21 signs that you are a Westernised Asian: The Jakarta Post

Posed photo of people playing games or messaging on their handphones.
Posed photo of people playing games or messaging on their handphones. PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER FILE

(THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - I made an announcement to a group of students: “I will give this US$100 to the first person who brings me a large cappuccino and a US$100.”

I nearly got away with it. A few of them started to move but then worked it out. What a shame. What idiot decided it was a good idea to introduce young people in Asia to critical thinking? 

I was also surprised to see Western designer coffee shops adopted in Asia. But then I realised that most people were ignoring the fancy coffee and sitting there drinking tea.

The fact is, we inhabitants of cities in Asia pretend to be totally “globalised” these days but scratch the surface and you find traditional Asians underneath. 

So here is a list of: 21 signs that you are a Westernised Asian:

All your Western friends think you are good at math.

You have black hair but think of it as dark brown.

On your music player, hidden among the trendy hits by Adele and Maroon 5 hits, are some ancient bits of Asian music, such as Cantonese Opera or old Bollywood standards.

Older family members still think that you have to shout into phones to make yourself heard.

Your number one guilty secret: You enjoy karaoke, and have at least one song that you reckon you do pretty well.

You think wearing a Rolex Oyster is a legal requirement for Asian business people.

You have Western pills in your medicine cabinet, but also strange smelling rocks, seeds and slices of dried buffalo penis.

Your parents don’t realise that there are other things you can study at university other than business, medicine, law and engineering.

You have at least one friend whose first name is a noun, as in Diphtheria Chan.

Many members of your family have politically incorrect nicknames, such as Fatty-Uncle.

You want a side dish of rice with everything, including KFC, steak and burgers.

You say you don’t believe in feng shui but when you’re offered seat 44 on a plane or train, you cancel the trip.

Several of your friends use what they mistakenly think are trendy, popular Western names, such as Sunny, Winnie, Lala, Gilbert, Jasmine, Fanny, Prince or Connie.

You have no interest in classical music but were forced to do piano or violin all the way to grade eight.

You are used to turning on the television and seeing that the first three news items are fawning reports about the country’s leader.

You watch in horror as Western cooks throw away the fish heads and the chicken wings.

Your durian habit prompts your Western neighbours to call the decontamination service. 

You Westernise your name, so Kapoor becomes Cooper, Siu becomes Sue, Bakr becomes Baker and so on.

You drive a German car in your dreams and a Toyota in real life.

When you rent an apartment, you don’t bother to inspect it, just asking the agent: “So, how many square feet is it?”

You can squat without falling over

And you are reading this in Starbucks drinking an outrageously expensive cup of tea. Just like most of my relatives.