How Obviously Fake My British Accent Is

Michelle Lam.

I am a BBC, I’m not talking about The British Broadcasting Corporation, I am what they call a British Born Chinese. My parents are from Hong Kong but I was born on a small “Isle” called Thanet in the south east of England. I went to school, I had friends, I had hobbies and lived like most children. So this should be nothing out of the ordinary, we Chinese are expected to expand out of Asia, but for some reason it only hit me in 2006 that maybe growing up in Western society has made me less Chinese?

In 2006, I started a YouTube channel and after posting a silly sketch of me promoting cat food, I had accumulated thousands of views and just as many comments. What I found significant about this, was not the popularity of my videos, but the comments being made by random viewers. Many comments commented that they were amazed to see a Chinese girl with a “British accent” (if there is such a thing), while many others commented saying how obviously fake my so called British accent was. Some even arguing with each other about just how real my accent is, and how shallow the other person was being for not thinking a Chinese girl could even have a British accent…

Screenshots of comments from my videos, this is the first video I spoke in:

Comments on Cutiemish's "Whiskas Advert" on YouTube.

After my second video of me speaking, ‘just another message‘, the comments and views seemed to go crazy with more comments on my accent!

Comments on Cutiemish's "Just Another Message" on YouTube.

This triggered something in my mind that maybe growing up in a Western society hadn’t only given me a British accent but maybe also something much deeper!

Being Chinese with a strong British accent is a normal thing in England, just as a Chinese person from Scotland will have a Scottish accent, it varies in strength but most of the time no one notices. However, often people will judge me by my appearance and assume that I speak poor English, and make a smug attempt at communicating with me. Frequently they will open with what they think is an all-round top pronunciation… “neee howww” and I simply reply “I’m very well thank you”, they’d then look surprised, as if it’s not possible that I could know English! Then they will either ask me where I’m from… “coz u speek betta english dan me like” (as one loud ill-educated gentlemen once said to me) or they will just stare at me in shock and not know what to say as I walk away briskly.

Now you wouldn’t get this in Asia, and growing up it never crossed my mind that you wouldn’t, but this really became a problem when I went to university! I had always found it easy to make friends; I’m a friendly person with good morals, polite and am an all round normal person! Yet, for some bizarre reason, no one really spoke to me! Then, one drunken night two weeks into the university term, a very drunk man who I didn’t know and I had never spoken to before slurs at me, “do you know why no one speaks to you…? Do you know why no one speaks to you? Don’t mean to be rude but do you know why no one speaks to you!”. I looked at him in horror, how did he know my thoughts? Fortunately, his friend apologised to me for his friend’s behaviour… but the drunken friend continued… “it’s ’cause you’re Chinese! Everyone thinks you don’t speak English!”

This was an epiphany, “oh my gosh, you’re right!” I repeated to myself over and over again. Suddenly, it all made sense! He proceeded to repeat his words of wisdom, attempting every possible permutation of his original phrase. By now, I was too absorbed with this idea to listen to him babble… but he had raised an interesting point! I was unaware at the time, but my university actively encouraged international students, many of whom were from China, Japan and other Asian countries… So why does the fact that I look Oriental suggest that I can’t speak English! Perhaps people are scared that they’ll have problems trying to communicate with me? Obviously I’m slightly offended by this stereotype, and after the first year of university I had made no solid friends, so I decided to move to the big city, London.

London is very culturally diverse, and having made friends of all ethnicities, it’s a much happier time. Sure, I still get “nee how” (and sometimes even Konichiwa!) comments but there are always going to be those men who, no matter where you go, think they can impress you with their “wide” range of Chinese vocabulary! Losers. ;-)

So has this affected me? I think so. I’ve always grown up without thinking about my Chinese background, but from my experience at university, YouTube and strangers on the street talking to me, I find myself being reminded that I am Chinese. In reality, I don’t consider myself 100% Chinese. Yes, I suppose genetically I am, but I was brought up in England, my friends are all English, my surroundings, my environment all very British, so it’s not surprising that I’m fairly Western in my behaviour and way of thinking.

After all that I’ve said about being a Western girl, I do identify with my Hong Kong heritage, but this doesn’t reflect in my everyday life. Even simple things, such as the way I dress and the way I wear my make-up appear to be quite different to the Chinese girls I see in Hong Kong. I feel that I spend more time on my appearance and have chosen to steer my career path towards jobs in creative media, modelling and acting, while those who were born and bred in Hong Kong seem to put more time into studying and choose a career that requires more brain power (doctors, accountants and scientists). However, I’m only comparing myself as an individual and scratching the surface of the East and West where we know there’s a mixture in intelligence and vanity in both cultures.

