Tai Ting (22) is born and raised in Taiwan, he came in 2016 to The Netherlands to study computer science. He describes himself as easygoing, humble, kind, and cautious. He identifies himself as Taiwanese, but more: Asian.
What kind of upbringing did you have? There is also a term: “Tiger parents or Tiger mom”. Did you have a similar upbringing?
Actually when I was young, I had experienced similar things as in the question. They pushed me a lot and wanted me to be as smart or outstanding as possible, but they didn’t force me. However, I was a in rebellious stage in middle to high school. The more my parents wanted me to do, the more opposite way was from their ideal path. Although I knew studying is important, I still didn’t want to do it.
I studied only for my parents to show that I was studying but I did not remember everything that I gather. However, only after I grew up, I somehow regret that I was too rebelled against my parents. I should have pay more attention on studying, no matter for subjects in school or knowledge for music instrument, etc. I knew what they advised me was from their experience and I should have accepted their advice and thought about it when I needed to make the decision.
Are there any taboos or things that you can’t discuss with your parents?
There is not like taboo with my parents. But they never started a conversation about sex. I think it is because my parents are still conservative about sex. Except for that, we can talk about everything. Thus, I can only gain this information from internet or with friends.
Do you feel close with your Asian roots or not?
I didn’t research about my roots or anything. Because as far as I know, I am just a normal local person in the place I live. No other interesting roots or ethnicity from different countries or so. And I think it is more important to focus how I live now, the history about myself is not that important to me.
Did you ever feel ashamed of you being Asian?
I didn’t feel ashamed of being Asian. I think I am not looking bad or any bad identity. The only thing I don’t like is about height lol. But that’s not related to Asian, I only admire people who have long legs and tall. However, I am still not ashamed of it.
Did you ever had a role model when you grew up?
I didn’t have a role model before and I don’t have a role model now. It is good if a person have a target to become a better one. But I still just want to be myself and living my own life.
What do you think of the Asian representation in The Netherlands?
My home country is Taiwan. Of course it is not the same between the Netherlands and Taiwan. I was born and raised up in Taiwan, and all the surroundings are the same ethnicity, I am not different with others. However, it is not actually in the Netherlands. I look different appearance to western. Thus, no matter good or bad, there are still some Asian representations for only particular people not all among Asia countries. I think people can get to understand more clearly via media, but if you as a foreigner to Asia, you better go there and experience on your own. There are many different aspects from what Asian stereotype to western.
What do you think of ‘The Asian Model Minority Myth’?
I think it is just a stereotype to Asian American. I would say I am agree and disagree with the myth. It is because that if many people are like the myth, it doesn’t mean everyone is the same. Same example is that many people say dutch is tall, but of course there are people who are not considered as tall in dutch society, then are they dutch? Yes, they are. Therefore, do not use only a myth to determine a person.
What made you who you are now?
All my past made me now.
Have people also made comments about you being Chinese? How did you react to this, what did you feel?
Yes, but I am Taiwanese. I would just correct them. For many reasons, there are many political questions between Chinese and Taiwanese. Thus, I won’t be emotional, I understand it is hard to distinguish which part of Asia country with an Asian face.
What are stereotype Asians in your opinion and where does that come from? Do you see other Asians like those stereotypes?
The term stereotype is already a neutral and a bit negative word to me. Thus, I think no one likes those stereotypes. Asian stereotypes are smart, good at cooking, small eyes, everyone know Kung Fu, good at math, eat every animals, etc. I think they come from the series or movies.
What stereotypes and comments have you heard about your appearance?
I actually didn’t receive that many stereotypes and comments from appearance. But there is a big deal that many dutch children yell “corona” when they meet every Asian face. It is really rude and I don’t see many parents telling the right information to their children.
What racist remarks and discrimination have you experienced? Have you experienced it before? Where, when, how? Which experience do you remember most? So has it gotten worse with the Corona virus?
It is of course getting worse with Corona virus. I have met the children yelling “corona” to me, and once I was waiting for food to go, the person was standing outside of the restaurant for 15 minutes. And after I got my food stepped out of the store. The person got inside right after I walked out. I would considered it is definitely the racism. I feel upset with those comments and actions and I think they are just doing what they think is right.
Do you know Taiwanese stereotypes and do you identify yourself with that?
Many Taiwanese like to queue for a long time just for a store or follow the trend but sometimes we don’t know why we should line up. Because we think the store is queuing for a reason. We tend to follow the trend. I sometimes also want to know why people are lining up. So I will do the same thing just to satisfy the curiosity.
What is a funny trait or tell something that not everyone knows about you?
I am quiet with people I first meet or not familiar, but I am really noisy when I become familiar with a person.
In Asian culture, it is normal as a woman to get married as soon as possible, have children, and become a housewife. Because when you have a husband, you have children, you have “made” it in life. How do you see it?
I think that was a too old myth for many people. I know some people are having this culture now. But where I was born and my parents don’t have this culture now. I think the world is changing, it is not like the ancient dynasty, so your mind should change.
Where do you stand now and what are your plans for the future?
I don’t really have an exact plan for the future. I would like to follow my mind and finish my short run goal first.
What do you want to give to the readers? What do you hope to achieve?
I hope the readers are able to eliminated as many wrong racial discrimination as possible and try to know everyone from who he or she is, not from the person’s skin colour or appearance. Everyone is different but also the same. Hope you get what I mean.
Where can we follow you?