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In the News!

#44 Fortune Cookies

Posted March 23rd, 2008 by Peter

Peter says:

“Fortune Cookie: A Chinese-American cookie into which has been folded a printed message predicting one’s fortune.” If you’ve ever wondered why an asian person gives you that hug or profound food for though, look no further. They’ve probably been eating at Lucky’s Chinese.

When people go to “fast food” type restaurants such as Panda Express or Pickup Stix, they are greeted by a familiar site: the Fortune Cookie. When full-blooded asians go to these restaurants, they, besides scoffing at the silly adornments, are appalled by the abomination. Why? It’s simply not asian. After extensive research, both Chinese and American food historians agree that the “fortune cookie” is in fact an American invention. That, however, doesn’t stop americanized asians from enjoying the fortune that could lie in their immediate futures because of a very obscure but accurate connection. Combining a random horoscopic message with a funny fact or proverb, this pleasant low-calorie dessert has cracked its way into the hearts of people everywhere. There are three main categories of messages that asians can receive from their fortune cookies:

1. Enlightening: These messages may tell asians winning lottery numbers or how to say “watermelon” in Chinese. They may also present obscure truths about obscure people from obscure lands that have obscure names. These fortune cookies, however, continue to expand an asian’s vocabulary and their knowledge of “King Fifth the Twelth twice removed from the throne of Canterbury.” Examples of enlightening fortune cookie messages may be: obvious, like “A warm smile is testimony of a generous nature. or thought-provoking: If you would be loved, love and be lovable.” When asians receive these messages, they may re-think their current situations in life and be (next category) in the lives of people they know.

2. Inspiring: Have you ever wondered why asians are the best people to consult after a hard day at work? Asians aren’t born innately knowing Hammurabi’s Code, nor do they always know the right things to say. That’s where fortune cookies come into play. Asians love helping others by nature, no matter how gruesome their actions on the freeway. Asians are themselves inspired by some of the messages they receive in fortune cookies. That is why they, in turn, will pay them forward to their friends, family, and co-workers. Examples of inspiring messages include: The smart thing is to prepare for the unexpected.” and “A scholars ink lasts longer than a martyrs blood.” Asians, for this reason, will tell you that “The smart thing is to prepare for the unexpected.


3. Or just plain frightening: These messages will turn even jesterly Jackie Chan into the ill-fated Bruce Lee (comedy to tragedy). They can also, on the other hand, be the most comical ones out there (if you don’t take them too seriously). Asians always live on cloud nine, so it takes one of these reminders to bring them one cloud closer to earth. Of the more comical messages is, “Those weren’t chicken or chocolate ice cream you just ate.” Sometimes, the cookies may even hold a deeper and eerie meaning, as one of our members reports receiving, “You think it’s a secret, but it has never been one..” and the more frightening, What you perceive as an innocent infatuation, the law will perceive as punishable up to 15 years in federal prison,” in succession. These messages are very hard to come by, and are usually found in more “americanized” restaurants that believe that using broken english and a wise asian accent are unimportant (even though they are).

Besides from their obvious qualities, fortune cookies may be equivalent of fortune tellers to asians, as they both are predictors of ensuing fortune and success. On a more obscure note, fortune cookies are also like asian immigrants.

“At the beginning of this century, San Francisco’s Chinatown was a ghetto, rife with the problems that plague any poor neighborhood. But by the 1930s, the neighborhood’s exotic image was being used to attract tourists. During that marketing effort, a restaurant created the fortune cookie for visitors who expected a dessert course that Chinese cuisine largely lacks.” - Fortune Cookies: No Ancient Chinese Secret

The fortune cookie’s image was developed slowly by viral marketing, much like many asians had to climb their respective social ladders to achieve what they have today. They endured the rockin’ twenties and the Great Depression. They single-handedly transformed China Town, San Francisco into what it is today. Asians love knowledge, motivation, and humor. They also love people and things that will ensure them brighter futures. The Fortune Cookie is all those things and more.