My parents are very traditional, they wanted my brother (Andrew) and I to have the best start in life and tried to give us a wide range of opportunities. My mother even took us to a Christian Sunday school, simply for the experience! We had golf and piano lessons, and my brother took up guitar while I learnt ballet. We had Cantonese lessons as our mother-tongue is actually Hakka, and I feel I’ve been brought up with many Chinese traits. I honour my elders, I pay respect to Buddha and I eat with chopsticks! However, the one thing I cannot follow is their desire for me to have a Chinese boyfriend. I generally find Western people more aesthetically pleasing and easier to connect with. Put simply, I’m not going to hang around China Town waiting for a boyfriend! But hey, I’m helping to mix up the gene pool and keeping the rich diversity of this country alive!

There you have it, my views on being a little Chinese girl surrounded by British people and British culture. My Chinese appearance in such a culture doesn’t make me any more or less a person, I’m still a girl trying to make something of herself, living life to the full and hoping for a happy, love filled, prosperous life in the big city of London.

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  • NJD

    First… but didnt really get the point of this article… there are ethinically Chinese people born and raised in England?!?!?!? oh my, I had no idea…

    • zilong8819

      “there are ethinically Chinese people born and raised in England?!?!?!? oh my, I had no idea” its like saying there’s a massive elephant in front of you but still you’re not noticing it and that clearly labels you ignorance and simpleton.

      • Just John

        I think they call it Sarcasm.

        Word of the day:
        Sarcasm:
        1
        : a sharp and often satirical or ironic utterance designed to cut or give pain
        2
        a : a mode of satirical wit depending for its effect on bitter, caustic, and often ironic language that is usually directed against an individual
        b : the use or language of sarcasm

        If it wasn’t obvious enough to you, let me hit you with my sarcasm brick…

  • Hi

    “I generally find Western people more aesthetically pleasing and easier to connect with. Put simply, I’m not going to hang around China Town waiting for a boyfriend! But hey, I’m helping to mix up the gene pool and keeping the rich diversity of this country alive!”

    When you say “Western people” here, can we assume you are talking about white or non-Asian people? given that you also mention “mixing up the gene pool”, etc.?

    Do you realize that, despite starting the blog talking about how it was frustrating that people assumed that you didn’t speak English and were foreign and such because you are ethnically Asian, you are basically doing the exact same thing here with equating being Western to being white?

    “I feel that I spend more time on my appearance and have chosen to steer my career path towards jobs in creative media, modelling and acting, while those who were born and bred in Hong Kong seem to put more time into studying and choose a career that requires more brain power (doctors, accountants and scientists). ”

    This again is a racial stereotype that you have internalized. There are plenty of Asian girls who have not lived overseas and are into their looks, and into the careers you mentioned that Asian girls are somehow not supposed to be into?

    Is it a surprise that you have a clear racial preference in dating for whites, given that you seem to have completely internalized the racism you’ve experience and subscribe to it?

    • Heidi

      You make good points here, which I appreciate. But there is also a bit of truth in every she’s said. I was born in HK, and I live in HK now, but I was raised in Sydney. And what’s she’s described are things I experience too.

      I’m not going to discuss the points you raised about her returning the generalisation made through assuming stereotypes attached to non-Asians/Whites/Westerners.etc. Because I find them very valid. However, in HK, there is a distinct difference between local girls and others of the same ethnicity, who may have been more or raised in a Western setting. It’s not that they spent less time on their appearance, but the results and concepts of what is attractive is definitely very different. As for career choices, I have a theory.

      Having been raised in Sydney, I got accustomed to the idea that I can choose a career that appeals to me. (I work in media.) Whereas, and I’m basing this on talks I’ve had with my local peers, “pursuing a dream” is a luxury not everyone can afford. Plus, HK is a very business-centric city. The most thriving industries are the more “brainy” ones. There is also the culture duty, which many of my non-local friends find very surprising if not a little odd, that we give our parents a portion of our salaries. So, for many of my local peers it made sense to go for jobs that are more lucrative than ones that interested them. A friend once said, when I asked him what he was going to do once he graduated, “it doesn’t matter, as long as it makes good money.”

      Yes, there are other contributing factors, but I find this to be the most relevant and obvious one. A lot of my local peers want a job that pays so they can contribute back to their parents, whereas I am very fortunate not to have the same kind of pressure because my family and I are comparatively more well off than many of my friends. (I still plan on giving them a part of my salary, but they made it clear to me that I shouldn’t let it stop me from pursuing a career I craved.)

      There are, of course, always exceptions and their numbers vary. But I guess I’m saying there is undeniable validity to what she’s saying, and what you’re saying. But it does take living in HK and being in our shoes to see why she makes sense, even when it doesn’t necessarily come off that way immediately.

