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Monday, May 06, 2013

Top 10 Young Tsinoy Problems

You know you're Chinese when your birthday party guests wear red. And being monochromatic is a no-no: no pinks, no fuschia, no maroon, just red. Menstrual red. And I think that's only the tip of the iceberg in all the quirky things Tsinoys are known for. Being a Tsinoy, growing up with Tsinoys and attending Tsinoy schools for most of my life, this is a list of the top 10 problems/quirky stuff I notice in Tsinoy families. Not everything applies to me, but some just inevitably do. And by writing this I'm not unproud of being Tsinoy, I'm just itching to point some things out. Ha ha ha. Keep reading, okay?

WARNING: I'm an exaggerated writer, and not all problems written here necessarily apply to every single Tsinoy family. 

1.) Like the key photo, being Tsinoy means having to have a cabinet with a section devoted to red party clothes. 

Most of the time, there is no excuse. And I really have a section in my closet full of red dresses, polo shirts and cutesy tops. All in menstrual red. Coolio! 

Okay some Tsinoys are more modern and don't adhere to the full red rule. Some allow relatives of red like maroon and pink, but every birthday has to have reddish clothing. AND NEVER, NEVER, EVER, COULD YOU EVER WEAR BLACK TO A BIRTHDAY PARTY. No one cares if that little black dress looks cute on you, you have to wear red and that's final. Wear black and your grandpa will show you what he learned in kung fu school.

I mean, imagine, if that rule didn't exist, I don't think this song would even exist!

Nor would these spin off shirts by Metal 168 exist! 

Not my photo, taken from this page

2.) Every occasion, every single occasion, just has to be celebrated at Gloria Maris. 
(this isn't a really big problem, but I just have to put this here) 

I totally love Gloria Maris, and I'm not complaining about their food, but sometimes it gets tiring that every single occasion has to be celebrated there. Close to 70% of the parties we attend to annually are held at Gloria Maris. 

Heck, there was even a time that we had 2 parties to attend to at Gloria Maris and we just changed venues within the restaurant! Convenient, but well, there are tons of other places to throw parties at. There's Century Seafood restaurant, Choi chain of restaurants (Choi Garden etc.), fancy hotels all around the metro, and I'm serious that there's still a lot of other options! 

3.) Chinese Medicine

I was talking to my best friend who complained to me about the horrible Chinese medicine she once drank. By horrible, I imagined that she was probably given a tonic made of pig's brain with snake bile, deer antler powder, soil, awful roots and herbs. I was shocked when she said it was PEI PA KOA. PEI PA KOA?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! IT'S ALREADY THE YUMMIEST CHINESE MEDICINE OUT THERE!!!! ;JFKSJDFLKJFKLJLKFJ
Photo from this site

Okay, I've calmed down now. But heck it's true! Pei Pa Koa is already entry level! Lots of these medicines that Chinese kids drink taste really awful. Some taste like fish fat, some taste like soil, and some are just downright bitter and icky. Chinese medicines are so bitter that there's even a Chinese saying 'Good medicine is bitter to the tongue' and mainland chinese actually say this stuff to their kids! 

4.) This doesn't apply to everyone, but most likely your eyes are too small that they're just slits. And the moment you laugh it seems like you have lines on your face, not eyes.

This is something I've seen with most of my monolid friends. Being a former monolid myself, I know the feeling when you're in such a pleasant mood and yet you look angry because of those eyes. When you're truly angry, your eyes don't cooperate to look angry enough either! All the time you have this semi-angry look, no matter what your mood or disposition may be.

And for girls, getting eyeliner on is one of life's biggest challenges! Like you've applied in almost all the eyeliner in your pencil and yet it's not enough! When the eyes are closed the eyeliner is already 1 cm tall but when the eyes are open, the monolid eats up all the eyeliner. And you also can't put in an eyeliner line only on the area that's seen when your eyes are open because that looks weird, too. GRR! And that's already considered lucky because the eyeliner can even stain the rest of your eyelid and ruin the make-up once you open your eyes with the eyeliner still not dry enough.

