Just ‘girlfriend’ or more?

I was both amused and reminded of a blog entry I once made when I reviewed the comments made here.

While I was happy that someone out there felt that inter-racial relationships should be seen from a different light, I couldn’t help but wonder if it was true that he was being naive or overly optimistic in thinking so. Part of me felt it was because of my own experiences when it came to inter-racial dating. Another part, well, just wants people to understand that when two people fall in love, skin colour just becomes…non-essential.

The past one year with Nil has been interesting, needless to say. I reckon things would have gotten worse if his skin colour was any darker. ~_~

You see, when we first started dating, the challenge was to ignore the stares and odd treatments that we, either as a couple or as individuals received. Actually, it’s still a challenge now. I knew what went on people’s mind when they saw him (burly white man) with me (Asian looking young thing). I would have been blind, deaf, dumb and an idiot not to know, having grown up around the most old-fashioned of people (my relatives on BOTH maternal and paternal sides) and in a society which somehow, for reasons I cannot understand, don’t like the idea of their nubile young things being ‘kidnapped’ by former colonial lookalikes.

We talked about it. At first I thought it was just me. It turned out that Nil wasn’t blind, deaf, dumb or idiotic. He noticed the way people looked at me and he didn’t like what they thought of me (or at least the idea of me having to go through that just because I love him). He knew what they were thinking of – working in Singapore and living there for the past two years now made him quite the expert (for a white guy) in the inner workings of the Asian brain.

It wasn’t just in Singapore or Malaysia that we got the funny stares and weird treatments. Let me tell you what we went through.

In Singapore, I would have been known as an SPG (and gold-digger), especially moreso if I showed up during dates in an ultra mini-skirt, ultra revealing top and plastered in make-up. Probably explains why Nil frowns more when I do get into a mini skirt.

In Malaysia, I would have simply been wiped off as the equivalent of a boh-sia. Nil would have been my rather young sugar daddy and I would just be another one of those deviant women with loose morals who are corrupting the young of this country. Never mind that I actually spent nearly two years of my life teaching young people the exact opposite.

In Thailand, I would have been a hooker, those women who love hanging out with sad, pathetic, old and fat farangs – who happen to also be very rich and very generous with their money. Never mind that Nil isn’t exactly pathetic, old, sad or fat…he ain’t so rich and generous with his money either.

In Vietnam, I would have been a green-card (or similar) wannabe AND a hooker. How bad can it get, man? You should have seen the look on some of the villagers as we were biking around the hills/outskirts. One of them even had the audacity to spray water on me with a hose as we whizzed passed. Never mind that I have a professional job and the last thing I want from Nil is a green-card.

In China, well it’s a bit hard to decipher because I got different reactions from different people. I would have been all the above and worse, it would have been because no Asian man wanted me for a girlfriend or wife. Never mind that I can keep house, do laundry, cook and be a regular Asian housewife. 😐

And those are just the labels…the treatments were strange. They range from:

  • Him asking for the bill but they present it to me instead.
  • Him paying but if there was to be any change left, they give it to me. Incidently, that kinda peeves him off a little.
  • Him being spoken to in English but me in the local dialect (I’ve been assumed to be Thai, Vietnamese, PRC all in one go)
  • Him getting angry, so they ignore him and talk to me instead.
  • Him getting charged full tourist fee for stuff but me getting away with discounts even though we are both tourists.

I’ll be honest here.

People who give all kinds of labels to women in inter-racial relationships don’t know what we have to put up with just to be with someone (whether love is in the picture or not, that’s beside the point). It’s bad enough that we, the two individuals involved, have to deal with our own little devils, eg different way of thinking, cultural differences, even religious differences, we also have to deal with how we fit into our own society and how does that affect us as individuals. To top things off, we have to deal with shyetwats and arseholes. ~_~

It is wrong to think that when you start dating, the world is your oyster and nothing else matters but you and your partner. Relationships don’t work that way. Like it or not, when you start dating, you date your partner’s friends and family. And if you think that society has no impact whatsoever on your identity, think again. It does. Part of who we are depends highly on where our place in society is and the kind of things people think about us. Which is why all this labelling piques and even tires me out.

