Stereotypes in the East/West World
A conventional, formulaic, and oversimplified conception, opinion, or image.
Glenn: Most people agree that stereotypes are not a good thing. They tend to make us objectify people and cultures, which puts a distance between us and 'the truth'.
On the other hand, stereotypes can work as a sort of 'shorthand' that allows us to more quickly adapt to new situations.
And, after all, all stereotypes carry some element of truth, past or present.
So let's talk about East/West stereotypes.
I've drummed up a bunch of cultural stereotypes that I'm going to list.
I want you to say whether you agree or not, then tell us why, with anecdotes or personal experience.
Lets start with the all-time classic: All Asians look the same, don't they?
Angie - a married American woman who has lived in Japan and Singapore:
I must admit I thought so my first few months in Asia.
Tsuji - a single Japanese male who lived in Texas and works for a Korean company:
Maybe Yes. It depends on how many Asians you know, I'm talking about friends. First time I went to the U.S., I thought every white girl is good looking.
Scott - an American male who has lived in Europe and Japan:
No, they don't. I have worked on an ability to be able to identify a person's country of origin. My hit
rate is not too bad (especially if I can hear them talk), and it has certainly provided some interesting
conversations. Oddly, I did find that many Japanese felt that this was true.
Desmond - a Singaporean male who lived in America:
Disagree.... Having lived in the US for some time, I can see where you're coming from. but I bet you'd disagree if an Asian is to say all Blondes look the same.
Dave - a French male who is married to a Singaporean and living in the U.S. :
I have to admit that they did until I got to know more of them. Now I am pretty confident that I can distinguish between Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese.
Kamikaze - a Japanese male who is married to a Chinese woman, and has lived in Singapore and the United States:
No way. You know this already .
Glenn: Yeah, but surely all Westerners are hairy barbarians....
Scott: I try, but my beard grows too slowly.
Kamikaze: No way. Who said that.
Dave: I am rather on the hairy side. But my dad on his last count had about 3 hairs on his whole chest.
Desmond: Disagree.... I've seen clean refined westerners too......
Angie: I'll agree with the hairy part.
Glenn: Many Westerners still picture a geisha when they think of Asian women. Are Asian women really quiet, petite, submissive, second class citizens?
Dave: Petite very much so, but quiet and submissive that would not describe Mei Kuan (my wife). She is rather the opposite, agressive and challenging.
Kamikaze: No more.
Scott: You clearly have never been Oba-ed!
(Editors note - An Oba-san is a kimono-covered mack truck version of an elderly Japanese women, typically on a single-minded quest for some sale item or empty train seat that is on the other side of you.)
Desmond: Haha.......... Hmmm..... hehehe....... If I suggest that to my friends, I'd better wear a hard hat
Tsuji: My girlfriend is wild. Wa da ya say?
Angie: Not simple to answer. I feel Asian women are as complex as Western women - though more enigmatic due to the cultural differences.
I've seen all sides, and these also seem to vary in different Asian countries. Yes, there's the quiet but also the loud and squealy. There's petite and there's large, and "is that a girl or a guy??". Some are submissive, some are powerful and aloof. And there's a range from seemingly second class to seemingly empowered.
A large part of their behavior is due to the pressure of their country's expectations of them - the unwritten rules.
I'll agree that in general, Asian women are much smaller than Western women - the Vietnamese being tiny.
Glenn: Everyone tells me that Western women are noisy, aggressive, sexually active Amazons. And they don't mean it in a bad way! But is it true?
Scott: At the best of times.
Dave: Having spent some time in England and in the US, I find anglo-saxon women very noisy. But European (I know that supposedly
England is part of Europe but ...) women are usually much quieter.
Desmond: Looks like it's going to be a theme... disagree... I've seen quiet western women as well... as for the sexually active part.... You can't really group outward behavior with bedside ones
Angie: Again it varies. I'll add: while in Asia and seeing Western women there, in general, Westerners seem to have less poise than Asian women.
Tsuji: Okay! In my mind, if I compare with wild Asian ones, I'd say Westerns are more active, because I may not be able to expect what they do.
But if I live in Western world more than 10 years(Long time), I would say it's the same.
Kamikaze: I think noisy, aggressive.
Glenn: Here's a classic: Asians work much harder than Westerners.
