I was sitting in a meeting recently with fellow Mama Bears and I suggested “why don’t we have a mother’s night where we all pay $50 for tea and tiny cakes and a foot massage. We can have a line of little Asian ladies lined up to massage our feet”
Cue GASPS from my fellow attendees. GASPS.
YOU CAN’T SAY THAT!
Huh? What did I say? Oh….you can’t say that Asians will do the foot massages.
Well I’ve never had my feet massaged, painted or pedicured by anyone who isn’t Asian (Thai or Vietnamese to be exact) so it may have been a stereotype but if the shoes fits….(pardon the pun).
I turn my political correctness blinkers on when I’m talking about the Asian culture because I’ve always wanted to be Asian. Chinese, Japanese, Malaysian Honkanese, whatever. Seriously. I always wanted Chinese children. Little half aussies/half Asians – DIVINE. Nothing I ever say comes from a racist place, it’s only lurve from me. Thanks to my relatives, I like to think I’m a little bit Asian and therefore I can take certain liberties that others don’t realize I feel comfortable in taking and when I write, sometimes the sarcasm doesn’t translate. It’s a bit like Gay people being allowed to call each other Poofs but no one else is. I feel like I’m Asian so I can take the piss a bit more.
My obsession with all Asian cultures began at 15 with my first ‘real’ boyfriend who was ½ Chinese, he was also half Australian. Going out with him for a few years gave me my first taste of racism in Australia when we would receive weird looks from passers by. “What’s the white chick doing with the Asian guy? He’d talk and people would ascertain he was ‘one of us’” but I’m sure he and others experienced much worse than I witnessed.
A few boyfriends later and I found myself going out with another Aussie/Asian guy, funnily enough he had loaned boyfriend number 1 his photo ID when he was underage. They were mates. Yes that was a bit weird. More for everyone else as all they wanted to ask was “what’s with the yellow fever?” There’s a joke in there about them all looking the same somewhere but I can’t write that, because it’s politically incorrect isn’t it. I learnt so much from being exposed to different foods, and traditions and the importance of family and food as a ritual/gathering from this one family. It stays with me today and the Yum Cha, oh Lord, the YUM CHA, you haven’t been to Yum Cha till you have been with a Chinese Family.
Imagine my surprise when I hit the jackpot many years later. The Big Guy’s siblings BOTH married Japanese partners and had the most beautiful looking ½ Japanese children (The Big Guy is a 6ft 5 white human whose Australian roots goes back a LONG way so no hope of me getting Asian kids with him) Then I hit the mega jackpot. My brother married a ½ Malaysian Chinese/English girl and they have a beautiful ¼ aisian bubba. My version of heaven.
My sister and I have the only white kids in the family. It’s multi-cultural to the max and I love it. My kids are exposed to so much and I’ve actually overheard them telling people they’re half Japanese because of their close relationship with their cousins. Run with it I say.
Asian family complete but I’m very concerned about our attitude as a nation.
I cannot believe the number people who are politically correct in person but have a dig at our local High School which comes second in the state for HSC results each year “because of all the bloody Asians moving in”. It’s not said in a joking way, it’s said with genuine anger and hatred. The Asian culture places an incredibly HUGE emphasis on education. In countries where poverty is rife, you don’t do well at school, you could be on the poverty line. I think it’s fair to place that importance on education. Australian’s could do a little bit more in this area and place more importance on learning.
I also think we’re a pretty dirty lot if we’re happy to accept that we may have a Kiwi, English, Italian or Lebanese background and yet take a dig at others, for what? Because they look different? We all come from somewhere and we’re all different.
Wouldn’t the world be a boring place if we had never been introduced to Sushi, Chicken Chow Mein or Pad Thai and that’s just a start. Look at the “Made In China” labels on EVERYTHING you own. There’s a reason stuff is so cheap, we have our friendly neighbours in China to thank for that. It is also no secret that when you see someone doing an illegal U-turn in the middle of nowhere that it’s often an Asian face behind the wheel but if you have been ANYWHERE in Asia you may appreciate that there are no road rules, anywhere. Everyone needs to respect our road rules but the law usually catches up with those who don’t.
My nieces and nephews technically have more Australian blood than I do as neither of my parents are from Australia. Neither of them ever lost their Kiwi accents either and yet people still say to me “Oh, we’re not talking about Australian Asians, we’re talking about the ones who come here and don’t speak English”.
It’s certainly fair to ask people to come here and learn English but be patient. Turn it around. Imagine learning to read, write and speak Mandarin, Cantonese or Japanese. It’s not only a different dialect, it’s different letters, numbers everything and if you migrate here at the age of 40+, a lifetime of habits are hard to change and it can take years to learn a language.
All we should ask of people is to be tolerant and respectful. Just because we place a huge emphasis on sport doesn’t mean those who study hard are lesser people and just because we don’t look the same doesn’t mean they have any less Australian blood than you. We need to be tolerant of everyone and kind to all people especially those who choose this beautiful country to call home.
Finally, be careful what you say, the person you are making racist remarks to may just be related to a whole bunch of Asians.