Guest Post: Raising Mixed Culture Kids in a Multicultural Environment

Leslie, the white Canadian woman who is also the author of the delicious blog Korea in my Kitchen, is married to a Korean man and raising her beautiful multicultural family in one of my favorite cities in the world — Vancouver, Canada. In this lovely guest post, she comments on the benefits and challenges of raising kids in a multicultural environment (and also shares some of her fantastic recipes, including one for my favorite Korean dish, bibimbap!). 

Would you like to see your words featured on Speaking of China? We’re always looking for awesome guest posts — check out the submit a post page to learn how you can have yours published here!


“Mom, why are they looking at us?”

The biggest culture shock for my four kids this past year when we went to Korea to visit my husband’s family was that people noticed them. Old people would rub their heads at the stop light, or touch their cheeks as they passed by. People constantly commented and touched them. We think all our mixed kids look very Korean; apparently, not to Koreans. 🙂


In Korea with their grandmother, Halmoni

We are fortunate to live in Vancouver, Canada, a very multicultural city with people from all over the world. When we are out and about, people don’t notice us as a mixed family. It was one of the things that struck my husband and me the most when we originally came back from Korea where we were used to being noticed all the time. We loved how we were just normal.

If people comment on the kids it is usually just out of curiosity or kindness. We don’t get any negative comments. Some comments are awkward, but not rude.


When people do ask, I get the usual questions:

“What is your husband’s nationality?”

“Where is your husband from?”

I have even had people ask me,

“Where did you adopt your kids from?”

Honestly, the most common thing people say is,

“Oh, your kids are cute!”

To which I smile and say thank you.

One of the challenges raising mixed kids in such a culturally diverse place is that they lose touch with their own culture. My husband immigrated to Canada from Korea when he was thirty. He is very Korean; he is Korean-Korean. But because we are so normal here in Vancouver, it would be easy to let go of his culture and raise our family simply as Canadian. As the mother, I have had the opportunity to spend lots of time with the children in their early formative years. Unfortunately, my Korean is not very strong and we need to make a consorted effort to teach them Korean; it is called a mother tongue for a reason. Likewise, I love to cook and culture is very much tied to food. Luckily, I really enjoy cooking Korean food and we eat it often. So the difficulty we face, actually is to retain culture and for our children to know and appreciate their ‘Korean-ness’.


Nyles’ first birthday – Dol

As a result, in our family, we celebrate our collage of cultures. We embrace Korean culture and nationality. We eat Korean food, celebrate the holidays and stumble through learning the language. The kids save up money to go back to Korea to see their grandmother and beg to watch Korean dramas. For dinner, bibimbap and kimbap are the most requested menu items!


My parents are immigrants from Holland and I grew up in a Dutch Canadian community. Likewise, we have our little Dutch cultural things that we hold on to, certain foods and expressions and I try to pass those on to the kids too. They proudly wear their Holland shirts and gobble down ‘double zout droppies’, those really salty Dutch black licorice.

And of course, our children are Canadian. They proudly sing the national anthem and wave the maple leaf on July 1st. Here, in this country where they celebrate being a cultural mosaic, we get to pick and choose the best parts of all three cultures.

Ultimately, we just try to be ourselves.


Leslie writes about easy Korean cooking, kids and culture and shares comics about her life with her Korean husband and four crazy kids at
Speaking of China is always on the lookout for outstanding guest posts! If you have something you’d like us to feature, visit the submit a post page for details — and then submit yours today.

Guest Post: My daughter said, “I’m American, I’m Jewish and I’m Chinese.”

When you’re raising biracial and bicultural kids, you’re bound to have some interesting conversations with them about identity. That’s the case for Susan Chan, author of The Reluctant Brides of Lily Court Lane, who recalls an incident with her daughter, after the little girl told another child about her background. Her daughter said, “Well, I told him, ‘I’m American, I’m Jewish and I’m Chinese. But he kept saying you can’t be three things.”

Read on to find out what happened – and thanks so much to Susan for sharing!

Do you have a fascinating story that you’d like to share here on Speaking of China? We welcome a variety of guest posts – including love stories, posts about having/raising biracial kids, biracial identity stories, and anything else that falls within the realm of this blog. Check out the submit a post page to learn how to get your writing published here!


(Photo by Phalinn Ooi via
(Photo by Phalinn Ooi via

April is an iffy day in New York City-blustery one day and spring-like the next. The morning of April 29, 1989 dawned clear and bright for the Chan family. We were all dressed hours before we needed to be, each of us sporting a touch of red-a lucky Chinese color. Leah had gotten up early every morning for months to practice her speech and now she was prepared and eager to start.

Arriving early at the Temple for Leah’s Bat Mitzvah, we greeted each person as they arrived. It was a serious moment and as her mom, I held my breath, waiting for her to begin.  Seated next to her Chinese father, and her younger brother, I held back my tears of pride.  We watched her carry out her part in the religious ceremony and then it came time for her personal speech.