      Also, it’s so hard to write a succinct piece on such a complex topic, that I can’t exactly fault her for resorting to generalisations of her own.

    • http://facebook.com/jimmypn Jimmy Nguyen

      I see how it feels like to have all the attention that you may receive racially from others just because based on your appearance. It is quite hard for the UK people to understand and and accept that there are Asians among them, but too bad I don’t know how it exactly feels like being stared at because of being the only Asian. Here in America we have amendments that protect us from being shackled in cold iron chains that were practiced many times in the past, but now abolished with many great diverse leaders. I clearly have no idea how the UK roll, but you should hit me up with some history background of UK since I’m looking forward to traveling and learning about many histories in this world. I’m not Chinese like you, but I can tell you that I am completely Asian like you. You’re BBA (British Born Asian) while I am ABA. I think there are a lot of differences between us socially, but totally nothing different culturally.

  • James

    Finally, an opinion from Britain! I was wondering how long it would take to have something like this on the website.

    I too have Hong Kong heritage, and although I wasn’t born nor raised in England I ended up going to university there. One of the first things that went upon arrival was my neutral “international school” accent… over time my friends and housemates influenced my pattern of speech until people effectively mistook me for a BBC.

    I did my best to immerse myself in the local way of life so that meant living in a house of all-English people. We all got along perfectly well and they never made me feel as though I was really a foreigner. In the kitchen things were no different – my housemates taught me to do a batch of flawless roast potatoes and I made them Hong Kong favourites like baked seafood rice. It was a pretty idyllic existence.

    However things were somewhat different outside those four walls. I never felt that I could truly become a local and there were those unfortunate incidents of racism: sometimes name-calling but more often subtle words or an attitude of condescension. Eventually I found the predominant culture increasingly restraining (it was a no-no to directly speak your mind) so I left for other shores once I attained my degree.

    To this day I cannot quite understand why but I always maintained a sort of love-hate relationship with the country. Perhaps I expected far too much before getting off the plane at Heathrow – I hadn’t anticipated the negative parts of British life (pessimism, racism and the love of binge drinking especially) so I did suffer quite a serious bout of culture shock.

    But I don’t regret having gone there at all – it made me wiser, more mature, more independent, and along the way I gained some lifelong friends and a wealth of happy memories.

    • http://www.cutiemish.com Michelle Lam

      Hello James!

      Ah it’s funny how your surrounds can influence the way you speak so quickly, but it’s true that when you make friends here they will make you feel just at home!

      Thank you for sharing your story and glad you could enjoy some good traditional British spuds haha!
      xXx

  • Jess

    I bet this BBC girl has a white boyfriend and will marry one too no doubt!

    • http://www.britishaccent.org/ british accent

      You’re Good Man Wish you A Luck With Your BBC girl

  • http://www.berichandcreamy.com RichAndCreamy

    Oh hey you made it on China Smack! Hope you become a regular on here.

    Funny story, I used to tutor English for study abroad students here in San Diego and everyone would think 1. I was a student 2. Why would someone fluent take English as a 2nd language classes!

    • http://www.cutiemish.com Michelle Lam

      Haha! that is rather cute! xXx

  • http://www.gacorley.com GAC

    People like this are generally the reason that I confirm that someone is actually from China before speaking Chinese. A tip for breaking the ice with Chinese people in the West: strike up a conversation in English (or whatever language is appropriate in your location). If you can determine they are Chinese by their accent, great! If not, simply ask “Where are you from?” If they tell you “China”, then reply “中国那里“ and attempt to start conversing in Chinese.

    • http://www.cutiemish.com Michelle Lam

      Very wise, good strategy!

  • pervertt

    You are who you are. Make the most of your mixed cultural heritage. The fact you have identified with fellow Brits is not surprising. You were exposed to British cultural values and brought up speaking the English language. Although you were raised as a “Hakka moi”, chances are you will meet a British partner (whatever that term means) and I hope it will lead to better things.

    But I am worried to hear that you prefer to mix with Western people in part because they are aesthetically pleasing. That sounds like another way of saying you prefer to have a white boyfriend because they look better. Choosing a partner based on looks and skin colour is fraught with hazard.

    When I was younger I, like you, identified with the dominant groups around me. Despite a lingering awareness of physical and cultural differences, there was a desperate need to fit in, to belong to the wider group. The search for personal roots and the assertion of cultural identity came much later. I guess it was part of self development that comes with the extra years.

    • http://www.cutiemish.com Michelle Lam

      Thank you for your lovely comment, it’s rather thought provoking :)

      Ooo may be I didn’t express myself fully. What I was trying to say, was that being in Britain, the ratio of British people to Chinese people is such that even if I do find a Chinese gentleman I’m attracted to, the chances of us hitting it off are more remote, it takes two to tango as they say!

