The Short Diary of a Tall Asian Girl

I. Birth

April 1985, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia

The woman’s legs are cramped from being spread in front of the doctor for hours. He tells her to push and she does, but the baby still doesn’t come. I imagine her hair must be plastered to her red, sweaty face, her nostrils flaring, her lip bleeding from biting down too hard, fists clenched in pain.

After another eternity of huffing and puffing and straining, the Chinese baby finally slithers into the Indian doctor’s waiting hands, while Malay nurses anxiously peer over his shoulder. (It’s a poster scene for Malaysian multiracialism, I tell you.)

The baby starts screaming to prove she’s alive, and the doctor and nurses keep looking down at her, transfixed. “What’s wrong?” says the panicked new mother. Is it a birth defect? A missing limb? Too many limbs?

“Nothing’s wrong,” says the doctor. “It’s just that your daughter is rather long.”


II. Shame

October 1995, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada 

I’m ten going on eleven, in the fifth grade, and today is the day I dread most of all in the school year – class photo day.

We shuffle into the gym where the photo people ask us to line up according to height. This part is always easy peasy. I just stand still and let everyone else line up after me.

“Tallest kid, to the center!” shouts photo man, and I go to the same spot I’ve stood in since kindergarten. The other kids are placed around me. “You tall freak,” says some boy behind me, and others giggle. “Shorty standing on a bench,” I shoot back. No one laughs.

I’m really embarrassed over my height. I think it’s because I’m tall AND Asian AND a girl. Most of the Asian girls I know are really tiny. The only Asian girl I’ve ever seen on the cover of the Sweet Valley High books I secretly read is really short too. My mom says it’s just a bad stereotype, but then again, she’s barely my height and she’s old, almost thirty-seven.

Would I hate my height if I were a tall white boy? Probably not. Or a tall Asian boy? Probably not. Or a tall white girl? I’m not sure. My friend in another class is my height but Serbian and people just think she’s beautiful and going to be a model.

My parents are worried I hate being Asian, but I don’t think that’s true. I don’t remember anything about Malaysia but it sounds pretty nice, and I’d like to visit one day. I actually think I’m pretty good at being Asian — like most of my other Chinese friends, I’m mostly quiet in class, love reading and math, play the piano, am taking tests to skip a grade, voted for our school to allow homework, and have the mushroom haircut. I want to be like everyone else who looks like me. My height stands in the way, puts me in center of attention and gets me picked on when I just want to be left alone.


III. Pride

June 2002, back in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Heads turn as I walk down the covered walkway in my all-female high school. Many of the younger students only reach my shoulder, and I stand straighter as I pass, enjoying how I’m taller than most girls here. We have to wear these boring, conservative school uniforms to erase the differences between us, but with my height, I will always stand out. In a good way.

I’ve been back in Malaysia for six years now, and although I cried for Canada in the beginning, I now realize how much moving here helped my self-esteem. I’m no longer the “freakish tall Asian girl” – here, I’m just tall.

How do I explain this? It’s like I left a society where I felt caged in by particular stereotypes of how Asian girls should look, and came to a place where everyone is some sort of Asian anyway so your height isn’t seen in relation to your race. When I was a kid, people would say, “Wow, you’re tall for an Asian girl,” which feels like what they’re really saying is, “Wow, you’re abnormal.” Here, they just say, “Wow, you’re tall!” and that’s pretty much, “You’re special!”

The Malaysians I meet seem to envy my height, nagging me for not taking advantage of it. “You should play basketball! Netball! Be a swimmer!” random aunties and uncles and teachers tell me. “You can be a model!” say my classmates, fanning my ego. I suck at sports and am a little too flabby and plain to model, but I love these suggestions anyway.

So I use my height in other ways. I love choral speaking and drama, when I’m standing in the center of our group on stage, reciting our poems, acting out our scenes, knowing that the audience’s eyes will naturally be drawn to me, the tall one in the crowd. Performing on stage is how I leave my natural shyness behind, and my height helps me be seen and heard. Attention? Bring it on.

"Hello short minions, I shall keep you in line with my giant fork."


IV. Hurt

August 2006, Singapore

I’m out at Ben & Jerry’s with a guy I really like, and we get on the topic of love and relationships. “What are you looking for in a girlfriend?” I ask, hoping he’ll list a bunch of qualities I have.

