Jan 22, 2011

Do Filipinos hate -- and so won't date -- the Chinese?

Dear Filipino,

I find myself really attracted to this Filipino guy. I actually get along with him very well and I'm probably overthinking but...I was wondering if there was any chance for me to date him?

I guess I'm sort of young and naive, but the only stereotypes I know of Filipinos are that they are very peaceful, musically inclined, talented, and generally tanned. However, according to my Filipina friend, Filipinos tend to go after their own or go after whites in order to "marry up". She told me that's how she was raised, and that unless the person she dated was Catholic, Filipino or Caucasian, there would be no way she would be allowed to date. Furthermore, she told me that majority of Filipino people sort of hate Chinese people? So if I start a relationship with him, would I face a lot of prejudice from his family? Is it usually looked down upon to be of a different race?

Sincerely,
Love-stricken Chinese Girl


Dear LCG,

Hey, what can I say?  Filipino guys are simply irresistible! ;-)  And as regards the stereotypes you mentioned, I can hang with those -- no problem! 

Seriously though, first, I must apologize. You've written me this a while back and it's quite insensitive of me to have kept you waiting for an answer that must be quite important to you.  But unfortunately, I can only answer questions at my pace, and though I was born in the Year of the Tiger, I'm really a Turtle Blogger. 

I actually thought of delaying my answer to you until Valentine's, but I changed my mind because "Chinese" seems to be on everyone's lips these days.  Locally, in the Bay Area, Chinese empowerment is the buzzword, as the first Asian-American mayor of San Francisco, Edwin M. Lee, was sworn in last week.  Nationally, in the US, Chinese power is said to be really ascendant, as shown by the way China's president, Mr. Hu Jintao, is being treated as he visits his country's largest debtor this week.  But more importantly, globally, Chinese superiority is also now being touted -- even in an aspect erstwhile deemed to be so personal to everyone: parenting.

So assuming it's true that we Filipinos only want to "marry up" race-wise, surely we must be re-evaluating our stand with regards to the Chinese, right?

But here's the thing: The truth is, Filipinos don't look down upon the Chinese; Filipinos generally don't restrict marriage to Caucasians, Catholics or fellow Filipinos only; and while Filipinos often do prefer lighter-skinned folks as potential partners in marriage (although changing, that's still the reality of today's world), I think it's not a stretch to say Filipinos, especially when compared to other groups, are in fact equal-opportunity daters. 

I don't know why your Filipina friend said those things to you, but don't believe everything she says, in the same way that you shouldn't believe everything I say here.  None of us can speak definitively for millions of people.  But I think the evidence weighs in favor of my position.  And while statistics will bear out that most of us do end up dating and marrying within our group, that's just natural, because cultural compatibility is paramount to most people who want to avoid conflict.  I'd like to think this is just what her parents were driving at, too.

Besides, we're mutts, you see, and so historically, we've really intermarried a lot with all sorts of "breeds."  In fact, estimates show that while the "pure" ethnic Chinese only comprise about 2-3% of the country, as many as 20% of the Filipino people have some Chinese ancestry.  Personally, I think these figures are understated because the Chinese have been settling in the Philippines since time immemorial -- or as far back as the Ice Age when a now-submerged land bridge is believed to have enabled many people from South China to settle in what is now the archipelago called the Philippines, and continued non-stop even during the Spanish (when they were referred to as sangleys) and American regimes, up to present times.  The sitting President, the national hero, the former dictator Marcos -- they are just a few of the country's more famous Chinese mestizos, offspring of mixed marriages.

And I think it's wrong to say we hate the Chinese, for if that were the case, those famous Chinese mestizos would not have achieved their positions in life.  Majority of Filipinos do hate hateful and abusive people, Chinese or not.  In fact, anyone would, don't you agree?

That's why I now think Tiger Mother Amy Chua's observation in her 2003 essay, "Vengeful Majorities," unfairly depicts Filipinos.  In it, she related how her Chinese aunt was killed by her Filipino driver and how the police classified the killing as an act of revenge.  But she did more than that: She also suggested that the driver killed her aunt because her aunt was a member of a rich, market-dominant minority while the driver was a member of a "vengeful majority" in the Philippines.  By doing so, she elevated the incident to somehow be representative of an ethnicity-influenced tension between the ethnic Chinese and the ethnic Filipinos in the Philippines. 