      Thank you again for your comment
      xXx

      • pervertt

        It takes a certain amount of guts to reveal all on the internet, and to deal with the brickbats and bouquets that are subsequently chucked your way. I like your style : )

        It seems that there are common identity issues faced by all who are in what I call the “bridging generation”- usually the offspring of recent migrants. Life is easier for those with understanding parents. And life must be pure misery for those who have parents with traditional values and who make no concession to raising their children in a foreign land.

  • Neostar

    LOL…I know how you feel Mishy, I was also born in the United Kingdom and everyone just looks at me and think Asian Indian but I am from a completely different country, I am from the Island of Mauritius.

    • http://www.cutiemish.com Michelle Lam

      Must visit there sometime, I heard it’s lovely <3

  • Boba Fett

    “Now you wouldn’t get this in Asia…”

    WRONG!!! SO UNBELIEVABLY WRONG!!!

    Of course you would never in this lifetime know, being East Asian and all, but if you were white for example, you would constantly be bombarded with “HAAAAALLLLO” all over the Chinese map. Especially in rural areas. In big cities I have people coming up to me trying to practice their English as if having pale skin means I’m automatically from an Anglophone nation, or people at any kind of service establishment automatically assuming I can’t speak Chinese and then trying hard through broken English to help me, or having people talk rudely about you right next to you because they assume you can’t understand Chinese.

    You’re naive to think that your experience is somehow exclusive to you and other Chinese people growing up outside of China.

    • Dawei

      Ding. Yep every foreigner is usually a yingguo ren, and sometimes a meiguo ren (if you are white) so sucks if you are European.

      I was thinking of saying she was absolutely in no way Chinese as she was born and raised in England, and has fully absorbed the culture but that comment confirmed that she is indeed Chinese through and through LOL.

    • http://www.cutiemish.com Michelle Lam

      I was simply giving my story on being a BBC, I know the reverse probably happens too. Thank you for sharing your experiences :)

      • Just John

        Actually, if you check through Chinasmack, you will notice there is a story about a “white woman” on the news speaking better Chinese then most Chinese (Their words, not mine).

        The amazing part is how the netizens reacted to her. Guess the fact she was raised in Hong Kong did not matter as much to them as she was white and spoke fluent, educated Chinese.

        Just something you might be interested in looking up ^^

    • Jones

      Yep, I had a woman tell me once that there is no way I could be American, because I have blonde hair and blue eyes. She informed me that all Americans have brown hair and brown eyes, and that I was obviously British. I immediately hailed a taxi to the nearest British consulate to get this error fixed and pick up my brand new British passport. Thank god that lady told me about my REAL nationality.

    • Anni

      Thank you! I was thinking the same thing as I read this article. I live in China, and the look of fear in the eyes of any shopkeeper whose shop I enter when they see my blonde hair and blue eyes is thankfully quieted when I say “没问题,我会说普通话.” I’m new to ChinaSmack, but is this reverse diaspora thing explored at all? White people in China, trying to fit in and finding it ridiculously hard?

  • Jacob Eastland

    So what? I’m a CBE, Chinese born English, Chinese people are 100 times more stereotypical because its so much more uncommon … I also don’t understand the point of this article.

    • http://www.cutiemish.com Michelle Lam

      Wow a CBE, that is rather cool! Are you still living in Asia? ChinaSMACK wanted stories/opinions/experiences from around the world from chinese people living in foreign countries, I thought I’d share my story. Thank you for your comment :)

  • JustABlackWoman

    Someone sounds a little brainwashed by western media standards.
    Even if you dont feel Chinese you are, and you look like them. Hanging around Caucasian people does not make you look more like them, and its sad you put down and stereotype your own Chinese people to look better for them.
    The guys on yotube that are giving flattering comments only want a piece of tail to get out some asian fetish and then move on.
    Not all are like that of course but the people that make flattering comments on youtube like that…about 90% are.

    I think your too stuck on yourself and think your better and somehow more special than the rest of your genetic background. And Im not even Chinese to notice that.

    • http://www.cutiemish.com Michelle Lam

      I don’t spend time with anyone to be more like them, as I have said in my article I was born in Britain and I am British, that is who I am and this article is simply a reflection of how I feel. The point I was trying to get across is that you don’t necessary derive your identity from the image others project upon you.

