficult it is to synthesize thoughts and feelings and transform them into words. I absolutely hated my English classes with a passion, because I found it much more difficult to excel in compared to Mathematics and the Natural Sciences. There was this visual element I was able to utilize which only hindered my social and emotional knowledge by relying on visual/analytical components instead. Chances are many Asian Men also struggle with the humanities and possibly the English language just as I did throughout my academic upbringing.

The problem is that we become so reliant on those channels such as visual information that we overlook the social and emotional components. This does not help the fact that we are constantly barraged by visual information from advertisers. However amidst all the visual advertising there is one good thing. Speaking from my Asian viewpoint, the more we see visual representations of AWMF and many other combinations of interracial relationships, the more society gains acceptance.

Others will claim that AMWF is merely a fetish of some sort. Having a Caucasian girlfriend (or wife) to show off may be an ego booster, but it is still a relationship. If the relationship is to progress beyond initial attraction, there must be much more that has to develop. Unfortunately the majority of those qualities aren’t in our favorite shows, for that does not make interesting television. Instead it will be a unique journey for every AMWF couple as they share both highs and lows of the relationship.

It is definitely unfair to make complete assessments on individuals solely based on their appearances, but it is a fact of life. As the saying goes, “don’t judge a book by its cover” – just make sure you have a good cover.

Stuck in the Middle – My Dual Identity

The majority of my Asian friends were the ones that progressed with me through my academic years. Almost all of us were born and raised in Canada with a Hong Kong background. Honestly I would say we progressed together as a tight-knit group from Junior High, to High School, and onto University. To the outsiders we may have been perceived as a clique not accepting non-Asians, but this was not the case. Since we all came from similar cultural backgrounds, it was only natural that we gravitated towards each other. Somehow we were raised pretty much the same way. All of us had to go through piano or violin lessons as a child, and of course the wonderful Chinese school on Saturday mornings.

There were a few White Males that did manage to hang out our Asian group as well. This was probably because they made an effort to join us. Fortunately being a Westernized Asian group, we still conversed in English; all they had to do was have the intent to hang around us.  As far as I remember there was actually never a single White Female in the massive “Asian Group” of friends. It never struck me as that being odd; just perhaps the passive nature of Asians may have been the reason for them not to hang around us. The group was large enough as it was already, and there was no need to seek out more members.

Maybe times have changed, but as I remember dating White Females, I was the one who had to depart from my circle to join her circle of friends. Had I not done that, I probably would not have been in a relationship with a White Female. Fortunately when things did not work out, my Asian friends still took me back as if things never happened. Looking back I laugh at myself because the group was really just a group where we shared common interests. There was nothing really beyond that. We celebrated birthdays, watched movies, went to events, but never really established lifelong bonds.

As I progressed into Post-Secondary education, I was in the shock of my life when it came to Asians. You see, the majority of the Hong Kong Chinese came before the 1997 return to China. This meant that the only Hong Kong Chinese left were my friends I attended school with. Now the Mainland Chinese students dominated university campus in the analytical fields of mathematics, statistics, engineering, chemistry, and physics. Great, now in my head I’m experiencing “FOB 2.0”. For those who are unaware of the term FOB it is a slight derogatory term for Asian immigrants. During the Vietnam War there were many families who fled Vietnam in boats all across Asia. However the term “Fresh off the Boat” or FOB probably more accurately means “Fresh off the Plane”. While it wasn’t their appearances that bothered me, it was the lack of social etiquette for North American standards. I could deal with the scent of moth balls and loud voices, but it still baffles me when I watch someone with seven small containers heat up one individual dish at a time to monopolize the microwaves with a lengthy line waiting behind the user. Then I remember that it is shame, and not guilt that often regulates their behavior, and if nobody tells them they are doing something wrong, they will assume that everything is normal.

I’m sure they are very good people, but somehow it’s extremely difficult to relate to the Asians from Asia. Despite my Asian features of black hair, soft skin, and single eyelids – I find it difficult to connect with non-Western Asians.  This is probably because my interests do not match up with many traditional Asians. My taste in arts and entertainment takes me to South America and Europe, somewhere completely unrelated to Asian popular culture. The irony is that when I move to social groups primarily of Caucasian individuals, I still feel a lack of a true belonging.

Thus I find myself stuck in the middle as a Westernized Asian. Fused with both Eastern and Western values, I went to school learning the Western Culture, and learned about my Eastern roots at home. You could say it was living two lives, but I found it completely normal. With a large Asian group of friends, it was bound to break off into small groups. Eventually people began to pair off, and commit their time into their careers and relationship partners. The large group that hung out in the circular group tables in the student lounges was no more.