He says:

  • “Pretty, of course.” (I’m pretty enough!)
  • “Smart.” (I’m smart!)
  • “Good sense of humor.” (Oh, I crack him up all the time.)
  • “Adventurous.” (This whole year in Singapore is one long adventure.)
  • “Good family.” (I have the best family, super stable.)
  • “And not too tall.” (……)

We sit in silence for a while. He’s probably thinking of this dream girl, while I contemplate what he means by “not too tall.” He’s a pretty tall guy himself, about an inch or so taller than me, his bushy hair making him seem taller. “How tall is too tall?” I finally ask.

“Well, you know,” he says. “I’d prefer someone shorter than you, or else I’d feel awkward.”

“By ‘awkward,’ you mean emasculated?”

“I dunno. Just awkward. I can say that right? Since we’re just friends.”

My 21-year-old heart cracks a little because he means it, and pretty soon he’s dating a girl who comes up to his chest.

“Maybe you should date some white guys,” he says later on. “They’ll be much taller than you.”



V. Indifference

November 2008, London, England 

I’m 23 years old and feel like I own the world. I’ve just started a postgrad program in Communications at the London School of Economics, and I’m living in the Bloomsbury neighborhood in London, around the corner from the fabulous British Museum.

This is the city I belong in. I love how it’s crawling with people from every corner of the world; it feels like Londoners come from everywhere but England. Everyone is brown and black and white and yellow, young and old, short and tall and in between. Here, I’m not weird nor special; I’m just like any other person from anywhere on earth who’s decided to make London their home.

Tall Asian girl? Who bloody cares, love! Welcome to London!

VI. Love

April 2010, Shanghai, China

Remember how four years ago, a friend told me I should date white guys, for no reason other than they’d probably be taller than me?

Now I’ve fallen in love with a white guy, but guess what? He’s actually shorter than me, and he doesn’t care!

Unfortunately, lots of other people do.

Like my parents. It’s one thing to date a white guy, they say. But a white guy who’s shorter than an Asian girl? That’s ridiculous! Why do I have to be such an eccentric?

Like some of my friends, who make disparaging remarks about my boyfriend, tell me why they can only date guys taller than they are, then quickly say that it’s just their preference and they don’t care who I date.

Like the cab driver who says the smaller guy next to me must be rich, otherwise why would I be coming out of a bar with him?

“Who cares what other people think” is usually easier said than done.

October 2011, still in Shanghai

I’ve been with my boyfriend for over a year, and the longer I’m with him, the less what people say matter. Duh, of course, you think. Of course time fixes everything.

But that’s not necessarily true. Time could have separated us. There were many times when judgment, especially from loved ones, made things especially hard, times when all I wanted to do was fling myself into the arms of the next six-footer who came along, so I’d be in a picture-perfect relationship. There were times when I’m sure my boyfriend felt at the end of his tether and no longer wanted to deal with all this crap about height, when he never thought it was that big a deal before.

The genuine affection we have for each other and the support we’ve gotten from others has kept us together, and the older I get, I know the less emotional I’ll be over people’s perception of me, my height, my relationship. It’s somewhat ironic that for somebody who’s been self-conscious about height all her life, I’ve chosen to be in a relationship that draws attention to it. Until I become that wise, mature sixty-year-old unfazed by life, I’ll try to keep in mind that we’re all about the same height lying down.

This is my personal take on how my height mattered to me. For the rest of you tall Asian girls and tall Asian boys, short Asian girls and short Asian boys — has your height played much of a role in your life?

Christine is still “tall for an Asian woman” and blogs at Shanghai Shiok!

Help us maintain a vibrant and dynamic discussion section that is accessible and enjoyable to the majority of our readers. Please review our Comment Policy »
  • M.N

    Sofaaa…..a juvenile moment….. :P

    • M.N

      and Song of the Article
      Black Eyed Peas – Rock that body
      Just enjoy being who you are and do what you want to do in life….. :P :)

  • sumchinesegrl

    Thank god I don’t look like a freak.

    I’m 5’5.

    • Brian

      Height doesn’t make you a freak. You could be a great freak, even at 5’5″, albeit a short one.

    • mr. weiner

      “Freak” is how others perceive you, but only because they are way too obsessed with outward apearances.
      Love comes in all shapes and sizes.

