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In recent times, America’s wars in Korea and Vietnam have also influenced the popular American psych, spawning narratives like that of Miss Saigon.“And let’s not forget Hollywood’s global influence”, says Dr Sandy To, who specialises in gender studies at Hong Kong University.Aowen Jin, a 36-year-old British Chinese artist, thinks that cultural differences, such as the inability “to say no”, are often misconstrued by westerners as agreeableness, or even misinterpreted by western men as a sign of romantic interest.In the professional world, Ting Jacqueline Chen, a 28-year-old Oxford graduate, is also battling stereotypes.She tells me how she was instantly associated with being quiet, analytical and nice when she started working in London, and describes fighting for opportunities to speak and chair meetings.“It took me a long time to get over that," she says.
Elsewhere, in an open letter to the culture minister earlier this year, actors from The British East Asian Artists (BEA) criticised the BBC and other outlets for their cultural stereotyping of East Asians on TV and stage – describing the female parts as “passive and submissive”.
But while some gendered biases exist in all interracial dating, few have gained as much notoriety as so-called yellow fever.
In parts of the US, such a notion has become so pervasive that last year, Debbie Lum, an American filmmaker of Chinese descent, sought to capture the madness in her documentary “Seeking Asian Female”.
One acquaintance told me in wonderment that Chinese women are great in the bedroom – as if I wasn't one – to being casually asked if I’d be interested in a guy “who has been with Chinese girls and likes it”.
I’ve been left puzzled by the insensitivity, and the lack of awareness that such comments may cause offence.