      Apologies if you’ve misunderstood my article, but I’ve not suggested anywhere in my article that I’m better than anyone else, Thank you for your feedback. :)

      • JustABlackWoman

        Even if that is the case what gain you derive from saying stuff like

        “I feel that I spend more time on my appearance and have chosen to steer my career path towards jobs in creative media, modelling and acting, while those who were born and bred in Hong Kong seem to put more time into studying and choose a career that requires more brain power (doctors, accountants and scientists). ”

        You do realize when you stereotype other people from hong kong, there are just as many westerners that stereotype you in this box when they initially look at you. It also makes you no different from the people that are surprised that you speak with a british accent, your upset about them judging you and finding it surprising you speak without a chinese accent, but your judging hong kong people as book nerds. Is that not hypocritical?

        No, Thank you for your feedback :)

        • http://www.cutiemish.com Michelle Lam

          Sorry that was not my intention, hope you don’t mind me quoting my own article:-
          “However, I’m only comparing myself as an individual and scratching the surface of the East and West where we know there’s a mixture in intelligence and vanity in both cultures.”

    • Andrew555

      Thank you for injecting a little truth and sanity into all this.

      If you are truly a Black woman, then welcome, and I’m glad for another cultural perspective.

      Signed,

      Asian-American guy

  • exoticgod

    cutiemish!!!! Wow I cant believe my eyes!!!! Your article is on chinasmack =P
    btw upload more video on youtube!!!

    Great article!!! supporting you from Jersey <3

    • http://www.cutiemish.com Michelle Lam

      Haha, Thank you for your support! Much love back to you from London xXx

  • Pukky

    I find it amusing that we have had such different experiences in university. Although it was upsetting that you were discriminated against, I could not help but smile as I remembered my experiences.

    I am a BBC and very talkative in class which immediately caught the attention of many people in the room. The classes were not large so over time I managed to talk to the majority of them and become friends with a few.

    Over time as we became closer, I asked my friends a pointless but interesting question, “what was your first impression of me?”. To my surprise two international students (from different parts of the world) had the same opinion of me, which was; I was an arrogant loud mouth show off who talked to everyone to flaunt my “British” accent.

    Obviously over time, they realised that i was born in the UK and they no longer had that opinion of me… well the arrogant show off part at least.

    Thank you for sharing you story!

    • http://www.cutiemish.com Michelle Lam

      Haha brilliant! Funny enough, I voiced my opinions on things in class and got labeled “The genius”! kind of freaked me out as I had always considered myself an average student!
      Thank you for sharing your story too! Nice to hear from another BBC! xXx

  • Chris(constantinopoly)

    Hey CutieMish!

    I was wondering what happened with you and college, cus I remember you making videos about being at a university and then it seemed really sudden that you switched to living in London. I’m sorry that you didn’t have a good time there.

    It really does suck walking around feeling like you are the same as everyone else and then people go out of their way to point out that you look different. But it’s also really cool that you don’t move through your life feeling like an outsider! So major props to you!

    I hope you keep appreciating yourself and being honest with you are and have an awesome time going through life as a strong individual woman.

    • http://www.cutiemish.com Michelle Lam

      Hey Chris!
      awww yeah, it’s not that I didn’t have a good time, I just felt the place wasn’t right for me.
      Thank you for your sweet message!
      Much love
      xXx

  • William

    As a non-Chinese in China, I experience virtually the same phenomenon. People assume I don’t speak Chinese, or that even with my Chinese language skills I’d never truly understand them, and they are hesitant to interact with me.

    • http://www.cutiemish.com Michelle Lam

      awww! It’s a shame people do “judge a book by it’s cover”, Thank you for sharing! xXx

  • someasiandude

    How noble of you to diversify the gene pool and categorically reject all asian men. You’re entitled to your preferences about what’s aesthetically pleasing but I do think you’re wrong about compatibility. I guess you’ll have to find out the hard way.

    • Just John

      So I guess me, a white guy, marrying a Han Chinese/Native Taiwanese mix and mixing up the bloodlines further will only lead to heartbreak and regret for all parties involved?

      Please get over yourself. Not everyone shares your opinions.

      As the old saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Trying to bully her into picking someone of YOUR choice is just moronic.

      I think she means that she finds the overall cultural experiences, values, morals, and norms found in the people of her country (England) is going to fit her better then trying to find someone who doesn’t match these simply because “Their skin is like mine”.

      I think you are wrong about compatibility.

      • Andrew555

        Ohai. Another white guy involved with an Asian woman? What a shock. You are not Asian and never will be just because you caught yourself some Asian tail. Your opinions are not welcome.

        Thanks,

        Asian-American guy

        P.S. Please die in a fire.

  • Babs

    I am more of an ‘international school kid’ from Hong Kong like one of the commenters called James, and I have been in the UK for over 10 years and am British. I have to say I find both Michelle’s article and James’s comments such a breath of fresh air. I am always encouraging my Chinese friends to speak out more about the racism they suffer whether it is subtle or more overt, so I am so happy to see that people are being honest about it.

