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Adrianna Tan 25 Apr 18
Asian-Americans and Asians based in Asia are going to see differently. Some AA are happy to see representation in Hollywood; others, more versed in social justice see colonialism of East Asians in East Asia. Asians (in SEAsia think: I don't recognize myself).
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Adrianna Tan 25 Apr 18
Replying to @skinnylatte
As someone who straddles all of these words (being Asian when sometimes in America, interested in social justice, but also fundamentally Asian based in Asia, in country where my ethnic group is dominant). Who grew up among real in Singapore, my take:
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Adrianna Tan
The world that portrays is real in Singapore. & myself probably ran in similar circles. My friends at school ate $30 lunches daily at nice restaurants, age 13; vacationed in private islands with royalty, age 15. I was an outsider in this world.
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Adrianna Tan 25 Apr 18
Replying to @skinnylatte
Elite Asians in the former British colonies, like Singapore, have been Anglophiles for centuries. It's not a new thing, not a mimicry of power. Elite Asians were those allowed to go to the right schools and enter the right circles.
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Adrianna Tan 25 Apr 18
Replying to @skinnylatte
In Singapore, like in other colonies, divide and rule extended also to various ethnic groups. These precede current understanding of ethno/national borders. It came down to what type of Chinese, Indian, you were.
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Adrianna Tan 25 Apr 18
Replying to @skinnylatte
e.g. Straits Chinese (also known as Peranakan) found favour with the British. They straddled both worlds: emphasizing Chinese custom, speaking a creole of Malay & Chinese dialects at home. They tended to speak English better than new immigrants from China, etc.
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Adrianna Tan 25 Apr 18
Replying to @skinnylatte
Working class Chinese from southern China tended to follow set paths for them. They came to 'Nanyang' (south of the ocean, the new world), took on roles set out for them by their compatriots before. Early social networks were granular. Not just Hokkiens did X, Cantonese did Y.
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Adrianna Tan 25 Apr 18
Replying to @skinnylatte
Your identity was Hokkien generally, but more tied to the small village and to an extent its neighboring area, for example. Some early Chinese found opportunities in rubber, trade, etc & became merchants. Their impact is felt globally today.
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Adrianna Tan 25 Apr 18
Replying to @skinnylatte
Unlike in many other places, wealth among southern Chinese has networked effects. Descendent of rich merchant family from Java last century may well occupy same social class as a Singapore citizen today. Ditto for HK, Philippines, Thailand.
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Adrianna Tan 25 Apr 18
Replying to @skinnylatte
Until the 1950s/1960s, most immigrants to Nanyang had no citizenship in SE Asian countries, and saw themselves as citizens of their ancestral homes, even if they'd never been. Colonial powers encouraged this. You were Chinese, but not to the idea of today's PRC.
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Adrianna Tan 25 Apr 18
Replying to @skinnylatte
There are loads of academic papers about how 'Chinese wealth' in SE Asia is held together by intermarriage. When I dated hyper rich Indonesian boy as a teenager, his family wanted my family tree. We could not date coz, obviously I was not an heiress.
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Adrianna Tan 25 Apr 18
Replying to @skinnylatte
Chinese identity in the Nanyang is complex, unique, very distinct from Asian-American identity. There is both privilege, concentrated in hands of the few who wield extreme power; and oppression, in that anti-Chinese pogroms have occurred as recently as 1998 (Indonesia).
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Adrianna Tan 25 Apr 18
Replying to @skinnylatte
It bears remembering that 'Jews of the East' has been used to clobber Chinese communities and foster anti-Chinese sentiments; first by European colonial powers, which carries on today sometimes encouraged by existing powers.
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Adrianna Tan 25 Apr 18
Replying to @skinnylatte
Even in Singapore, where Chinese form majority and hold outsized power in government, economy, and social spheres (and Chinese privilege exists), regular Chinese folks (non-rich, even Singaporeans) could never enter that world. That's birthright, or marriage.
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Adrianna Tan 25 Apr 18
Replying to @skinnylatte
The well-educated middle class or professional class, largely Chinese, has the trappings of folks from class, but they are not a part of that world, even if they imagine.
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Adrianna Tan 25 Apr 18
Replying to @skinnylatte
Obviously, the real world of is overwhelmingly Chinese. That's accurate. This world sometimes intersects with the world of Singaporean / Malaysian Indian merchant families, which is usually Sindhi.
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Adrianna Tan 25 Apr 18
Replying to @skinnylatte
Not enough Asian-American criticism of is aware of the realities in this part of the world.
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Adrianna Tan 25 Apr 18
Replying to @skinnylatte
Sure, Henry Golding is half white; but even that doesn't mean white privilege in the same sense you'd say that in the US. His other half is Iban, a tribe from Borneo. There are all kinds of oppression towards Ibans, other tribals & Borneo generally.
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Adrianna Tan 25 Apr 18
Replying to @skinnylatte
Half British, half Iban / Kadazan / other tribal group / even half Borneo Chinese is probably its own ethnic identity at this point. Traditional white privilege concepts are transferable to an extent, but not really.
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Adrianna Tan 25 Apr 18
Replying to @skinnylatte
People talking like they're from the US or UK, i.e. not like Singaporeans? Real life talk like that! It's authentic. They have very little to do with the lived experiences of most Singaporeans you and I know, but that's why they're the top 0.05%
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Adrianna Tan 25 Apr 18
Replying to @skinnylatte
This is not the world of the Chinese Singaporean friend you think is rich, who drives a car and has a condo and goes to Iceland on vacation. This is 'live in the Waldorf-Astoria for 1 year while attending an exchange program from other ivy league college' rich (true story I know)
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Adrianna Tan 25 Apr 18
Replying to @skinnylatte
This is not your Asian-American 'be a doctor / lawyer!' world, this is a world where if you brought home a lawyer or doctor your family would probably think you were marrying down - rich
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Adrianna Tan 25 Apr 18
Replying to @skinnylatte
I have little interest in real . I will not be watching it, because I could just open the Facebook pages of 20 friends from this world. As an outsider, I think they all worry about the same things: love, family, and yes, even money.
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Adrianna Tan 25 Apr 18
Replying to @skinnylatte
It's a different level of money worry, of course. It's not 'i have no more money for lunch' worry, not even 'not enough money for a Birkin' (they have 50, already). It's about debts or complex financial instruments their parents might have put them in;
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Adrianna Tan 25 Apr 18
Replying to @skinnylatte
It's about the fear of 'coming down in the world', like we saw during the late 90s financial crisis (and my classmates grumbled about having to downgrade to a bungalow in the bad side of Bukit Timah - lol)
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Adrianna Tan 25 Apr 18
Replying to @skinnylatte
I used to be envious of the kind of wealth I saw. Growing up in public housing, it was unfathomable. Not about material things. It was about $4000 school trips (poetry classes in the UK) My parents: write at home. In your underwear. More inspiring
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Adrianna Tan 25 Apr 18
Replying to @skinnylatte
Even then I got the sense that the things they had which were intangible, unique, were not items, but access. Today, I see many of those folks in marriages they hate running businesses they hate. I don't envy their lack of 'choice'.
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Adrianna Tan 25 Apr 18
Replying to @skinnylatte
Not being from that world, not really, I don't have to give up my dreams to run my family business; marry someone I dislike; or for women, give up my passion to run my FIL'S family office's philanthropy arm.
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Adrianna Tan 25 Apr 18
Replying to @skinnylatte
When you have everything, something's gotta give. Mental health, happiness, personal ambition. Then you get the worst of the Asian expectation: do only what your family wants, what will people think? I'm sure the movie is fun. But for me, too close to home. /End
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