I watched my child, now blossoming into a young lady, speak seriously of becoming an adult, as she gave recognition to her cultural and religious background. The years melted away and I recalled an incident that had happened when Leah was a child, probably four or five. She was approached by a little boy in the playground. I had to hide my smile later when she told me their conversation.

She’d said in a very serious tone, “Mommy, he’s so stupid.”

“Leah, you know we don’t use that word.”

“Well, he was.”

“Maybe he just doesn’t know any better,” I said, wondering if I’d need to have a talk with his mother. What had he said to make my child angry?

“He asked me, ‘What are you?’”

“And what did you say?”

“I didn’t know what he meant.”

“Uh huh,” I answered in an encouraging tone.

“He asked me again, and he said, ‘I’m Italian-American and you can be two things.’”

“Oh, so he thinks people can only be two things because that’s what he is.” I realized he was referring to the idea popular then of a hyphenated American.

“Well, I told him, ‘I’m American, I’m Jewish and I’m Chinese. But he kept saying you can’t be three things.”

I knew that Leah wouldn’t let him get away with that.

“Oh, yes, I can,” Leah told me she’d said to him. “I go to American school during the week, Chinese school on Saturday, and Hebrew school on Sunday. Mommy, then he ran away. If I can’t call him stupid, what can I call him?”

That little girl grew up to be a lawyer.

Susan Chan, a romance author and former guidance counselor, lives in San Diego, CA, and is co-author of the Lily Court Lane book series. You can follow Lily Court Lane books on Facebook.


Speaking of China is always on the lookout for outstanding guest posts! If you have something you’d like us to feature, visit the submit a post page for details — and then submit yours today.

Guest Post: “I don’t look at my daughter as Indian or Canadian. I look at her soul.”

Alexandra, the white Canadian blogger behind Madh Mama, thought all of the ignorant comments about her marriage to a South Indian man would end once they had a child. But they didn’t, and it has been one of the biggest challenges for her — especially as hearing things about her daughter hurts her deeply.  

Have you heard something about your interracial relationship or biracial children that you’d like to write about for Speaking of China? We welcome all kinds of guest posts (including love stories) — check out the submit a post page for details.



I often forget that my husband and I are from different cultures. We have so much in common, so many shared interests. We are going on our 9th year together, and I could trace every freckle and scar on his body with my eyes closed. The kind of familiarity that you have with someone you know inside and out.


In reality, we are from vastly different cultures. I was born and brought up in Vancouver, Canada, by a small tight-knit family with European ancestors. My husband is from Hyderabad, India, and descends from the most conservative and devout Indian clans – the Tamil Iyengars.


I always dreamed of having a child with him, in a romantic way. I wanted to expand our family and raise kids together in a way that combined our similar values. I wanted to grow myself by becoming a mother, and I wanted our bond to deepen even further by becoming parents together.


Being a rare mix, we have had a hefty share of ignorant comments. At first, it was people saying things like we “just want to try out a different race“, then it was “he’s only with her for a green card” (I’m not an American, so I don’t even have a green card), then it was “she’s corrupting him with her Western values“, then it was “they’ll never make it to the altar“, then after we got married it was “how can they function with all these cultural differences?” Supporters and believers in our relationship were few and far between. We became desensitized by these kind of comments and learned to expect them. For a long time we didn’t even know that other couples like us even existed, so any negative experience just brought us closer together, since we were the only two people who understood what we were going through.

I thought all of that would end once we started a family together – that by having a child, people would realize that we are committed for life. Especially to other Indians, who assumed that by me having white skin, it automatically meant I was not cut out for motherhood, have no family values, or that I would divorce him.


When we had our daughter, it was the happiest moment of my life. It was incredible. She looked like every single person in our families – combined. Watching her grow up and see how her personality has developed has been astonishing. She is nurturing like me, quick like her dad, a great dancer, and eats any cuisine. She is the most global child I have ever come across. She is classically beautiful and looks like she could pass for any ethnicity. She is adventurous and loves to travel and do new things.


I think the comments started when she was about 6 months old. One of our Indian relatives asked me if we intended to raise her “Indian or American” – as if we had to choose. Then, I got a few comments from white Canadians about how tanned my daughter is, with a weird side-eye glance to prompt me to tell them her ethnicity. When we were visiting Italy last year, everyone thought she was Italian. So much that one old Italian lady pointed to my husband and asked “Is he the father?” when he was standing right in front of her. We have stepped inside an Indian restaurant where every table looked at us with disgust, so much that it scared my daughter. The latest comment we got from an elderly Indian relative was when my daughter was feeling shy. She said, “Maybe she doesn’t like Indians“. Appalling, since she certainly adores her father and many other Indian family members. It stung a lot.


The thing is – I expect comments about myself, but when it is directed towards my child, it hurts me deeply. And it surprises me, because I forget that we are an intercultural family, raising a biracial child. We live in such a multicultural world. We celebrate all festivals and holidays, even ones that don’t belong to our respective cultures – like Chinese New Year and Greek Easter. We have lots of intercultural friends. It’s only when we get ignorant comments that it occurs to me that the multicultural world we live in – is one that we have constructed for ourselves. That the majority of people out there do not mix, that they tend to stick to their own culture, and either out of fear or ignorance – and they do not step outside it. That global families, such as ours, are a minority. However, I hope that my children and grandchildren’s generations see love before color. Because that’s what the world needs – more love…a love that transcends borders and limitations.