#43 Spring & Egg Rolls

Posted March 22nd, 2008 by Peter

Peter says:

“Spring roll… An Asian-American appetizer made of crispdough wrapped around a filling of various ingredients such as vegetables, meat, shrimp, and seasonings. Sometimes synonymous with “egg roll,” it is considered somewhat more “authentic” and delicious than the latter. The name, which dates in English print to 1943, comes from the Chinese tradition of serving them on the first day of the Chinese New Year, which is also the first day of the lunar year’s spring.” -Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink

When asians get tired of accumulating copious amounts of vitamin B from rice and fish sauce, they turn to a very delectable treat that can only be described as, “the best invention since the chopstick.” Originally an invention of the Chinese, the Spring Roll, nowadays synonymous with the Egg Roll, is quite different from its distant cousin. Spring rolls are served fresh with thinner rice paper, while Egg Rolls are made with, you guessed it, egg-glazed rice paper. Since 1985, when America popularized it, this treat has gained so much precedence that I will, from this moment on, refer to is as “her Springness.”

Egg Roll (top) and Spring Roll (bottom)

Asians love this voluptuous woman for the following reasons:

Delectability: Her Springness is a mixture of the best boiled shrimp, steamed pork, vermicelli noodles, lettuce, and herbs wrapped by a soft or crunchy rice-paper shell (depending on preference). She is usually served as in hors d’oeuvres, along with chow mein and the infamous “flied lice.” No asian can resist her mixture of meat and herbs, as she has become paraded around during asianEgg Roll festivities more times than the Pope has walked the Vatican.

Portability: Her Springness may be larger than an oreo or fig bar, but she quite dynamic. Asians kidnap her from dinner parties, birthdays, graduations, even funerals. Much like her loyal servants, she is forced into suspended animation in the refrigerator until her new masters are hungry. When this occurs, she can either be thawed or re-fried, once again bringing her back to power over asian taste buds.

Versatility: Her filling can be meat or vegetarian, economical or rich. If she is Fujianese, she will have very exotic fillings such as carrots, shredded cabbage, or leeks. Her Shanghai-ese counterpart will have a diversity of fillings including bamboo shoots. Her Cantonese cousin, however, has traveled overseas and is now known in the West as “Egg Roll.” Some asians think of her as “the best of Spring Rolls” for her widespread popularity and deliciousness.

“Her Springness” has a vast amount of family around the world, each incorporating a bit of its country into its ingredients. The Chinese believe in the merit and charm of eating her “undressed.” The Vietnamese, on the other hand, love to wrap her with soft lettuce, basil and mint. They will also drench her in glorious fish sauce to enhance her appearance and taste.

“Like many Vietnamese dishes, eating it this way resonates with layers of flavors and textures - the crispy vegetables and fish sauce with the crunchy spring roll…”

Let’s get back to reality. Asians everywhere love the Spring Roll and Egg Roll for their delectability, portability, and versatility. They have become a staple commodity at all asian fast food stores and even some higher class restaurants. So much so, that Wolfgang Puck has incorporated and mutilated them in one of his “Asian Fusion” recipes. They are also portable, as asians everywhere bring them home to their friends and families. Lastly, they are quite versatile. Everywhere they go, Spring/Egg Rolls gain new and better qualities. Asians know that there is nothing better than rice, but the Spring/Egg Roll comes in at a close second.

Here’s a video tutorial on How to Make Spring Rolls:

#42 Final Fantasy

Posted March 21st, 2008 by avaliant

Despite their parents’ constant nagging to stop wasting time, video games are popular among Asian Youths. Take one quick look at a typical Asian’s game collection, and you are likely to see at least one version of Final Fantasy, Super Mario, and probably many more similar style RPGs (role playing games).

Just like with every other form of pop entertainment that Asians enjoy, they will completely and utterly obsess over it. Although Final Fantasy is generally popular in “nerd culture,” Asians find ways to take it to another level. They will load their iPods with in-game music and learn how to play it on the piano, or post drawings of game characters (all done in the anime style with correct anatomical measurements of course). However, the most devoted fans will dress up in costumes of their favorite characters, complete with weapons and accessories: a phenomenon known as cosplay. For some reason, cosplay is wildly popular in Japan, although it is hardly limited to that country.

Previously mentioned in post #7, Anime, “There is a wonderful anime fanbase and following” who will dress up and go to Anime Expos with their friends. One of our members mentions being pinched and prodded all day long by girls dressed in japanese school attire. Asians will go to great lengths to achieve these transformations in order to look like their favorite game characters. Where else do you think they get the spiky hair idea from?

