Recently I stumbled upon a blogpost written by a BBC – British Born Chinese – titled “Wanted: Chinese Women”. The post pointed out a painful, yet truthful reality of stereotypes with Chinese women dating white men.
Having been dating a white German for the past few years, I, being Chinese, cannot agree more. Well, where should I start? I’m caught in-between two worlds. When I am back to Hong Kong and travelling with my German companion, I’m seen as someone who is completely “westernised”, which, to some extent, meant I must be “easy” and … welling alluring I guess. My internationally-accented English disguises my childhood and adolescence in Hong Kong (unintentionally) and others assume that I might just be a rich brat whose white boyfriend drives a Mercedes and buys me everything I want from Louis Vuitton. My cuddles and kisses are frown upon by locals, especially elders. Their glances judge my betrayal to my Chinese humility, subtlety and affectionlessness in public.
“NO PUBLIC DISPLAY OF AFFECTION, YOU BANANA!” (derogatory nickname given to Chinese people with western attitudes: yellow on the outside and white inside), their looks scream at me. In their heads, they are thinking that I might probably be a wild party-animal who picked up a white guy at LanKwaiFong, the popular bar district that is not so approved by parents but very supported by the foreign community. Do our cuddles give them the liberty to think that I must be doing all sorts of kinky stuff my white boyfriend asks to keep the relationship going?
In the West, I honestly enjoy my exoticism – I get tanned more easily than my boyfriend and I can cook a different cuisine when he is making pizza. (Instant Chinese noodles count too!) But at the beginning when I did not speak that much German, it was almost embarrassing to be going out with him. “I am not bought from find-a-chinese-wife.com, I swear,” I was always thinking when people gave me the weird look. But as long as we start speaking in English, then everything falls into place. I have to admit that in Germany, especially in metropolitans like Berlin and Hamburg, bi-racial couples are very common and that’s when I feel most at ease. And after a while, when I can chip in into a German conversation, I forget about my foreignness.
The truth behind the façade is that, my boyfriend and I are like any other normal same-racial couples. We have our shared interest, cultures and childhood memories of Pokemon. At the same time, we do have our stubbornness and differences – he is organised and I am last-minute; he believes in social welfare systems while I think a 50% tax rate is crazier than the thought of aliens eating only seafood; he is fascinated by the Chinese mentality and history while I want to read all of the World War related books. But that’s the beauty of it. We have something extra, maybe, than a same-racial couple. We have our differences and our cultural references – I can’t get rid of my Chinese superstitions, for instance, which makes him laugh every time I come up with another death-omen from the direction my slippers face. But the rest seems exactly like any other relationships – it is about respect, lovingness, tolerance and understanding. It is nothing about race, or money, or future prospects whatsoever.
I know that I am speaking from a fortunate perspective – I grew up being taught equality and believing in it. Hong Kong is a pretty multicultural city that allows me to learn to live with other cultures and understand their ways of living. But there are many Chinese/Asian women who have to get married off to the West, in hopes of finding a better future for themselves and their families. That is tragic but that is not the norm.
So next time, when you see my boyfriend and I cuddling, do believe that it is out of love and not because I want to fish that 50 Euro bill out of his pocket.