I’m not sure if you guys have heard of a FB group called Subtle Asian Traits- basically its a group of English speaking Asians sharing Asian memes and the group has over 1 million members in it. They have little branch offs like Subtle Asian makeup/beauty squad and Subtle Asian mental health which I really enjoy, and the Subtle Asian mental health one always gets me thinking.
A core value of Asian culture is filial piety, or in non poncy language, listening to your parents/elders. Everything you do is to give back to, or to honour your parents’ wishes. Listening and following your parents’ wishes is what makes you a good child, because a) your parents are smarter than you and know the key to success, and they can brag about it to their friends about what a good child you are and b) doesn’t everyone deep down want to be a good child and not to disappoint their parents?
You grow up with your parents expecting you to listen to their every word, normally ending with the parents lashing out and punishments laid out if not. I always hated it, and I’ve never wanted to follow what my parents told me. Most of the time I do things that I know they will disapprove of, just to show them that I won’t listen to them. I see it as a form of control, and I am not going to be controlled by my parents. A lot of Kiwis will be like “don’t listen to your parents, do what you want”, and find it weird that Asians value the opinions of their parents and let them affect their lives so entirely- and here comes that clash. To be a weak willed Kiwi or a bad Asian child: I’ve always chosen the second.
After seeing some of the content in Subtle Asian Mental Health I realised that my parents can actually be quite chill compared to the stories I’ve read, and that they gave me the freedom to choose how I lead my life. They’ve never threatened to kick me out, or ground me for trivial things that I didn’t listen to them on, my mum has never threatened to die or throw a hissy fit, and they’ve never forced me into a field or career (all seem like extremely common in Asian culture)- and I am actually astounded at the amount of people that are doing degrees or jobs they hate or fail at just because their parents want them to. And I can’t believe that some Asian parents reallllyyy don’t let their kids make their own decisions, or think they know best in life. The arrogance, the control, the disregard for their kids happinesses- it really gets my blood boiling because I just don’t understand WHY they think they can act this way.
I don’t understand why so many Asians let their parents do so as well, even when they do have disposable incomes and don’t need rely on appeasing their parents for anything. If they took a step back and thought about what the repercussions were, maybe it’s worth it? Little rebellions will get your parents knowing that you don’t listen to them anyway. They won’t disown you since thats quite shameful to admit to their friends and the rest of their family lol. A lot of them seem to be scared of making them upset since so many Asian parents throw hissy fits over the smallest things (my mum might not be a fan of dramatics but my dad can chuck a tanty like a toddler over the pettiest shit its his brand), but my mentality has always been ‘fuck you, throw a tanty thats what you get for trying to control me lol’ . I have always been a bad child, because I’m very ready to make my parents feel like shit if they attempt to make me feel like it too, and they know I’m not afraid of them. I’ve had cousins tell me that I’m so independent, and what my parents might think about things I’ve done but to me I feel like I’m just being an adult. I want to make my own decisions. And I’ve never realised that I’m lucky to have parents that respect that and find it normal.
I don’t understand why Asian parents think they can control their kids lives. I don’t understand why they think they know best and force their kids to be doctors or engineers, or into science degrees. I know it’s very easy for me to say as a non parent, but wouldn’t you want your kids to do something they want to do? Let them actually develop a drive and passion for something, rather than wishing they were your puppet? Especially if they start failing their papers, struggle to find jobs or struggle to find meaning in their jobs- I don’t understand why they don’t think ‘maybe its time to try something else’ and ‘my child is old enough to make these decisions and I need to let go’. I don’t understand why independence, or empowerment, is seen as a bad thing. Don’t you want strong, mature, and independent adult children?? Isn’t that the real dream?? How the fuck are your kids supposed to be that when they are micro managed by their parents??? I full well know that most Asian parents think success and happiness is the same thing. They want their kids making as much money as they can because that equates to stability, to having nice things, to being able to buy a house, food and live comfortably. But is that worth the resentment your kids feel toward you for causing so much unhappiness in their life? Is it worth knowing that it’s not what your kids really wants to do, that they’re depressed or anxious, that they’re struggling or they will never reach their full potential or have the opportunity of being wildly successful at something because they’re extremely passionate about it, and it’s all because you’ve forced them to take a certain route in life? There is so much to enjoy, so many different opportunities and ways to make money. And I’m not going to have meltdowns to scare my children into listening to me- I promise to only do it if my kids break the law, become an addict or have become spoilt little shits knock on wood!!
