My first trip to Hong Kong

I’m going to write about my trip to Hong Kong. My boyfriend and I booked this trip just 2 months after we’d started going out. It was my first trip out of Europe so it was slightly scary (mostly because I wasn’t sure how well I’d cope on a 14 hour plane trip), but having someone from Hong Kong who could speak Cantonese certainly made me feel better.

P1140814Our journey on the plane

We went in December 2012, just before Christmas, because I’m not good with heat. I get sunburnt in the UK, so I would have no chance in Hong Kong in the summer. We took the plane from Manchester Airport for my first ever long haul trip and I was pretty excited! My boyfriend found it hilarious that the air hostess spoke English to him, but German to me as she hadn’t realised we were together. He now likes to tell me i’m German all the time… (We flew on Lufthansa via Frankfurt so it was understandable – I could have been German!)

We’d left Frankfurt at 10.15pm so we slept on the plane at a normal bed time for us. We hadn’t managed to sleep too much on the plane so we were a bit tired, therefore the time difference wasn’t too much of an issue for us. We arrived in Hong Kong at 4.10pm so we could just have a short first day.

P1140836View of Hong Kong from the plane

The heat was too much for me straight away. We took a bus to our hotel, an Ibis right next to the North Point MTR station, which took about 1 hr 10 minutes, giving me a chance to see Hong Kong for the first time. It was interesting to see that the hotel missed out a lot of floor numbers, which my boyfriend explained to me was due to Chinese superstitions. For example, in Cantonese, the number “4” sounds a lot like “death”.

P1140855Lots of British food in the supermarkets!

After checking in, we went to the Hong Kong supermarket “Park N Shop” which my boyfriend loved – all that Hong Kong food he can’t get back in the UK! It had a lot British food too so I was happy, even though it was a bit more expensive than normal. We had to stock up on lots of bottled water because the water in Hong Kong isn’t really drinkable. We also went to a very cool shop called “Wonderland” which is full of anime/manga things. One issue we had was that my boyfriend’s Hong Kong debit card kept being rejected because he completely forgot that the pin numbers are 6 digits, not 4 like in the UK! That caused us a lot of hassle, with him having to go to the bank to sort it out. We went back to our hotel for a snack before heading to the MTR.

P1140869My first real view of the streets of Hong Kong at mid-levels

My boyfriend gave me an Octopus card, a lot like London’s Oyster card, which made travel very easy. I was amazed at how cheap the transport was! We headed to Central where we went on the world’s longest escalator called Mid-Levels. It’s over 135 metres from top to bottom. I was expecting one massive escalator, which on reflection was a bit stupid of me, because it has lots of gaps so that people can get off. On the way, we found a pub called “Yorkshire Pudding” which made me laugh. (My boyfriend is from Yorkshire!)

P1140880The streets in Lan Kwai Fong

We then went to Lan Kwai Fong, a square of streets in Central which is very popular with tourists as it’s full of pubs, restaurants and clubs. We weren’t that hungry so we didn’t stop for any proper food, but we did get some Hagen Daz ice cream from their own shop – expensive but tasty! We headed back down the escalators and towards the International Finance Centre for a quick look. As we came to Hong Kong just 2 weeks before Christmas, there were lots of Christmas lights up on the massive buildings, which was very impressive to see. We then went back to our hotel for sleep. My first day of being in Hong Kong was over, and I was loving it already!

P1140894Christmas lights near our hotel

More posts on my adventures in Hong Kong here:

Day One: My first trip to Hong Kong

Day Two: Lantau Island

Day Two: Whampoa and the Avenue of Stars

Day Three: Hong Kong Disneyland

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What is so great about AMWF?

Some people who stumble across this blog and others about AMWF might be thinking “What is so great about AMWF? Why are so many people in AMWF relationships blogging about it. What makes it so special compared to any other relationship?”

In many ways, AMWF relationships are no different from any other. However, I think there are a few differences that make it a little bit special, and make it rare. Proof of the rarity are in the stares and comments many AMWF couples get in the street. My boyfriend and I have had a fair few comments including:

“Get in their China man!” (I think the guy was fairly drunk)

“Eww, a chinky and a white girl” (Really wanted to slap the chavy teenage girl who said that)

“Why is she going out with you and not the white boys in the flat? (That one was my boyfriend’s Mum…)

tumblr_mrui4vmT5N1ss6hlfo1_400Culture differences can be a problem in AMWF relationships

So why is AMWF so rare? There are many blog posts by different people on this subject including On the Rarity of Foreign Women and Chinese Boyfriends/Chinese Husbands. In my personal opinion, I think the two main problems are culture and stereotypes.

