memoirs of a racially confused blogger

this pic [graphic.. gif.. meme?] always made me crack up, first of all because its punny [not lame punny but actually funny punny], and also because it’s so accurate and true. accurate, meaning it depicts the stereotype of asian parents and their impossible expectations for us. asian parents seemed to have inadvertently picked up a negative connotation but sometimes i have to agree that these parents really deserve it. i’ve heard some pretty ridiculous stories before and it’s quite appalling [and amazing] of how strict asian parents can get nowadays in terms of academics. for instance, one of my classmates was horror-stricken when she found out she got an A on a test because her mom was going to kill her. her mom only accepts A pluses. i don’t usually use this face but o__________________________________o!! that is just ludicrous. i happily rejoice whenever i get scores above a 90% but this girl isnt even allowed to get anything below a 98%. there is literally no room for error. how do you survive like this? i seriously no comprendo. i’m just glad i don’t live in that household.. in fact, my parents aren’t very “asian” at all. they are the rare case of taiwanese parents that actually say “it’s okay, as long as you tried your best”. thank GOD they aren’t very “asian” because who knows what third-world country i might be in right now. i consider myself extremely lucky because quite simply, i’m not “asian”. i hate how this word has picked up an alternate definition but it seems like in our day and age, with being asian also comes academic superiority and studying hard. so in terms of our modern-day vernacular, i’m not asian. at all. in fact, im the exact opposite of asian. i am a perversion, a disgrace to any family that calls itself asian. i fail to meet the requirements. i am not “satisfactory”. so if i’m not asian, what am i? what about me contrasts from the typical asian scholar? what exactly are the requisites for being asian and where do i fall short? what defines an asian? y’all know what it is.. LGI son, lesgetit, LEGGO! [<;-i hope that isn’t copyrighted.. ]

1. “go do the doctor or the lawyer so you make lot of money for me” – the american dream is to live and prosper and chase after your dreams. do what you want and become whatever you want to become. the pursuit of happiness. the asian dream is to become a doctor or a lawyer. business man is okay. no exceptions. all other jobs/occupations are irrelevant. to become a teacher, musician or movie star would make you the laughing stock of the family. to become an employee at mcdonalds would be equivalent signing your death warrant. you must become rich and wealthy and uphold the [insert asian last name here] dynasty.

ME: doctor? lawyer? screw that. that sounds boring as hell. [no offense to all you doctors/lawyers out there. i have respect for you guys but it’s just not my field of interest] honestly, i think there are wayy too many of you people trying to be doctors. as a hs senior, i’ve been exposed to a lot of college stuff and after asking countless people what they wanted to major in, all too many of them replied with your typical asian answer. i find it kinda sad because our generation has been influenced and brainwashed that becoming a doctor is our goal in life. it’s like when we were infants, instead of singing us lullabies, they sang songs about becoming doctors. it was spoon-fed to us and we were “indoctrinated”[pun unintended. hurhur] since birth [literally] and as a result, many of the people who have claimed they wanted to become doctors don’t even know why. why?! why do you want to become a doctor? because of your parents or because of you? don’t just go into the medical field just cause someone else tells you to. trust me, you don’t wanna go study pre-med and stay in school for 30 years of your life just to find out that you don’t wanna do it as a career. don’t waste yourself. another thing, please be realistic with yourself. are you sure that you can even handle being a doctor? look at your dang gpa and ask yourself, “can i even compete with all the other 4 billion asians in the world?” and just because you got the brains to become a doctor doesn’t mean you got the guts. i dont want you people touching my insides if i ever need surgery. however, there are those rare and bright individuals out there who are truly passionate about becoming a doctor and i totally respect that. props to you guys for saving lives.

2. “why you no play piano? go play piano 6 hours! prease. ” – of course, you must know how to play the piano. im sorry, did i say play the piano? i meant, you must MASTER the piano. CM level 10 is obviously not enough, that’s like an A minus. unacceptable. there is no such thing as “done practicing piano”. your daily 10 hour rehearsal will always be followed by 5 hours of theory. it is expected that you are a “musical prodigy”, become part of panel, win 1st place for all of your competitions, gain national recognition/earn scholarships, and perform at carnegie hall and juilliard. all before the age of 13. because by the time you hit age 14, you’re in high school and you must redirect your focus onto the 24 ap’s that you will be taking during your high school career.

ME: learning the piano has become somewhat of a trademark of asians. asian parents seem to want their children to be superior in every way (except athletically) and that doesn’t exclude music. while there are some musicians out there who actually enjoy and love their craft, i’m seeing more and more kids these days that are being forced into playing instruments. music, specifically piano, has become a new avenue of competition in which parents can show off their kid(s) and glorify themselves in the process. music is not supposed to be forced!! it is a form of expression that allows the artist to fully release his/her feelings and emotions spontaneously. emphasis on spontaneously. spontaneous. having a natural and uninhibited manner. voluntary. unbidden. delta G is negative. i personally had to deal with this for the majority of my life and no matter how much i tried to persuade my parents, they were unmoved by my arguments and i was not allowed to drop the violin. thankfully, they were finally convinced in my sophomore year that school was more important and i couldn’t afford to continue on but during that experience, i had those exact thoughts running in my head. music just simply couldn’t be forced. just as you cannot force someone to be passionate about God, you can never force someone to be passionate about music.

