Things I’ve learnt from my Asian boyfriend

When people ask me where I’m from I say: ‘I’m a skippy. I’m really really Australian.’ 
It’s true. I’m a white kid, from the country who is sometimes accidentally racist. 

I grew up in Ballarat before the City Council introduced a refugee program, but during the whole Pauline Hanson: ‘Please explain’, (for lack of a better word) episode. There was one Asian girl in my year, and there were 200 kids total. I’m no mathlete but that makes her .05 % of the population. The whole time we were at high school together, I just assumed her Mum was Asian but she was actually adopted from Korea. Since we’ve left school Kym and I have become very good friends and I have discovered she too is a white kid, from the country who is sometimes accidentally racist. When people ask her where she’s from she knows they don’t want to hear: Ballarat, and she can’t be arsed entertaining them so she just gets to the point. 
‘Korea. South Korea, not bad Korea.’ 
I guess my point is, that although I’m well travelled I am also very ignorant when it comes to any influence from a different culture. Don’t get me wrong, it is in no way an excuse for being accidentally racist, or just plain racist, but I have had very little exposure to people who are unlike me. 

That is, until I met Billy. 
Here I was 30 years old going about my ‘white kid, from the country who is OFTEN accidentally racist’ life when I met my Asian boyfriend. 
People assume that Billy is Polynesian and with that they also assume he was either born in NZ, Hawaii or Mexico (..?!) and lots of people think he looks like Bruno Mars, which he is secretly stoked about. 

Actual image of Billy chillin’ at home

Billy was born in Thailand, his Mum is Thai and his Dad is Aussie. He grew up in Melbourne’s south east and is a bit of a yuppie who wears chinos, drinks turmeric lattes and only listens to SEN radio. But he has taught me lots about how it was different for him growing up and also there are so many things my ‘white kid, from a country town who is ALWAYS accidentally racist’ upbringing could have never have taught me. 

Here are 7 Things I’ve learnt from my Asian boyfriend! 



1. Spring rolls in lettuce and mint 

The authentic way to eat Vietnamese spring rolls is to wrap them in lettuce and mint and then dip them in the dipping sauce. It’s honestly the best because you don’t have to wait for them to cool down as much and it’s semi healthy. Trust me once you’ve tried this you’ll never want to eat a spring roll on it’s own again! 

2. It’s pronounced: Poo-ket, not Foo-ket 

I avoided saying this word in front of Billy for a long time but then I saw a cheap flight in the travel section of the Herald Sun and said: 

‘Let’s go to Foo-ket!’

Billy looked at me with a slight smile but I could see from the twitch in his brow this was a common occurance, having to explain the correct pronunciation, for him. And really he was thinking: ‘Who dis ignorant white girl?’

But he calmly went on to explain:

‘First of all it’s Poo-ket…’ 

3. How to use chopsticks!
 

The first time I ever used chopsticks was at a Chinese restaurant in Blackpool when I was 19 years old. I sat down with my dance partner, also a white kid, from the country who was sometimes accidentally racist, and 10 wealthy well to-do ladies from Hong Kong (one of them was Donald Trumps realtor at the time). Look, I tried my best but left the restaurant a little bit embarrassed and a lot hungry. I absolutely made a trip to Maccas on the way back to my hotel. Needless to say I was super impressed when I discovered Billy is able to eat Maccas, chips and gravy, with chopsticks. 



4. Tiger Woods is half Thai 

I always just thought he was of African American descent (are we still allowed to say African American?!). But Billy informs me that Tiger woods is also half Thai. Both Billy and Tiger have a Thai mother, and due to this genetic resemblance that should mean that Billy has the same golfing ability as Tiger. I’m not convinced that’s how it actually works… 

5. Agreeing with David Oldfield is frowned upon 

Last year SBS did this series where they put privileged white celebrities in Aboriginal communities. Ray Martin hosted and I remember him interviewing David Oldfield at the completion of the experience and his opinion towards implementing change for these people hadn’t altered in the slightest. He then said something that I agreed with. Not only did this expose my political views in an unflattering light it also made it harder to convince Billy that watching Lisa Oldfield on ‘The Real Housewives of Sydney’ was not in anyway influencing my lifestyle ideals… 

6. A Ricemobile or a Ricer

You know those cars that are all decked out with a flash paint job, big exhausts and spoilers? Lots of cosmetic additions but probably unable to drag your Nan at the lights. Well apparently these are called Ricemobiles or adding any of these useless accessories to your shit heap of a car is called: Ricing!



7. Just cos your Asian doesn’t mean you’re a mathlete 

Darling, you are still paying the hot water bill for the place you lived at 3 years ago… call them and have it disconnected. 

because: golf

I bought a pair of beige knee-length straight-leg chino shorts last week. $12 from Target. Didn’t even try them on. Just held them up against my hips and thought to myself:
‘I wonder if I should get two pairs?’…

I needed these chino shorts to wear to my golf lesson. Even though I recognise that I will not only look like a retiree, but this is also my first ever golf lesson. I have never even held a golf club and here I am rocking up to golf 101 fully decked out. I do kinda wish I had a visor though, that would really have completed my look. Then I realised that if someone came to one of my beginner dance classes and they were dressed head to toe in ‘ballroom dance’ I would think they were a dickhead.
Calm down, it’s your first go!
What if you’re terrible?
What if you hate it?
What if you look like a dickhead?!

In my head I’m very good at golf. I’ve heard for years and years that ballroom dancers are quite good because of the similarities in the fundamentals of both ballroom dancing and golf. I wish I could say I have wanted to play golf for health benefits or even a sentimental reason. Mainly, it’s because I think I’ll be very skilled at golf and I only enjoy doing things I’m good at.

#becausenarcissism

And the vision I have of me playing golf is that of a good swing accompanied by a well-styled outfit. It doesn’t occur to me that I could be bad at golf until I hold the club in my hand and attempt to hit the ball and miss completely. Several times. I thought my total ignorance might be advantageous. No bad habits. No prior misconceptions. But, no advantages were taken.

When asked if I knew what the bottom of the club was called my response was: ‘the bottom of the club’ (it’s called the sole btw). I literally have no information about golf and I haven’t even pretended to do any form of research, yet I still think I’m good at golf. I did panic when the instructor said the phrase ‘on the green’ and looked at me. I assume he was referring to the grass area… but I can’t be sure.

Admittedly, I did watch a women’s tournament that was played on the ABC a few weeks ago but all I kept thinking was: ‘What are they wearing?’ I signed up to three women’s golf attire websites (I use the word attire because the word fashion between ‘golf’ and ‘women’ is an oxymoron) the next day and they are all terrible. The best thing you can buy is an ill-fitting baby pink polo shirt or this leopard print cardi.

Brilliant.

golfcardi

Surely golf attire has bounced over Stella McCartney’s desk? Or do real women golfers buy their outfits from Net-a-Porter?

I did have a flick through Australian Golf Digest at work the other day but my very limited golf knowledge still made it difficult to understand what they were on about. Suddenly I’m very aware that maybe golf is far more complex than I realise. My plan of hash tagging golf related words in this post to gain a followers has been re-evaluated and I best spend the week YouTubing golf… things.

I do understand why everyone wears chino shorts though. So comfy. So practical.
Last weekend I was packing my bags for a fancy fishing trip. First thing in the suitcase is my chino shorts …I knew should have bought two pairs.

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