My daughter is only 2.5 years old now. I haven’t really figured out how to tell her that sometimes people might question our family – more than others – because we are different. I know I will tell her that doing things differently doesn’t mean we’re wrong, but just that a lot of people won’t understand us. I want her to be confident in who she is. I want her to not be scared of this diverse world we live in, to see the beauty in being different and blaze the trail from there.

I don’t look at my daughter as Indian or Canadian. I look at her soul. I look at her as my child. The child that God sent me to raise. She is both cultures; but at the same time – she is everything. She is anything she wants to be.


Alexandra Madhavan fell in love and married her soulmate. Then she inherited a big, fat South Indian family. She shares her unfiltered view of what it’s really like to be a Firangi Bahu at Madh Mama.

Speaking of China is always on the lookout for outstanding guest posts! If you have something you’d like us to feature, visit the submit a post page for details — and then submit yours today.

Guest Post: “Korean-American. Or Amerasian. Or a hapa. Why so many labels?”

Ms. A writes, “My mother is Korean and my father is a mix of many things himself, mostly white. I suppose that would make me Korean-American. Or Amerasian. Or a hapa. Why so many labels?” Her essay captures the frustration of dealing with labels, and what it feels like when you don’t quite “fit in.” 

Do you have something to say about being biracial and Asian, or raising biracial Asian kids? Or do you have a good love story or other guest post idea that fits the scope of this blog? Check out the submit a post page to learn how to have your writing published here.


(Photo by Meg Wills via
(Photo by Meg Wills via

“What are you?”

For some reason, that question has always bothered me. Sarcastically, I’d once responded “I’m human. What are YOU?” Of course I knew they meant to ask my background or ethnicity. Being bi-racial, mixed, or “hapa”, this was a common question. I suppose what bothered me was that the question had a deeper meaning to me. What ‘am I?

My mother is Korean and my father is a mix of many things himself, mostly white. I suppose that would make me Korean-American. Or Amerasian. Or a hapa. Why so many labels?

Growing up, I never had an issue about being mixed. But somewhere down the line I ended up having an identity crisis. To non-Asians I suddenly became “the Asian one”. When I was with full-Asians, I was “the American one”. I grew a dislike to referring to myself as “half” Korean and “half” American. It felt like being partially part of something, yet never being fully part of it. Just half.

Perhaps this had to do with the community and if you live in a community that is familiar with diversity.

Of course, the feeling of not belonging in either “worlds” also had a lot to do with my upbringing. Sometimes I would have an American mindset of things, other times I would view things the Korean way. We spoke English, ate Korean, confusingly having conservative Korean values yet simultaneously liberal in other aspects. In Korea there is a Chinese-Korean dish call jjambbong that was a spicy noodle soup that didn’t have just one type of seafood and vegetables but a large variety mixed together. That’s what I was. Or maybe like a New Orleans gumbo.

As I got older, I realized that culture is a part of you, but not your entirety. It’s a blessing to have more than one culture a part of you. And yet because of that reason, it’s why you don’t have to choose to be solely part of one completely. It’s only natural values may clash and you may physically/visually not belong to a single race. Embrace who you are as an individual first. It’s okay to be different. It’s okay to not always fit in. Its. Okay.

Ultimately what defines you is who you are as an individual. People should remember you for who you are in the inside and the qualities you display as a human.

Ms. A is a woman who believes your imperfections are your perfections and that self-discovery is a never ending path.

Speaking of China is always on the lookout for outstanding guest posts! If you have something you’d like us to feature, visit the submit a post page for details — and then submit yours today.

Wanted: Your Guest Posts on Having/Raising Biracial Asian Kids or Being Biracial & Asian


Recently Rosie in Beijing, a longtime reader and blogger herself, made an excellent suggestion:

I would be interested in reading about some people’s experiences raising kids in China or maybe about having biracial kids or being biracial. There is a lot of talk about western women with Asian men but I think mixed race/nationality is another issue worth discussing.

I can’t agree more. After all, one of the biggest reasons I run guest posts is to provide fresh perspectives on this blog. And while I don’t have kids yet or know what it’s like to be biracial Asian, these are experiences that many of you already have (or will have soon) and would like to read about.

I’m interested in guest posts about:

  • Biracial identity from people who have an Asian parent
  • Pregnancy, raising biracial Asian kids and parenting in Asian cultures and countries
  • The red tape of having kids across borders (such as visa and residency issues)
  • Helping your biracial and/or bicultural children embrace their identity
  • Plus anything else you can think of related to having/raising biracial Asian kids or being biracial and Asian!

I’m looking forward to your submissions!

As always, you can send them in using the form on my submit a post page or via e-mail (jocelyn (at) You can also check out the general guidelines for all guest posts at the submit a post page.

