Yesterday I took the lift up to my office with 2 other cleaning ladies. They were quiet the whole trip until the doors opened. Then one of them turned to me and said (in Malay)
“You look like a Japanese!”
The other one immediately countered with:
“No! You look like a Korean!”
I was bemused because I am neither. I am a 3rd generation Malaysian of Chinese heritage. From what we could trace, the line has been pretty unbroken so it always amuses me to have people mistake me for a Japanese (in the past) or a Korean (presently).
I think the perception is such because I’m quite fair, and I do a full face of makeup every day. Lately, I’ve learned to finally apply mascara that doesn’t make me look like a panda in 2 hours and which opens up my eyes a lot more giving me the impression of having larger eyes thanÂ I really do. From what I see and have been told (having never been to Japan or Korea yet) the Korean and Japanese ladies place a lot of emphasis on their looks and take great pains to put on their makeup everyday. I read somewhere once that a Japanese woman would wake up a full 2 hours earlier than she has to, just to make sure her “face” is put on for the day. Its impressive to me because I’d rather spend the 2 hours sleeping!
By contrast, many women on the street here don’t bother too much with makeup. Many office ladies I have seen only use powder and some lipstick and that’s it.
So I think that’s part of the reason why I’m being mistaken for a Japanese/Korean everywhere. The other is probably due to my rather wide face that is reminiscent of Korean lineage. All pretty fun until traders try to fleece me because they think I’m a tourist!! 😀
So, do people confuse you with someone form another heritage?
4 comments ... Read or JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Y E S.
I’ve never had anyone look at me and say, “Chinese, right?” In Thailand, the natives think I’m one of their own. Over here in KL, all taxi drivers think I’m Malay or mixed Chinese-Malay. One hairdresser thought I was mixed Japanese. ??? Hello? I’m really tanned, ok? He said it’s because I have Japanese eyes. ??? Worst was when we were in UK, I’m all bundled up and Top Monkey goes, “I don’t know why… but you look very English now.”
I am a United Colours of Benetton kid for sure.
I am always mistaken for Thai because of my dark skin and eyes. In the US, when I say, I’m from Malaysia, people automatically think I’m Malay. When I tell them I am ethnically Chinese, they get this really confused look. Come one, if I said I was American Chinese, there will be no confusion, right? By everyone is shocked with the idea of a Malaysian Chinese. Isn’t that funny? Did you ever get that in the UK?
Paris Beaverbanks says
Cheesey: LOL! Ya you told me you got busted for eating in public during Ramadhan remember? 😀 Good what at least you blend in everywhere you go 🙂
Truebluepenangite: Thanks for dropping by! I agree. I had to explain many many times why I’m Malaysian but Chinese *rolls eyes* No one gets the concept of a Malaysian Chinese but they can understand British Chinese and American Chinese. Weird eh the way people’s minds work.
Well, thankfully most of the time they think I’m Chinese but alot of times people would laugh at me or insult me like, “yknow that girl over there is too rich look at what she’s wearing blahblahblah ugly blablahblah” people are so stupid here enough to think I’m a foreigner. Well, FYI, haters, just cuz I’m Chinese doesn’t mean I’m super rich.
Since I unfortunately live in the Philippines, I am considered rich but honestly, my family can afford things we need because unlike alot of people here; I have a life.
Anyways, When I found out I had Japanese blood, I was like “Oh…really?” No wonder. But it’s not like I’m addicted to anime like other losers, I just pronounce nihongo very well. I can only speak in basic sentences and sometimes really complex ones but once I read Romaji, I’m really good at it.
I think it’s a compliment to be mistaken as a Korean. Korean people are beautiful.