I think it will be very interesting to see what these first generation Asian kids will be like as parents- on one hand, they will most likely not want to repeat the trauma they faced over explosive parents and hard studying regimes, but on the other unless they have fully healed and accepted their childhoods they face the risk of carrying on the trauma. It’s hard not to shout if thats what you were raised with, although I picture myself to be a mother like Madeline in Big Little Lies lolol.
I am back home from my 6 week Contiki trip and it was amazing! Loved the sights and sounds and the trip manager was so great, but I don’t think I could do another big group trip. I think I would do better with a smaller group, and definitely with friends or a partner. I think I really needed it – I needed that excitement, I needed to learn more and get that perspective in life. I found it very easy to distance myself from things like World Wars, Nazi Germany, current refugee situation, GFC ramifications and Brexit since I live in a place that literally could not be further from the action – all of those things were just subjects in school or on the news for an hour a day. It is so much more confronting and makes it so much more real for me when I’m seeing the university Hitler got rejected from in Austria and the balcony that he stood from when he declared Anchsluss. When you see how much war is in Europe’s history and has so many consequences, and has caused so much fear and death. I never could grasp how powerful ideology could be, until I was going through the House of Terror and realised that fascism and antisemitism are literally just ideas. Ideas that caused millions and millions of deaths just to defend that idea, that people are killed for not thinking the same, or being the target of one of those ideas.
It’s so crazy to me that when I visited the Hot Gates with a Spartan statue to comemmerate the 300 Spartans that fought there against the Ottoman Empire that.. Spartans were real. Before, Spartans to me were as real to me as Maui and his fishing boat and I thought the movie 300 was based on a myth. But it’s not. 300 Spartans, who were some of the fiercest warriors the world had ever seen fought there and were people like me. I just can’t really get over how all these historical figures and events became extremely humanised for me. Of course I have heaps of stories and things I found interesting on the trip.
Some little bites I’d like to share;
- My favourite country was Greece- sooo dreamlike. White sands, white houses, beautiful seas and sunsets. I’m currently reading a book called Mythos by Stephen Fry and the myths and legends from Greece are so beautiful and interesting to see how a lot of english words came from Greek god/goddess names. I went to Athens, Ios and Santorini in Greece and my favourite was definitely Ios. I would love to go Mykonos and Crete.
- I LOVED Paris! Before I had heard that Paris was dirty and lots of scammers but I didn’t think so at all. I loved the history, the vibe and the architecture of the city, every street is so beautiful and I love how passionate people are about politics. I also loooovee the way they respect their food and treat it so well, I appreciate it so much. I would really like to go back and visit Lyon, because it’s supposed to be a gastronomical destination and you can do gastronomy tours there and that sounds ammaaazzingg. I really like the French language too- I always thought it was tacky when people were obsessed with Paris and French and although I still do, I can see why there is a hype. French is so chic! My trip manager also told us that French people were like coconuts- hard exterior but once you get passed it they’re really soft and sweet on the inside and I love that analogy. I like those sort of people. Plus how good would a French boyfriend be. I was literally daydreaming about moving to France and immediately thought about how I could not speak French, but then at least I could get swiping on Tinder and Bumble and get a French boy and that’s what really matters- to be in range for booty call apps.
- My favourite food had to be from the Germany/Austria/Switzerland region because they really like pork belly and knuckles, sausages, beer and divine cheese. I had this really nice herbs cheese and ham cheese in Switzerland and I still think about it regularly. There were so many cheese stores who would give you free samples and I don’t think I can ever eat cheese that could top Switzerland cheese. I also really liked their roast pork belly and roast pork knuckles. The crackling- sooooo goooooddd. Switzerland was actually so beautiful, no wonder the rich and famous always decide to hide or send their kids to boarding school there.