P.S.: My apologies to everyone hoping for a fresh post today. I’ve been battling the flu on and off the past couple of weeks and have spent a lot of days just sleeping, resting and not having as much time or energy for writing as I would have liked. But don’t worry, I’ll be back next week with a fresh post from yours truly, promise! 😉

Guest Post: “He Feels Horrible About Me Being The Breadwinner”

A few years back when I co-wrote an article titled Western Wives, Chinese Husbands (exploring what it’s like to date and marry Chinese men), we touched on the subject of money — specifically, that sometimes Western women end up being the breadwinner in the family.

I was reminded of that when I first read this post from Judith (who blogs in Dutch at Judith In China). She’s from the Netherlands and currently dating a Beijing local (who she considers her perfect match).  But, “Even though I don’t earn much at all, own a house or car, or have savings worth mentioning, I am much more economically stable than he will probably ever be.”

Do you have a love or relationship story or other guest post you’d like to see on Speaking of China? Check out the submit a post page to find out how to get your writing published here.


Judith, the author, and her boyfriend.
Judith and her boyfriend.

I grew up in a middle-class family in a small town in the Netherlands. My two siblings and I basically had everything we could wish for. We went on modest holidays within the country once a year, got nice birthday gifts and our parents supported us throughout our studies. My boyfriend was born a one-child-policy son and grew up in Beijing’s hutongs. His parents are real lǎobǎixìng; his mother used to sell bus tickets and his father worked as the repair man for a large hotel. Although his parents cared for him much, they lived in one room without private sanitation. Some days all his father could afford for lunch was to share a pancake with his son.

Although our backgrounds couldn’t have been more different, we really are a perfect match.

I have been interested in Chinese language and culture since I was a little girl, and he has been crazy about Western music and culture since he first encountered it in Beijing’s early nineties. I have never had a preference for Asian men or an interest in the AMWF community, on the contrary: if you would have told me a few years ago that I would end up with a real Beijing boy I probably wouldn’t have believed you. When we met, my Chinese wasn’t that great and he didn’t speak much English, but we have been in a loving relationship for over five years now. He is very caring, makes me laugh, and makes me feel like the most beautiful girl on the planet despite being so much whiter, taller and larger than those cute Chinese girls. Most of all, he makes me feel safe.

There is one thing that keeps coming up in our relationship though. I wouldn’t call it a problem, but it is definitely something coming from our different backgrounds that will probably always linger right below the surface. Even though I don’t earn much at all, own a house or car, or have savings worth mentioning, I am much more economically stable than he will probably ever be. His attraction to Western music made him choose to become a professional musician. And although I really believe he is one of the most talented musicians in China and truly has the talent to make a stable income from his profession, it’s not easy in this industry and especially not in China.

When we met, my boyfriend was the member of a rather famous band, but he quit shortly after we became a couple. Since then he has been working on various projects on and off, some of which are more profitable than others. This means that his income was quite OK for the last two years. Although he didn’t earn millions he had frequent gigs, and combined with my stable salary I felt we were quite well off. This year however, there have been some changes in the projects he has been working on and he has barely made any money. At the same time we are looking to get married, but the only thing holding us back is not wanting to spend all my savings on an (even simple) wedding.

In some ways my boyfriend can be very traditional. As the man in the family, he feels horrible about me being the main breadwinner, and this year even supporting him to a certain extent. He doesn’t want to speak about it too much and doesn’t want to let me know how he feels, but I sense it more and more. I don’t mind sharing my income with him. We’re a team and should he one day become world famous I’m sure he would share his wealth with me just the same. But if I offer to buy him new clothes as a present, nicer lunches for him when we don’t eat together or suggest to go on a weekend trip, he says he doesn’t need it. He prefers to wear the same old shoes, eat a 10 kuai bowl of noodles for lunch and not travel much.

I feel this also has to do with a Western approach to finding a good balance between saving and enjoying your money, while he feels that we should not spend much until we’re in a better financial position. And then things such as marriage and buying a house would come first. Whereas I feel that although we shouldn’t spend all our money on an expensive holiday abroad, we can allow ourselves to enjoy an occasional weekend away within China, for example. He doesn’t want me to spend that kind of money for the both of us if he can’t contribute much or anything at all. Which means that I visit friends in other cities and he doesn’t join me, or that I go to a café to work while enjoying a latté and a sandwich while he just eats his bowl of noodles for lunch. He simply does not want to join me, even if I explicitly say I want him to.

I feel bad for him feeling this way, because I don’t see his financial situation as a problem. I fell in love with him because of the man he is, not because I thought that one day cash would come flowing in because of his profession and I wouldn’t have to worry about money anymore. I guess this is a very different perspective compared to many Chinese girls, as they often think in practical terms first when it comes to relationships (such as Ted highlighted in his excellent guest post on this blog titled “What I’ve Learned from 15 Blind Dates in China”).

I hope my boyfriend will someday get used to how I feel and that he can find a way to accept that his girlfriend’s income will probably always be more stable than his.

Judith lives and works in China and blogs about her daily life and the special things she encounters at (in Dutch).