Like look! In this photo (from 2010) I already had eyelid tape on, but my eyeliner was still almost half a cm! Because of my eyeliner hungry monolid, I was able to consume a pot of gel eyeliner before it even started drying out... (yeah I used up a lot, didn't I) 

Okay the eyelashes are also a problem, as the typical Chinese eyelashes are extremely short and un-curly. But thanks to nicely manufactured eyelash curlers and mascara, I don't think it needs to be a full blown entry in this list anymore!

For extremely problematic eyelashes, I totally recommend KOJI's Curving eyelash curler. But since it's hard to find here, may I also suggest Shu Uemura's trusty eyelash curler . For mascara, I know it's not yet distributed widely, but do try to get your hands on Heroine Make's mascara. By far it is the only mascara I've tried that's smudge proof, rub proof, and curl retaining!

 Okay, enough beauty junkie talk, Im'ma go back to my list.

5.) Your relatives are inherently racist. 

Taken from this site

Typically, when a child approaches mom about a new friend, the mom will most likely say "Oh, is your friend a nice and trustworthy person?"

But in a Chinese family, when a child tells mom about a new friend, mom's first question is "Is your friend Chinese?" 

And everything else that follows may depend on what you answer on the first question. I'm thankful my parents are not racist, but I've already encountered many situations wherein a parent is more kind towards the child's Chinese friends over the non-Chinese friends. When the child says 'yes' to the aforementioned question, there mom is usually excited to host tea parties, play dates, and all sorts of meetings for the kid and his/her friend. But when the child says 'no', the mom is usually not that interested in learning about the friend. Sometimes, the mom is even inclined to tell the child off and stop befriending the said friend! 

Worse, some parents even complain when their kid doesn't have enough Chinese friends! It's as if a friendship is only a friendship if the child's friend is Chinese. Is it the child's fault if all the Chinese kids in a certain place are mean or unfriendly? 

6.) Parents who have a whacked sense of freedom-expectations balance. 

I'm thankful that this doesn't apply to me so much, but this happens a lot in Tsinoy families. 

The parents typically lock their kids up (not literally, of course)-- the kid is not allowed to socialize, not allowed to go out tothe mall, not allowed to cross the road, not allowed to open the stove, and the list goes on. This is all in fear that the child may get kidnapped or gang raped or enslaved to listen to Justin Bieber songs forever (I agree with the pursuit of safety but some parents just go waaaaaay overboard). 

But when the kid has grown up into a teenager or young adult, the parent suddenly expects that the child knows how to mingle with guests, cook Michelin meals, and commute like a boss among other things. The parent has all these expectations and gets angry when they don't get fulfilled, without even realizing that in all the previous years they've never even given their child the chance to learn about these life lessons!

 So this is the problem-- that some parents deprive their kids of freedom yet expect their children to know everything about the world. 

7.) High Expectations Asian Father 

Now you know why many Chinese girls are flast chested. 

Okay, so this is not just the stereotypical father who expects the kid to do well in school. Another loophole I also see is how parents have too high of expectations when their kids start dating.

The typical Tsinoy parent expects the daughter to only date a purebred Chinese guy, who's rich, handsome, intelligent, kind and from an ivy league school, and expects no less. But their daughter is mediocre in looks, not intelligent, and has no class nor sophistication. This might be a result of being bakya parents themselves. Or it might be because of the parent not investing enough time in teaching the daughter on how to be graceful, how to primp, and how to be a smart and charming girl. 

Just how can you expect a mediocre daughter to marry a prince charming? Puh-lease! First off, guys are very visual creatures, and if at the first impression a girl can't even impress, forget it! Though opposites attract (as they say), I still believe in like dissolves like. Great guys will want to be with great girls; I can't believe at how many parents expect their mediocre daughters to end up with great guys. (same goes for Tsinoys and their sons) 
And this is what happens as a result of uber high expectations. From this site

8.) Once you marry a foreigner, expect your disownment to occur immediately.

As follow up to the comic, it's true, Tsinoy kids are basically trapped to also marrying Tsinoy kids. Okay, I know this is in relation to relatives being racist, but at least their racism is just in speech, you still won't be jeopardized (that's why this is a separate entry). 

If your one true love happens to be non-Chinese, there is a big chance that you will not get any inheritance, that you will no longer be invited to family gatherings nor will you be treated as a legitimate member of your clan. 