But even if I were to concede that there is in fact some tension, I guarantee you that it is almost negligible and in no way -- no way! -- comparable to the other ethnic tensions she also mentioned in her essay: e.g., Croats vs. Serbs, Hutus vs. Tutsis, Jews vs. ethnic Russians, Chinese vs. ethnic Indonesians, etc. -- tensions which are more violent and widespread, much more societally disruptive, and much, much more gruesome because they had resulted in riots, outright war, ethnic cleansing, and genocide in the past.

To understand what I'm saying here, let's reverse the roles in Chua's aunt's case.  If her aunt had been an ethnic Filipina who was killed by her Chinese driver because the latter couldn't take the abuse and enslavement anymore, I think you'll also understand why the police would still be justified to put the same reason for the killing: "Revenge." In other words, the murder was an act of "revenge" because of Chua's abusive aunt, not because the ethnic Filipino majority is somehow "vengeful."

So, no, I'm not worried about you being looked down upon by the Filipino guy's family, and I'm not concerned at all that you would face any prejudice from the guy's side.  You won't.  The truth is, I'm more worried about your family looking down upon my fellow good-looking Filipino.  I know we're just talking about dating here and not marriage, but Chua herself recently admitted that she married an American Orthodox Jew as a form of rebellion because her once father told her: "You will marry a non-Chinese over my dead body!"  With respect to us Filipinos, she was upfront and didn't even mince words when she wrote in her 2003 book: "For the Chinese...marrying a Filipino...is shameful."

I happen to know this is quite true among many Chinese in the Philippines.  When I was in college, I had female Chinese friends who fell in love with Filipinos, and even if the guys were from decent families and were decent themselves, the Chinese parents still objected to the relationships, going as far as threatening their daughters with disownment.  One Chinese lady I know was indeed disowned and her parents did not even bother to attend her wedding.  I heard the parents and the daughter only reconciled after the latter delivered her first baby.

Now, are you sure you still want to date that Filipino guy?

Got a question for The Filipino?  Email him now at askthepinoy@gmail.com.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Love-stricken Chinese Girl,

I agree with TheFilipino, that in the Philippines,it is the Chinese who are more prejudiced against relationships with the Filipinos. Since they are the immigrant group, they choose to preserve their customs, language and business interest within the smaller circle of their Chinese community.

As a race,the Filipinos are one of the friendliest and most tolerant people on earth. And our men are more affectionate and romantic than most Asian men. Our family values are very strong, and yet we are very open to people of different races, and gamely try their food, customs and lingo.

In the past,we may have exhibited some 'colonial mentality' and showed preference for whites, but I think that is more true for the women, and this was mostly for an economic reason. Our impression was that the whites have more money.
However, now many Asian men are also better off, so as long as there is some attraction, we don't necessarily shun non-whites.

Filipino men are a bit spoiled, and while they will insist on making most major decisions, they will also gamely yield to a strong female partner - as long as she continues to serve him (maasikaso).
I think that's why it's easier for a Filipina to stay married to a foreigner (because she will serve her husband), while a Filipino may have difficulty with a partner who was not raised in the same culture of service and attention that we are used to.

Even if the guy has grown up in the US, if his parents raised him Filipino-style, then his ties to the family and clan will be strong, but not exclusive, in other words, he won't turn his back completely on them, but they will allow non-Filipinos into their circle.

Filipinos are truly very artistic, musically inclined, talented and peaceful; but we are also passionate, emotional, affectionate, long-suffering and giving.
These are ideal characteristics for a life-partner -(But not necessarily a business partner).

I can understand why you've fallen in love with one of our guys - well then, drop your Chinese reserve and batt your eyelashes, Girl! Smile at him when he comes around, and feed him too!
Make sure to ask about his mom, his sister, his family back in the islands and go watch him play whatever it is that he plays - basketball, a band, hip hop, whatever!
If he is the one for you, let him know - he could be one of our shy boys.
I am 100% sure he doesn't hate Chinese,or he may not know anybody else who is 100% Chinese, and he may not have a strong opinion of Chinese, except that he likes salt & pepper spare ribs and Chinese takeout.
Act boldly, take a risk - who knows if love is just around the corner...

