As a South Korean who was born and raised in Auckland, people tend to have a lot of interest in my background. I get asked a lot of questions which I don’t mind answering but I will admit, after the hundredth time, it gets a little old. On top of that, I get some comments that are a slightly questionable and I’m sure all my fellow Asians can feel me on some of these.
Next time you have a question, refer back to this little write up so we can make both of our lives a little easier! Here are 27 things I hear as a Kiwi Asian on a daily basis.
- Where are you from? Auckland!
- No like, where are you REALLY from? Unsure if you’re asking me to get specific and name my suburb or what my ethnic background is so I just respond “I’m Korean and I live in Auckland” to kill two birds with one stone.
- Are you North or South Korean? Are you trying to be funny or is this a serious question?
- Do you ever go back home? Where else would I go?
- Do the Gangnam Style dance! I’m dancing at a club, minding my own business just trying to have a good time but I always get that one friend yelling “DO THE GANGNAM STYLE DANCE.” Even if I pretend I didn’t hear them the first time, they won’t stop until you give them what they want.
- My best friend in primary school was Korean! And your point is?...
- Oh my god, do you know ___ Zhang? With an Asian population of more than 300,000 in Auckland alone, the chances of me knowing your friend from primary school are very slim.
- Your English is like, really good?! Well I’ve lived here my entire life, what else were you expecting?
- What does that say? *points at a Chinese sign* I am just as clueless as you.
- Ugh, all Asians have nice skin. Can you please give me hard factual evidence that proves this bold and generalising statement? Because both my sister and I struggled with acne as teenagers.
- Is it true that Asians bleach their skin? A fair question to ask as Asian skin products say “skin whitening,” but this is something that has been lost in translation. What they’re trying to say is skin toning and evening, so no, Asians do not bleach their skin!
- Can you come shopping with me for skincare products? I would ask a certified dermatologist if I were you.
- Konichiwa! Some people find it funny to greet me in the language of the country they assume I’m from, I find it rude and annoying.
- You’re actually quite good looking for an Asian! This is the most backhanded compliment you can ever give to an Asian person, thanks for nothing!
- She’s so pretty for an Asian. Somebody, explain to me what “for an Asian” really means!
- Can you teach me how to say something in Asian? Can you please teach me when Asian became a language?
- How are you so bad at maths when you’re Asian?! Meanwhile, you’re failing English class, please explain?
- You look like Jackie Chan! And you look like Brad Pitt!
- Albert, as an Asian person, what was your perspective on The Memoirs of a Geisha? I kid you not, my English teacher asked me this in high school, in front of the whole class! Do I look like the Rosetta Stone for the Asian community?
- We’d have the cutest mixed-race babies! I don’t think I want to make children with someone that makes sweeping statements like that!
- How Asian are your parents? Believe it or not, a lot of people tend to like to replace the word ‘strict’ with ‘Asian’.
- That meal was so expensive for Asian food. So you’re willing to pay $25 for five pieces of Italian ravioli but expect 20 dumplings for not even half the price?
- Oh my god, I drove past this Malaysian restaurant last night and thought of you. I have never thought of a single person while driving past Ponsonby Road Bistro so please, elaborate.
- You’re like the coolest Asian person I know. So many things wrong with this sentence. What are you trying to say about every other Asian? And let’s be real, I’m probably the only Asian person you know.
- So are you Chinese, Japanese or Korean? If you’re going to play the listing game, why are we forgetting about all the other Asian countries?
- What’s that?.. *squishes finger into my food* Please don’t touch my food and it’s just spicy pork, calm down.
- Where do I get the best ramen? Best laksa? Best pad Thai?! Mate, look it up at The Urban List.