Adapting to another culture is always going to be hard. There are many differences such as:

Food – Rice and noodles vs bread and potatoes. You both have to compromise on which food you’re going to eat, or you’ll never be able to go to a restaurant together! Even me, the fussiest eater in the world, has been to Chinese, Korean and Japanese restaurants.

Language – You may not have a first language in common. One or both of you would have to try to learn another language to be able to properly communicate with each other, and may have to act as translator for their family.

Attitudes – It is likely that there will be different attitudes, maybe not from your other half but from their parents. Diets, social gatherings, education and etiquette are a few things amongst many that you have to learn to accept if you want to get on with each other.

tumblr_mqg4ufRVIy1ss6hlfo1_400Stereotypes can be attractive or off-putting.

There are many stereotypes which can make starting a relationship between an Asian male and White female quite hard. They include:

White girls dating Asian guys are obsessed with Asian culture – I know a few girls who are obsessed with manga/anime and would love an Asian boyfriend to cosplay with. However, not every AMWF relationship is based on the white girl wishing she was Asian or having an Asian fetish. (And if it is, it doesn’t really matter! Be with who you want to be with!)

Asian men are ugly – In my opinion, being Asian shouldn’t be the factor that makes AMWF relationships so rare, but sadly I think it is. We all know that personality should overcome looks but I really think the majority of people are attracted to their own race. Whites prefer whites, blacks prefer blacks, Asians prefer Asians etc… Maybe this is one reason AMWF is something special, because it is a rare thing. There are, of course, people that don’t feel that way and are attracted to people of other ethnicities, and there are those who just happen to fall in love with a person regardless of their looks.

Asian men are too feminine and White females are not feminine enough – This piece of text from a forum post by Winston at Happier Abroad explains it.

A White female is more masculine, rough and independent than a typical Asian female from Asia. They need a guy who is more masculine than them, or at least is taller and looks more masculine. A typical Asian guy looks way too meek and feminine to them. They are not masculine enough for them, nor sexually attractive to them either. Asian males look nothing like what her DNA-driven mating instinct looks for. This is why most White women treat Asian men as asexual and do not consider them for any type of romantic relationship. 

On the other hand, a typical white female, especially an American white female of Anglo/Germanic/Scandinavian descent, is not feminine enough for an Asian male. NE Asian women in China and Japan are 1000x more feminine than White women are, even those in Europe, in every way. There is no doubt about that. A modern white woman is more rough, thick-skinned and masculine, compared to a typical Asian female. Therefore, a typical super feminine Asian woman is no doubt more naturally suited for an Asian man, who is not as rugged and masculine looking as a White male is. This is why white women who go to NE Asian countries have a lot of trouble finding decent quality Asian men to date, and often complain about it on the internet. 

Asian families would never accept a foreigner into their family – As the parents are in charge in an Asian family, if they don’t approve of a relationship it can make it very hard to continue. This blog post is AFWM but shows what that disapproval can do. Though it is rarer, there is always a chance the white girl’s family could be unhappy with the relationship too. It can be off putting for a white girl to even want to think about a relationship with an Asian man when it could all go horribly wrong so quickly, but not all Asian families are as against foreigners as it might seem.

tumblr_mqxmkuC0OT1s1tcj8o1_400Many parents are more than happy to have a foreign girl in the family

I think both men and women in AMWF relationship have to be intelligent and open minded and this is what makes AMWF so great. For me, one of the best things about an AMWF relationship is that you get to learn about a new culture and a different way of living. It can give you a new perspective on life and I think if you don’t want to learn, an AMWF relationship isn’t for you. Whether it’s discovering more about the country you’ve moved to, or learning all about a completely new country, you will learn a lot.  You also need to be able to look past the stereotypes, which often takes a very strong person to do when there is so much social pressure to think in a different way. This is another great thing about AMWF. You can prove the negative stereotypes wrong, as well as proving the more positive stereotypes right, and also show that many stereotypes are a loads of rubbish! Everyone is different and no matter what anyone else says, you should make your own decisions on a person rather than judging them straight away for being of a certain ethnicity.