  • So how tall are you? I’m a 6′ 3″ (1.90m) guy my Mom is 5′ 11″ (1.80m) and my wife is 5′ 7″ (1.70m). I’m European my wife is Chinese. I think she is about my minimum height requirement, though I did date a Chinese woman who was shorter than that and wished she was taller. My height is totally unremarkable until I go somewhere like Thailand and stand out more than I would if I was just white. I’m just huge.

    • Hey there. I purposely avoided stating my height in the post to avoid “cheh that’s not tall at all” or “yeah you tall” type of comments. I’m taller than your wife, shorter than you! Thanks for reading.

      • Hey Christine,

        Believe it or not, I’m in much the same situation as you described.

        My wife is also considered taller than average for an Asian girl (Taiwanese/Japanese mixed born in Hong Kong) and I’m of EXACTLY average height for a Caucasian guy. So she’s about 1 or 2 cm taller than I am and it becomes incredibly obvious when she wears heels.

        Although she loves to joke about it to annoy me, I just think of it like I’m walking down the street with a super-model, how is that emasculating?

        I think it’s all about confidence.

        PS. Do you also write at Cracked? Your writing style has a matching signature.

    • Puk

      5’7 is not 170cm but 173-174cm if I am not mistaken? (I am 172cm myself so just wondered if I have referenced my height wrong)

  • Ashley

    Caring about height in a relationship is absurd. That sort of “I need a guy who’s taller than me” nonsense usually comes out of the mouths of people who also say they won’t date outside their race. “Personal preference”, my ass.

    Keep being awesome, Christine!

    • Thank you, Ashley! And people can keep their preferences, as long as they don’t push them on others.

      • Saruul


  • Brian

    Maybe it’s changed a bit but I know several very tall Chinese girls (mainland Chinese) who seem very proud of their height. Malaysia is different, I guess. One girl, her parents are basketball ‘stars’, is well over 185 cm and doesn’t seem to have any problems with it. She plays bball too, has a steady bf and doesn’t seem to regret her height. Honestly? I think Malaysia is more old-fashioned than China.

    • Oh, I’m proud of my height when I’m in China. Height is envied and complimented here. Malaysia has nothing to do with my self-consciousness either; as I wrote, it was there that I started to feel happy with my height, even proud.

      In the post, I was trying to show how my feelings about being tall changed at different points in my life, and in different places, and how being with someone shorter than me has affected me too. Interestingly, (Chinese) people have told me that if I value my height, I’ll choose to be with someone just as tall or taller — “higher chances” of my offspring being tall. I’m trying to wrap my mind around the idea that I’m betraying my height.

      • Brian

        Eugenics are alive and well! Hahaha. Well, planning offspring and love don’t match these days, although love wasn’t so important in previous generations. My bball friend may actually be a product of that kind of thinking, never thought of that until now.
        I like the fact that your current bf is cool with his height (as opposed to being cool with yours) and confident.
        I look forward to reading more of your material.

  • Megan

    This may be…This may be the only well written essay I’ve ever seen on ChinaSmack (well, besides your other essays of course). I always get excited when I see your name because I know the article will be interesting, engaging and non-ignorant. (Damn, I know this site has native English speakers, so why do most of the writers for [email protected] sound like they never made it past the eighth grade?)

    I’m pretty average for a Chinese girl (5’3″) and normally I don’t mind my height…Until I’m stuck in a crowd somewhere (think some music venue where I’ll invariably be standing behind some obnoxiously tall white hipsters). Keep on rocking your height!

    • Thanks so much for the high praise, Megan. It means a lot to me, and pushes me to keep writing! :)

  • Chupacabra

    Good for you to follow your own heart and your own destiny. I applaud you for deciding to be yourself rather than a superficial stereotype of what an Asian woman should be. The man in your life is lucky indeed. Many people go through life without discovering what you already know.

  • Kitty

    My grandfather was 6′ 4″ and his brothers were similarly tall, but their sisters were between 5’0 and 5’5″. They said people in their village nicknamed them “the giant brothers”. Grandfather was already 5′ 6″ when he was 10 and grew to 6′ 2″ when he was 17. Nobody knows why he and their brothers were that tall. No one in the family before and after them had reached that height.

