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shootingstar

Ignoramaus me, not seeing differences-among Asians

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There are 4 of us (out of 9) who are of Asian in our workgroup.  

I found out just today newest joiner since 2 wks, ago, was born in...Korea and immigrated over as an adult.  So yay, a resource to plumb info. on Seoul where we will vacation for just a few days.  I assumed all along she was Chinese originally from Hong Kong by her style of dress, etc.

Even I can't tell apart other Asians ...their family line origin. Thhere is a lot mobility across the globe where and when people move from country to another country.  Doesn't make much difference on the job.  It helps for me, on socializing basis at a superficial level, especially if they have come into Canada as an adult..which far tougher than as a child.

 

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I taught in a public high school near Fort Meade, Maryland, which has a large Korean community near it because of the many G.I. brides.  1/12 of the students were Korean or Korean-American.  One of the Korean students who was a Physics student of mine said she kept greeting a new student she passed in the hallways in Korean and was getting angry she didn't answer back - until she learned the other student was Chinese.  Having taught hundreds of Korean students and having spent a couple weeks in China, I think the Han Chinese in the East and North of China are hard to tell from Koreans.

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10 hours ago, shootingstar said:

I found out just today newest joiner since 2 wks, ago, was born in...Korea and immigrated over as an adult.  So yay, a resource to plumb info. on Seoul where we will vacation for just a few days.  I assumed all along she was Chinese originally from Hong Kong by her style of dress, etc.

 

Parr8 hasn’t seen this thread yet so I’ll ask, is she hot?

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6 hours ago, MickinMD said:

 1/12 of the students were Korean or Korean-American.  One of the Korean students who was a Physics student of mine said she kept greeting a new student she passed in the hallways in Korean and was getting angry she didn't answer back - until she learned the other student was Chinese.  Having taught hundreds of Korean students and having spent a couple weeks in China, I think the Han Chinese in the East and North of China are hard to tell from Koreans.

That Korean student shouldn't have assumed at all (why would she)  and presumably she was saying hi or somethin' in Korean.  

I have never automatically assumed anyone of Asian descent, by speaking in Chinese to them, without me hearing them speak first. 

I have had several incidents annually, where a Chinese person automatically speaks to me in Chinese because they have limited English and are looking for directions.  That is a very different situation and I try to respond to them that I can't speak Chinese well but will say some phrases if I know to help them.  My mother can't speak much English so I am sensitive to this type of situation.

I have had people come up to speak and immediately speak Tagalog, assuming that I'm Filipino and also they are looking for directions.

And have had Asians who are complete strangers ask me if I am Malayasian.

I haven't yet had other Asians mistaken me for being Japanese ..or Korean yet.

I personally haven't heard enough Korean language to even guess another person is Korean.  My ear can distinguish Japanese, Vietnamese, 2 main Chinese dialects. 

I am not certain what Cambodian, Thai language sounds like yet.  This means in Canada I just haven't socialized with fluent Korean, Cambodian nor Thai speakers.  The latter 2 are not majority Asian-Canadians in terms of demographics.  And of course, I haven't travelled in those countries.   But before you all jump to say you've been there, just ask yourself if your ear can distinguish the family root of the speaker by the language sounds itself. 

And for assimilated Asians who have lost their mother tongue,   --we're all supposed to be 1 happy family with the rest of society.

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We have a very large Asian population in SoCal.  The largest is probably Vietnamese but Philipino, Japanese, Koreans, Chinese, and Cambodians are very prevalent.  So are Pacific Islanders from Hawaii, Samoa, Guam & Indonesia.

I never assume someone is from a certain country but I can usually tell Japanese from Korean from Chinese.  Vietnamese, Cambodian and Chinese are harder for me to discern.  Pacific Islanders look similar in that Indonesians and Philipinos look similar (more Asian) where as Guamanian, Samoan and Hawaiians look alike and don't look Asian. 

Other Indo's usually identify me as one and vice versa, most Philpino assume I'm one of them too.  But with our large Hispanic community and my lack of Asian features most assume I'm Hispanic. If anyone is going to speak to me in a foreign language it will be a Hispanic speaking to me in Spanish.

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12 hours ago, shootingstar said:

Ignoramaus me, not seeing differences-among Asians

I can't see differences in Europeans or Africans or Latin Americans either.  Sometimes, an accent can tip them off, but just seeing them makes it pretty tough.