I put the question “What do you think is the best thing about being in an Asian Male/White Female relationship?” to people on tumblr. Here are their answers:

  • “Proving those stereotypes wrong 🙂 Asian men are great lovers and caring partners.”
  • “You get to learn and respect another culture and their view on everything. Although there is a lot more best things about being in a AMWF relationship then just that! :P”
  • “Asian men typically show so much respect to their significant others. They always go above and beyond.”
  • “Well, if I am in a amwf relationship! I think that everything is the most happiness things to me!”

So you’ve heard my views and the views of the people on tumblr. What do you think is the best thing about AMWF relationships?

Images: akosiyavre.tumblr.com, amxf.net, weheartit.com

Reasons why I shouldn’t be dating an Asian

There are a number of reasons why I shouldn’t be dating an Asian man. Here are a few of those reasons.

Chinese Buffet

Food heaven for some, food hell for me

1. I hate Chinese food. In fact I hate most food but I can’t cope with the texture of most of the meat in Chinese cuisine, or taste of the sauces. This also means my boyfriend’s Mum thinks I’m a bit strange and quite unhealthy.

2. I think you should live your own life, not your parents. I’m not saying this is true with every Asian family but my boyfriend’s parents decide a lot of things for him, including which University degree he took, and I find that very hard to deal with. My parents would never dream of being so controlling and honestly, listening to my boyfriend having to argue with his parents to be allowed to do every little thing when he is 21 years old winds me up.

3. I’m generally not very understanding of other cultures. I just can’t help but thinking the Western/UK way is the way to go (even when it might not be). I know I should open my mind up more to these things…but if Chinese medicine worked, it would just be called medicine.

4. I can’t speak Cantonese. His parents can’t speak English, I can’t speak Cantonese; It’s fairly hard to communicate. I can barely remember any of the 5 years of French I did at school and I remember absolutely hating learning it and not understanding anything I was saying or writing. If I can’t learn a language similar to English, I’m sure I’ll have no chance with something that involves different characters and changing the tone of your voice. I might manage the odd words and phrases but never a proper conversation. (Luckily my boyfriend considers English his first language)

5. I can’t cope with the fact he can’t speak fluent English. I know. I’m a horrible person. I expect him to speak perfect English when I can’t speak a word of Cantonese (Hey, we are in England and I didn’t even know Cantonese was a language until about 2 years ago). Every time he gets the tenses wrong or forgets to pluralise a word, I feel the need to correct him and he hates me for it.

Hong Kong Duck

I wish I’d been in Hong Kong when the duck was there…

However, there are also reasons why I should be dating an Asian.

1. I love Japanese things. Ok, my boyfriend is from Hong Kong, but he still grew up with anime films instead of Disney. My interests in manga and anime films means we have something in common. I’m not crazy obsessed like a few people I know, though I definitely had an obsession with Pokemon when I was younger, and I certainly didn’t choose an Asian boyfriend he looks like the Japanese do, but I was very happy when I was lent my boyfriend’s brother’s entire collection of the Love Hina manga.

2. I don’t have the same expectations as many Asians do. I’m not saying that all Asian women only date men who are rich and successful, but my boyfriend is under the impression that a lot of them have very high expectations and are rather controlling. I’m sure this isn’t the case, but I am aware of the pressure that people can be put under in some Asian countries. I don’t want my boyfriend to be a high flying, rich business man, all I ask is that he isn’t too lazy to not get a job at all. As long as he is happy in life, i’m happy.

3. I’m interested in his culture. At my school, everyone (and I really mean everyone) was white British. At college, I noticed a few people of other ethnicities but not many. University, where I met my boyfriend, was a different story. I don’t think I had ever spoken to a Chinese person before meeting my boyfriend. I’ve learn so much about other cultures – you find out a lot more first hand than you can from anywhere else.

4. I get to go to Hong Kong. I would never have been there without him and I was able to experience an amazing place I had little idea about. He was pretty pleased (and maybe a bit surprised) that I wanted to go with him and let him show me around the city he was born and spent his childhood. He was especially pleased I let him fill the suitcase with Asian snacks.

5. I don’t care that he is Asian. In fact, I don’t care too much about anything I have written here! Ethnicity doesn’t make a person – personality does. I never wanted an Asian boyfriend (I never really wanted a boyfriend), but I fell for my best friend and that would have happened regardless of his ethnicity.

Images: flickr.com/photos/samsmith, flickr.com/photos/zanthia/