So why is Final Fantasy so popular among Asians? The repetitive nature of the combat and character advancement plays well to the Asian tendency toward OCD (Post #28). Likewise, the numeric and predictable methods for “leveling up” characters satisfies the Asian need for a sense of accomplishment. Just like grades or paychecks, RPGs offer a set of numeric based awards that are given almost entirely as a function of time invested and hard work. Asians crave these rewards the same way alcoholics crave their liquor. This combination of game elements means that Final Fantasy is a game made by Asians, for Asians; a veritable window into the Asian soul.

#41 Eye Enlargement

Posted March 20th, 2008 by everydayasian · 1 Comment

Fact: Asian women think that their eyes are ugly. They will go to many lengths to change the appearance of their eyes, from high-maintenance temporary alterations to more expensive and permanent options. So much so, that every Asian person has at least one sister, mother, aunt, grandmother, or friend who has tried to change their eyes.

Big EyesThe most common things Asian women change are their “lids.” Asian eyelids usually have a single fold (otherwise known as a monolid), whereas Caucasian eyelids have “double folds.” It is this “double fold” that Asian women spend most their lives coveting.

Young girls often start off with cheap and easily accessible apparatuses for achieving double-fold eyelids: tape or glue. Using these tools, asians, with the help of some adhesive and plastic tools, make possible this “pleat” in their own skin. During their teenage years, Asian girls learn about this from an older sister or cousin. They will also develop the asian stare at this age, which will allow them to strike fear into the hearts of people everywhere. The Asian Stare heavily contributes to the enlarging of an asian’s eyes because it requires asians to expose as much of their irises as possible. It will also prepare them for motherhood, where the asian stare will keep their children from going out with friends *gasp*. With repeated use, the Asian Stare will cause a noticeable increase in iris radius, bringing asians one step closer to having eyes as wide as wet noodles.

These days, there is a relative newcomer in the world of Asian eye fake-outs: the circle lense. Circle lenses were made popular in Korea before the trend spread to other Asian countries and is slowly making its way to the United States. “Circle Lenses” are like colored contact lenses, except the colored portion is larger than a person’s actual iris. The reasoning is that making their irises appear larger makes asian eyes look bigger. The effect is more dramatic than folding their eyelids, and can sometimes be rather cartoon-like (look at all the anime characters). Asians may even freak people out by getting designs on their lenses, much like Michael Jackson did to the world when he turned white.

Does eye enlargement sound ridiculously strange to you, or are you a woman who finds this so appealing that you have to try it right now? Click Here to check out the many Youtube tutorials about how to glue your eyes. As asian women approach their 20’s or their high school/college graduations, they opt for plastic surgery so that they don’t have to use glue or tape everyday. Eyelid surgery is probably the most common plastic surgery for Asian women for this reason.

So why do asian women spend so much time and money trying to change their eyes? Somewhere along the way, they were given the message that Caucasian is what’s normal, and that it is preferable to have more White features. Flip through an Asian beauty or fashion magazine and if you look closely, the majority of models have done something to their eyes or noses to make them look more White. This is true whether the magazine is for Asian Americans or for old timers. Compact that with the globalization of Japanese cartoon characters, who all have eyes the size of tennis balls (sometimes even larger). School girls live their lives dreaming that they can become the next Sakura (cardcaptors) or Sailor Moon (Sailor Moon).

White beauty standards put pressure on Asian women even when they’re in their home countries (which is sad and doesn’t make much sense). For you Asian-American women who read beauty mags and never understand the part where they say “apply eyeshadow to the crease” - I suggest you check out the book Asian Faces where you can learn makeup techniques that show, not hide, your differences. Until then, there is no denying that Asians love to make their eyes look bigger.

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#40 White Girls

March 20, 2008 · 1 Comment
Posted March 19th, 2008 by Peter · 5 Comments

Peter says:


Before we begin, if you haven’t read the overarching Post #26, check it out before reading this post or any posts for that matter. Then you’ll get why this whole white guys, white girls, white people business. Thanks! Now on with the talk: Asian guys love girls. Sure, there are plenty of asian girls to go around, but in recent years, a threatening epidemic has raged throughout suburban areas all over the United States.

leftHave you ever wondered why asian girls can date white guys, but it’s rare to see an asian guy with a white girl? This isn’t because asian guys are not attracted to white girls. On the contrary, white girls are many times the secret fantasy of any Twinkie. No, this is not a partially-hydrogenated pastry, but the asian guy who has a bunch of white friends and does the things white guys do. There’s one problem: He’s stuck in an asian body. Twinkies can be compared to a single kitten growing up in the midst of puppies. Twinkies feel like they are puppies because they are enculturated and they like what other puppies like, including the female dogs. Due to this immersion, Asians end up adopting white beauty standards. (but the same isn’t reciprocated by white girls.)

