Monday, September 13, 2010

It's The Asian Thing

Having three Asian women, three Latinos and a Polish man in the fellowship have allowed us to learn many things about each other. Most of the time, the men are baffled by the way things are in Asia. Here are several cultural differences I've accumulated so far.

1. Asians bring umbrellas for the sun, not for the rain.

The beauty standards in most Asian countries are women should be fair-skinned. To maintain the fairness, umbrellas are compulsory items.

2. Asians live with our parents although we can afford to buy our own house.

I'm a 30-year old woman and I still live with my parents. M&D said that the only chance to leave their home was by getting married or I got a job in another city, such as Josh and Qin. In most cases, even after getting married, people still live with their parents. But I guess this is the common thing in Asia.

3. Asians have title for each family member, such as the wife of my father's brother, and we don't call them by their names. Enough said.

4. Asians don't acknowledge men-women hugging and kissing. Instead we have women-women hugging and kissing or men-men hugging and kissing. In fact, most Asians don't have body contact when meeting each other.

When we were leaving Jeju island, we said goodbye to our tour guide, Mrs. Kim. Josh, Qin and I hugged and had cheek-to-cheek kiss, and our gesture was followed by the gentlemen with the exception that it was lips-to-cheek kiss! Mrs. Kim turned red! I sympathize with her.

I told the three Latinos that they'd better wait for the women to make the first move, as hugging and kissing are not the common thing here in Asia. I know that there are many Asian women who have no problem with the hugging and kissing, but if the woman is not used to that, it may cause awkward situation.

The Brazilian fellow Wharrysson did not believe me and has been asking other women on this issue. So far, the women's answer favors my argument:)


  1. Hihi... you well pinpoint the different habits, I see. Yes, I also faced the issue while in Germany. I continually felt like the African and German men invading my personal space when they put their hands on my shoulders; and I don't feel comfortable at all. Guess they sensed my uncomfort and that's why they hardly did it again afterward and never tried to have closer body contact afterward. Lol...

  2. the latinos are emotional and expressive people, so they are surprised upon hearing the Asian norms. also, whenever they see a beautiful woman, they will stare or even say,"what a beautiful lady!"
    when i told them that it's rude to stare or say the words, they were also shocked:). my korean friend, a woman, confirmed my words saying that a korean man would not praise a woman with words but he would approach her, give his phone number and ask the lady to phone him if she's interested.
    sounds very polite, eh? and the brazilian fellow said that korean men are boring, LOL.