Brouha Ha

(I am not related to Hu) Hahaha

0.125 Chinese said...

@brouha ha - i like your answer! The Filipino probably wasn't prepared to give an answer about dating. He is probably clueless. hehehe :-)
@filipino - you missed your chance to brag about why you filipinos are better !

The Marikina Chap said...

I am a Filipino American (dual citizenship lately) and now proud to be Filipino again – guess never lost it in the first place as evidenced by my accent, and my need to eat pancit Malabon or palabok and crispy pata once in a while. For a while I was kind of Americanized but as you grow older, you go back to your roots. As The Filipino said, there is so much intermingling in the Filipino people and we are basically comprised of Malay with Chinese, Spanish, American and also Indian bloods – although I think the majority would be Spanish and then Chinese. I don’t know what the statistics are but everybody seems to have even some miniscule amount of Chinese blood, since they have been there since time immemorial – which brings the question why were the Chinese people so nomadic moving to many other countries? You seem to find a Chinatown in most places in the world. Maybe ‘Ask the Chinese’ can answer this question.

As far as Chinese and Filipino racial conflict is concerned, I don’t think that can compare with the white and black racial problem in the past and somehow to a lesser degree nowadays. I think some Chinese could racists (and maybe we all are – and I’m pretty sure everyone has some prejudice in his blood, and a discriminating character which maybe good or bad). Once a Chinese colleague at work asked me why I had lunch with a black coworker to which I responded – ‘Because he is my friend and what is wrong with that?’ The same person may have contempt for some of his people too when once going out to lunch, we saw an old man spat in the parking lot of a Filipino restaurant and I said – ‘That guy must be Filipino’ to which he replied, ‘No, he must be Chinese'.

To go back to the issue, I think love and respect are the main factors in a relationship. I would say go and try your best efforts to date the Filipino (he could be priceless) – as The Filipino said, we are generally guapos,intelligent, nice, musical, but some may not be too. Then if the relationship lasts, and both parties think they can be happy for life (no guarantee), then go marry – without much concern about what anybody else think. And don’t think about ‘disgrace’ – that is so old and totally useless.

PS. If you do get married you have to learn how to cook or where to buy pancit palabok and crispy pata.

The Chinese guy said...

Why hello there.... ;)

The Filipino said...

@The Chinese guy:

Thanks for dropping buy, fellow "Ask" blogger. But are you trying to flirt with LCG with your "hello there" and winking smile? :-)

@The Marikina Chap/@Brouha Ha:

Hey, thanks for your lengthy comments. With them, I'm sure LCG is getting a better picture of the situation.

@0.125 Chinese:
Clueless? I'm never clueless! ;-)

Leiza said...

Yeah, it probably differs on the demographic location and the way they were brought up. My Filipino cousin married a Chinese man and his Chinese family loves her. :)

LCG said...

I am really surprised/ happy you responded to my question! Thank you so much. =D I didn't really know who to ask and I didn't want to sound offensive in anyway, but I really didn't know.
Hopefully everything goes well.
Unfortunately as of now, still single but he's one amazing friend.
Er- Hello, Chinese Guy! haha

The Filipino said...

@Leiza:

Maybe they love her because she's YOUR cousin. ;-)

@LCG:

Hey, you're welcome and glad to be of help. Enjoy your being single but hopefully soon you'll no longer be "just friends" with the Filipino guy. :-)

Anton said...

Stumbled across your blog for the first time and considering the subject matter, couldn't resist leaving a comment.

I'm a Filipino, born, raised and living in the Philippines. From my personal experience of Filipino-Chinese relations in the Philippines, the Chinese here do tend to look down on Filipinos; so much so that traditional Chinese families do not allow their children to date/marry Filipinos. (This tendency was discussed in TheFilipino's post.)

Moreover, the "disdain" of some Chinese for Filipinos is even ingrained in the language (not sure if its Fookien or Mandarin) used by many Chinese in the Philippines. Chinese here refer to Filipinos as "huana"; which is the same word used to refer to household help. All Filipinos then are literally on the same level as maids or other househelp. (This is not to disparage household help, but the negative connotation of the use of huana is inescapable.)

The above being said, please don't get the impression that I'm against Chinese. On the contrary, all my girlfriends have been Chinese :) Ie. I've been fortunate enough to love Filipino-Chinese who are open minded and do not cling to the tradition that a Chinese must be with a Chinese.

