Monday, August 16, 2010

Parents say the darnedest things

Asianic Parentis, The Asian Parent, the evolved and final form of all Asian adults. If you're lucky enough, and your Asian parent left the motherland long ago, or better yet, was born in a Western country, you might not have been submitted to most of these pearls of wisdom.

1. "If you drink Coke,  you will cough." 
I don't know how this one came about. At some point I asked my mom why drinking Coke (or any soda for that matter) will make me cough. She mumbled something about the high sugar content giving you phlegm and the fact that it's cold. She then gave me stank eye along with "I only tell you because I love you, if you don't want to listen then forget it" cue a lecture on how she "sacrificed so much for me", how they were working from the age of 6, etc etc etc.
2. "Don't sit on warm public seat"
My grandmother and my aunts are inevitably armed with folded newspapers every time we have to take public transport. Whenever a seat frees up on the bus, they'll swoop upon it, unfold their paper, fan the seat for a few seconds, lay the paper over the seat and then proceed to sit on top of it. When I asked why they did this, they said it's to "keep out the previous person's bum breath." Yes they really said that.
This saying is in direct contravention with...
3. "Don't sit on cold surface"
I have yet to figure out the reasoning behind this one. No one has yet been able to give me a straight answer. I suspect it has something to do with infertility due to your hoo ha being in contact with a cold surface.
4. "Don't sleep with fan on"
Also known as "fan death". Sleeping facing a fan means certain death of the sleeping person. If pressed for proof of this phenomenon, they will loudly proclaim that it happened to the daughter of the aunt of the friend of Mrs. Chan.
5. "If you eat chocolate (or any junk food for that matter) you will grow pimples."
This is because chocolate, and all junk foods are "yeet hay" (hot air) and this in turn will cause pimples. The only counter action is this is to drink copious amounts of "leung cha" (cool tea). Don't let the name fool you, this "cool tea" has no correlation whatsoever to your Lipton Iced Tea, it's made out of eye of newt, and toe of frog, along with insect larvae, centipedes, dead skin scrubbed from the back of an elephant with 6 legs and I don't want to know what else. You'll smell it from a block away and the smell lingers for weeks. Only when you drink it will you realise that the horrid smell does not compare with the vile taste.
6. "If you don't exercise, you won't grow taller."
As a result of this threat, I used to be on the track team and swam daily. When I asked my parents why I'm still the size and shape of a teapot, they said it's because I was a picky eater. This is in direct contravention of their claims that I eat so much that I'll fat "to death". My mum also tuts and sighs at me whenever I wear jeans claiming that I exercised too much as a child and therefore have tree trunks for thighs -__-"
7. "____to death!"
The gruesome end to any undesired physical activity. Wear brand new pair of heels? "Wear those will PK to death!" eat 1 more chicken wing? "Will fat to death!" Wear shorts outside in Spring? "Will cold to death!"
I wonder if we can argue that if they use the chicken feather duster on us, we'll hurt "to death".
8. "If expose bellybutton, will catch a cold."
Usually expressed this way, "Don't expose bellybutton, will catch cold to death."
9. "If sneeze, must put on clothes."
It doesn't matter if it's mid summer in Africa and you're sitting inside a sauna. If you sneeze, you must put a jacket on. Otherwise you will catch a cold "to death".
10. "I hit you because I love you."
Said while they're gleefully swinging down the chicken feather duster with the cracked bamboo handle onto your buck naked bum. In public.

In addition to these, my mother also used to come up with the oddest "facts" that she made me believe until I was well into my adulthood. Things such as "drink this and you'll be prettier/taller/thinner", and "if you have a stomach ache, your stomach will feel cold, you must rub it with this *cue Chinese medicated oil which smells suspiciously of menthol* until your stomach heats up, then you'll be better." and "if you sleep with wet hair, you'll have migraines later on in life (Thanks to Superwoolu and Swtexcape for reminding me of this one!). She also kept the local supermarket  pretty well informed of when I had my period and does not believe in the existence of dinosaurs.
Despite the decades of trauma and embarrassment, I do love my Asian parents, they brought me up to be a reasonably well balanced individual who respects her elders and loves her veggies.
For sure in my teenage years, I found life with say the least, now they are an endless source of amusement - how can you not laugh when your mother replies that she sees "trees" in front of her when she's lost and you ask her what landmarks does she see?
Omg, I must be turning into an Asian parent!


  1. LOL @ this lovely post! I get those too, the one about chocolates (but we still love eating chocolates, I guess they grew out of that one), and the "Don't sleep with fan on" & "If expose bellybutton, will catch a cold" hehe... I guess there's some similarities and same perceptions across the Asian communities lol.

    What about the one, not to open your umbrella inside the house... or do not trim/clip your nails in the middle of the night... oh, the list can go on! hehehe

    For the love of our parents ^^

  2. LOVE this post!!!

    Oh my parents also gave me the "don't open your umbrella inside the house" "don't trim your nails at night" and "don't whistle at night".