    In spite of my father at 5’10” and my mother at 5′ 6″, I grew to 5′ 11″. Some aunties, great-aunts and cousins still say “That poor girl” and “she’ll never find a good husband.” They never say anything like that about my brothers who are at 6 ft tall. There was no “That poor boy” and “he’ll never find a good wife.”

    If anything, they’re proud of them being that tall, but me? Oh noez! Poor girl! She’s doomed! No good marriage prospects for her! What will we do? What will we doooooo?! Hey, let’s photoshop her potential bride photo to make her so pretty that prospective husbands won’t be scared off!

    I’m not that bothered because they only mean good intentions. Misguided but still good. They care more about me marrying one of our kind than anything else. They really don’t want me to marry a white guy. That’s their number one fear. My parents told me not to worry about that and I should marry whomever I want. I love my parents!

    It was a nightmare during middle and junior high school years. I was taller (5’7 and still growing) than all boys in my year and some boys in the year above us. One classmate’s parents mistook me as a teacher when I was 14 and wearing a tracksuit for P.E. They told me off after I corrected their assumption. As if I can control my height. It wasn’t so bad when we reached our senior year.

    It all changed when I moved to England. Some stared like “There are such things as tall Asian girls? Wow.” Most times it’s no big deal. My height wasn’t my ally when I was growing up, but I have made peace with it now. I still don’t like going home because I’m still asked whether I’m a model or American.

    • Thanks for sharing your story, Kitty. I’m surprised your aunties, great-aunts and cousins never encouraged you to take part in activities where you’d have a height advantage, instead of just moaning about how you will never find a good husband!

      All the best.

    • Silent observer

      Why does it always have to be a issue about race? Just marry who you love, geez. I’m a black guy and hate when Asian girls only give themselves two options…..Chinese or white. It really defeats your whole point.

    • bean

      maybe your just not good looking?

  • B1A4

    I FEEL THE SAME WAY WHEN IM IN CHINA!!! even though im not that tall, only 172cm, i always hear ppl whispering in chinese “wow she’s so tall :O” or something about my height…….it use to annoy me… but now i just dont care ^^ I lived in the south if china, where everyone is SHORT, but then i went to beijing for a holiday nd realised that everyone there is SO TALL! i <3 beijijng :)

    • My wife is from Tianjin so that is why 1.70m seems totally normal there. I found the subway in Beijing a good place to see how high I am compared to other people. There are definitely quite a lot of tall men so that I don’t look freakishly tall at 1.90m but actually I never did see anyone quite as tall as me I think. When I do meet men who are taller than me I find it really disorienting and feel really small. There are a lot of guys around 1.90m globally I think but not many higher than that.

  • Patrick


    Great as always. I know it’s easy to say just ignore others – but rather impossible to avoid close family that pile expectations on you, demanding you fit their ideal storybook ending. Stick to your guns they’ll eventually give in. At least they’re not anti-semetic right?

    Duh sometimes in life we have no choice but to continue on waiting for time to just move forward. You had to wait to get past awkward moments earlier in life, these issues are more mature that’s true but as before time will take care of it as well. Enjoy the love, ignore the other things as best you can. Support each other – it’s what matters.

    • Hi Patrick, thanks again for your encouraging comments. My family has been more open-minded than most in our community, and I try and remember that and feel grateful for what support and love they’ve given me. Height is one issue, yes; as for anti-Semitism… they’re not hateful, just wary of what they don’t understand.

  • dim mak

    Tall chicks are hot.

    But tell me this: Do you or your family feel that being tall will “scare away” guys because they’ll feel shorter and emasculated? Maybe that’s why there’s a stigma against tall asian girls. Or the opposite: do women feel unsatisfied if their man is shorter than her?

    From a male perspective I’d guess that most guys don’t care these days, at least in more developed countries

    I’ve been short, thin, kinda girlish all my life and everyone I’ve been with has been equal or taller. So I haven’t really gone wanting for men or women ^^

    • I think my family feels that being a tall woman will just make men reluctant to give you a chance, unless they are quite tall themselves. My parents have also worried that shorter men with “Napoleon Complex” would want to use me for their own egos. Some men do feel uncomfortable with a taller woman, like my friend proved to me in August 2006. And some men don’t care, and are very confident even if they are shorter, like my boyfriend.

      And I’d dare say that most women would feel unsatisfied with a shorter man. Many of my friends have asked me whether I don’t miss the feel of a “manly arm” around my shoulder when I’m walking with my boyfriend. I personally don’t like to get touchy feely in public, so it’s not something I think about!