The most difficult part of two identities is the fact that you have two. Sometimes it feels like you have to choose between the two, always in conflict between your Eastern and Western identities. I’ve always wondered if having a single identity would have been a lot simpler. Instead of being pressured to take a professional career, I may have been encouraged to pursue something I truly enjoyed over stability and security. Maybe by being “just Asian” would leave me in a mindless state having to constantly submit to parental pressures.  At the end of the day, I would end up being with one group, and not between two different groups.

So why not pursue a Westernized Asian Female? Well the answer is twofold. The first part really comes down to the numbers game. Even here in Canada there are CBCs (Canadian Born Chinese) in every major urban area but attraction does not occur just because they are born and raised here. Yes, they understand my upbringing, but my past experiences did not leave anything memorable. Perhaps it was a matter of personality, but even my prior relationships with White Females have been such a pleasure regardless of the outcome.  They were open to share their thoughts and viewpoints as White Female, and very emotionally generous. This was something I felt difficult with Asian Females born and raised in North America. I could never fathom their obsession with the latest status accessories, and was unwilling to be just a provider by Asian traditional standards.

These days I really have learned to embrace the dual identity. It’s what defines who I am, and I would not change anything if I could go back in time.  While I might be more Western than my Asian counterparts, I have learned so much about my own identity that I would never would have learned remaining in a tight-knit Asian group. Instead of always trying to fit in with a group, I’ve learned to love myself instead of seeking constant approval from others. I definitely am who I want to be.

When You Live in Asia, WF’s are Hard to Find

So you love the way she looks, with her very distinct facial features like big, deep eyes, and straight nose. Of course you enjoy the curves, and the direct manner in which she tells you how she feels and what she wants. You are excited by the fact that she has a strong sense of personal character, independence, and her focus is rarely on the amount of money you make. The cultural differences are very exotic and it seems like all the things you would want. But there is one problem, you live in Asia and white women are hard to come across.

If you are like the many men in this position, you often find that most of the WFs just come and go. They may stay in your country for few months only and leave soon after. The younger group of WFs (in their 20’s) when in Asia often stay in the very western areas, and are often only found at bars and clubs(which to be honest is not the best place to meet anyone). Any thoughts you may have about trying to form a serious relationship seem almost not worth the effort because of the inevitability of such factors like long distance relationships or parents disapproval. You may also meet some opposition from your friends. When you tell them you are interested in dating and marring WFs, they might  think you are crazy. They may wonder why you just don’t just go after an Asian girl, as mom could set you up with the pretty daughter of her best friend making the process so much easier.

I’m sure you think, yeah there will always be guys who will be like that, friends who will just want to marry Asian, and that’s ok for them but not for me. But it’s so frustrating because even if I meet the often hard to find WFs living in Asia most of the time some other man had the same interest in western women and culture as you, and has already made his move. Grrrrrrr…. So what can I do?  You do have options and here they are:

Have a Positive Mindset

It takes a more independent minded and strong man to want to meet someone who is different, to see past the differences into something that could be so much better than just accepting what parents want, or social pressures. So it’s important that you always keep a positive attitude even when at times things can seem hopeless. Keep things in perspective and be confident in yourself. You want to meet someone your attracted too, not just any WF. Someone you truly have things in common with such as values, morals, and family. Don’t be discouraged if your meeting WF’s but nothing is working out. It takes time to find that special someone, so don’t give up!

Consider a Change in Location

If you are interested in western culture then you might want to consider studying, working, or trying out a cultural exchange program. This will allow you to meet, live, and be around western cultures. You will have the opportunity to improve your English/communication skills, and ultimately have the advantage when meeting WFs and socializing with them. Unfortunately as a women, most usually don’t consider or feel safe just moving to another country alone  even if we have an interest in Asian culture and men,( although some women do) so the task often falls on you to take the indicative to make your way to the west.

Make Friends (from all over the world)

Never underestimate how important friendships are. Friends will provide you with not only support, but the more western friends you have the more your chances are increased of meeting a WFs. You want to meet someone naturally, and for a women one of the ways we can trust you right away is if you already know someone we trust. This trust will put you miles ahead of the guy that approaches her out of the blue. Just make sure you express your interest right away.If you are not able to live for an extended period of time in the west, the internet is the next best option to establish and keep in touch with friends. Opportunities often appear when you least expect them!

Meeting her is really the first step, and all the other cultural and social thing will work out. Meeting her often seems to be the hardest part but don’t give up. Sure, it’s going to be odd when you want something outside the norm, but it’s always worth the effort. You never know where or when an opportunity will appear, so get out there!