Response to Steven Yuan’s “Blog 2020.10.13”
In this piece, Steven Yuan comments on the fakeness of Chinese customs, like fighting over the bill at meals and acting humble when being complimented. As a Chinese-American, I have experienced these customs, but not to the extent that Steven has as a Chinese person, so my perspective of these customs is less annoyed at them and more valuing them as part of Chinese culture.
Because of my Chinese-American identity, I regard these customs as valuable parts of Chinese culture that I might want to preserve for myself and pass down to my children, because over generations my family will become more Americanized and lose that culture. Because Steven has way more experience with Chinese culture, he most likely regards these aspects of Chinese culture as less valuable, and therefore focuses more on how he feels about them, and their “validity.”
My experience as a Chinese-American has shown me that simply being raised in America made me take on certain aspects of American culture, edging out Chinese culture. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it shows that as generations grow up away from the country their ancestors came from, they slowly lose touch with their ancestors’ culture. Knowing this has me me view Chinese culture as more valuable, and I want to preserve parts of my culture that I can pass down so that my children will have some idea of where my dad and mom came from.
Steven, however, most likely values these cultural aspects less and focuses more on whether he thinks they are justified. In his blog post, Steven writes about the insincerity of Chinese customs. He contrasts them with what Americans would do, which would be to let others pay for the bill if they offered and to say thank you after being complimented, and says that “Americans do better than Chinese people in this aspect” because they are more straightforward.
Considering Steven’s less favorable opinion of these customs, I have realized that there is truth to both sides. These customs can be annoying when used often, yet I find the humbleness of these Chinese cultural aspects appealing. Because it’s a gray area, you should respect others’ opinions and consider them, because they can add more perspective to your viewpoint and also have some merit to them.
Respecting others’ opinions is important as the election comes up with the possibility of reelection of one of the, if not the most, polarizing presidents. This is relevant to me because my household is split 50/50 Trump and Biden, and we have learned to coexist peacefully, agreeing to disagree and not bringing up politics often. Some of Trump’s policies my family has benefited from, which is the merit that I talked about being present in half of my family’s opinions. I still strongly believe that Biden is the better choice to advance progressive policy and stop fearmongering toward immigrants and non-white people, but I have learned to respect those who I disagree with and agree to disagree.
Yuan, Steven. “Blog 2020.10.13.” Medium, 1 November 2020, https://medium.com/writing-150-fall-2020/blog-2020-10-13-18809874ec0a.