All things equal, I also can't really distinguish between Texans or Oklahomans either. Oregonians or Washingtonians??? Nope.  Heck Canucks from Americanos is tough without seeing if they are carrying a backpack or not.

Tom

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My daughter in law and my daughter's boyfriend are both Filipino.  My mother has, on more than one occasion, discussed with them their obvious affection for Chinese food.  My daughter's college roommate is Korean.  My mother was happy to see that my daughter was rooming with her boyfriend's sister.

This is why the family refers to my mother as "Better than Cable", stemming from the years when we could not afford cable TV, and really didn't need it with mom around.

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10 hours ago, shootingstar said:

That Korean student shouldn't have assumed at all (why would she)  and presumably she was saying hi or somethin' in Korean.  

I have never automatically assumed anyone of Asian descent, by speaking in Chinese to them, without me hearing them speak first. 

I have had several incidents annually, where a Chinese person automatically speaks to me in Chinese because they have limited English and are looking for directions.  That is a very different situation and I try to respond to them that I can't speak Chinese well but will say some phrases if I know to help them.  My mother can't speak much English so I am sensitive to this type of situation.

I have had people come up to speak and immediately speak Tagalog, assuming that I'm Filipino and also they are looking for directions.

And have had Asians who are complete strangers ask me if I am Malayasian.

I haven't yet had other Asians mistaken me for being Japanese ..or Korean yet.

I personally haven't heard enough Korean language to even guess another person is Korean.  My ear can distinguish Japanese, Vietnamese, 2 main Chinese dialects. 

I am not certain what Cambodian, Thai language sounds like yet.  This means in Canada I just haven't socialized with fluent Korean, Cambodian nor Thai speakers.  The latter 2 are not majority Asian-Canadians in terms of demographics.  And of course, I haven't travelled in those countries.   But before you all jump to say you've been there, just ask yourself if your ear can distinguish the family root of the speaker by the language sounds itself. 

And for assimilated Asians who have lost their mother tongue,   --we're all supposed to be 1 happy family with the rest of society.

The reason the Korean student assumed the Chinese girl was Korean is that almost all the Asian-American kids at our school are Korean. We are near Fort Meade, Maryland, the largest military base in the USA, and a VERY large Korean community of many thousands, an asset to the area, has built up on it's eastern side, initially seeded by GI-Korean brides coming to the states then sending for their families. It includes a Korean Methodist Church, a great car repair shop run by the Korean grandfather of one of my students, etc.

At the beginning of each school year, there were so many new immigrant teenagers that the Korean mothers give the teachers a seminar on how to deal with the immigrant kids. In Korea, there is nothing so next-to-God and who can determine if you get into college as your high school teachers so the new kids are terrified of us. If only that was true of the rest! One year, a new-to-America Korean girl had Social Studies just before she had me for Physics and her English improved rapidly. One day she walked into my class and said "We studied Helen Keller in Social Studies."

I asked, "Do you know why Helen Keller played piano with one hand?"  She shook her head, "No," and I continued, "So she could sing with the other," mimicking sign language.

She was so shocked that a teacher would make a joke that she stared at me uncomprehendingly for several seconds, then burst out in laughter so hard that tears ran down her cheeks as she realized it was a joke.

That was the day she finally understood what American teachers were like!

Each year I asked my upperclass, veterans-of-the-school, Korean kids to put a sign with my name in Korean next to my name in Roman letters outside my classroom door.  For all I know it might have read "Pain in the ass that teaches honors chemistry" but it worked!

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10 minutes ago, MickinMD said:

The reason the Korean student assumed the Chinese girl was Korean is that almost all the Asian-American kids at our school are Korean. We are near Fort Meade, Maryland, the largest military base in the USA, and a VERY large Korean community of many thousands, an asset to the area, has built up on it's eastern side, initially seeded by GI-Korean brides coming to the states then sending for their families. It includes a Korean Methodist Church, a great car repair shop run by the Korean grandfather of one of my students, etc.

At the beginning of each school year, there were so many new immigrant teenagers that the Korean mothers give the teachers a seminar on how to deal with the immigrant kids. In Korea, there is nothing so next-to-God and who can determine if you get into college as your high school teachers so the new kids are terrified of us. If only that was true of the rest! One year, a new-to-America Korean girl had Social Studies just before she had me for Physics and her English improved rapidly. One day she walked into my class and said "We studied Helen Keller in Social Studies."

