Relationship Advice From Chinese People

My fam­i­ly always ask me if I’m dat­ing any­one right now. They assume I pre­fer Caucasian girls. I tell them I don’t mind either way (the oth­er side of “either” being Chinese girls). That’s when they warn me about main­land girls. Chinese main­lan­ders are com­mon­ly viewed by Hong Kong peo­ple as being low-class, crude, and provin­cial. It’s said that even if a girl from there is pret­ty, they lose all attrac­tive­ness as soon as she opens her mouth. On top of that, they’re gold-dig­gers, just look­ing for a way to get mon­ey or a green card.

They tell me I’ll be fine as long as I don’t mar­ry a main­land girl.

My grand­ma used to tell me to find a Chinese girl, because Chinese girls treat their men bet­ter, or to find some­one who loves me more than I love them. She’s filled with all sorts of fun­ny apho­risms, like “Women are to be loved, not hit.”


  1. I’d think your fam­i­ly’s per­cep­tion is cor­rect to a large extent, but I’ve met quite a few excep­tions. One thing almost always true about main­lan­ders is they have a very fixed mind­set and reject new or dif­fer­ent con­cepts. That just makes it dif­fi­cult for them to live with peo­ple from a dif­fer­ent cul­tur­al back­ground.

    • Most of my expe­ri­ence with main­lan­ders is from uni­ver­si­ty in Canada, where they may make up half the class­es. They do seem quite obliv­i­ous to the ways there, in which they talk rude­ly in the hall­ways, stick to them­selves, make no attempt to inte­grate into the Canadian cul­ture.

      I agree that a fixed mind­set is part of their cul­ture, but that there are excep­tions as well.

  2. There are excep­tions to every­thing, though hav­ing dealt with main­lan­der Chinese peo­ple at my University as well, I’d say if there were any excep­tions, it’ll be easy to spot from a mile away, or at least not put them into the stereo­type.

    But got to love you grand­moth­er’s advice though, you’d be sur­prised at the fact that par­tic­u­lar wis­dom is lost on some peo­ple.

    • Instead of spot­ting them (though most­ly through fash­ion sense), I’d say that I can hear them from a mile away.

      And yeah, I think my grand­moth­er knows enough abu­sive hus­bands to spark that kind of thought in her! It’s a scary thought.

  3. One thing that both­ered me about all my ex-gfs(asians) is that, it seems they all pos­sessed this Chinese trait I hat­ed. The one about “face.” I guess it’s from the tra­di­tion­al Chinese upbring­ing. I can’t stand the super­fi­cial­ness.

    • Hmmmm…I’m not sure if any of my ex-girl­friends looked for the face in me. But I can cer­tain­ly say that the super­fi­cial­i­ty is a turn-off. One of my exes told me should would­n’t have dat­ed me if I was white, which is strange cause I felt very Caucasian at the time.

      • Jeff, I meant “face” as in “save face” or “rep­u­ta­tion.” Often, they’re too tied up on how peo­ple may think of them, instead of act­ing nor­mal.

      • Ah yes, I should have real­ized what you meant. And I total­ly agree that “face” is a strong Chinese con­cept. Hong Kong espe­cial­ly, I hear, where every­one judges you by the car you dri­ve, the watch you wear, and the pen you car­ry.

      • But “face” in the Hong Kong per­spec­tive can also mean achieve­ments and intel­lec­tu­al stand­ing rather than mere mate­r­i­al pos­ses­sions depend­ing on which social cir­cle you’re in.

      • Ah, very inter­est­ing. There are many things in Chinese that are lost on me. I don’t think it’s because of the com­plex­i­ties of the lan­guage, but the cul­ture.

  4. Hong Kong cul­ture is so warm com­pared to the expe­ri­ences I had with Japanese, and lat­er Korean cul­tures. I’ve found that cen­tered fam­i­ly feel­ing in each of the cul­tures, even with ex-Beijingers, but since I came in as a girl­friend, I was giv­en fam­i­ly recep­tion (even if it took a lit­tle time).

    But my Cantonese friends took us in (even my Korean husband)just as if we were fam­i­ly; it was that same com­fort you described. We were just adopt­ed! I think the more you learn to adjust to liv­ing togeth­er close­ly (as they have been forced to)the more you real­ize what must be done to make it all work com­fort­ably. They seem to know that even if there are issues, there’s still some­thing under­neath that always rests there solid­ly — they won’t ever give up on you. I love that. My hus­band, hav­ing had bad expe­ri­ences with “main­lan­ders” in Korea, was so sur­prised by this, and said how impressed he was by Hong Kong, by com­par­i­son.

    • I think it’s exact­ly what you say about liv­ing togeth­er close­ly that makes Hong Kong peo­ple so friend­ly, or per­haps able to deal with oth­er peo­ple. I’m not sure about hous­ing in Japan or Korea, but in Hong Kong it’s so expen­sive that’s it’s not unusu­al for fam­i­lies to live togeth­er in the same house their entire lives. You learn to accept things eas­i­ly, because you don’t real­ly have a choice.

  5. Arg. that was post­ed in the wrong place, sor­ry.

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