Nil consoles himself by saying that the opinions and thoughts of a total stranger doesn’t matter to him. Unfortunately, his girlfriend, moi, am more sensitive. It’s a woman thing. Don’t ask. It has already had an impact on us – my miniskirts and snake skin boots are hidden away, and we try to ignore the stares and odd treatment as much as we can.

Nevertheless, on occassion, we get tired and we ask this:

What’s so wrong with dating someone from a different ethnic group, whatever the reasons may be?

I have a tip. I use it these days and if I could put it on a T-shirt, I would. Even my car will suffice, actually.

Next time you see an inter-racial couple, be it of White-Asian or Indian-Chinese or Malay-Chinese pairing, stop and ask yourself this:

What if the world started calling my wife/girlfriend a slut just because she’s going out with a man of my skin colour?

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8 Comments

  1. it takes alot of effort…most people think being in an interacial relationship is just as hard as being in a normal relationship….that is what I call naive thinking

    It’s good the two of you are aware of the problems and issues you face…and what is amazing to me is that you both are able to face it TOGETHER 🙂

    man…i sure have to meet this guy of yours one day 🙂

  2. You make it sound like your area is extremely opinionated. That’s kind of a shame. Around here, interracial relationships are as common as same race relationships. That doesn’t mean the relationships are any easier or anything, I just mean that it’s quite common. If anything, there would be similar responses here towards a black and white couple (depending where they are anyway. some areas are worse than others), but not towards a white and asian. Some areas herea are much more old fashioned, and will look at it like ‘an evil sin’, but that’s usually from old fashioned christians. Even then, they don’t consider either party of the couple to be gold diggers or anything like that. Of course, I’m speaking generally. I’m sure there are a few people here and there that might think the same as they do in Asia, but it’s not the general mentality.

  3. I don’t think it’s wrong dating someone of the other race because obviously there is nothing wrong with it.

    But one has to put in a lot of effort because cultures and traditions may differ. Acceptance, give and take is important.

    Nevertheless if one has the will, an inter racial relationship will be able to work out.

    :d

  4. Honestly, to all, I used to think that it was just me being overly sensitive until a few of my friends, and even my 2nd ex (Indian guy) related their experiences.

    Prashanth: One day…one day you might just get to meet him.

    Mikey: As you can see, it’s not ‘my area’ – I don’t consider Vietnam, Thailand, China or Singapore ‘my area’ since I don’t live there. And I don’t get this as well. Another Malaysian blogger who is white and married to a Malay, Jordan, got some jibes about how his wife was a boh-sia. Some friends of mine, Chinese girls who dated Indians, got really nasty comments from Chinese guys in Chinatown about how Chinese men weren’t good enough for them and shyet like that.

    I don’t make it sound like that. It IS like that – in the general sense. So a lot of couples in inter-racial marriages make do and try to ignore it. It’s so sad really because NONE of us are of pure blood.

    Yvy: Well, you can choose to ignore it. People who can’t see beyond skin colour aren’t worth the time of the day or energy in worrying. 🙂 BUT you can always diss them for it. :d

    Kyels: All relationships require effort. It’s just that with all this prejudical thinking going on around, sometimes it’s just so much easier going out with a boy/girl of the same ethic group or skin colour. I, on the other hand, decided that I had enough of letting other people dictate how I should life my live and how I should obtain happiness.

  5. I didn’t mean to confuse, sorry. When I meant ‘your area’, I was basically referring to Asia. I really hope I didn’t offend or anything 🙁 I was moreso trying to compare Asia in general to America in regards to interracial relationships. You basically said yourself that there’s a common thread between the countries there in stereotyping people, and that is what i was using for the basis of comparison.

  6. hehehe…you know wat? i too actually dont give a rat’s ass abt me. I’M the one with the guy not you (as in the other ppl lar) so u sakit aper, right? 😉

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