The fact of the matter is that most white girls do not even see asian guys as “dateable.” They would rather ask them for help with math homework, gaming tips, or fashion advice. They wouldn’t ever want an intimate relationship, leaving one lingering question: What causes this white obsession?

The media has a greater influence on asians than they want to admit. The minute asians turn on the tube, out pops all they need to know about being “hot,” “cool,” and “hip.” They also find considerable beauty in large eyes, a thinner pointed nose, a longer face, and fair skin. An increasing amount of asian pop stars are even having surgery to look more like this. However, these are distinctly Caucasian beauty standards. Why else are white males so exciting?

They’re more exotic and promiscuous. But then again, who says that asian guys aren’t exciting? Who wouldn’t want to have a lobster dinner, talk about current events, AND finish their Advanced Calculus Homework (all the while getting their computer reformatted) during the same date? Asian guys sure know how to live it up!

Asian guys would also love to date a white girl, but can’t. White guys, on the other hand, love to date asian women and can. There are immense differences in preferences and motivation among these genders. When asian guys talk about “Bleach” to white girls, they immediately think “hair product,” before they realize the guy is talking about that book he is reading from right to left (manga). When asian guys talk about meeting after school, it isn’t to make out. It’s to finish up a school project. Asian guys just seem too nerdy.

There is hope: Culture is constantly changing. It still turns heads when we see an asian guy with a white girl, but American-born asian guys just seem a bit more “cool” than they used to be. Movies like Harold and Kumar go to White Castle overturn stereotypes by having asian guys star in stoner films.

What usually happens to asian guys, however, is not that they get white girls, but that their tastes start to change. Though asians’ environments shape early inclinations, their thoughts start to change as they continue to develop as people. Some asians will realize that their love for white girls is only a far-fetched dream during an awkward stage in life. Others will continue their pursuit and ultimately fail, but some will succeed. These asians prove that: Asian Guys most definitely like White Girls.

Written by BananaBoy and Peter.

#39 Glasses

March 20, 2008 · No Comments
Posted March 19th, 2008 by sy88 · 6 Comments

Yes, that suspicion you had was true: Asians are nerds. Asians also squint a lot (That’s why they have slanted eyes). Combine those 3 common characteristics: nerdy, squinty, slanty; and you have the reason that so many asians wear glasses (including yours truly).

Okay, okay… so not all Asians are short-sighted or far-sighted, and one could argue that quite a few Asians try to hide or amend their shortcomings with fashion-savvy alternatives to vision correction such as contact lenses or laser eye surgery. But let’s face it: Asians are not the most fashion-savvy people in the world. The concept of fashion trends was created by the white man, namely the French. Asians believe their duty as Asians is to be non-conformist when it comes to contact lenses and buck the trend towards laser eye surgery. Therefore, the only logical solutions are glasses or spectacles.

Asians remember a more innocent time: When their mothers told them off for sitting too close to the television. Or perhaps it was from playing too many computer games. I mean, just look at Post #15, god knows Asians love their video games. Regardless, Asian parents constantly warn their children that all those colorful, flashing images jumping around inches from their eyeballs will mess up their future vision capabilities. Asian parents’ teachings are always vindicated at the onset of puberty.

It’s been scientifically proven that glasses lower attractiveness level tenfold (Asian males are a living testament to this). Yes, glasses allow Asians to pursue their love of #3 – academia more successfully, but that darn accessory immediately decreases an Asian male’s attractiveness to the other sex. (Yes white women, I’m looking your way). But asian ladies fear not: glasses merely give them that ‘sexy librarian’ look (or at least the Asian equivalent). As the guys on ‘Stuff White People Like’ can attest to (as per #12 on that list), asians will always appear attractive to white guys, so at least they always have that! So in effect, glasses are a hindrance to one Asian gender, but a benefit to the other. (Gender equality, you gotta love it!)

What it all boils down to in the end is genetics. Those slanty Asian eyes don’t quite operate as they should. That’s why Asians love anime: Characters usually have mesmerizing, huge, and doughy eyes. It’s an Asian desire to have eyes comparable to their beloved anime characters. As this dream cannot be realized in real life (not even by plastic surgery *michael jackson*), asians have to live with the reality of their eyes. Mother Nature doesn’t, unfortunately, favor asians.