3. “you get a plus? son, i am disappoint.” – this is a no brainer. asians must prioritize school above everything and they must do everything in [and beyond] their ability to get good grades. gpa is your life. your sole purpose in life was and always will be to maintain your gpa until you get your doctorate degree and get out of school. as long as you’re in school, you will get the highest gpa possible. minimum gpa tolerated in asian household is 4.0. unweighted. there is no such thing as being “done with homework”. if you are “done with homework”, you will study your textbooks. if you are done studying your textbooks, you will study the dictionary. failure to meet requirements may result in severe consequences, such as banishment from any electronic devices, solitary confinement, disownment from household/family name, deportation to [insert country here], chinese water torture, and even death.

ME: i got an a plus?! SWEET HOLY MOLY, THANK YOU JESUS!!! HALLELUJAHHH, ITS PARTY TIMEEE!! i honestly don’t remember the last time i got an a plus. ..middle school? i dunno. i’d like to say i’m intellectually [somewhat] smart but i was never really book-smart at all. i didn’t really realize that until high school though, specifically junior year. i thought i was bad*** for getting straight-A’s in 8th grade so realizing that i was actually [in asian terms] stupid was quite painful and demoralizing. to put it simply, i screwed up my junior year. i overestimated myself and i signed up for classes that were beyond my academic ability. needless to say, my grades were terrible. my gpa dropped like america’s stock market. so i had to learn that i was academically incompetent, the hard way. as a result, my standards dropped considerably and my definition of a “good grade” is probably a couple letter grades below your’s. now excuse me while i party my head off.

4. “why you no like your big sister? or auntie [insert asian name here]’s son?” – you are a disappointment to this family. why can’t you be like your older brother/sister? or auntie soandso’s son/daughter? they all got good grades and sat scores and play piano well and got accepted Ivy League schools. and where did you end up? UCLA. come on, now.. UCLA?! i did not swim across the pacific ocean just so you could go to UCLA [bruins, please don’t take any offense from this, UCLA is actually a wonderful school that i would love to attend if i had the chance (which i dont). just using this as an example]. you are a disgrace and you have brought shame to this family name. i am deeply ashamed and embarrassed to have you as my child.

ME: in my opinion, this is by far, one of the worst asian-parent tendencies that i’ve noticed and had to deal with. i absolutely HATE it when my parents start comparing me to some other kid (usually my friends). it PISSES. ME. OFF. i’ve blown up on my parents several times because of this and to this day, i dont think i’ve ever forgiven them. it just makes me so angry because it makes it seem like they’re not content with me. they’re not satisfied with me as their son and so instead, they covet their friend’s child. do you know how that makes me feel? to be 100% honest, total crap. i feel like i am the less-favored son. i am sub-par. i fall short. i am not enough. as a son who genuinely tries hard to succeed in school (and life in general), this is extremely damaging to not only my self-esteem, but also my relationship with my parents. for those of you who’ve never had to deal with this, just know that it hurts like hell. and if you happen to be a parent, asian or not, just don’t do it. they don’t deserve that kind of torture.

5. “wah sai, buy one get one free?! das the good deal!” – do not ever settle for purchasing something at regular price. there is always a better deal. always. you must use your asian enchanting and charming skills to cajole your seller to let you buy at a cheaper price. as the consumer, your objective is to obtain such a good deal that your seller ends up losing profit instead of gaining it. coupons are your best friend. you are required to make a weekly pilgrimage to the holy land of costco.

ME: perhaps my favorite aspect about asian parents. asian parents are so ridiculously cheap that it’s awesome. if you walk into an asian household, 50% of the things in there would be free stuff and the other 50% from discounts. they practically live off cheap stuff. coming from a taiwanese family, i’ve gone back to the motherland and experienced the awesomeness of nightmarkets. taiwanese people are natural-born bargainers and they are so skillful at persuasion that they can talk police out of giving them traffic tickets [true story]. they are lively and rambunctious folk who know how to compromise to make sure both sides are happy. they are people people. back here in the us, they can’t really do that anymore because there are too many rules and too much regulation so we asians try to find the best deal possible. we scour the market for cost efficient opportunities, hoping to save as much money as possible. free stuff attracts asian people like honey attracts bees. asians, especially parents, are the world’s most obsessively-conservative people.

6. “heyyy don’t go with the black boys, or the mexican boys, or the white boys.. only marry the ASIAN boys!” – you may NOT marry anyone of a different ethnicity other than your own. no blacks, no whites, no mexicans, no indians, no scandanavians, no russians, no swahilis, no jews, no muslims, no mormons, etc.. only asian. cause asian is numba one.

