A mystery: why are modern Asians so metrosexual?
By Nury Vittachi
Today, this column is going to be much more intelligently written than usual, because the space is being handed over to readers’ letters.
From reader Lesley Croft: “Why are there so many Asian metrosexuals? I have worked with men who have decorated their desks at work with fluffy bunnies, Moomins and Thomas the Tank Engine. I just don't get it.”
Reader Dan Kubiske said: “This cuteness thing goes deep. My sister's family is hosting a Japanese 14-year-old as part of a middle school exchange program. The one gift the girl wanted to get for her 20-year-old brother was a Thomas the Tank Engine. My sister and her family were not sure what to make of that. She wrote me and asked if that was normal. I told her it was not. I said I thought the brother would have preferred Hello Kitty.”
Joe Roces, an Asian-American, wrote that people in the United States assume Asians are either over-achieving geeks or Bruce Lee, which was tough for him, since he was neither: “I suck with computers and everyone thought I was the IT guy the first day of my job.”
From May Khoo: “Thanks for the article about Englasian. It cures my homesickness. Can you write another one-ah?” From Andrea Wicking: “I am half-Indian, half-Australian, but the Asian in me comes out when I’m back in Malaysia. I start talking just like my relatives.” From Melanie Tan: “Your Asian English passages make me nostalgic for life in Penang. Make me frus only.”
From Gideon Ip: “I strongly believe that your column should be translated into Asian languages as well. You can get over the difficulties of translating humor if you put some ‘root’ pieces of humour into a dictionary or reference called a Jokasaurus or Funtionary and classify them with numbers and levels. People can then just quote the codes to each other: ‘What if A4 said B12 to C1?’ We should develop some sort of international humour mark-up language.”
I can see them rolling in the aisles at that, Gideon. Now who was saying that Asians are over-achieving geeks?
From Peter Emmett: “Here’s another reason why there won’t be an Asian in the US White House any time soon: Legislation exists making it illegal to chop down the White House trees and concrete its lawn.”
There were several notes on miscommunication. From Terry Bugden: “We were sitting in the departure lounge of the Phuket International Airport waiting for our flight to be called. Suddenly there was a pinging noise as the public address system came to life and a female voice said: ‘Passengers on Flight TG 478 to Kuala Lumpur should proceed to gate five and have their body parts ready for inspection.’”
From Sue R: “True story. A waiter put down a dish in front of a couple of tourists in Hong Kong and said, ‘This is a freaking chicken.’ The couple were surprised at his colloquial language and asked him to repeat himself. ‘It's a freaking chicken,’ he said. Finally, he points to the listing on the menu: African Chicken.”
From Samantha Wu comes an Asian joke: “Did you hear about the guy who won a competition and the prize was a year’s supply of super-hot Thai chilli sauce? It was one jar.”