Thursday, September 24, 2009

Yellow Fever cont'd

So my last post started a lot of discourse. I love discourse! Who knew so many people had so much to say about Yellow Fever? (By the way, this post won't make much sense if you haven't read the post previous to this one, so scroll down if you need to!) I got a lot of great comments and stories, so I thought I’d address some of them:

What? Who wouldn't want to talk about anime? lol, j/k But I don't think all expats go because they have yellow fever and it could be nice that they have experienced your culture and might have a better understanding of you in some ways? I don't know... Obviously no one's ever come up to me and claimed to be super into me because of my ambiguous Western European origin, but I support that these people are missing out on getting to know a person by reducing them to a stereotype

True, not all expats have Yellow Fever. Some people are just really high up in their organizations and get sent places all over the world. Some have an honest interest in other cultures. My grandpa’s a romantic. :) The person who wrote this particular comment is my really good friend Sabrina, who’s teaching in Korea this year. Actually, girl, now that you’re living where you’re a minority, you might get one of these experiences – not that I wish it for you! But I know definitely that in Japan, a lot of people love your kind of look, so maybe in a nearby country...? Hee. Just teasing!

So I noticed you had a blog. I just read your Yellow Fever post. Really interesting. Although I'm obviously not Asian, I have definitely noticed this. When I went to China to teach English a good number (not all) of the *MALE* volunteers seemed to fetishize Chinese women. They would then degrade white women as being bad for relationships. We were rude and shallow, etc while Chinese women are cute and so soft-spoken and so on. They didn't seem to get that they were being just as offensive to the Chinese women as they were to the white women.

I have never thought that foreign teaching gigs can be breeding grounds for Yellow Fever Creepers! Ew, ew, ew. The guys you worked with are asswipes and don’t ever deserve to get laid.

I got another comment from a Chinese friend defending guys who exclusively date Asians saying that it’s because white girls are rude to them, that they cruelly reject them...but I think that’s an unfair stereotype, too. I get it that some people are once burned and twice shy, but they might be totally setting themselves up if they go for Asian girls strictly because they’re supposedly “gentler.” I’m Chinese, and trust me, I can cut a jerk down just as scathingly as a girl of any other colour can – and I’m not unique in this respect. :P

As for the yellow fever thing.. hmm i looked at it from a different perspective. Naturally raised on the outskirts of scarborough I was immersed in a culture that was not my own. Growing up,interacting, and socializing in an east asian community has created this comfort level. I mean Id rather eat at pho's than go to montanas. So maybe these ... Read moreindividuals you run into may be products of diaspora? Familiarity with a culture shouldn't be mistaken for obsessive creepers.. which is why its hard separating the diasporic individuals from the other kind; however when people fail to justify their connection/intrigue (and booty aint justification!) they're usually the ones to avoid. You will always find these pretenders in every cultural/religious aspect of society. Ignore them and burn any connective bridge they establish..In the end you are an multi-layered individual and that will probably shatter the "yellow fever individuals" 2 dimensional take on a culture and its people.

I totally agree; familiarity with a culture shouldn’t be mistaken for obsessive creepiness. But there’s preferring pho over Montana’s...and then there’s going up to random women with golden skin and dark eyes and saying the few words you know in “their language.” And shopping nearly exclusively in Asian supermarkets in the hopes of picking up. And getting Chinese or Japanese tattoos so that you have a conversation-starter with hot girls that you assume can read it...but I digress.

I think you hit the nail squarely on the head, my friend. The main issue I have with Yellow Fever is that we get stereotyped and clumped into a group instead of being valued as individuals. It’s just unfair and gross and wrong.

The other issue I have with this is that we’re stripped of our cultural identities. We’re all shoved under the umbrella of “Asians,” whereas usually, people from other parts of the world get their own identity – French, British, Italian, Greek, etc., instead of just “Occidental” or “Caucasian.” Every country has its own unique identity, but it doesn’t apply to us because we’re all Asian so we’re all supposedly the same, and we all supposedly look the same too, and have no personalities because we’re all a certain way. So wrong.

Now! I want to hear your Yellow Fever stories! I got sent some really fun ones, and I’m compiling them into a post sometime next week for your enjoyment. My life has been endless rounds of homework and projects and studying for the past month – do a girl a favour? It can have happened to you or you could’ve just been a witness, but it has to be real.

As always, I'm always here for you 24/7 at thesoapheiress(at)

Get’em in! :D

For my initial post on Yellow Fever, click here

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