- I don’t think I want to live in London. I know a lot of Kiwis and my friends have moved over there but I think I would seriously struggle with the high cost of living and the pressure. I believe I would be more excited to move to France, before England.
- Places in Europe I want to go to next: more time in Italy, Lyon in France, Mykonos and Crete, Croatia (the cities have their GoT name on their instagram geotag and it killlss me I want to go there so bad) and more of the UK!
I also got quite sick so my body definitely needed the rest.
I think it also has helped my direction in my life, and helped me think about what I want- I have some really clear goals now that I want to work towards, and I am actually really keen to get started on them. I know it will be different once I am in a routine again, and I’m so glad I’ve gone an adventure that I’ve always wanted to go on my entire life. it actually surprises me a little that I went to America before Europe, as i’ve wanted to go Rome, Italy specifically since I was in school.
Now I am back on the jobhunt again. I’ve managed to sort out a few life admin things since being back, like getting my full drivers license!!! And reporting for jury duty. I got summoned before I left and they knew I was coming back so they sent me another letter while I was away, and I have to go in and see if I get chosen at the end of this month!!
Hope you are all doing well- until the next thing that crushes my soul and I end up on my blog ranting about it lol
I am currently on a ferry from Athens to Ios as I’m on a great European adventure for 6 weeks and I’ve been travelling about 2 and a half weeks, so nearly halfway! We had a call time to breakfast of 5:25am, like literally crack of dawn.
As I’m sitting here watching the bright blue waters, the tan mountains and sun steaming down I can’t help but feel like the sun is mocking me.
I’m sick at the moment- I’ve got a massive cold and annoying cough, my wisdom teeth hurt, I got sunburnt badly on my shoulders, my iPhone is constantly freezing and shutting down that I bought a new one and I’m generally quiet because I’m not getting the amount of sleep I used to, plus when I talk I cough and my throat hurts either from the cold or the wisdom teeth, not really sure. I feel like everyone else is so excited- they see the sun and it energises them. They’re so excited to be on a yacht drinking in the scenes straight out of Mamma Mia while I see the sun and it makes me even more bitter.
It’s mocking me about how different my mod is compared to the rest of my group- they’re all so happy while I’m so subdued and making me feel so left out and different. It shines down letting me know that I should want it, that I should be so happy to see it, when I would be so happy to draw the curtains and bury myself in bed. It represents the personalities of the people I’m with- all so vibrant, funny and happy and here I am sitting in the corner in a hoodie and a jacket over my lap like fucking Bran the Broken because the air conditioning is right above my head and blowing cold air on me. Everyone at home told me that it would be easy for me to make friends on the contiki because of my personality. But I’ve realised that for me to be that happy and bubbly personality that my friends and family see it’s because I’m so comfortable. They’ve all had time for me to get to know them. I’ve never done well in networking and large house parties where I don’t know anyone- and this is like a large floating house party where everyone is circulating in the solar system and I’m just a moon in my own orbit.
I have made a few friends though, and I’m really grateful because I hate being alone and they’re really nice.
The sun has always made me feel like it’s mocking me.
When it streams down in a weekend, it sets the expectation that I probably should be doing something better with my life and that I’m wasting a weekend. That I should be at a beach and having fun instead of what I’m doing, which is normally shopping or watching Netflix. Even when I am doing what I suppose I should be doing in good weather, it mocks me with what I see.
The sun, the sea, flowers blooming, fruit ripening, brightness, warmth and therefore perfect weather for couples to come out. For the sun to remind me of what I don’t have- someone to love that I can share the good times with. The more fun I’m having, the better experience I’m living, the thought that it would be so much better to share it with someone or that it would’ve made such a good memory with someone always crosses my mind. I’m going to Santorini in a few days, and that’s a prime honeymoon spot. It would’ve been great if I could’ve experienced Santorini for the first time with someone. Being in love is like being in the sun- joyful, fun, life, happiness- and I haven’t been in love for years.