Speaking of China is always on the lookout for outstanding guest posts and love stories! If you have something you’d like us to feature, visit the submit a post page for details — and then submit yours today.

Guest Post: Chinese Culture Doesn’t Condone Extramarital Affairs, Yet I Had One

An anonymous Chinese-American man divulges the details of his one and only extramarital affair — an experience that has left him only more conflicted about what he has done. He wants your advice on what to do next. Read the story and then weigh in with your thoughts in the comments.

I’ve edited this story carefully to avoid obscene or overtly suggestive language. That said, this is about an extramarital affair and certain sexual situations are implied or referenced. Therefore, reader discretion is advised.

Do you have a sensational story or other guest post that you’d like to see featured on Speaking of China? Visit the submit a post page to learn how you can have your writing published here.


(Photo by Tumisu via
(Photo by Tumisu via

Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Mr. Fortunate. I will not use my real name, because what you are about to read will shock many of you and I am for certain going to incur much criticism and even condemnation from the readers. I use the name “Mr. Fortunate” because it is highly befitting of my station in life. The word “fortunate” denotes “lucky.” I consider myself very lucky because I am a middle-aged Chinese-American man living in the U.S. and have been married to a beautiful white Western woman for many years. We have several beautiful mixed race children. I have a great profession that is highly recognized in society. I earn a comfortable income and am almost debt free. We have good finances, good health, and a comfortable lifestyle. We have a home that is fully paid for. We even attend a Christian church to thank the Lord for his blessings. By all accounts, I have everything going for me and my family, and therefore I am considered to be very “fortunate”. Many of my peers, especially men, would probably view me and my family with much envy. Therefore, I am “Mr. Fortunate.”

The Debate Within Me

Despite enjoying this great lifestyle, the thought of having an affair with another Western woman crossed my mind several times, especially when the woman is pretty, friendly and open towards me. Many times I simply dismissed the idea and opted to be loyal to my wife and family, because I knew that cheating was just plainly wrong. The question of an extramarital affair crept up and nagged me from time to time for years now. I tried to suppress it every time as I know it is inherently wrong and evil.

Some men told me that they feel refreshed and validated knowing that they had an affair without being caught. They told me that there is a feeling of exhilaration that comes along with a sexual conquest from the extramarital affair and from not being caught. They recommended that I give it a try. I again dismissed these suggestions as such an affair is just wrong. But the curiosity remained within me year after year. The questions nagged at me and bothered me so much so over the many years that I finally succumbed. So one day I decided to cross the line just to see if it is as great as these many men who had affairs had told me.

Before I crossed the line and entered the “dark side” like Darth Vader in Star Wars, I debated this question for a very long time from within me before actually doing it. Why should I have an affair? I do not know exactly, but it was perhaps the allure of fun and games or perhaps the yearning for lust and sensuality. It was the self-satisfaction knowing that despite being a middle-aged man with wrinkles, a receding hairline, being slightly being overweight, and with some grey hair that I can still have a sexual conquest making me feel manly and young again. These men say that if one conquers a much younger woman, the feeling is even better than to conquer a woman of equal age or older. Also, it was perhaps the adrenaline rush that comes from the fear of getting caught, but yet being able to avoid being caught. The excitement derived from knowing that I can still have a woman on the side without being caught and the excitement from trying to avoid being caught made it very tempting. Some would say that my action was imprudent and unwise to put it mildly, while others who are harsher would condemn me as nothing more than a scoundrel or a low-life for betraying my wife and family. If discovered I can lose my wife, much of my wealth to a divorce, and face shame and dishonor in front of my family, siblings and parents. I can assure you that Chinese culture does not condone extramarital affairs. Finally, after much thought and debate I decided to go to the “dark side” just as Anakin Skywalker did before becoming the infamous Darth Vader in the Star Wars series. I wanted to see if it is as exhilarating as other men said.

Having decided go forward with having an affair, I tried to “test the waters” with several female acquaintances, and customers, or some females that I just met by flirting with them at first, but all efforts were to no avail. As is often the case, success does not come on the first several tries. It is persistence that pays. Having been turned down by a few females already, I just continued time and time again. Finally, one day the opportunity presented itself.

The Shocking Affair

(Photo by Pedro Ribeiro Simões via
(Photo by Pedro Ribeiro Simões via

One day a very pretty and friendly younger female customer (whom I shall call Mary) came to my office seeking my company’s services. As usual, I tried to use my social skills and personality to charm the customer into signing the contract to use our company’s services. We first talked about our family, life and other positive subjects. I opened by asking her to tell me about herself and so she did. She told me that she is from another country and came to the U.S. when she was a very young girl. She spoke English with a slight touch of an accent. She said she grew up in a fairly strict upbringing because her family is very religious and she did not have the opportunity to date before marriage. But she was fairly liberal because most of her life was spent in America. She only had one man in her life and this man eventually became her husband; they have been married for decades now. She has two children who are now in their teens. She appeared to have a great life: a husband, two beautiful children, a house, and a great income. Her station in life mirrored mine more or less. Her husband is very well to do and she helps him from time to time along with pursuing her own career by working for a nationwide company. She then asked me about my life.

