On Being “The Crazy Asian”

By Maricris

I’m beginning to think that my colleagues have a very misconstrued idea of what being Asian means.

Whenever we have a meeting and something goes wrong or business transactions goes veering off to the loony side of things, they’re quick to say “well, he’s Asian, he’s crazy!” or “She’s Asian, she’s crazy!” For the love of me, I really don’t understand the relationship between CRAZY and being ASIAN. And you know what’s even crazier? One of them is Asian and he completely agrees to this wacky definition; I guess that makes him, uhm, craziest?

I admit that with the cultural differences, we approach and see things differently, but that does not equate to being crazy; it’s just how we cope. At this point, I should mention that my boss is Chinese and her husband is American — these two constantly fight and nothing wrong with that, but this is where all this “Asians being crazy” stuff in the office originated from. His usual mantra whenever she does not agree on what he said is to always say, “She’s Asian, she’s crazy!” And strangely, like a contagious virus, it got picked up by everyone else. Isn’t that crazy?

What is it about being Asian that makes us crazy: is it the fact that I insist using the broom instead of the vacuum whenever I clean up the carpet in my office at work? But the vacuum emits a skunk-like odor! Does that make me crazy? Or the fact that most Asians talk loud even when the person they’re talking to is right next to them? (I’m keeping my mouth shut on this one.) Or the fact that I’m so straightforward and frank about most things, I don’t even bat an eyelash when I say to a customer “you owe us money, pay up!” So, what’s crazy about that? They’ve got to pay, right?

One time we had a client who was not too keen on paying up her delinquent account, and my colleague begged me to take care of her ONLY becauseI was “Asian & crazy frank that way,” and then went on to say that he is American and they just don’t do it the way I, crazy Asian woman, does it brutally. Really.

Yes, my frankness is incurable. Like I can confidently tell my lady boss she looks like a witch whenever she comes to work and her hair is in disarray, which just blows everyone away! But guess what — she appreciates that. (Well, not her looking like a witch, but me telling her the truth.) In our culture, pointing out something means we care. It is not out of maligning or insulting the person. I don’t know why my American colleagues couldn’t see pass that. So does this make me crazy? Well, no more crazier than what these people from Paramount did to that poor Asian guy in the movie. Now that is crazy.

ABOUT MARICRIS: Maricris shares her journeys in life through her personal blog ZenVentures, her views on being Asian in Toasty Brown, her insight as a working mother in Working Mother Magazine, and who’s creative side can be found at Golden Flower Creations.

(Flickr photo credit: JenXer)

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