MY FRIEND ANDY told me he goes to the Starbucks coffee shop every day. I told him he was a coffee addict. He shook his head. "Actually, I can't stand the stuff," he whispered. "I order tea."
Andy is your typical modern Asian yuppie fashion victim, or what I prefer to call "an idiot". You may think that's harsh, but anyone who pays US$5 for a cup of tea just to look trendy deserves to be dissed.
But then I realized I was no different. I go to trendy Western restaurants, but sneak in a bottle of chilli sauce to give the food a chance to bite back. (Warning: If you do this, DO NOT keep the chilli sauce in your trouser pocket. Tiny accidents can cause severe inflammation of the underpants, which can painfully damage your chance of fathering multitudes.)
It's funny: the inhabitants of cities in Asia look totally Westernized these days. Yet scratch the surface and you find traditional Asians underneath.
So here is a list of: Signs That You Are a Post-Modern Asian.
- If you haven't eaten rice at least once a day, you feel hungry.
- You have black hair but think of it as dark brown.
- Many members of your family have politically incorrect nicknames, such as Fatty-Uncle.
- Your number one guilty secret: you enjoy karaoke.
- You have lived next door to someone for five years but know nothing at all about them.
- Your older relatives still think that you have to shout into phones to make yourself heard.
- You drive a German car in your dreams and a Toyota in real life.
- You think wearing a Rolex Oyster is a legal requirement for Asian businessmen.
- You have Western pills in your medicine cabinet, but also strange smelling rocks, seeds and a bit of sliced deer antler.
- You have never even thought about paying full price for a DVD or CD.
- Your parents don't realize 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.
- You never realized that Solitaire could be played without a computer.
- There are jars of dried leaves in the pantry of your family home.
- Your mobile phone has a different ring tone for your main spouse and your "minor" spouse.
- You know more European designer labels than any of your European friends.
- You have no time for organized religion but take the feng shui of your office seriously.
- You think there's nothing odd with an adult buying a Nintendo DS or a PSP for his or her own use.
- You think of all software as freeware.
- Several of your friends think use what they think are trendy, popular Western names, such as Winnie, Gilbert, Fanny and Connie.
- You are amazed at what your Western friends pay for designer Asian clothes that look like the stuff in your grandmother’s wardrobe.
- You have no interest in classic music but were forced to do piano or violin all the way to grade eight.
- All your Western friends think you are good at math.
- And you are reading this in a designer coffee shop drinking a US$5 cup of tea.