    It is nothing to be ashamed of and it is not our fault. Being Chinese from Hong Kong, I have often felt a resentment of being Chinese. Just look around in Hong Kong – no shops want to sell Chinese or Hong Kong made goods. Labels will explicitly state that it was designed in Italy or that the fabric was from Japan etc. Whether it is the reason we don’t like to be more vocal about the racism we endure, I don’t know, but I hope that through encouraging Chinese people to speak out about racism we can raise awareness of how much of it we still have to put up with.

    I have asked friends of other non white races about their experiences with racism and if they are being honest then it seems that people take being racist to Chinese people more lightly than to other races. As if it is more taboo to be racist to all other races but when it comes to Chinese they expect it to be laughed off as some joke.

    On the other hand, I feel that we ourselves as Chinese are not helping the situation either. I feel that we are very divided i.e. Hong Kong vs China, Asian born vs BBC. In the end it is the sum of your experiences that make you who you are, not the location your mother was at when she gave birth to you.

    As for the making friends part of the article, I feel that as an ethnic minority in a foreign country, you have to always try twice as hard to be just as good. That applies to everything: intellectually, socially, aesthetically etc.

  • Jones

    Complain about people being surprised at your English accent, then call yourself Chinese instead of British.

    • Nathan Chang

      Michelle’s views on sexual attractiveness is representative of most east Asian girls born/raised in the west. Here in Canada, they are carbon copies of Michelle. Previous posters have alluded to issues like internalized racism and I would tend to agree.

      I’m a 31 year old CBC (Canadian-Born-Chinese) who grew up in a fairly redneck rural town in Alberta. All the major issues apply so I’m not going to pick apart topics that most of us already know all too well: Whites everywhere, Hollywood influences, stereotypes, racists, rejection, etc …

      And I’d be lying if I said I reached adulthood without shouldering a fair amount of baggage and identity related scars from my upbringing. But what differs me from Michelle is strength of character. Sure, I went through major phases where I held that white girls were far and away the most attractive females. But a transformation occurred after I left my hillbilly town for Vancouver and embarked on a journey BACK to my roots. Surrounded by Asians of all nationalities for the first time, I began to re-evaluate my tastes and expand my palette beyond that narrow Euro-centric indoctrination. Throw in a few China trips and some failed relationships with white women, and I earnestly started to question the inherent compatibility of Asians and whites.

      I do not deny that there are successful interracial pairings out there. But that depends on each couple’s definition of “success”.
      At their heart, western societies are built on fundamental ideals of white supremacy. Everyone who lives here, whites, blacks, Asians, whoever, are affected by its consequences. This imbalance of power permeates through every aspect of western life, and most definitely includes relationships. If you honestly examine interracial couples (white partner + colored partner) here, you will find that – more often than not – the colored partner has had to internalize much greater amounts of western values than the white partner had to internalize ethnic values. And this reality applies HEAVILY to Asian girls who hook up with white guys in western countries.

      These girls’ upbringings, are by and large, mirror images of my own. But they have succumbed to the overwhelming strength of cultural indoctrination and continue to play their expected roles in a white man’s world. That’s mainstream.

      Since my reawakening, I’ve become fiercely proud of my ancestral roots in ways I have never been. No longer am I willing to act all white-washed just to receive morsels of superficial and ultimately short-lived recognition from Caucasians. I challenge Michelle to cast off her internalized racism and a lifetime of subtle racist influences. But I won’t be holding my breath.

      • Personal trainer

        Sorry, a late to the game reply here.
        I hear you! A B(ritish)BC male here. Almost started groaning and rolling my eyes at all your points, all too true.

        I’ve heard all the lame excuses from “I just don’t find the ‘Chinese-look’ attractive to “he would remind me of

        my brother” to my face. I wouldn’t be surprised if the excuse about ‘no available chances of meeting any Chinese

        males’ gets trotted out…oh it has!

        Can you blame them when public media showcases them such as your own Sook-Yin Lee (Short-Bus actress) or to this

        Chimbo on Tyra banks http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOcSJSJWD60 who initially said she stood for Asian-pride blah

        -blah-blah then got called out by Tyra Banks for double-eyelid surgery then the camera zooms onto her, wouldn’t

        you guess it?, beta-male White BF!

        I’m not attacking the original writer -just the internalized racism and manifested self-hatred which is all too

        often held and used against us.

        However, nice face and good rack! – you’ll have no problems in attracting multiple British partners :)

  • http://www.youtube.com/YanmingYuMusic Yanming

    This was pretty interesting to read! It was like reading my life except in Uk lol. Nice article and youtube! :)

    • http://www.cutiemish.com Michelle Lam

      Thank you Yanmin! Where are you living? xXx

  • Jim

    Hi Michelle

    I’m a Singapore(ex-british colony) born chinese, who is educated in “Queen’s”(hahaha) english, had a Canadian University education and had lived about a decade in Canada(British Columbia and Ontario).