So, to the Asian guys and girls who proudly don chunks of rim and metal around their eyes, I pose these questions:

Guys, do you wanna end up looking like this glasses-wearing man?

(Dalai Lama)

Girls, do you want to follow in the footsteps of this groovy spec-eyed chick?

(Yoko Ono)

Whatever the choice, you can satisfy yourself with the fact that you’ll either be able to reach spiritual enlightenment or marry a white guy that will revolutionize music. That is, if you’re an Asian that wears glasses

#38 White Guys

March 20, 2008 · No Comments
Posted March 18th, 2008 by Skunkgal · No Comments

http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1316/1436119560_8db1fc3bd7_o.jpgAsian chicks dig white guys. Somewhere in the midst of the pseudo-nationalistic indoctrination our well-meaning parents inflict upon us, we ladies stop paying attention and allow tall(er), skinny, white boy engineers to steal our hearts.What’s up with the race treason? One theory: They love us. Asian fetish, yellow fever. Whatever you call it, there’s plenty of literature out there telling white men that we slant-eyed princesses are the exotic, submissive, and hypersexualized women of their dreams.http://www.stanford.edu/~nancytpn/storage/kristin_kreuk.jpgThis post, however, is not about why white guys live in a delusional fantasy world. It’s a dissertation on why, despite the tawdry roots of our suitors’ affection, we just eat it up. One economist says it’s because Asian women are the least discriminatory female demographic (second-to-last paragraph)– that “the white man-Asian woman pairing was the most common form of interracial dating … because of the women’s neutrality, not the men’s pronounced preference.”

Uh, ok. Whatever. What about our strict fathers and sheltered childhoods. Plus, we all saw how well that John Lennon/Yoko Ono thing worked out. And we can’t resist everything white men have to offer–and no, I’m not talking about that. White men indulge our deepest PDA-fantasies; they hold our hands, they aren’t terribly cerebral about their emotions, and they will–heaven forbid–tell their parents that we’re actually dating. Asian parents don’t do any of that gross hand-holding, making-outhttp://star-ecentral.com/archives/2006/9/22/movies/f_03robbhood.jpg stuff. Asian boys learned the lesson; girls, not so much.

Lastly, if you think this is all a pile of BS, we all can admit one tangible reason the Asian/white pairing works so well. God knows all we want are highly attractive children, and halfie babies are so damn cute.

Written by Skunkgal

#37 Piano & Violin

March 20, 2008 · 2 Comments
Posted March 17th, 2008 by YASPY Chick · 1 Comment

Asian parents always want to refine their children. This includes enrolling them in music lessons at a very young age until about the beginning of high school. But not just any kind of music lessons: piano or violin “edification.” (At times, flute is acceptable too.) These instruments symbolize, to many Asians, the epitome of refinement. It isn’t too different from the English during the Regency and Victorian periods when a young middle class woman’s ability to play piano was a sign of her sophistication. This asian refinement is a sign of accomplishment because the asian parents are able to “afford” these frills. The children, due to their parents constant struggle to show other parents up, are forced to take these lessons.

The piano is considered by asians as the core instrument that one learns in order to first unPianoderstand the essentials of music. Why? In order to successfully know how to play piano, asians must know how to read both the treble and bass clefs. That means understanding the intricacies of a whole other language at the ripe age of 3, which in turn, allows most asian children to comprehend how to efficiently use their left and right brain hemispheres at an earlier age. Do you ever wonder why asian children are so gifted mathematically and spatially? That’s your answer. Asians will also enroll their children in musical classes to serve the community.

For Asian-Christian families, the ability to play piano means that the child can have his or her turn at “performing” during church services. That way, Mrs. Chung can brag (more on bragging below) to everyone that it’s her Jenny out there playing “‘Praise My Soul’ like an angel.” The accolades don’t end in the congregation hall. That’s why pianos are, most importantly, expensive. To have one in the living room is a subtle (in an asian sense) way of telling everyone that the Asians are keeping up with the “Joneses” (or the Wongs).