Toning down, some do get less harsh treatment, and many do get to stay with their families despite marrying a non-Chinese, but it comes with a lot of hardship. You can immediately expect the whole clan secretly against your spouse, and even if there's nothing inherently wrong, everyone will hate your spouse all because he/she isn't Chinese. Gossip will spread, and each and every trait will be exaggerated in a bad way.

For example, say your non-Chinese wife donned this gorgeous dress with a slightly plunging neckline. Automatically the family will backstab her, exaggerate the neckline, and in a few hours they'll be feasting over the thought that she must have been some dirty whore from the slums. And for all we know, the dress hasn't even shown any cleavage. XD  

I just appreciate the very few Tsinoy parents who are tolerant of inter racial marriage, because it's simply not the norm. 

9.) Your only approved career paths are medicine, engineering, and business. 

I googled high expectations asian father and this is what I found. Ho ho ho. From this site 

This is only especially true for guys, not so much on the girls. BUT STILL, it's a strict rule to adhere to. If a Tsinoy son happened to like hairdressing, fashion design, or fine arts, he can only expect his career dreams to be shattered by no other than his parents.

They will immediately argue how poor he will be when he pursues an artsy career, and they will give a long speech on everyone Chinese who's made it big in business. The way they'll talk, it's as if becoming the next Henry Sy or Lucio Tan is as easy as 1,2,3. Even if their small businesses have miserably failed, they'll go ahead with this speech anyways. All in desperate effort to not 'lose' a son to a 'lousy' career. 

Only very few parents will address artsy fartsy career dreams of their sons, and even fewer will happily send their sons to good art schools. 

10.) When you're sent to special lessons, you're expected to live a life of paying off your debts.  (so thankful my parents are soooo not like this) 

It's normal for lots of parents to send their kids to special lessons, be it singing, dancing, playing an instrument or crafting. Usually a parent is most likely to do this as a way to keep the kids entertained during the summer or to give the child new perspectives in life. 

But for a Chinese family, they sometimes expect the child to do anything and everything to repay for the said lessons. A child sent to singing lessons will be expected to happily sing for every single occasion that the family will ever have until the end of time. Even if the kid is not up for it or if there's no suitable song for the occasion, the parents will still insist anyways. You get the picture, the list goes on. 


So there goes my Top 10 list of Tsinoy problems. Thanks for reading it up to this point. :) 



  1. I can relate with #6, even if I'm just part Chinese. Hehe.

    Anyhoo.. I also want to get some advise.. My boyfriend is Fil-Chi, and I am more Filipino, but I also have some Chinese blood (much lesser than his though). He is older than me and is the eldest among siblings. I will be meeting his family soon. Sabi niya hindi sila ganu'n ka-traditional.. but I just want to play it safe.

    Does my being more of a Filipino than Chinese matter with parents and siblings? What are the "meeting the parents" customs with them? Should I bring gifts? If so, what type? Are there certain types of behaviors that I should steer clear of? And lastly, should I know how to speak Hokkien to them? Ang alam ko lang numbers, family honorifics, at saka thank you. :p

    1. Suuuper sorry sa late reply...

      Hmmmmm I'll be honest when I say that it weighs a lot... kahit na kaunti lang ang chinese blood mo wag mo yun ipaparamdam sa kanila.. always make them feel that you're more chinese than filipino... Chinese are very fixated on keeping a lineage of Chinese babies, and keeping Chinese culture and customs intact. Marami ang natatakot na marrying their kids off to someone of a different ethnicity will dilute out the Chinese customs they want their kids to practice.

      wala halos customs sa first meeting.. just be sure to dress conservatively in a color that isn't black (until you find out that black is okay with them), be polite, and try not to talk too much (until you've tested the waters). May chinese family na tulad namin na ang gusto namin sa mga in laws ay maiingay, makwento at close sa amin, at mahilig sa color black hahahaha. May iba rin kasing pamilya na ang tingin sa madaldal na babae ay FC or squatter... Bring food if you like, just do not give them shoes, watches (shoes and watches accdg to feng shui experts, di ko rin alam kung bakit bawal. pero not all families practice this so in the future if you do find out that these presents are okay with them, then go ahead).

      In the long run big plus sayo if you can speak fluent hokkien or understand it. It's good to learn more than what you know now.

      And the more willing you are to cooperate with Chinese customs, the better they'll think of you.

      Hahahah am i even talking sense XDDD