Asian Flair for Drama by Apple Tang

Asian girls love drama. Every girl does, but Asian girls take on a more passive aggressive approach...something that will cast them as the victim. The more tragic the better.

Korean soap operas are famous for this. And people in China can't get enough of it.

If you walk down the streets of Beijing, you start to wonder whether they're imitating what they see on TV, or if it's the other way around.

Within the first few months of arriving in China, I saw a couple fighting outside a restaurant.

It started with the classic standoff: Girl pouts. Guy says c'mon ?and touches her arm. Girl flings him off and continues to pout.

Except this time it took an extreme turn and the guy grabbed her by the hair.

My gut instinct was that she would twist around and kick him between the legs!

To my amazement, she squatted down.

That's when he dragged her across the street by the hair.

She had many chances to get away before it got to this stage. But she didn't.

This was a more extreme case, but I can't tell you how many times I've been caught on the subway in-between a couple doing the standoff. It's gets more hilarious in such a cramped space and everyone can see it.

As a Chinese Canadian, the western part of me screams out: Why not just tell him what you want and be over with it?

Maybe "he should just know." Or it could be like my temper tantrums when I was five ?and she doesn't know what she wants.

"Well most of them are in high school mode ya?" Ray of Lite types. "It's because they haven't lived through the same experiences as North Americans. So most of us were like that back when we were 14. ?Most of them still live with their parents until they're 30. Plus the single child syndrome doesn't help that case at all."

I remember watching this Malaysian Chinese movie that opened with a girl sitting on the edge of a boat, looking listlessly out to the sea.

A tear rolls down her eye just before she flips backwards into the water.

Turns out her boyfriend didn't respond when she asked him, "Do you love me?"

Did she really want to kill herself? No.

She wanted the guy to know that she loved him enough to kill herself over him. She's hoping her outrageous act will shock his senses and make him realize he actually loves her. The guy magically comes around almost 99 percent of the time in these scenes.

Movies like this aren't seen as crazy in Asia. It's romanticized. And girls try to emulate this. Do something crazy and outrageous so that he will "realize" that you're the one.

These storylines are a staple in Korean soap operas. Its leading men are always the strong silent type ?a high virtue in Asian culture.

This is true even for my parents who have lived in Canada for over 30 years. My younger brother got a lot of flack from my Dad if he wasn't decisive, if he shed tears, didn't help fix the garage door or clean out the gutter ?ya know .. man stuff.

My father never taught us that girls can be weak, but my brother certainly had to live up to a certain ideal.

It is precisely the strong emphasis on "big boys don't cry" that drives Asian men to be more reserved than most. And it could be the reason their women turn to extremities in order to provoke a response.

Behind that tough exterior I think Asian men love the drama as well.

I once met a guy from Inner Mongolia who told me he broke up with his girlfriend of four years because he didn't have money saved up for a wedding.

"Well do you love her?"

"Of course I do."

"So then why can't you wait a couple more years till you make enough money?"

Tommy patiently explained to me as if it should've been "obvious."

"Because she's already 24. I'm still in school and working at a bar part time. She's spent most of her youth with me and I don't want her to waste anymore time. She'll find someone else who will take better care of her."

He looked a bit woeful but had, at the same time, a self-satisfied air about him.

I was stunned.

Here was a living example of a self-made tragedy.

So it isn't confined to old Chinese movies and Korean soaps.

I once dated a guy who wasn't Asian, but certainly wasn't the most expressive about his feelings. I use to pick fights and say nasty things to him just to make sure he "felt." Just to provoke him and make sure he cares. So it must be in my blood.

But after meeting Tommy, I realized that I like drama in my life, just not THAT much.

Here are some segments from three of the most popular Korean soaps in China.

Dae Jang Geum (2005-2006)

Princess Hours a.k.a Goong (2006)
Full House (2006)

Apple Tang @ 15:44 | .(3477) |

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