Kamikaze: Yes, they do, but not efficient some times.
Scott: It is hard to make a broad sweeping inclusion of all Asians. However, if you include the countries where this is considered to be good, then I would have to disagree. It is often true that these people stay at work later, but the work time often seems to be ineffective. When I was managing some Japanese people, I noticed that they were disturbed that I stayed so late, since they felt that they needed to leave work before me, and I would usually stay to the last train.
Tsuji: Not. Westerns are more rationalistic.
Dave: I feel that usually speaking the western worker is less pressurized. But Asians can adapt to the western style rather easily.
Angie: I'd say yes, in general.
Desmond: Nope.... I've also seen many many hard working ones (westerners)... although I've seen more hard working Asians than westerners....
Glenn: But then we hear that Westerners party harder than Asians.
Tsuji: Well, if you have seen MATSURI, you can tell.
(Editors note - A Matsuri is a Japanese festival that celebrates rice - mostly in the form of sake - and fertility - mostly in the form of, um, fertility..... Let's see... alcohol and fertility. Sounds just like Daytona Beach to me!! - okay, replace the bikini with a kimono.)
Desmond: Western parties that I've been to tend to have more beer than Asian ones... but maybe that's coz' their tolerance level is higher... that's what I thought.. till I went to Taiwan.... Hic.... Boy was I wrong.
Kamikaze: I have no idea.
(Editors note - Roppongi is......well, picture all your Dad's friends, still in business suits, partaking of multi-cultural S&M activities in a 7 square foot room with drunk asian chicks.....then keep going......and add karaoke)
Angie: Yes, from what I've seen. Not that Asians can't let loose or thoroughly enjoy themselves.
Glenn: Well, we've all seen Indiana Jones and famous monkey brain scene. Is it true that Asians eat anything (and everything) that moves?
Desmond: Don't know about other Asians.. but I'd prefer my food quite dead and roasted, thank you very much.... Think you're referring to Klingons.
Scott: Austrians and Scottish put some pretty odd stuff into pots, too. But they don't eat the stuff while it is still moving. Someone may be at the top of the food chain, but it is not necessary to let the food know it...
Tsuji: Ha? What is it talking about?
Kamikaze: No way, but I eat them. Ha Ha Ha !!
Angie: It seems so sometimes. Part of this, in someplaces, is out of need. I've seen roast dog hanging for sale at the roadside; snake for eating/drinking; large pans of various roasted bugs in markets; and I've seen people eating still squirming prawns (in economically rich Japan).
Dave: French too !!! I know of a nice sluggish, spitting, crawling animal, with a shell on its back which is delicious with garlic butter.
I could easily multiply the examples.
Glenn: Do Westerners only eat meat, potatoes, and butter?
Tsuji: And Pizza.
Scott: And chiles!
Desmond: You left out bread.... *grin* just kidding.....Think cultures eat what is readily available to them. Asian tend to go with rice for
example, since most of the rice producing nations are close by...
Kamikaze: Many of them still prefer these stuff, but some eat funny stuff like me.
Dave: Americans do for the most part.
Angie: Yes and no. I've seen plenty of Westerners (myself included) indulging in various Eastern fish, seafood, plant life, and "abnormal" delicacies - including raw horsemeat. I've also seen Westerners shun anything other than the most familiar of foods. Difficult to eat only meat and potatoes and butter in Asia, though - you're often hard pressed to find it.
Glenn: Speaking of raw horsemeat...It's often said that Western men are hung like horses and Asian men are, well, not!
Scott: Even Japanese horses are not hung like horses. But, why don't you ask a question about breasts?
Angie: Umm.. I wouldn't know about the 2nd part of this question.
Desmond: Sorry, I tend not to stare too hard at the next cubicle while at the loo.
Dave: I let the ladies comment on that one. I never had any encounter either with a naked asian male or a western one !!! You know what they say it's not the size that counts. Be aware of the shrinkage after a swim in the pool.
Kamikaze: I think so, but no evidence.
Tsuji: Oh, if you see mine, you would say "Are you an Alien?"
Glenn: Phone home, Tsuji. Anyone who spends time in Asia will see tons of white men with Asian women. We used to joke that they handed an Asian girl to every white man at immigration. And these women act a lot differently with Western men. More wild, more willing? Will Asian women do anything for western men?