In asian circles, piano is the choice instrument, followed very closely by the violin. The violin is often a preference because it’s small and portable, great for young children. Asian kids start private music lessons as Violinkindergarteners (before they start learning how to use chopsticks, but after they start their introductory calculus lessons), or even while in pre-school (I had my first piano lesson just before my 4th birthday)! The sound it makes is very soft and smooth when playing strictly classical music (a proper Asian kid does NOT fiddle). The violin, like piano, is also more likely to be a “star” instrument, which will more times than none draw more attention to the child’s parents.

To Conservative Asians, most other instruments are a no-no. Especially brass instruments and instruments associated with bands and more popular music. To Asian parents, instruments such as trombones, saxophones, trumpets, percussive drums, guitar (especially ELECTRIC GUITAR) are blasphemous. Asian parents don’t want their child to risk becoming evil rock musicians! Asian kids must be proper. They must be able to play the kind of music that can be heard at church or when family friends visit. They must be able to read at a 5th grade level before they are potty-trained. And most importantly, they must learn how to heckle with other children when trading lunches in order to achieve the most economical utility.


Note from Author: Acceptable instruments other than piano and violin include: flute, clarinet, oboe, cello (only after Yo-Yo Ma became a big star), and vocal ensembles. (At my middle and high schools, the flute sections at ensembles were overwhelmingly Asian while brass instruments were white.) The guitar is allowed after the age of 18, when children are legal adults and want to play sad songs about how the girl in Multi-Quantum Physics isn’t digging their outfit or accepting their invitations to buy boba (but let’s save that for a later post).

#36 Aging Cookware

March 20, 2008 · No Comments
Posted March 16th, 2008 by avaliant · 2 Comments

Asians love food, and they absolutely love home-cooked food, all the better with many family and friends around the table. This means, by extension, that Asians love cooking, even if they do not partake of the activity themselves. However, one thing that Asian people absolutely do not love is cooking with modern kitchen appliances.

The true Asian chef will use only a knife and cutting board to prepare their meal. This is ironic, because of the many different types of cuisine in the world, the various Asian cuisines almost scream for the use of a food processor. Garlic must be minced into pieces as small as possible, beef sliced paper-thin, and carrots cut into thin strips; the list goes on. Name an Asian dish, and there will be at least three ways a food processor will help (Note, please do not send me recipes to try and prove this statement false. I really don’t care). This is almost invariably true because most Asian dishes require: a) minced garlic, b) chopped/minced onions/spring onions/ginger and c) some kind of slicing.

But the true Asian chef must resist any urges to go and use such a device. Rather, they practice their craft with only cutting board and knife; preferably a large Chinese style cleaver, one of those weirdly shaped Japanese knives, or a western style chef’s knife. If asians need to cut something small, they don’t get another knife; instead, they simply use the large knife, but more carefully. If the asian happens to own other knives (as parts of sets or gifts), they will remain, for the most part, untouched in their drawers, ready to be gifts for other people.

What about the rest of the kitchen? The Asian chef’s kitchen may contain an assortment of various pots and pans, purchased or received at one point. Like the knives, most of them will remain untouched for years. Because Asians absolutely loathe throwing away useful things (future post), these items will build up over the years. However, certain items will be used meal after meal: a large pot for soup/porridge, a steamer, a rice cooker (of course). But perhaps the crown jewel of the Asian kitchen is the wok. Almost everything in an Asian person’s stomach at one point was conceived in a wok.

Where does this aversion to kitchen appliances come from? Is it a matter of cultural pride? Or perhaps it is the immigrant’s desire to make at least one part of the household similar to that of his home country. Is preparing food by hand really better than using a food processor? The answer to these questions is best left to an anthropology or Asian studies major. Either way, Asian cooking proves that some of the best meals do not need fancy tools to make.

#35 Peace Sign

Posted March 15th, 2008 by Peter · 3 Comments

You know you’ve seen it, and you know you’ve wondered why asian people use it so often. All asians: Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, and (Insert Asian Ethnicity)-ese have utilized this sign in pictures from the time of the 1972 Sapporo Winter Olympics, where an embarrassed Janet Lynn raised it up in victory after falling on her rump. This phenomenon, from that moment, spread faster than a Windows Vista virus because the Japanese Media plastered it on every poster and television advertisement. (Before that, Americans used it to signal “V” -ictory during WWII, but the Japanese seldom used it as a peace sign.)