      Glad being shorter and smaller hasn’t affected you. All the best.

      • The problem is that other people do the worrying for you especially parents who want their kids to be doctors, rocket scientists, ballerinas, concert artists but never street sweepers or too tall girls.

        I like tall girls but have not much hope of dating a stunning 6 foot model being “short” of another 6 inches.

        Atlhough that English comedian Dudley Moore? 5ft 2in had no problems!

  • justAreader

    Actually in my opinion height is quite important. I’m a quite tall guy who likes Asian girls. But the Asian girls often are very short in my eyes, which leads to a couple of problems in my eyes. I really wish there would be more >1.7m girls in Asia, cause 1.7m is the absolute minimum of what is acceptable in means of height. Until I meet such a girl, I have to compromise, though.

  • Jay K.

    hey this is pretty good writing in my opinion,like one of those diary/journal styles but not soo fluffy and commercialized. also for shame u dating a white boy and being taller than him. ya it goes against all my concepts cuz im short for my height but i dont (I didn’t*) mind dating girls(well I cant anymore, im hitched) taller than me. yes it’s a double standard but tall asian girls cant date tall white guys. if i was that cabbie I would have said the same thing except be more crude about it.

    Also Mississagua, Canada ha I have visited that place more often than I can remember since I am from upstate New york. that place is just crawling with filipinos everywhere, but developed hence it’s an oxymoron for me of filipino/chinese descent to link together filipino dominated area and developed area. you can’t make fun of my people only I can!

    Last, you have this girl next door look, in my personal opinion i’d take that any day over a hottie model. so keep struttin your tall self!

    at only 1.7m on a good day I wish i was tall, i’d be big pimpin every day sippin on fine bai jiu and smokin furunwang’s everyday!

    • Jay K.

      date short white guys* mis wrote

  • Sunshine

    My best friend (Asian female) is 5’10 while I’m (Asian female) 5’2.
    We are a sight to behold on the streets (i.e. we get stared at a lot).

    Being short hasn’t exactly dictated my life, but I won’t deny the impact.
    I do wish I was taller but I’ve learned to not beat myself up over it (though I still do, a little).

  • Jay K.

    the theme for this post for us short guys and girls should be “i wish”-Skeelo that’s old school rap right thurr!

  • DanO

    I’m always excited to see you write articles here on ChinaSmack – as someone previously commented, Diaspora sometimes gets ragged on because of the lack of .. articulation from contributors.

    One comment: It seems like you were bullied when you lived in Canada; I’m from the U.S. and bullying here has reached exponential levels. What was it like – the social transition – to Malaysian schools?

    • Jay K.

      Bullying in the u.s. my ass that’s why my jew father (the blue collar that he is) said to me when i was young along the lines of

      “son you are different, you got mixed blood in you to make you a living propaganda of hate and envy by the majority; so when someone has beef with you, punch first ask questions later and when I pick you up at the principal’s office it’s all good she and i hung out in my high school days and played rec ball with her brothers” that’s connection yo!

      and yes the earliest I was picked on was in 3rd grade, that’s how I got to know my close friends to this day. so I started throwing rocks at them and others in the playground.

    • Thanks for the kind words, DanO. I’ll keep writing for Diaspora as long as people enjoy my articles!

      I was picked on when I lived in Canada, yes. It’s was nothing too traumatizing (I think!), just usual playground antics, comments about how quiet I was and how tall I was and what a nerd I was, as I liked reading and was excellent in (elementary school) math.

      The best word I can use to describe my transition is “disorienting.” In Malaysia, I was suddenly admired and praised for the qualities that I had been teased for in Canada. Suddenly I was somewhat popular. For a while I became rather conceited, as it was such a big change, and I let attention go to my head. I mellowed after a couple of years, and became — I hope — a pretty down-to-earth person. All in all, I am glad for the move to Malaysia, the confidence it gave me (though I’m ashamed of those snobby years).

  • dougp1

    Good post, as always, Christine. Really, it’s what’s in your heart that matters. I’m 6’4″ (Caucasian) and wife is 5’4″ (American Born Chinese). Been together 20 years, married for 12. We’ve got enough else in common (and now an 8 year old son!), we really don’t dwell on the one foot difference in height. If everything works with your BF and you, run with it, don’t worry about what the others think!