I told her how I met my wife and about my family, my children, and my profession and she told me how she met her husband. I then did the sneaky thing by asking her whether she knows what was the perennial problem that almost all couples face when they have been married for so long. She answered by saying that she did not know and wanted me to tell her. So, I did. I said that the perennial problem is how to keep the romance and excitement strong and alive. I said that after many years of marriage, arguments break out, taking each other for granted, not communicating well and of course the sex and fun will start to dissipate unlike the time when a couple just met and the relationship was new. She agreed.

We had a very long and involved conversation at first about life and family in general and then I transitioned into topics which appealed to women most. I knew that in order to hook the woman I had to make a deep emotional connection with her to have any chance of seducing her. So, I avoided morbid topics such as death, mayhem, rape, religion, and politics as well as other mundane and boring subjects. I was told in the past by many men that women like to hear about “relationships and the unknown.” This was what I used to play her with. Little by little I escalated the conversation into more romantic and sexual suggestions such as how I met and seduced my wife and how I got her into bed with me. She laughed. Later I told her jokingly that I now have a “ball and chain” attached to my ankle and cannot go out anymore to have fun. So, the fun is over for this Chinese man.

She replied by saying, “You are such a coward now!” and she laughed.

So, I asked her a hypothetical question, “What if you had to go out alone for say a business lunch or dinner, will your husband approve?”

She replied, “Let me worry about my husband as I can take care of him and I am not a coward like you.”

Later after we finished our business transaction (i.e., she signed the contract) and it was time for her to leave my office, I suggested that we meet again one day for a business lunch or dinner as I would love to get more business from her in the future. As we all know taking a customer out for either lunch or dinner to get more future business is very common. She agreed but that it would have to take place when the weather is much warmer in the next few months. I then gently asked her with a sneaky smile on my face, “Would your husband allow you to go out alone, or would you like to bring him along to make it look legitimate?”

Mary replied once again, “Don’t you worry about him. You just worry about your wife and I will worry about my husband. I shall find a way to come out for the ‘business’ dinner.” I was elated beyond belief as I not only secured her business but also the chance to cheat and romance her.

Months passed and we exchanged only a few emails (using my secret email account that no one knows about under an alias to which no one had access to, not even my wife) and nothing happened until the opportune time came — summer. Summer is when the days are longer and the nights are warmer, a time when romance is in the air. So, I then contacted her by phone at work during working times to avoid suspicion; I used my office phone and not my cell phone to avoid any traces, and I used the alias Mr. Fortunate. I then talked to her and arranged for a date, time and place to meet her and pick her up in my car. I told my wife that I was going out on a business dinner and my wife trusted me as I had been out for business lunches and dinners before alone. My wife had absolutely no reason to doubt me this time. When having an extramarital affair, secrecy is key and thus I turned off my cell phone that night, disabled my GPS system, refrained from using texting, used false names and aliases, used pretexts to go out, and eliminated any traces of evidence. I trusted that she too was prudent enough to do the same. I arrived at the pre-designated rendezvous point over 20 minutes late and I was worried that she may simply have thought that I was too scared and that she may have left. But, then, there she was waiting for me!

“Hi Mary!” I greeted her with a big smile masking my secret heartfelt fear. I was nervous beyond belief but I had to act and hide it.

“Hi.” She smiled back at me. We embraced and together we entered my car.

I drove and I suggested that we go to a restaurant serving her country’s ethnic food for dinner. I assumed she would feel more comfortable eating the food she grew up with, and thus more comfortable with this whole affair (which was undoubtedly nerve racking for her as well). She said, “No. Definitely not.”

I asked, “What? Why not?”

She said, “Because there are too many people from my country who eat there and I am afraid to be recognized by my fellow countrymen. My husband and I do quite a bit of business in the community.”

I thought to myself, “Wow, she seemed rather well versed in affairs to be able to take steps to avoid detection.”