There are still a lot of traditional Chinese families in the Philippines who insist on sending their children on "kai-shaos" (not sure about the spelling but this is the local Chinese term for blind dates arranged by the family) and refusing Filipino suitors.

But times are changing and hopefully this practice of "each to each" will eventually fade away.

And while I'm at it, I'd also like to wish for world peace :p

PS.
@The Filipino: Interesting site you have here, kudos on your answers which are always well researched and level headed.

The Filipino said...

@Anton (aka The Chinese Magnet?),
I never got to date a "pure Chinese" but I did marry The Filipina who also has Chinese blood. ;-) Peace to you and my thanks for the kind PS!

NIcky said...

Can you re-check your history again because based on ancestral lineage the majority of Filipinos are from the Malay race i.e Austronesian. The 'mutts' (mestizos) in your country are a very small minority.

From what I gather, its more common for most Filipino folks (particularly those of Malay descent) to claim being mixed with another race rather than actually being one.

You people aren't Spanish, Pacific Islanders, Hawaiian, Guamanian, nor are predominantly mixed with other ethnic blood. You are FILIPINOS and be proud of it.

mikkel_sanroque said...

Dear LCG,

There are many Filipinos who find Chinese people or those of Chinese descent to be really good-looking, but I think the problem really is the perception of the Chinese towards Filipinos. They treat us with at the very least civility, but they usually distance themselves when it comes to issues such as marriage and common society, and there are those who refuse to racially integrate with us for whatever reason (cultural, financial, etc.)

A lot of wealthy people, not just Chinese, have a bad reputation for being horribly abusive and condescending towards the ordinary Filipino, and this usually widens the racial divide. Most people abroad would typify Filipinos as either only good for singing, sex, or domestic labour, and in places such as Hong Kong, Singapore, and some Middle Eastern countries, OFW's are sadly regarded as sub-human by the locals just because of their occupation. The 2010 botched rescue by Filipino police of several Hongkongers from a hostage-taker resulted in 9 deaths, and Hong Kong was obviously incensed. They saw Filipinos as incompetent and the image of us as generally beneath them was magnified.

Though you may not like it, my suggestion is you date a Chinese guy as this could pose less problems for you. A lot of Chinese see Filipinos as beneath them, and in turn many Filipinos resent that fact, so a two-way aversion is created. However, if you are prepared for the material and emotional hardships that all "taboo" relationships entail, then I wish you all the best.

mikkel_sanroque said...

Dear LCG,

There are many Filipinos who find Chinese people or those of Chinese descent to be really good-looking, but I think the problem really is the perception of the Chinese towards Filipinos. A lot of Chinese see Filipinos as beneath them, and in turn many Filipinos resent that fact, so a two-way aversion is created.

They treat us with at the very least civility, but they usually distance themselves when it comes to issues such as marriage and common society, and there are those who refuse to racially integrate with us for whatever reason (cultural, financial, etc.) The worst is that they openly disdain us and treat us poorly.

A lot of wealthy people, not just Chinese, have a bad reputation for being horribly abusive and condescending towards the ordinary Filipino, and this usually widens the racial divide. Most people abroad would typify Filipinos as either only good for singing, sex, or domestic labour, and in Hong Kong, Singapore, and some Middle Eastern countries, OFW's are regarded as sub-human by the locals just because of their occupation. The 2010 botched rescue by Filipino police of several Hongkongers from a hostage-taker resulted in their deaths; this obviously incensing Hong Kong. They saw Filipinos and our government as incompetent and their image of us as beneath them was magnified.

As for me, I would never allow my children to date Chinese men or women no matter how nice the girl or guy is because I do not want them to be degraded and considered sub-human by their future in-laws. Not to say such maltreatment cannot come from Filipino in-laws, but the race and socio-economic thing just adds to any existing potential for domestic abuse be it verbal, physical or otherwise.

Though you may not like it, I suggest you stick to dating a Chinese guy as this means less problems for you. However, if you are prepared for the material and emotional hardships that all "taboo" relationships entail, then by all means go ahead.

Anonymous said...

