Not Asian but gweipor


Not Asian but gweipor

With reference to his letter "Either black or white" (February 16), William Hung Chi-kin obviously did not ask me, the child of mixed-race marriage, how I am generally perceived by society. His opinion that the answer would be either "as black" or "as Asian" is way off. Having grown up in Hong Kong, I have rarely been considered Asian, much as I would like to be. I am considered a gweipor. When I speak in Cantonese (fluently, may I add), I can guarantee that the initial reaction is jaw-dropping surprise or embarrassment - depending on whether comments have been muttered that the offending party thought I would not understand.

Mr Hung obviously did not ask my fellow Eurasian friends either who, like me, are proud to be of mixed heritage and would love to be recognised for it.


With all due respect Ms. De Santis, you have failed to grasp Mr. Hung's point.

In a predominantly White culture, a Eurasian such as yourself (and my own children) will be viewed as something 'less than white'. Thus, if you were to go to London and ask people what you were, they'd call you Asian (or more likely a Chinese, because Asian generally means something slightly different in London).

The reason you are not called Asian in Hong Kong is because of the innate racism of the Chinese. As someone who is half-Chinese (I'm assuming this because you speak fluent Cantonese like my children do), you will be viewed by the local Chinese as something less than a full Chinese, so they elevate you to the rank of the race 'below' Chinese and call you a GweiPo (Western Woman).

(Gweipor: there's no R on the end of that word. If you've been handicapped by an education in Received Pronounciation and feel the need to write R's on the end of words which are not pronounced with an R and no R for words which are rhotically gifted, you should be aware that many people think you have a speech problem. Idea does not have a pronounced R at the end, while deer does.

UPDATE: I don't mean to single out the Chinese for racism as if no other group was. Any group which defines itself by ethnicity will regard those with mixed ethnicity as not really part of the group. I'm sure many Irish people wouldn't regard my kids as being completely Irish, for example.

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This page contains a single entry by dave published on February 18, 2007 12:21 AM.

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