(Photo by JohannesW via
(Photo by JohannesW via

We ate at an American restaurant at a booth where the ambience was darker to reduce our chances of being seen. We enjoyed our steak dinner and the cost was quite pricy for me. As with any affair, there is a cost to taking the woman out for romance, aside from the emotional cost and other costs flowing from it if discovered. I paid in cash and not by credit card to avoid any traces. After dinner we went to a bar next to the beach. At this bar, we found a corner where we both sat adjacent to each other in the outdoor patio. She sat to my left and I was on her right. It was dark now and even less likely that others would see us. She drank alcohol but I did not. I refrained from drinking any alcohol not only because I do not drink it, but also because I wanted my mental and physical abilities to be at their best to be able to seduce her. Once again we talked about funny things and I avoided morbid topics and mundane subjects. After she had a large glass of alcohol, I could see that she was a little buzzed. As she laughed more and more and her tone was increasingly flirtatious with me, I knew the time had arrived for me to escalate. After I told her a joke and she laughed once again, I leaned inward to her and hugged her, and after the hug, I did not retract my left arm which was now around her back and perched on her left shoulder. Slowly but surely I slide this left hand down her back, where I left it. I felt completely turned on. We talked for hours and then it was time to leave. We walked to my car from the bar to the parking garage side-by-side and then when we arrived at my car, I opened the passenger car’s front door for her. She laughed loudly now and shouted, “I am so drunk now!” Then I leaned inward for a close kiss and she kissed me back passionately. Afterward, I started to drive her back to the original rendezvous point to drop her off for her to pick up her car. I suggested that we pull over to a darker place in a nearby residential area for a little more action. She agreed. So, I entered the neighborhood near the bar and parked under a tree where there was very little light. There we kissed again. I had my left hand up her dress and I even kissed her bare breasts. I wanted to escalate it even more and I suggested that she and I go to my house as my wife and kids were away that weekend. She rejected this idea. So, I asked her several more times and she once again rejected this notion. I told myself that there will be a next time when I will score. After this little fling I drove her back to her car and dropped her off. This was the end of our first encounter.

When I arrived at her car, I asked her if I could see her again. She said yes. We then parted ways. I left with an enormous feeling of success, just like many men who had affairs had told me about. I could hardly believe my luck now. I cheered and was elated beyond belief.

The next time I saw her was many months later. I once again picked her up at the same rendezvous point as before, taking the same precautions as usual. This time I wanted to go all the way with her, so I bought condoms. Also, this time my wife and children were out-of-state to visit my wife’s side of the family. No one was at home and thus I wanted to be bold by taking her to my bedroom. After dinner, I invited her to my place as I told her that my wife and children were not at home. She was reluctant at first but now she trusted me enough. So, she came to my house. She drank some alcohol at my house and I refrained from any drinking for the same reasons as above. I asked her to tour my house and walk around with me. She complied. When I had her in my bedroom, I knew it was a great opportunity and I tried to get her clothes off. We started making out and things were going extremely well. I was about to achieve an enormous feat because there she was, lying naked on my bed, ready to have me.

Then suddenly things went awry!

My excitement faded as I started to feel remorseful. The pictures of me, my wife and children were dangling above the bed. My wedding photos were there. I just could not muster the strength or courage to do this. I felt that I had betrayed my wife and the wedding vow that I had taken many years ago by promising to be faithful and loyal. Mary asked me, “What’s wrong?” I had to lie to her by saying I couldn’t do it because I had gotten too excited and now had to change my underwear. This was absolutely not true!

She was disappointed in me. She was upset and rightfully so, because there she was, lying naked on my bed (since she trusted me enough to come to my house and into my bedroom) only to be let down in the end. I drove her back to her car that evening and we barely talked on the way there. After she left in her car, I simply emailed her the next day to thank her and inquired whether she had made it home safely. She answered my email by thanking me and said she made it home safely. Since then I have not contacted her in any way, shape, or form. I simply disappeared from her life and she disappeared from mine.


After the affair, I started to carefully reflect on what I did. I questioned why I did what I did. At times I felt terrible for betraying my wife and the wedding vow. At other times I felt validated that I still had the ability to seduce a younger, pretty girl. I just cannot believe that I had the woman naked on my bed and then at the moment of truth, I was not able to perform. How pitiful! I still have mixed feelings about it to this very day. Not only did she no longer speak to me, but she did not give me any more business. So, I had two losses: Mary and her business. I remind myself that I have not lost everything though as I still have my wife and children, my fortunate lifestyle, and the “great” memory from the affair. I still have two questions that remain unanswered to this day:

1) Should I confess to my wife about the affair and take the consequences or should I remain silent?

2) If I remain silent, should I do it again with the same woman or another woman so as to get the long sought after fulfillment which I did not get due to my pitifulness, or should I simply quit while I am already ahead?

Dear readers, please advise me as I am still very torn right now.

Speaking of China is always on the lookout for outstanding guest posts and love stories! If you have something you’d like us to feature, visit the submit a post page for details — and then submit yours today.

Guest Post: “And by Interest in Chinese Culture, You Mean Chinese Girls?”

When you see an Asian woman and a white man together, what runs through your mind? Do you see just another happy interracial couple? Or do you wonder, is he another white guy with yellow fever? (Or worse, do you think he’s another Julien Blanc or Chinabounder, a man who comes to Asia with the sole intent of preying upon the women for sexual or personal gain?) 

That’s the idea behind Gerald Zhang-Schmidt’s guest post. He’s a guy who happened to come to China because he loved the culture. But since he has a Chinese wife, some people wonder if “Chinese culture” is really just a coded way of saying “Chinese women.” 

Gerald is no stranger to Speaking of China. He has written about The privilege of stereotypes about cross-cultural couples in China in a guest post last year, and the two of us collaborated on posts about the stereotypes of Chinese-Western couples in China a while back. Gerald is also the only man I’ve ever met who changed his name after marriage (he actually submitted a question about changing your name in China which for a time was one of the 10 most popular posts on this site).