I am of Visayan heritage and was born and raised in Hawaii. My parents were from Cebu and Bohol. My parents produced 8 boys no girls, 6 out of 8 are college graduates.* out of 8 served in the US Armed Services. Hawaii had a Fil-American Governor as you all know. In Hawaii despite our reputation of being racially tolerant, some of the older Japanese-Americans were upset about his election.
The Japanese and Chinese in Hawaii are against all inter-racial marriage of any kind. Not only against Filipinos. I never dated a Chinese person, but did date many Japanese girls during my younger days.I found dating people of other races in Hawaii easier than dating a Filipina. Don't ask me why. Our family now composed of half Russian-Canadians, Italian, Tex-Mex (Hispanic) Japanese, Portuguese,and Ilicano-Filipino. One common factor is that all the women were Catholics.

filipino love said...

Dear LCG,
I believe Chinese-Filipino relationship vary with the family. Most Filipino parents when their son or daughter is married they try to butt in on their kid’s family whereas, the Chinese parents are not really inquisitive. Most Filipino parents would probably spend every waking day in their kid’s house, and yapping about useless stuff. On Chinese family, weekend get together could be enough to discuss about family matters or future vacations.

For example, when a Filipino guy marries a Chinese girl, the guy’s parents might end up in trying to get their hands on the business meddle with money and other business affairs since most family business are handled by family members and spouses are usually restricted from meddling.

Not only Chinese people have this perception of Filipino attitude, some American do. I met one and he was like, "Yeah Filipinos will help you, help you spend your money". lol

Unless Filipinos change their attitude towards money, they will always be seen as power & money hungry. Just because you have money you spend it on luxury bags, watches, jewels, cellphone, & others. Some or most Filipinos don't use practicality but more on "what's in" is a must have.

Christine Wong Mei San said...

Hi there,

I have read your story and i would like to comment.

I am dating a filipino guy currently, and i find it fun and enjoying to be with the pinoys.

i could tell you that they are not racist towards the chinese. Maybe you would get to know the guy first and be friended with him, i am sure he is also interested in you. ^ ^

just be yourself and dont pleased others to like you.

good luck!!

Mei san

Christine Wong Mei San said...

Hi there,

I have read your story and i would like to comment.

I am dating a filipino guy currently, and i find it fun and enjoying to be with the pinoys.

i could tell you that they are not racist towards the chinese. Maybe you would get to know the guy first and be friended with him, i am sure he is also interested in you. ^ ^

just be yourself and dont pleased others to like you.

good luck!!

Mei san

srtbaste said...

I am a Filipino of part Malay, Chinese and Mestizo/Kastilaloy decent.

Filipinos, in general, are very open for interracial marriage. This is one of the legacy of the Spanish Empire so our attitude towards race is quite similar to Latin America.

There is one VERY important thing though - RELIGION. :) Most of the parents wouldn't care about race, but they care about religion. It affects your values, your outlook, etc.

The older waves of Chinese converted to Catholicism that's why interracial marriage was much easier. However, there are newer generations of more "conservative" Chinese that do not really assimilate to the Catholic majority. There mindset of racial purity is much closer to the northeast Asians (eg. Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese).

Hope this give you some thoughts of what goes on in a Filipino mind. ;)

Jonathan Estrada said...

everyone, please. the austronesian race is not malay. malay is an ethnic group within the aunstronesian family. the filipino ethnic groups (with an "s") are distinct from the malay ethnic group.

Aldrich Garcia said...

Hi Mei San, can I ask you a question. Im a filo and wanted to date a chinese girl. :-)

Anonymous said...

i'm a filipino of chinese descent (i hate being called tsinoy) married to a filipina. my points in summary:

1. yes, the filipino can be quite attractive and intelligent, or he can be simply clueless. he can be charming or he can be offensive. and yes, he can be heroic, or quite vain, irresponsible and just plain lazy. in short, he is human just like any other male nationality.

2. yes, there is a lot of racism in the philippines, covert and otherwise. no matter what other people say, filipinos are neither the most enlightened nor the most mature people in the world.

3. no, it shouldn't stop you from seeking a relationship with a filipino, no matter what his ethnicity is.

4. but your object of desire is a unique person.

you both will have your good and bad points. you both will have your own biases. but in the end, it will be between the two of you. how it will turn out should and will depend on you two.

and don't give too much importance to what other people think. let them deal with it.

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