I asked, "Do you know why Helen Keller played piano with one hand?"  She shook her head, "No," and I continued, "So she could sing with the other," mimicking sign language.

She was so shocked that a teacher would make a joke that she stared at me uncomprehendingly for several seconds, then burst out in laughter so hard that tears ran down her cheeks as she realized it was a joke.

That was the day she finally understood what American teachers were like!

Each year I asked my upperclass, veterans-of-the-school, Korean kids to put a sign with my name in Korean next to my name in Roman letters outside my classroom door.  For all I know it might have read "Pain in the ass that teaches honors chemistry" but it worked!

Just had a flash back...  We called all the Korean brides the GI's brought home Kimchee Brides.  A lot of US servicemen marry Korean brides on their deployments and bring them home.  Not just a Ft Meade thing.

We used to go to the ranges at Ft Meade as Ft Myer didn't have them.  We caused an incident when we had to spend the day at the range but no chow was set up. So the caravan stopped at some fast food joint and we all got out get something to eat.  But since we all had our weapons we couldn't leave them in the trucks and there were too many trucks/weapons to leave 1 or 2 sentries so we all brought in our weapons with us.

50 dirty hungry heavily armed MPs took over the joint.  Somebody complained and it got up to our command so we couldn't make food stops on our Ft Meade range runs  any longer.  

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1 hour ago, ChrisL said:

Just had a flash back...  We called all the Korean brides the GI's brought home Kimchee Brides.  A lot of US servicemen marry Korean brides on their deployments and bring them home.  Not just a Ft Meade thing.

We used to go to the ranges at Ft Meade as Ft Myer didn't have them.  We caused an incident when we had to spend the day at the range but no chow was set up. So the caravan stopped at some fast food joint and we all got out get something to eat.  But since we all had our weapons we couldn't leave them in the trucks and there were too many trucks/weapons to leave 1 or 2 sentries so we all brought in our weapons with us.

50 dirty hungry heavily armed MPs took over the joint.  Somebody complained and it got up to our command so we couldn't make food stops on our Ft Meade range runs  any longer.  

Someone complained about the safest Mc Dee's in the world ?    :dontknow:

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1 hour ago, ChrisL said:

Just had a flash back...  We called all the Korean brides the GI's brought home Kimchee Brides.  A lot of US servicemen marry Korean brides on their deployments and bring them home.  Not just a Ft Meade thing.  

The Korean brides and U.S.military service men ...is definitely a historic American military base presence.  In Canada, Koreans who immigrate most don't come because of a non-Korean military spouse.  I don't much about Korean-Canadian history.  

I don't pretend to be able to easily distinguish among Asians where their family roots are by simply looking at them. Sometimes I guess from a style of walking if a Chinese immigrants  from rural China vs. urban China.  But that's being very judgemental in terms of socio-economic class.

In hearing languages, most definitiely Vietnamese sounds totally different to me than Chinese dialects of Cantonese and Mandarin.  Japanese languages does not have intotations like Chinese and I wasn't under the impression that Korean language did either.  It would be interesting to research origins of Korean language script since it is just totally different from Chinese or Japanese scripts  --yet Korean is not far away. Clearly they have withstood centuries of invasion from Japan, China, etc.

Because of history, the Canadian demographics don't show much of those from Polynesia.

I am approaching this very much like a European figuring out visual differences amongst Norwegians, Germans, Austrians and Italians vs. Portuguese.. Out of curious comparisons and differences if any that are often detected.

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14 hours ago, Further said:

Someone complained about the safest Mc Dee's in the world ?    :dontknow:

Yeah they did. This was the mid 1980's and the whole hero thing associated to the military & vets wasn't a thing yet.  The baby killer post Vietnam mentality was still prevalent and attitudes didn't start to change until after the Gulf War.

Back then we were just as likely to get a big FU as we were to get a thank you. Often times I didn't travel in uniform as I didn't want people to know I was in the Army as you just didn't know what to expect.

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9 hours ago, ChrisL said:

Yeah they did. This was the mid 1980's and the whole hero thing associated to the military & vets wasn't a thing yet.  The baby killer post Vietnam mentality was still prevalent and attitudes didn't start to change until after the Gulf War.