    Yes, it all happened to the daughter of the aunt of the friend of Mrs. Chan (or Mrs. Suzuki, or Mrs. Kim, or Mrs. enter-common-asian-surname)

  3. This is hilarious and really true for me!!! :p Especially the one if you sneeze, you must wear a jacket even if you are in the middle of Africa.

  4. HAHAHA this is pure awesomeness! My mom said many of those things too! I remember her saying that if I show my belly button, the lightning will strike it lol The other day we were driving in the 40 degree weather and I sneezed; she told me that I'm cold and that I'm getting sick..gah!

  5. quite interesting but I felt like I wasn't Asian because my parents never said any of those things. haha.

    They did like to spank me though (of course). My mom is always full of sh*t making up weird facts daily.
    on a happy note I thought all of this was funny! hmm.. they did say things like don't stick your hands out of the window or it'll break off. They also tell me eating spicy fruits will give me pimples.. what?

    also my Aunt told me that taking a picture with three people in it is back luck. The middle person will die or something. so weird!

  6. LOL LOL LOL! all the things youve mentioned is basically what my parents always said too!

    noone seems to understand yeet hey besides chinese ppl i swear. I explain that to my husband it makes no sense!

  7. Oh wow I can completely relate to you!
    When I was younger, my mum told me that if I didn't eat every grain of rice on my bowl, I would get spots on my face >0<

  8. wahhahaha about the warm seat! the grannies here will always hit the buses seats for a few times then will they proceed to sit on it!
    and my mum will always make me drink something that i do not like and says that is good for the skin and those!

  9. Oh you're hilarious :) Great post and I trust lots of us Asian could relate to it

  10. I used to think exactly like you... but now I have a kid of my own... I realize I'm becoming more like my mother *gulp* love my parents to death! :)

  11. Bahahah! This post is too true. Although I never did experience the "bum breath" one, although I wish I did. I'd die laughing. All I know is that I'm fully looking forward to lying my butt off and messing with my kids minds like my mom and aunt did with me.

  12. LOL love this post. Ok, even if your parents came to Canada early, as mine did, they STILL will say all these things! the chocolate one is classic. My mom also made me scared of parks by telling me witches lived in them. Fear is their way of making us stay straight I guess haha

  13. Haha! I get those all the time especially when I was younger! Until this day with the whole not sitting immediately after someone gets up from a chair, I'm guilty of doing it. haha I would sit on the very tip for a few minutes. My grandma explained that it's something to do with being able to pass the person unhealthy-ness to you from their heat. *shrugs* I thought sleeping with the fan on was able to cause "fon sup" or "wind wet" which causing the certain body part to ache and act up when there's bad weather outside or something like that and the constant blowing of the wind can cause it to blow your face out of proportion LOL.

    I love this post! I can really relate to it haha. <3

  14. Ahahahaha! My aunts strongly believe in the hot/cold theory in food. Don't eat sugar, it will make you feel hot. Don't eat meat, it will make your body hotter. Don't eat, don't eat, don't eat. It's funny they only say that to kids, especially when the food is good :) That's survival of the fittest, Asian style!

  15. LOL, this post made me laugh. I don't know about chocolate causing pimples, but I've been told that eating too many peanuts will. I can definitely attest to the "eat ___ so you're prettier." I think the tallness thing has to do with food/exercise AND genetics. You can't be blamed for being short if your parents are short too.

    Have you ever heard of finishing all the grains of rice in your bowl so you don't grow a pimple on your face? Or that your future spouse doesn't have pimples on their face? Yea...I'd like to know where they got that correlation..

  16. I don't know if it's sad or amusing that I relate to most of what you've written here. =\

  17. Oh and btw, I bought the Hado Labo toner/lotion thing per your advice recently and have been slapping myself silly ever since. ;) Did you see immediate results?

  18. LOL! My parents used to told these things too and I still believe some of them :D

  19. Hahahaha! Still laugh everytime I read this post, I love it :D

    Did your mom ever tell you not to shower after dinner? Somehow makes you unable to digest your dinner...

  20. love this post! Though my mum was African she used to say the thing about cold surfaces. She reckoned that I would get piles lol

  21. I was told not to sit on extremely hot surfaces because it will cause constipation. Oh and after I shower, I must dry off all limbs completely or else I will get early arthritis and will hurt to death.

    Great post. This is my life with my parents in a nutshell lol.

  22. Lololol! Omg... yes. Asian parents do say the darnest things. Some of the things you've mentioned I've had said to myself before haha! Darn chocolate... but I like chocolate! I found that I could never explain the hot and cold food explanation to other people though =\

  23. LOL oh nunu~ I love when you come up with posts like this...actually all your posts are so fun to read XD
    but oh man...the great laugh i had reading this, than shaking my head as i could relate to a bunch..