Cultural Transversite


Cultural Transversite = n a person born in the body of another culture but believing to belong to a different culture and may even examine his/her heritage like a foreigner does.

Some people have explained that they were born in the body of a girl when they were actually a boy and vice versa. I think that describes how I feel about who I am closes. I am born with an asian body and I feel all wrong in it.

I don’t know. This is such a polarized issue and even the use of the word can create some controversy and raises certain flags of insensitivity. And yet, I find myself understanding that feeling and stealing the saying for my own use.

I’ve often said, generalization is the base of all jokes and humour. Of course, it is not true but there are some truths. Example, we say the french are romantic, I wouldn’t say that of all the french people but it is generally true in the way they look at relationships. And when we look at an asian, the general idea is someone (especially a girl) who is quiet or submissive or agreeable, takes care of their family and is a gentle partner. It’s not how every asian (girl) is but there are truths.

Then how do we define a western person? First of all, do we mean the americans or europeans? Where does the west begin and end? And it will be an error to lump all of them together as generalization because the french is nothing like the americans and nothing like the swedish. But one thing I thought was common, they are brought up differently, encouraged to leave home and be independent at an early age and speak their mind.

Sometimes, I forgot how I looked. One day, I had a slap in the face. Someone I had only met for 5 mins said to me in the kindest possible way that I looked like someone who should be happily married with children and a care giver. And I thought, how far that is to the truth. I’ve been ambitious, working in different countries, travelled and at some point taken more planes than cars. And I used to say, if I should die in a transport accident, it would have been more likely in a plane crash than a car crash. That about sums up the difficulty in love. Because, what they see is not what they get.

There is no better culture, just like there is no better gender. But in some cultures, being a boy is easier and more precious than being a girl. I have met people like me. There were some westerners I know who would always eat chinese and learn chinese and act more chinese than I do. They absorb the culture of another with such ferocity and expressed hatred for their own. And I hardly eat chinese unless I’m hosting or cooking, learn chinese like a foreigner is interested in a foreign culture and act out of expectations of an asian person.

There is an age old saying “Never judge a book by its cover.” I wonder if it actually works like that. My favorite book “To kill a mocking bird” by Harper Lee says, “you’ll never really understand someone until you walk in their shoes”. So I guess, I’d like to wear that skin and see how it feels. Maybe it will be less confuse than brown almond shape eyes seeing the world in a tinted view.

And of course, just to add to the complication, I don’t have the dark black lustrous hair and beautifully shaped dark eyes of a proper asian girl. My hair is a dirty light brown with hazel eyes and yet I am 100% of chinese heritage.

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