“So what is this mysterious V-sign? Is it truly the universal sign for “peace”? A secret sign adopted by a global underground Asian cult who’s mission is to become the next super-race? Or perhaps an ancient math puzzle developed by the monks of the Shaolin Temple?” -FOBSPOT

The truth lies in asian culture, where people are notably shy and outspoken. They have no other means of expressing their happiness, other than a smile, because everyone knows even an asian smile can be mistaken for their chinky eye lining. To show that they are indeed happy, asians outline their grinning chins with a “V” sign to draw attention away from their non-existant eyes. They also wouldn’t ever want to yell something while taking a picture because it would draw more attention to them. However, Asians are always stoked when a photo opp arises. In these situations, asians, instead of using America’s ludicrously awkward phrase, “Cheese,” will use the peace sign to show that they are indeed present in the photograph. By present, I mean enthusiastic and excited about being in someone else’s life story. This is due in part to the Asian love for emotional-understanding and inciting reactions (later post).

That’s why Stuff Asian People Like’s Peter Nguyen went straight to the source this Saturday (China Town) to find out the truth about the Peace Sign. Though many refused to answer (or simply didn’t know how to), there were a myriad of explanations. One such responder, who’s face lit up with joy when asked, was very accommodating and said that the peace sign was ubiquitous with “Being Number One, Victory,” or in Japan, “Ichiban!” She proceeded to demonstrate various positions in which the sign would mean different things. The funny thing is that she was making hamster noises in every which position to emphasize the importance of placement. For example, a “V” sign in front of the face means that the asian is very egotistical and wants to draw the most attention possible to themselves. However, a lower-third peace sign around the abdomen region means that they are more reserved, and don’t want to overshadow others in the picture. Side-ways in front of the eyes is most definitely an older asian’s 80’s statement.


The previous explanation was extremely thorough, but one little feline has most spurred on the globalization of the peace sign: Hello Kitty. Not just Hello Kitty, but all her Sanrio friends, anime/manga series, and commercial television have made the peace sign popular among school girls and in some cases, boys. (Batz Maru, Pochocco, and Pekkle are not female characters). Even though the fingers are non-existent in some cases, this pose has caused a revolution in which children think it’s necessary to raise peace signs to look cute and innocent. The sign lives on today as the residual of a more innocent time in which kids didn’t grow up with computers and instead drew pictures of their favorite cartoon characters.

It started out as a victory and peace statement. It later became a way for an olympian to divert attention from herself (by using a local gesture) after suffering an extremely embarrassing fall. It rode the immigrant train into the Americas, where asian people have diversified it and turned it into a cultural phenomenon. The Peace Sign is definitely something that Asians like because it’s one of the first global habits that is purely “asian.”

#34 Fish Sauce

Posted March 14th, 2008 by Peter · 2 Comments

Southeastern Asians know of a fountain of youth that not only never runs dry, but protects whoever accesses it. To non-asians, it’s an anomaly. To asians, who know its secrets, fish sauce is a staple export and seasoning.

“Peee-You…” If you have ever been to a Vietnamese restaurant, you will be able to remember two main seasonings: the jet black soy sauce and its more distant cousin: Fish Sauce. Asians love the pungent taste of fish sauce and use it whenever possible. A staple in Southeastern Asian cuisine, it is a good substitute for salt and sodium in many dishes. Many Chinese (Cantonese), Thai, and Vietnamese cuisines rely heavily on Fish Sauce to provide that extra zing that it gives. Remember that this zing must be provided over 365 days a year to bowls of rice in many asian countries.

Like rice, Fish Sauce is a good source of vitamin B and protein. It is ironically made from — surprise, surprise — salted fish! In addition to being a valuable cooking ingredient, fish sauce also doubles as a dipping sauce for everything from vegetables and seafood, to spring rolls and rice cakes. Due to its varying consistency, some asians even call it “fish gravy.” In Vietnam, it is known as “nuoc mam,” and in Thailand, “nam pla.” It also comes in many brands, including squid, fish, and crab. (Contrary to common belief, the popular Squid Brand fish sauce does in fact contain no squid.) The average asian is even able to tell if it’s been used in a dish or not, showing the importance it has to asians around the world. (It is one of the many asian traits that make up for lack of stature.)