Honestly, I’ve knocked out a major point on my checklist already for the trip and I don’t think I’m going to be falling in love with anyone on the trip soon (and no one is exactly falling in love with me). I’m loving the sights and sounds of Europe, and I’m glad I did it. I didn’t come here to find a boy. I didn’t come here to “find” myself. Coming to Europe was something I knew I was going to do with my life. It was as sure as going to university, going on exchange to America and moving out. It wasn’t a matter of if, but a when. I’m so controlled in all the departments of my life except one.
I feel like this blogpost is very sad but I guess I am at the moment. Dark nights I can do. Nights are easy. Rainy days are fine; anything I do on a rainy day is automatically productive. Oh, but the sun- proud in its happiness, in its love and good times- I can never measure up. I don’t know how to obtain it, I don’t know how to achieve it, I don’t know how to embody it. I am noones sunny day when I can’t muster the strength to be my own. Oh shit, this is where that “if you can’t love yourself how are you going to love anyone else” comes in, but I feel like I do. Maybe I’m the clouds to a boy who’s like the sun so our day is bright but not glaring. Maybe I’m the grey to a boy who doesn’t like the heat and burn. Or maybe I just need someone to be the clear sky to give me the space to shine.
The sun is definitely mocking me, because it holds my day dreams of my life and who I want to be and rubs my face in it.
The sunnier the day, the harder it exposes my inner insecurities myself that I cannot unsee. And I’m currently feeling like I’m the only person in the person in the world who gets a sense of relief at sunset.
I finished my job two weeks ago now, and I’ve definitely been leading a life of leisure. No stresses, brunches and lunches, shopping… of course I wouldn’t be able to do this forever as the cashflow would run out, but if I could… I definitely would haha. I don’t think I’m getting bored? I leave for my European Contiki next week and it’ll be all go go go go- but I’m enjoying taking it slow so much I’m already mourning my lazy (every)days. I am just so content to mellow along. I was already so caught up on my sleep when I had a job, and now I’m over-rested haha.
What exactly have I been occupying my time with?
I was having brunch with my friends at Cornwall Park on a Monday, and we had a walk, looked at a few cows and then sat down in a green field and talked about life while the sun shone. And it was like yyyyass. This is what being productive while unemployed feels like haha. No worries, no projects I needed to be stressing about, my mailbox never getting any emails- it’s taken me a long time to adjust to not see my emails increasing.
I’ve been been brunching, lunching, dinnering and not buying chips for the last two weeks. I am so proud of myself although I have not noticed any results from my chip ban. I figure with the two months away with no access to the chips I like (my kryptonite are those orange powder chips that you buy for kids… rashuns..cheezels… ohhmmmyggaadd) that it will help me from getting back on my orange crack.
Also can you please congratulate me on figuring how to have it link to my foodie instagram? I take pics of food every time I go out to eat, so I thought I would make the habit useful and make a foodie account for me to look back at all the good times hehe
- Becoming obsessed with Spiderman
I don’t know how I became obsessed with Spiderman/Tom Holland but with all this time on my hands I’ve watched literally every interview on Youtube. I watched Spiderman Homecoming and he/Tom Holland was just so cute. I don’t even find him particularly hot, he’s just so cute. I just want him to make me cups of tea and call me darling and sweetheart when I’m sad in his British accent lolol.
Since I ran out of Tom Holland content to devour (I’m totally not interested in his work when he was a literal child), I have now started becoming obsessed with Robert Downey Jr who has yeeeeaaarrss of content. And yes, I watched Avengers: Endgame on the day it came out which was a Wednesday because I am unemployed and have the time to haha. Because I DO NOT have time for spoilers!!
- Annoying my flatcat
In my defense, I think she likes it. Since I’m at home the majority of the time when she would typically be alone, she seems surprised every time she sees me and each morning the greeting becomes more enthusiastic in my hover mum eyes. Previously, I would have to find her to say hi, and now she walks to me when she hears my door open. It’s just little rewards like these that make godparenting worth it lolol.