Back then we were just as likely to get a big FU as we were to get a thank you. Often times I didn't travel in uniform as I didn't want people to know I was in the Army as you just didn't know what to expect.

I was service age in '74, gave it some consideration but the service didn't have a good rep then

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10 minutes ago, Further said:

I was service age in '74, gave it some consideration but the service didn't have a good rep then

I was 10 years later, better reputation but public sentiment was still mixed.

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Stories about assumptions always give me pause.  My family is large as you know.  I may never have mentioned some of us are pasty white, others toasted brown, and some in the middle.  I never really thought about it until high school when people would look at me weird when I said Fred or Lincoln were my brothers.  I never noticed it in elementary school.

Not too  long ago,. We were at the Korean store to pick up some rice.  I could not find it so I asked the lady at the counter for the brand I usually buy by describing the bag.  She nodded and went to show me--- the other lady said something I did not understand.  Tim answered her in Koream.  Her face went all embarrassed.  We found our rice, paid for our purchase and left.

In the car, I asked what the heck just happened.  He laughed and said--- that she said 

그녀에게 값싼 물건을주고 그녀에게 그것이 낫다는 것을 말하자. 바보는 잘 모른다.  (Give her the cheap stuff and tell her it is better; fool won't know. 
Tim answered, 내 아내는하지 않을 수도 있습니다.

My wife may not know but I will.

I have never had trouble there again.

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T

2 minutes ago, F_in Ray Of Sunshine said:

I just want someone to accompany me to the Asian grocery store and read labels for me, so I know I’m not buying anything with “dog” in it.

Tim can do it in Korean, but he speaks Korean with a German accent.

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2 minutes ago, Airehead said:

T

Tim can do it in Korean, but he speaks Korean with a German accent.

I just read an article about different brands of ingredients, so I have a better idea what to look for.

Funny part was, I had just come home from the LGS with a can of coconut milk to make Thai curry. I started reading the article and when I got to the part about different brands of coconut milk and what to look for on the label, I said “Huh....I wonder what’s in the stuff I just bought...?” That was when I noticed I’d picked up coconut cream, not coconut milk. “Dammit.....”

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35 minutes ago, F_in Ray Of Sunshine said:

I just want someone to accompany me to the Asian grocery store and read labels for me, so I know I’m not buying anything with “dog” in it.

You are in the U.S....just go to the store.  There will be someone there who will know some English. Trust me. Many long enough in business will know. Or there will be a younger generation worker who will be bilingual.   I'm sorry the dog joke..is bad and honest, offensive in North America. (Did you know horses...from North America go to France for their meat?)

Do you think I know any Korean or Japanese when I walk into such supermarkets in Toronto or Vancouver?  No.  But then, I do have a benchmark to start from since have some familiarity with Chinese groceries  --fresh stuff, the more puzzling might be the dried stuff.  No, I don't have a clue for some of the stuff. So I just ignore it. This is no different than me ignoring 75% of the canned goods and dried stuff in Safeway's grocery store here in Canada. I have no need.

I honestly don't know what the hesitation is to go into an Asian supermarket/store in North America.  I can't read the language myself.  Do people think all immigrants who work in such stores, know zero English?  There will be someone there who knows something, however little it may be.  There will be other shoppers with English to help you.

(I am anticipating we will be stumbling through in Japan and South Korea without any English assistance, at times in stores and restaurants.)  😯 But should be ok. We'll just be slower to get around probably. After all, I've lived my whole life in Chinese language environments, only understanding 25% or even 1% if it's not my  dialect.

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55 minutes ago, Airehead said:

Stories about assumptions always give me pause.  My family is large as you know.  I may never have mentioned some of us are pasty white, others toasted brown, and some in the middle.  I never really thought about it until high school when people would look at me weird when I said Fred or Lincoln were my brothers.  I never noticed it in elementary school.

I never, ever assume a person's ethnic background, when I see another Asian that they are same background as I or I try to guess without hearing them speak first.  I have learned painfully as a child what it feels like....I was yelled at "Jap".  From the mouth of a kid my age in kindergarten.