ME: okay this kinda makes me lol sometimes.. i’m just going to throw it out there right now because it’s truth and you just can’t deny it. asian parents are racist. either they have this excessive fear of kids from other ethnicities or they just think that asians are the best and all other races are “unworthy” so they try to make sure that their kids don’t hang out with them at all, even in elementary school. it gets really bad when the kid hits high school and they start looking for boyfriends/girlfriends. i feel bad for the girls because they have it a lot worse than us guys do. she’ll think it’s okay to date a [insert race here] dude but little does she know that there’ll be a harsh punishment waiting for her at home. asian parents get so paranoid that they don’t even allow their kids date/marry other asians! if you’re taiwanese [like me], they won’t even let you to date a chinese or a korean person! outrageous. i guess you could say that for the parents, it’s out of love but i think they could ease off on the xenophobic tendencies. just a liiiitle bit. i wouldn’t want someone else deciding for me who my future spouse was, especially if that decision was heavily influenced by race. that just seems really shallow to me. and besides, asian parents, wouldn’t you want super good-looking and amazingly beautiful grandchildren? im just kiddin. don’t ever marry someone of a different race just so you can have mixed babies that will be attractive when they grow up. doesn’t always work that way. sometimes the “mixing” part doesn’t go very well.. moving on. [btw, i do not intend to offend any of the races/religious affiliations aforementioned. please don’t sue me. im broke.]

7. “YOU CUT ME OFF?! I KILL YOUUU!!” – in america, the dmv rulebook states that the right-of-way always belongs to the pedestrian. in asian countries, the nonexistent dmv rulebook states that the right-of-way always belongs to you, whether you are the pedestrian or the driver. another thing, you must get your license as soon as possible so you can buy groceries for your mother. oh, but you’re not allowed to drive anyone other than your parents until you’re 30.

ME: asian drivers scare the living poop out of me. my goodness. living in the deceivingly-safe suburbs of socal, one would assume that he/she would be safe from the traffic hazards of the busy metropolis but oh, how you have been mistaken. you’ve picked the wrong suburb to live in, my friend. southern california houses some of the most asian-populated cities in the united states. in other words, southern california houses some of the most angry, homicidal driver – populated cities in the united states. asians parents are the most terrifying, aggressive people when you put them behind a wheel. theyre not the most law-abiding citizens when it comes to the road. why do you think we have something called a “california rolling stop”? theyre very skilled drivers, i give them that, they just don’t like following rules. they think theyre the most important thing on the road and everyone should yield to them. 99ranch market [and maybe costco] parking lots are probably the most dangerous places you can drive or walk in. all you see is a bedlam of toyota siennas, honda civics, and shopping carts trying to fight their way to a single parking space or through a narrow exit. amidst the chaos, one can expect to hear an abstract symphony of car honks [of various tones], f-bombs, screaming old people, offensive expletives in asian dialect, screaming children, and occasionally, a collision. pedestrians, heed my warning: do not test asian drivers. they are not to be trifled with.

asian parents. i love ’em and i hate ’em. why all the hate? i hate their messed up priorities. i hate their unrealistic expectations of us. i hate how they want us to achieve so much just so they can take the pride and make themselves look better. i hate how they think that just because they’re our parents, they can map out our lives for us; the college we go to, what we study in college, what career path we take, who should be our future spouse, who shouldn’t be our future spouse, etc. and most of all, i hate how they think that your academic performance determines your self-worth as an individual. though i was raised by very un-asian, asian parents, i still felt the negative effects of this corrupt value system. first of all, i suck at school. just because i can write a 3000+ word blog post doesn’t mean anything. i can observe the admirable traits of an ideal scholar from all my friends but i could never take on those qualities myself. school is just not my thing. however, if you grow up in an asian community, school is everything and if you aren’t good at school, then you are nothing. after looking at my report card last year, i felt like nothing. i was only sub-human, and unworthy. i was degenerate. i just wanted to shrivel back up into my shell and stay there for the rest of my life. going through high school was probably the most humbling experience of my life. it was only because of God that i could climb up from the deep, dark cistern that me and my self-esteem had fallen into. GOD is the only one who can tell you how much you’re worth, not your parents. and under Him, we are all sinners and we are all undeserving but we are still called His children.

don’t worry, i promise i’ll end on a happy note. i know i just spent hours of my life bashing on asian parents but in the end, i still love them. why? cause they love me. i don’t think i’ll ever understand what hardships they had to go through to get from their country to mine, just so they could give me a better, more comfortable life. i can’t imagine what kind of messed up kid i would be if my parents didn’t come here and send me to church and whatnot. my parents [and probably yours too] went through struggles beyond my imagination because they wanted to give me the good childhood that they never had.  and if that’s not love, then i don’t know what love is. asian parents can be a real pain-in-the-butt sometimes but honor and respect them, at the very least. know your limits and make sure you know where the boundaries lie between right and wrong because excessive “asian-ness” can be sinful. 99% of what i talked about in this post was asian parents to the very extreme and if your parents ever reach anywhere near that level [i sure hope not], then talk to them. but otherwise, show them unconditional love. trust me, they deserve it.

picture courtesy of http://highexpectationsasianfather.tumblr.com/! check ’em out.

One Comment

  1. […] middle class suburb relate to the good Kid of the Maad City? I wrote an article titled “Memoirs of a Racially Confused Blogger” in my latter years of high school (roughly four years ago). Crawling out of a turbulent […]

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