    Being born Singaporean chinese, we chinese here never confuse the phrase “zhong guo ren” from “hwa ren”. Being born in China and being a chinese by race is 2 different things. They are not one and the same — at least to us.

    Ironically, when I met some mainlanders from China some years back, I was very surprised to find out that all those I met did not know any chinese dialects as they were not from the coastal provinces of China. Yet I know and speak a few chinese dialects although I’m not born in China.

    So am I chinese? I guess that depends on who you ask. A Singaporean chinese would mostly think or identify themselves first as Singaporean then a chinese(race) second.

    A Singapore chinese usually speaks a few dialects from among these main groups: Hokkien(fujian), Hakka, Cantonese, Hainanese, Teochew.

    From your surname “Lam” I could have guessed you’re Hakka even if you don’t mentioned it or speak a word of Hakka. There are quite a few Hakkas with surname “Lam” in Singapore.

    I speak English, Singlish, Mandarin and Hokkien in Singapore with the locals who are chinese and more often than not we will mix them all up and even add in a Malay word or two and yet we can understand each other perfectly…

    Maybe just maybe you might feel perfectly “at home” in Singapore.

    Then again the world is so globalised with the internet and cheap/budget airlines. Every major cities in the world will soon feel the same?

    Much thks for sharing your experience.

    • http://www.cutiemish.com Michelle Lam

      Thank you for your comment and story!
      May be i should visit singapore and see how that goes hehe!
      xXx

  • TheTravellingMan

    I hope you can find your own cultural identity sooner than later, you are missing out on a very important part of you. Also finding it doesn’t just mean going back to HK for two weeks on massive shopping sprees. Dig deeper into your culture, maybe work in Hk or China for a while. It will be worth it.. trust me on this :)

    • jz

      Hey, nice article.
      I was immediately surprised you are a fellow being from Planet Thanet :) I’m a BBC who spent 20 years growing up in Ramsgate.

      • http://www.cutiemish.com Michelle Lam

        oh cool! we must have crossed paths at one point :)

    • Get with it

      culture isn’t genetic.

  • Tim Vermeulen

    Funny enough i had kind of a reverse experience as to what you had. I was born and raised in Beijing (where my parents have been working and are still working for a long time) and instead of going to international schools my parents insisted on me going to normal chinese schools (well still private and better ones than public ones) as this would help me learn the language and adapt to the country better) By now im 25 and speak fluent mandarin naturally, in a beijing accent. For me, compared to you live in school wasnt always easy though being pretty much the only white kid and not always had many kids that wanted to play with me and even got ridiculed at points, but the funniest part is that even being at school there for several years they still often talked about me right in front of me in chinese thinking i wouldnt be able to understand..and even nowadays it still happens often which i shrug of with a few simple chinese sentences to leave them stunned, then again most chinese are already impressed by me just being able to use chopsticks or say ni hao, though having lived here long enough i also know the chinese praise you for your “good chinese” easily, but dont always mean it, just being polite. well i cant rant about this for hours but dont mean to bore anyway, and excuse my english if i made some mistakes, i am dutch so english is only my third language although i dont think im that bad, im also thinking of doing my masters in the UK now

  • lonetrey

    Oh wow. I was looking through the articles here on Diaspora, and went “oh my, that looks like Cutiemish!”. I clicked and was pleasantly surprised that it was you!

  • Ben

    I used to have a crap part time retail job for extra money, and one of the customers said to me, “Wow, you’re English is very good!” And I said to her, “Well, I was born here (in America).” And she said, “Yes, but still…”

    Yes, but still…what? I was BORN HERE. That kind of thing happened a lot when I was a little kid, but it’s really rare nowadays, which just goes to show you how American society is changing.

  • Cordelia

    Your article is truly impressive. Earlier ago I was still wondering big time in terms of my identity as a Hong Konger and whether or not is it possibly going to affect my interpersonal relationships with others once I’ve been sent to study in Australia.
    I agree with your point that asian-looking english speakers are not to be belittled, however I am still very much insecure and worried regarding my studying abroad in Australia. I hate to think about it but the problems of discrimination and racism are slowly becoming to appear clearer and closer to me they’re making me stressed and scared.
    And for that particular cause I’ve asked some of my friends already studying in australia concerning the issues of racism, and they all told me that they hadn’t experienced any and that the people there were really nice.
    Living in Hong Kong we feel somehow privileged to be able to manipulate the English language, but I’m worried that once we’ve stepped into the territory of English-speaking countries all that pride and satisfaction will soon turn into self-abasement and miserableness –unlike the majority of my friends, I cannot bring myself to feel excited about my passage to australia.
    how’s it really like living in an english-speaking country? :)