I literally only have like 48 more hours of this life of leisure left- it’s Tuesday night as I write this and I leave around midday Friday- aargh! I just googled where my hotel is and it’s very close to the British Museum, Tescos and a Boots so I’m definitely going exploring. I am very excited. On Saturday (UK time) I’ll be walking through Russell Square trying to get to the museum, and in London! I’ve never been to Europe before. This Contiki is probably going to be a very significant time in my life- in two days it will change from leisure to adventure (and alcohol)!!
It’s a week of gratitude for me- a lot of success, a lot of relief and just good going!
This Friday will be my last day at work- crazy!!! As I mentioned before, I’m resigning since I have booked myself a 6 week Contiki through Europe and Greece.
Also, I’ve had my personal essay “Bananas” go really well! I entered the Nextshark’s, a US website, personal essay competition where I came as the runner up and won $100 USD! I was very happy. Seeing the response on my article was also amazing! People saying they related, people that enjoyed the piece and also a few people scoffing about how stereotypical I was. I have been overwhelmed by the amount of kind words and people reaching out to share them with me!
Read it on Nextshark here: Bananas on Nextshark
Someone who had read it from NZ suggested that I send it into The Spinoff, and the editor got in touch with me to see if I was interested in publishing it there. So I edited it to make it more suitable to a Kiwi audience.
Read it on The Spinoff here: Bananas on The Spinoff
Before when I had told my friends and coworkers about it being on Nextshark, they were pretty happy for me since I had won prize money, but hadn’t heard of the website (sorry Nextshark). However, when it was published on The Spinoff which is a wellknown website in NZ, the excitement ramped up haha.
Some points I wanted to mention:
- I wrote this essay when I was 19 and for a Nonfiction Creative Writing class in the States. Every essay that the class worked on was pretty sobering; someone’s Dad had their brain surgically split due to seizures, someone had a nose job after being bullied in their life, someone else was bullied by someone I knew, to my horror. We would have to critique each others essays every class, and it prompted this email from my professor after noone had anything to say about mine (not a brag- the person who was the most vocal during critiques was me so when it was my turn to take it noone was dishing it out lol). I got an A for it so that was good!
Read the email here: My Favourite Email
I do wonder if the piece could be better if I had written it now.
- Guys, success is attractive. All, and I mean all, the people that I’ve had friend crushes on, have reached out to me and told they’ve liked it. People that I would’ve thought had forgotten me by now are making the effort to personally tell me that they enjoyed it!! It actually makes me giddy. Now I just need Tim Lambourne to slide into my DMs hahaha…
- So many people said that they relate! When I sent it to my brothers one of them got all reflective on me and I was like, hold on- our relationship so far has been debating whether Brooklyn 99 is worth the hype and me talking at him. Then he got contemplative on me! I am actually very surprised at the reception Bananas has received- if you read it, I felt very alone when I was younger. It’s strange to see that a lot of people I know, some that I thought wouldn’t, have shared the experiences and felt the same.
- The Spinoff had white Kiwis being very nice and kind on the comments. I had not really expected white Kiwis to have much of an opinion on the piece- I honestly thought that they would find it boring and they wouldn’t read it. So happy to see nice comments!!
- My Mum read it -___- I had linked it to my parents thinking that because it was too long, they wouldn’t read it. I just wanted to prove that it wasn’t a scam when I said I had won $100 USD. Cue the long wechats where she got uber defensive about the lifestyle I grew up in. I had actually panic read it after I realised she was reading it to see how Bananas could be construed through my parents eyes and was eeehh I went easy on them. I could’ve done a lot worse but my parental issues I can save for my debut novel haha! 😀
I am just feeling super happy and validated right now that my writing is good! I would like to think I have a talent for it, but I’ve been plugging away at this blog for years now, and I have gotten any recognition for it haha.
It’s just so nice for something that I made, that my literal life story, I have told it in a way that I can be proud of.