Scott: For a little while.
Desmond: Hmm... are the men paying for the services? :-)
Tsuji: Some of them, maybe Yes.
Kamikaze: Some stupid Japs may do that.
Angie: Men would like to think so! Another generalization, of course, but from what I've seen, Western men are prime targets to zero in on and land.
Americans seem to come out ahead on this one. Those blonde/fair males can consider themselves pretty lucky.
Glenn: It's also said that Asian men will pay anything for a western woman. True?
Angie: Well, in Japan they can afford to, and sometimes they do. Again, blonde females are the most popular.
Scott: Is Russian Western?
Tsuji: No! I would pay only for F.Hotel.
Kamikaze: I have no idea. I have no interest about Western woman.
Desmond: Personally, no... but maybe it's economics... supply and demand....not many western woman in Asia.... It's the same as saying American men will pay anything for a Hollywood star..... which reminds me.. I'll have to up the price to 2 million the next time I meet Bruce and Demi.
Glenn: On the news, every picture we see of Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand paints a picture of poverty. Are these really poor, third-world countries?
Desmond: Don't think that's a stereotype.. with their current GNP, they are poor.... Another 10 years? Who knows.
Tsuji: There is several meanings of poor. Financially, I would say they are poor.
Kamikaze: Well, some look really rich.
Dave: It looks to me that the average inhabitant is poor but the countries and their goverments are wealthy.
Angie: Third-world perhaps in terms of economic standing, but poor can be arguable.
There are many ways to be rich and many ways to be poor.
There are plenty of money-rich people who are poor in happiness, contentment, personal fulfillment, peace of mind, love, family ties, tradition, and pleasures in the simple things.
Scott: Maybe, but what is the second world? Or the first? Where are these defined?
Glenn: On to Singapore. Is it really a repressive, uptight, butt-caning country?
Scott: Gotta love 'em for it. They have created a marvel, so what if a few civil liberties have been trod upon in the process?
Desmond: Hahaha.... My butt hasn't been caned, so don't' think I can take that stance.
Tsuji: I can't tell because I've never been there.
Dave: No, Singapore is a democratic country. You get to vote for the one and only candidate. You can also criticize the goverment prior to your exile.
Kamikaze: I really think so.
Angie: Strictly speaking, yes, but I think it's also relative. A lot isn't tolerated by the government. No political body is perfect. It's strategies have to kept Singapore a safe place to live in, and it's policies have carried it to a strong economic country, fast.
There are certainly worse things in less repressed countries...
While there are Singaporeans who feel repressed, there are others who are very proud of their country.
Glenn: Finally, do Blondes actually have more fun?
Desmond: Natural or Bleached? Either case, don't think so... I've met quite a few brunettes who're fun too... think if you're going to make that statement, you'll have to compare blondes to something... I'll agree if you meant blondes have more fun than my dead relatives.
Tsuji: I'd say they have more tit.
Scott: The spelling is accurate - blond women. At least they have more jokes. (But redbeards will rule the world!)
Angie: They get more attention, anyway. Depending on the blonde, one may find this a curse or a true blessing.
Dave: I met some blondes that were no fun at all.
Glenn: Thanks everyone. Any last stereotypes you wish to confirm or deny?
Scott: All stereotypes are wrong, and all are useful. This has worked to help form a mental model (which can then more easily be confirmed or rejected) for me in many European, American, and Asian countries.
Another one: cross-cultural insults often end up being funnier than they are offensive.
Tsuji: Well, I don't care, but maybe I am a stereotype.
Kamikaze: Mainland Chinese people do not consider other people at all.
Angie: Many Asian women do have excellent skin and gorgeous hair. There are plenty of nice smooth chests on Asian guys. Tons of great smiles. And yes, lots of nice big puffy pink lips on both genders.
Japan is amazingly efficient in it's ingenious ways of space-saving, and it's trains are punctual (except for when those committing suicide jump in front of one, or when crows pointedly put rocks on the tracks - seriously!) A small 2 bedroom apartment in Tokyo and Osaka can easily cost $4,000 US monthly, and large apples in Japan can cost $5-6 US; and yes, a melon is $45.
And, no, you won't be arrested in Singapore for chewing gum.