Writer's Block

The USA is the place I was born. Canada is the place I was raised. Taiwan is the place in my heart.

Friday, May 31, 2002

It’s pretty hilarious how one’s perceptions of the same thing can be so different. We all have biases in our perceptions which have been influenced by our personal experiences. Why is it that we feel an inexplicable affinity with certain people, places or things? Or that we more readily identify with certain people or places? Or that each of us sees different patterns in the same thing? In large part it may be related to what is familiar to each of us. What is one’s natural frame of reference?

These thoughts came to mind because of a funny little incident today. Lately I’ve been watching a Taiwanese T.V. mini series set in Taiwan during the 1940’s-50’s. It gives me insight and perspective on the Taiwan that my Mother knew growing up and it’s a great way to brush up on my Taiwanese and Mandarin listening skills.

Today as I was watching the T.V. mini-series with my Mom, I was getting confused over what was happening to who- in part because it’s sometimes hard for me to commit the Taiwanese and Chinese names of the characters to memory and in part because at times I don’t completely understand parts of the dialogue… As my Mom clarified details of the storyline in today’s episode, I realized that I was simply confusing two of the characters, and in exasperation I blurted, “how should I know who’s who, they all look the same!”

What I meant was that two of the male characters looked so alike because they wore the same school uniform, and were about the same age, size and height- so I couldn’t keep straight who was who.

Then my Mom blurted back, “So now you know how I feel”… meaning when she’s said, “they all look the same” of certain non-Asian actors. Recently we were watching some movie on T.V. and she told me that she thought Ed Norton looked like Russell Crowe! I’m sorry, but I don’t think it’s the same thing! LOL! In my own defense- it’s just an undeniable fact that Asian people look more similar by virtue of the fact that we have the same hair color and eye color. Now, I certainly wouldn’t say that I’m a white-washed Asian American, ignorant of the diversity among various Asian groups and I usually don’t take nicely to non-Asian people who say of Asians, “they all look the same”, so it was particularly hilarious that the tables had turned on me today.


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