Nieces and nephews from 2 different sisters, sitting together this yr. 2nd photo is my eldest niece @ 32 yrs.  None of these children can speak or understand any Chinese at all. Hopefully, if they should hear anything offensive to Asians, they would put that person in their place....otherwise it is an enormous denial of their 1/2 Asian family side.  I know people grumble about politically correct language and all sorts of other stuff. But honestly, you NEVER know that person's family roots by looking at them.

There is another nephew not here, he's a father (brother of the oldest niece)  and married to a Russian-Canadian. 

 

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53 minutes ago, shootingstar said:

You are in the U.S....just go to the store.  There will be someone there who will know some English. Trust me. Many long enough in business will know. Or there will be a younger generation worker who will be bilingual.   I'm sorry the dog joke..is bad and honest, offensive in North America. (Did you know horses...from North America go to France for their meat?)

Do you think I know any Korean or Japanese when I walk into such supermarkets in Toronto or Vancouver?  No.  But then, I do have a benchmark to start from since have some familiarity with Chinese groceries  --fresh stuff, the more puzzling might be the dried stuff.  No, I don't have a clue for some of the stuff. So I just ignore it. This is no different than me ignoring 75% of the canned goods and dried stuff in Safeway's grocery store here in Canada. I have no need.

I honestly don't know what the hesitation is to go into an Asian supermarket/store in North America.  I can't read the language myself.  Do people think all immigrants who work in such stores, know zero English?  There will be someone there who knows something, however little it may be.  There will be other shoppers with English to help you.

(I am anticipating we will be stumbling through in Japan and South Korea without any English assistance, at times in stores and restaurants.)  😯 But should be ok. We'll just be slower to get around probably. After all, I've lived my whole life in Chinese language environments, only understanding 25% or even 1% if it's not my  dialect.

I actually had the same reaction with the dog joke.  It's not funny and offensive to Asians.  Just as if all Asians joke that white Americans belong to the KKK. Just a bad stereotype.

i understand fluent Dutch and speak it pretty well as it was the house language.  As a young MP I got bitched out by a Dutch diplomat for doing a routine ID check and just following policy.  I kept my composure and said in Dutch have a nice day, oh and that wasn't very nice... The look on her face was priceless.

 

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13 minutes ago, ChrisL said:

I actually had the same reaction with the dog joke.  It's not funny and offensive to Asians.  Just as if all Asians joke that white Americans belong to the KKK. Just a bad stereotype.

 

I'm  pretty certain my parents and their generation would laugh and say how stupid the person was about dog meat in North America.  Usually that generation are afraid to speak out strongly against offensive stuff.  Sorry...stupid jokes deserve that reaction.  Let's see  -- my mother ate turtle once in China as a teen /child. That's all. Does that make her weird, heathen?  

Just yesterday the work colleague who immigrated from northern China (we work for govn't), told me she tried cooking red beets (which are abundantly grown in Alberta), after I said that red beet was pretty non-existent in most Chinese regional cuisines....unless it's in the northern ethnic minorities in China.

She said the smell of cooked red beets made her queasy/sick.  She couldn't stand the smell. So she threw away a whole bag of beets.  She's the lst person I've met who had that negative reaction to beets.  I know my mother just didn't want to deal with staining mess of red beets..or that was her perception.  Well, the smell of yogurt made my mother want to barf...for many years.

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24 minutes ago, shootingstar said:

I'm  pretty certain my parents and their generation would laugh and say how stupid the person was about dog meat in North America.  Usually that generation are afraid to speak out strongly against offensive stuff.  Sorry...stupid jokes deserve that reaction.  Let's see  -- my mother ate turtle once in China as a teen /child. That's all. Does that make her weird, heathen?  

Just yesterday the work colleague who immigrated from northern China (we work for govn't), told me she tried cooking red beets (which are abundantly grown in Alberta), after I said that red beet was pretty non-existent in most Chinese regional cuisines....unless it's in the northern ethnic minorities in China.

She said the smell of cooked red beets made her queasy/sick.  She couldn't stand the smell. So she threw away a whole bag of beets.  She's the lst person I've met who had that negative reaction to beets.  I know my mother just didn't want to deal with staining mess of red beets..or that was her perception.  Well, the smell of yogurt made my mother want to barf...for many years.

We had a unique upbringing with a Asian and European background.  From a food stand point I grew up with stir fry, tofu, rice & such but also with potato, kale, beets & other Northern European foods.  My mom was a phenomenal cook and so we had an unusual fusion of foods.

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