  • Woozy

    I have been following Michelle almost from her beginning on YouTube. While she is indeed very lovely, to me her main appeal is in her outgoing, positive, exuberant personality. Watching her videos I believe does give one some insight into her true self. She is really a sweet girl with a good heart and good values. She has never succumbed to the thousands of requests for her to post naked pictures for instance. She has learned to be alluring at times yet tastefully so. She has allowed us to watch her grow up and discover her talents over the years as well as sharing her ups and downs. Following Michelle is a bright spot in any day. And her name is on the current rover mission to Mars. I’m sure she will charm the Martians too!

  • NotJerry

    Very interesting and well-written article, but I’m having trouble following your logic on a few accounts. I’m an ABC, and until high school, I had only had maybe one Chinese/Asian friend. Lots of white people in this area, but also blacks, mexicans…but I don’t really feel like where I’m born and who is around me has really influenced me enough to say that I’m more American than Chinese. Obviously, there are more Asians in America, proportionally, than in England…but in my case, that shouldn’t matter much. It’s good that you recognize that you aren’t really Chinese (in your words) because you probably understand the ramifications of not wanting a Chinese(or even Asian?) boyfriend. For me, it seems like a waste to have a non-Asian(I’ll just make it convenient and say “white” from now on) girlfriend because I feel like most white people don’t make an effort to respect other cultures by learning their partner’s language, Chinese in this case. Besides the occasional Ni hao!!!!!!! or…”herro” of course. The point here being, that whatever Chinese culture you have left will die with a white guy/girl because it would take an immense effort to teach your children(if any) or your boy/girlfriend. It’s like your culture will die out, at least that’s what it feels like to me. I understand that our circumstances are different, but I don’t understand the logic of how you don’t feel like you’re Chinese while I do. I haven’t really had any exposure to much Chinese culture, but I wouldn’t say that I don’t feel Chinese and that I would fit in more with white people. This is why I don’t understand your logic in why you feel more English than Chinese: it almost seems as if Chinese culture isn’t in your interest because it’s easier to try to accept western culture, you’re resigned to the fact that it’s too much of a hassle to “seek out” Chinese guys, or because you were simply born/growing up outside of China. I’m sure it isn’t that simple, but to me, you don’t feel Chinese because everyone else around you isn’t. You don’t want to try for some Chinese boyfriend because it requires effort, as opposed to any other ethnicity due to where you live, or because you don’t feel Chinese, so it wouldn’t make sense to you. Any conclusions I might’ve drawn in this comment are probably wrong because like I said before, it doesn’t quite make sense to me. I would hope that you reply to this comment because it’s a very interesting topic you’ve brought up. I definitely want to see what you have to say, you’re an interesting person. Normally I feel like “oh, of course..another one of those people” when I hear about some Asian girl that doesn’t want to date Asians, but your situation made me think differently. “those people” would be people who don’t date Asian because they consider themselves white. It sounds like your situation, but your reasons that I haven’t analyzed correctly do interest me. Btw, the only reason why people are commenting about you not trying to date a Chinese guy is because of
    “But hey, I’m helping to mix up the gene pool and keeping the rich diversity of this country alive!”
    I know conclusions/leading up to the conclusion, and the role they play in a passage, book, etc, so it seems like not having a Chinese boyfriend would play a larger role than the one paragraph you gave it in this article.
    To me(I’m probably wrong, remember?) it seems like finding a Chinese guy is too difficult for you, so the chances of having one as a boyfriend are slim to none. Never write someone off like that. Go ahead, date whoever, but understand that your perspective(from what I believe) is a little narrow. Thanks for reading, hope you reply!

  • fx

    wait you see a little mid aged Chinese lady in our local takeaway speaking with very broad Glasgow region accent .:-0 my Scottish landlady was definitely shocking .

  • James Earl Jones

    “Now you wouldn’t get this in Asia”…. You would and you do…

  • American Perve

    You’re really sexy. Let me touch you.

  • Wong

    western people more aesthetically pleasing…hmm well I do I agree in some degrees but;;; hmm very hard to explain but its tone is somehow uncomfortable and may lead to misunderstanding(some may feel that you are condescending) so it is good to be careful

  • Anon

    I can really to your post as a CBC (Canadian born Chinese), but there is one point that I have an issue with. Personally, I think there can be aesthetically pleasing Asian people, just as how there can be aesthetically unpleasing Caucasian people as well. I think that this is due to how the media portrays Chinese people, fitting them into stereotypical categories. I mean not all Chinese people have the stereotypical slanted eye, wide face, and I certainly do not have those traits (not intending to be racist).

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