    • bean

      it’s different when it’s a girl and she’s tall. It just seems like your trying to brag about your height.

  • 1234

    Cool stuff! I love being tall as well, although I’m probably not as tall as you. I just feel a sense of pleasure looking at the top of people’s heads, you know? Especially in China where almost everyone in my relatives’ city is shorter than me. In fact, I wouldn’t mind growing one or two inches taller. ;)

  • Simon

    the cab driver is such a standard size chinese for his age, he must be 1.699 m (5’7); you are about 15 cm taller – this makes you 1.84 m, or 6’1. Since I can’t see your feet, I suppose you have some heels on, or you shouldn’t have hire the taxi. Six-feeter, you certainly don’t look like a female giant. BTW, your chins match some talk show host in Burbank, California :-)

  • higa80

    As a short Asian man(5’5), I am glad I wasn’t born a white person or in a country that values height. I heard that the taller the society, the more pervasive heightism is. I am already the tallest person in my family but I can’t possibly blame my parents for making me short, can I?

    Being short has its own disadvantage. I get picked on a lot even from other short men, performed poorly in sports and there is always this need to over compensate.

    Heightism isn’t much of an issue here. I know many successful short men in my life. For example, a company that I used to work for has a 5’2(I think) man as one of the company directors. After working with him, it was obvious his extrovert character, confidence and leadership that probably got him that far, I guess. Deng Xiaoping was a short man but that didn’t stopped him from becoming the paramount leader of China.

    At least I still glad I am still taller than most of my female peers and with higher female sex ratio here, I do not have to worry about not finding a soulmate. I have girls that have fallen in love with me before. It is not rare to see guys with girlfriends taller than here. I personally know of a shop owner whose wife is taller than him by 4 inches.

    I am still worried though. If my children are daughters, it is ok. But what if they turned out to be sons? Will they inherit my short genes and face the same problems that I faced? It is thoughts like this that sometimes makes me wish that I should date a taller female so at least my children get to be average height. I also have considered getting limb lengthening surgery but the social impact of people finding out may be too great for me to bear. I heard this surgery is very popular in china.

    So yeah even as a short men, I try my best to be positive and not be too height conscious. I mean there are several guys in my class that are shorter than me and I have seen white guys that are shorter than me so who am I to complain?

    • dim mak

      Don’t, that limb lengthening surgery is completely retarded. It only makes you taller by like 1-2 inches at the cost of debilitating pain and permanently mangled knees. Not worth it.


      But we all equal horizontal…

  • 老外

    I wouldn’t worry about your height. Love is much more important. If he’s unwilling to love you because you’re too tall, then he’s too insecure and an idiot.

  • Peter

    It’s funny to think about this from your perspective.

    However, I am living in NE China and there are lots of huge girls here – not quite as tall as me (190 cm) but very close. I love it! It’s a bit of a dream of mine… dating someone I don’t have to bend over to kiss.

    Tall is beautiful!

  • Anda

    Im not chinese,but i got married with one and he is shorter than me,no big deal.we just ignore what people say

  • Anni

    I liked this article! It’s good to see someone writing an opinion article where they’re NOT complaining about how much their life sucks. I appreciate (and perhaps slightly envy) your self-confidence. Keep it up, and thank you for the great read!

    • Thank you. I think I was whiny in section II, but I was ten years old and I think I got over it :)

      • Anni

        Can I add that I’ve just discovered your blog, and am loving it! Clear writing, and on topics that really resonate! I’ll be reading along :)

  • ron

    I’m about 6 ft 1 so I guess tall (for asian at least) guy and yep just like you mentioned in your article being a tall asian guy I like my height.

    • bean


  • Southernorthener

    Pictures of the boyfriend!

  • En En

    You’re tall AND SLIM and I bet it should be fairly easy to shop for clothes & shoes. I am also considered tall for an asian girl but I’m tall AND BIG SIZE! I always feel I’m getting in the way of people and not to mention being embarrassed whenever shoe or apparel boutiques doesn’t have my size! LOL! That’s the downside of being a tall & huge person boo hoo~~

    • Depends on where you live! It was certainly easy for me to shop for clothes in western countries and even Southeast Asia, but in China, Korea, Japan… when I do find things that fit, it’s always the biggest size the store has. I guess I’m lucky in that sense, that my feet aren’t bigger than size 39!

