06 October 2006

The Not-So-Typical Asian

I was hit by the busy bug again. And also, I took the time off to recuperate from a cold I had. Usually, I would just let the cold pass by, just taking in vitamins and let my body heal itself. But now, I am teaching, and I needed to get well as soon as possible, so I popped some Tylenol cold medicine, and it worked.

And the Monday helped too, since there were no classes, due to the fact that it was a Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. Apparently, this university follows Jewish holidays, due to a historical tradition this university has.

Two days ago, there was an incident here in the department, which I was involved in, which somehow illustrated that I am a not-so-typical Asian.

Our floor is being shared by another department, which would remain nameless. Like us, they also have a lounge across the hall. Our lounge happens to be directly next to my office, so I have no problem accessing it. Theirs is about a few yards away.

Around 11:00 in the morning, while I was working in my office, typing stuff in my laptop, I heard conversations in the lounge, conversations about topics not about linguistics, but clearly about topics that the other department deals with. A few minutes later, they shut the door of our lounge, which normally stays open, since it is free access for everyone in the department.

Around noon, which is lunchtime, I went to the closed lounge and opened it. It wasn't locked, but if it was, I had the key to open it. Then I saw two unfamiliar people sitting down, watching a video and discussing the video on their laptops. The laptop was then connected to an electrical outlet which happened to be an obstruction to the human traffic in the lounge. I hopped over it to go to the fridge, open the fridge, and left.

After a few minutes, I saw a friend of mine go in, go to the fridge, and get her lunch. Obviously, she also hopped over the cords. So I followed her and hopped over the cords and got my lunch from the fridge as well. Then this is when I couldn't stand it anymore and said,

"Hello. Are you two Linguistics students?"


"**insert department name here** students?"


"You do realize that you have a lounge across the hall do you?"

"Yes, but when we went there it was full, and nobody was here when we came in."

"I see. But this lounge is for the use of people from the Linguistics department, and you are not from this department."

"I know that. But it wouldn't hurt if no one was here, right? When we came here nobody was here."

"But as you can see, people are hopping over your stuff. You are creating an obstruction."

"Ok, we'll leave."

So they left. After that, my friend, who is Taiwanese, said to me that if she was me, she couldn't make them leave. She would be mad, but she would just not say anything. Also known as passive-agression.

They say that Asians are typically like that. And to some point, I agree. Typical Filipinos would behave like that. But I don't know why but I don't see the point of following the stereotypical behavior. My reasoning was, if nobody spoke up, then how can the person causing the disturbance know that he is causing a disturbance?


  1. you've got a point in speaking up. not sure if i would have done the same thing. perhaps i'm more typically asian then. or maybe depends. kung mas maliit sila kesa sa akin baka magsalita ako.

  2. You go, LIW! I should be more like you. Sometimes, I'm the typical pinoy who just want to be courteous at my own expense.

  3. Well done, LIW!
    You are right "defending" your departement :-)
    I would do the same.