22 Signs You Grew Up With Immigrant Chinese Parents

They gave you everything, including a massive guilt complex.

1. Your school report card had a different grading scale to your friends’.

2. You ate a LOT of delicious Chinese cooking over the years but don’t know how to cook any of it because your mum never let you in the kitchen.

3. Absolutely no outside shoes were worn in the house.

4. You grew up believing there were only three career options available: doctor, lawyer and accountant.*

  • FACT: Asians now account for 2.4 million, or 12%, of the Australian population, but 20% of all doctors are Asian.

5. You never received much sympathy for your problems nor praise for your accomplishments.

6. And whenever you were excited by something your parents were quick to throw some cold water over it.

7. You have at least one childhood photo featuring you with a bowl fringe cut.

8. Thoughout your studies you weren’t allowed to date, and then once you graduated your parents were suddenly all like “HOW COME YOU NO HAVE GIRL/BOYFRIEND?”

9. And when you did eventually meet someone, heaven forbid they be: 1) Of another race 2) Of the same sex 3) An artist.

10. When you were young you played the violin, or the piano, or both. Your parents constantly harangued you to practice, then freaked out when you floated the idea of becoming a professional musician.

11. When you weren’t in school you were attending coaching schools like Kumon or working at your parents’ Chinese restaurant. Still not sure who had it worse.

12. Compulsory: Math, Math & Math. Voluntary: Drama, PE & Religion.

13. Your parents displayed an almost scary ability to adopt every new piece of technology that came out over the years. Basically more channels to get in touch with you.

14. You lived with the world’s best unintentional environmentalists. They took the words “reuse, repair, recycle” to a new level.

15. You were amazed to discover the families of your white friends had cheeses like Camembert and Brie in the fridge. Your friends were not similarly delighted to be introduced to the stink bomb in your fridge called durian.

16. Your mum always interfered with your packing. Usually armed with a pair of disposable undies and enough food to feed a family for a month.

17. The few times your parents took you to the beach, they sweated away covered in head to toe, and were far more interested in eating seafood than swimming.

Flickr: 8069051@N06 / Via Creative Commons

18. Your parents had a love affair with plastic wrap and tin foil.

Flickr: ajalfaro / Via Creative Commons

19. Your parents and relatives never failed to air their opinions regarding your weight at family gatherings.

20. Your Saturdays were spent at Chinese school where there was always a white kid or someone much younger than you whose Chinese kicked your ass.

21. You went to China for the first time and realised that in many ways, you have more in common with Australia’s Russian kids, Greek kids, Filipino kids and other children of migrants than you do with Chinese Chinese kids.

22. And that as you grow older you finally see their tough love approach was the natural default for nervous parents living in a strange country.

And all they wanted was to set you up for a life of stability and success. The kind of life they themselves were denied or had to ‘eat much bitterness’ to finally achieve. It may have been tough, but it was still love!

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