  • geometree

    I know this feeling! I am 6′ and my fiance is 5’10”. Sometimes the attention you get when you walk into a room is a little unnerving but it’s good to know you always stand out.

  • d3si6n3rm0nk3y

    I loved reading your article! I’ve had the same encountered with almost everything you’ve written. Whenever people talk about my height I feel so flattered, and Asian’s envy the height (come on, longer legs).

    Glad your proud of it as well too!

    Though my boyfriend is just barely taller than me (less than half an inch) I was happy to hear that his parents in China are happy with the thought of having tall grandchildren in the future :)

    Your American Chinese Toothpick

  • Dalaomei

    Nothing wrong with banging a tall broad :-)

  • TheOtherJN

    Beautifully written. I’ve read other articles by you, but now I think I’m in love.


    You’ve had a tough childhood.

  • Lily

    hey christine, just like you, i’m very bothered by my height. I’m not too tall but too short. yes i am an asian girl, but i hate how the boy i like is super super tall, all the girls he has ever liked are tall white girls. Sometimes i wish i can grow taller just to make him like me. I am five feet three, but i wish i can grow taller….

    • jay

      Im a guy at 6’1 and i only like girls 5’4 and under. ;)

      • Cristel

        no one cares about your preferences.

      • Puk

        I feel like that comment was unnecessary. Some like tall, some like short.

        And does height really matter that much? What if she looked great and had an amazing personality? I highly doubt most people would say no to the Victoria’s secret models, Eva Longoria or Megan Fox.

        I also PREFER taller guys if I had to paint a guy in my head, but in reality, if he was great in every other way his height wouldn’t stop me.

  • Daniel Malice

    One thing I learned upon first arriving in China knowing almost nothing about the country about a decade ago was just how skewed my image of “Chinese” was and I’m from New York.

    While I’ll admit that many Han fit the standard stereotype, especially the further south you go, up North and in Beijing the story is entirely different. I don’t know if it’s the harsh climate but the men, and of course the women, are often quite tall and extremely striking in many cases (and not one bit afraid to flaunt it).

    Still, interesting story, and I think it’s no surprise that she would meet Mr. Right is Shanghai where diversity is the rule. Why are Chinese so much nicer to be around when they’re in their own country? Probably because overseas Chinese tend to place themselves in some sort of self-imposed crisis whereas the mainlanders just dont give a toss!

  • I’m in my 60s and everyday I am still thinking like to grow another 6 inches so I would be 6 ft tall!


    Good [email protected]! It is a reverse of the “must be tall guy” syndrome.

    Also when you are both horizontal you are equal. No worries….

  • Mr. Wright

    I suggest Ms. Tan read “the tall book” by Arianne Cohen.

  • Debona

    Shiok! I used to read your personal blog and now finally see photos of yours. Guess I am liking your writing- and and life-style, especially since I used to live in KL and Shanghai as foreigner, and I know of little writers who so interestingly and eloquntly put together their experience and observations… Thanks :)

  • Derek Xu

    This girl has a monster look on her face.

  • Calista Roch

    Hi there! Just chanced upon your blog and am in shock. In a positive way, I should say. Your life story really was a mirror reflection to mine. There were so many similarities. I am a tall Asian myself. 5’10 Indian Singaporean and born in 1985 too :) life growing up was far than rosy. I’m happily married to a loving man who is about 2-3 cm shorter than me. He makes me feel loved and special. Thank you for sharing! Nice to know another kindred spirit

  • BB90

    hello nice story i loved it well i am sure it wasnt easy being the tallest in the class for girls but its also might be hard for guys i have faced the same problem when i moved from qatar to malaysia when i was 17 study university and in my country i was just tall nothing more BUT in my university they called me the giant or bigshow all the time oh yes i was 6’4 that time and at first it was really annoying and if i was in KL that would have been abit different but i studied in UTM which is public university that had very few oversea students and i was the only tall one i mean i was the tallest in the university the first year was so hard then i got used to being called names or talked behind my back and dont bother me at all now BUT what bothered me so much is how scared they get when i try to communicate i know you might think this arab guy might be screaming but no i was talking in very gentle way but still other than my classmates i could hardly talk to ppl especially girls and its not like i am picky height didnt matter for me although i am tall i didnt mind going with short girls so my friends tried to help me alot i mean they asked their girlfriends if they have friend who would go out with me but no girl would dare lol i was a freak of nature over there most of my friends told you came to the wrong country but i think tall ppl should have a chance but i didnt have and for the last 5 years i never had a girlfriend anyway i am about to start grad school but i dont think i would do there i am sick of being lonely…

