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?