Though its uses are numerous, many still find it difficult to bare the “horrible” smell. The reasons that most asians can stand the smell are:

Long Shelf Life: It’s 102 degrees inside and 120 outside. You are sweating enough to wash a car and dry it with your own shirt. Imagine trying to preserve salt in a hot and humid environment and highly-questionable sanitary living conditions. This is the situation in Southern Vietnam during the winter. Asians know what will happen if they purchase salt. They teach it to their children and they teach it to their children. Here’s the correct answer!: It would most definitely spoil, leaving the asians without sodium to fuel their “high-blood pressure” diets. Enter fish sauce, which is instead stored in a bottle with a cap in order to preserve its freshness. It’s an innovation that has allowed asians everywhere to season their food without the hassle of salt. I haven’t even mentioned the number of precious salt morsels lost during the transferral process because asians hate wasting food, down to the very last grain. Why pay for bad salt when an asian only has to endure some reeking aroma. Another important reason for utilizing fish sauce is:

Protection: When non-asians penetrate the glass windows of an asian restaurant, there is a secondary defense mechanism that keeps the asians from being bothered. This aura spans about a 4 meter radius from its center of tastiness. It is only until the bottle is closed, or the sauce is assimilated that it subsides. Fish sauce not only helps asians enjoy their food, it is a way to keep non-asians from harrassing them about their family recipes. “What’s this made of? It’s fabulous!!” Much like a skunk, fish sauce holds the ability to release an odor in order to protect its asian master’s recipes from being mimicked. When non-asian eat delectable asian dishes, they always ask about the “secret ingredient.” Asians always answer, “Fish sauce,” which more times than none turns the person off faster than a picture of goatse. Asians know that it is they and only they that can withstand the putrid stench. This leaves non-asians at a loss when they are around it. As a result, asians benefit, because the smell allows asians to enjoy their meals without constantly being bothered when they are at restaurants.

If you want to try out some fish sauce this upcoming weekend, enter any Vietnamese restaurant. Here’s a guide to prepare yourself for the rush of pleasure that will ensue after seasoning your dish with fish sauce. First of all, forget all your preconceived notions of smell. You must carry a blank slate of smell before you can fully enjoy fish sauce. Secondly, add varying amounts of fish sauce to test its consistency and taste. Third, take it like a man! Asians expect you to gag at the sight and smell. You don’t want to make a bad impression. If all goes well, congratulations. You have lived your life in the shoes of an asian person for one day, and earned yourself the right to, for practical and defensive reasons, Love Fish Sauce.

#33 Jet Li & Bruce Lee

Posted March 13th, 2008 by avaliant · 8 Comments

Bruce LeeWithout exception, every Asian male under the age of 25 has at one point idolized Jet Li, and if they are old enough (or watch older movies), Bruce Lee. In dojos and college campus martial arts groups across the country, thousands of young Asian men train regularly in order to become the next great martial artist. But aside from being martial arts practitioners, these two actors/martial artists have captured the hearts of Asians everywhere.
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Jet Li, and to a lesser extent due to age, Bruce Lee movies are extremely popular among Asians. As soon as a new Jet Li martial arts flick comes out (especially if it is directed by a Chinese director and produced in China, think Hero or Fearless), even elderly Asian parents will consider it an acceptable form of entertainment in social situations. Of course the film will be watched on a disc of questionable origin that was purchased in Asia somewhere and brought back by the last relative that traveled there (who goes out to theaters?). But great care must be taken when discussing Jet Li with true martial arts enthusiasts. Being a fan of Jet Li’s more recent Chinese produced films is okay, but it is considered amateurish at the best to hold in high regard any of Jet Li’s American films such as Kiss of the Dragon or The One. True martial arts snobs will insist that only his older Chinese films such as Once Upon a Time in China or, I should say, Wong Fei Hung have any merit.

Jet Li

So why are Bruce Lee and Jet Li revered especially among Asian males? Because they represent the hope that any Asian male can become one of the baddest mofo’s in history had they simply dedicated their childhood to training rather than studying. Yao Ming (see basketball) also to a lesser extent represents this hope. But not everyone can be born seven feet tall with a soft hook shot. Quick note: why doesn’t Jackie Chan also fit this role? After all, isn’t he a popular martial artist/actor? Although it is true that Jackie Chan is a certifiable badass, his movies, while enjoyable, contain too much comedic element to intimidate sufficiently. Accordingly, Jet Li and Bruce Lee alone represent the everyman, the great hope that even though “I might have a bowl haircut, wire-frame glasses, and letter in debate and math team instead of football, I could have been one of the most feared men in the world.”

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