  • sylvia

    I’m a girl and I can really relate to your story. I am myself is a Chinese-Indonesian and five nine. Everytime there was a class picture I didn’t even bother to line up. Because I know I will always be in the back. The worst part is I’m super skinny (not that I like it tho) and that even made me more stand out in the crowd. And yes I love heels so much that sometimes it sucks to see average height girl can wear any kind of heels that they want, as for me I don’t have that many choices. I used to play basketball and my height did come in handy. As I get older some offers came to be a model. Well I’ve never really hate my height I just don’t like when people stared at me (which happens like all the time). But the next thing I know I’m known as the tall girl. I don’t really care and I started to be proud of it and every tall girl out there should be too. No need to give a damn about what other people think just like Christine said! I’m studying in America now and dating a white guy too ;)

  • Clara

    I am a tall Chinese Asian girl myself.. 5’7 but born in 1994

    Sigh, I feel especially gigantic when I go to school with really petite looking girls in Singapore. As you know, Singapore has plenty of these small cute looking girls.

    To add in, I’m really big-boned and have like really big structures. My Hip Bone sticks out and I’m rather heavy even though I may seem skinny. My friends say they envy my height. But, yeah, it’s kind of vexing how I don’t fit into clothes and can’t find the appropriate shoe size of the shoes I want.Hence, I don’t dress up often.
    /Sigh. I feel like a complete drag and nag.

    • Puk

      Don’t feel that way, I know your struggle but on a global scale you really aren’t that tall! Try to find things you love about being tall, maybe you have great legs? Dawn Yang from Singapore is pretty tall and she wear heels to look even taller ;)

  • Summer

    I’m Chinese girl (born in China) currently 21, and I’m 175cm. I’m currently a Singapore citizen. Been here all my life already actually. And almost everyone here is tiny. ):
    When I first read your article I was just like woah, this is the story of my life man! But perhaps I’m a little more insecure than you are. I don’t have as much confidence and courage as you do. All the tall guys I’ve encountered so far (who are really good catches) went for short petite little girls whom even I find so unbearably cute. I have a rather boyish personality so no matter who the guy is I always end up as a “bro”. I was okay with until now ‘cos it’s really frustrating to see all these girls changing boyfriends like they’re changing clothes while I’ve always been single.

    The biggest issue I have now is, I think I’m starting to really really like this guy I know. But he’s like 10cm shorter than me! That’s really a huge gap.. He’s all cool and confident and don’t care much about height, and I also like him the way he is. (I think he’s really cute now) I thought I can ignore the height issue but then I realise my family has much higher expectations of me than I thought. They have always thought I’m a tall, smart and beautiful girl who deserves the best in the world (no I’m really not that good actually). I know exactly what will happen if I bring a guy like him home. My family is gonna give me hell. And he’s a really good guy I will never want to put him through this too. That is why I’ve been keeping my feelings hidden. But it gets stronger each day. I really don’t know what I should do.. Actually, I doubt he actually likes me in the romantic way. I’m like bigger than him in all ways… Christine I wish I have as much courage as you do! ):

  • doraemon1971

    I didn’t know asian girls could feel tense about being tall. my wife usually complains that she thinks she’s too fat. She’s 165cm and weighs 56kg. But in my honest opinion. Wether you are tall or tiny , skinny or fat it doesn’t matter. It’s what is on the inside that does matter.

  • Why

    You should not feel bad about your height. My cousin is tall too, she’s 6’1. But she’s lucky, although Chinese, she’s is born and raised in the Netherlands. Her brother is 6’1 and her little sister is a lot shorter, only 5’10.
    Her husband is also shorter, he’s only 5’9.
    But although they are tall for asians, they are all very proud of their height, so should you.
    You should visit the Netherlands. Average height for women is 5’9. I’ve at least five female friends who are 6’1 or taller.

Personals @ chinaSMACK - Meet people, make friends, find lovers? Don't be so serious!»