By the way, please visit Gerald’s blog today, where you’ll find a guest post there from me about “How I learned to feel at home at my in-laws’ place in rural China.

Want to follow in Gerald’s footsteps and have your voice heard on Speaking of China? Check out my submit a post page for details.


(Photo by daniel sandoval via
(Photo by daniel sandoval via

I have written before about how privilege can be a double-edged sword. When you are part of the majority that usually goes unquestioned, you have it much easier than those who always have to somehow justify themselves. At the same time, you will be put on the spot much less because everyone assumes they know what you’re about.

Usually, you read about Asian Male – Western Female relationships here on Jocelyn’s “Speaking of China,” and it is a topic of interest by the same token. It is the unusual coupling/pairing that draws attention while the opposite WMAF relationship is a dime a dozen.

Ah, yes, another white guy in China. Who cares?

Speak Chinese in public, even just a few words, and you will be praised. And then you will find yourself compared to Dashan. (Or right now, internationally, perhaps to Mark Zuckerberg.)

Get into a relationship with a Chinese woman, get ready for everyone knowing just perfectly well why and how that would have happened. Oftentimes, it seems everyone will think they know better than you, without ever having so much as done anything more than caught a glance of you.

At risk of sounding like bad Chinese “news” pieces, “everyone knows” of some “rotten apples,” and it’s been killing the atmosphere. I wrote about my relationship to my wife, who is Chinese, and the thoughts it raised before on my blog. One comment that immediately popped up accused me of “yellow fever.” Fittingly, right next to the link to a more recent post talking about how “yellow fever” is a demeaning concept.

So, I spoke to a fellow passenger on a train in China. She asked me what had led me to China and I replied that I’d had an interest in Chinese culture for as long as I could remember. She then asked me if by interest in Chinese culture, I actually meant the girls.

My then-girlfriend and I went down the road, heads turned and stared. Not just in her small-town hometown, where the police hadn’t had any idea about how to handle my residence registration until they checked in with their higher-ups. But even more so in the somewhat bigger cities where people obviously, in disapproving looks and mumbled comments, expressed their dubious opinion of our relationship.

I can’t blame the Chinese, though.

Pretty much every culture around the world tends to “lose” the daughters to husbands, and pretty much everywhere, seeing foreigners “take away” women is seen as an indication of one’s own weakness vis-á-vis the “others.”

Add an awareness, even if just at the level of urban legends and social media hearsay, of (supposedly) rich foreign guys basically buying themselves brides (of course, such stories would turn into morality tales with bad endings), foreigners actually bragging about the ease and number of their Asian conquests, and stories of destroyed virginities (and thus, marriage prospects, as per traditional Chinese notions) and broken hearts. It’s no wonder there is suspicion.

It is just natural.

I find it less natural for foreigners to bring along their cavalier attitudes about dating and sex to China. Okay, one could argue that it’s not a big deal here, given the traditional attitudes towards the wife versus mistresses. But no matter what over-entitled and under-culturally aware people claim, a stranger in a strange land should act with more concern for his host country.

Nowadays, of course, the effects on foreigners aren’t just isolated to places like China. Everywhere, one lives in the shadow of aspersion cast by those who act… well, in this case, under the influence of their penises rather than their brains, it seems.

Argue that you are different, and in a case of “methinks [he] doth protest too much”, you appear defensive, and by association, guilty. But shutting up only gives more room for the worst voices out there. So, at least sometimes – thank you for the invite and the reminder to do so again, Jocelyn – I go on writing about this issue. Most importantly, however, I keep on living it differently, remaining true to the woman I fell in love with and continue to love, whose name I added to my own, and who I want to make happy.

I’d love to add that it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks, but we humans are social animals to whom other’s opinions do matter a lot. However, it would help a lot, for a start, if you could at least not think the worst of us without knowing anything but our genders and ethnicities.

Gerald Zhang-Schmidt is an ecologist and cultural anthropologist who spent three years living in China, and now resides with his wife in his native Austria where he writes about the ecology of happinesschili peppers and being at home in the world.


Speaking of China is always on the lookout for outstanding guest posts and love stories! If you have something you’d like us to feature, visit the submit a post page for details — and then submit yours today.

The Best Guest Posts on Speaking of China for 2014

Fred -- one of my top guest posters in 2014 -- and his family in Hong Kong (photo courtesy of Fred)
Fred and his family in Hong Kong (photo courtesy of Fred)

One of the greatest joys of this blog has been opening it up to other voices and sharing fascinating stories and views from people around the world. I love running guest posts so much that my Fridays have become almost exclusively devoted to you – whether it’s your stories, posts, and questions or interviews with authors.

As 2014 comes to a close, I’d like to salute the top five guest posts on Speaking of China by views. And remember, if you have a great idea for a post that would fit this site, check out my submit a post page and contact me today.

#5: Did You Know Hollywood’s 1st Sex Symbol Was an Asian Man?
Logan Lo surprised us all with this story of a long-forgotten Asian actor in Hollywood who was actually the first-ever sex symbol in the movies. You can also read Logan’s work here in his post about interracial dating.

#4: AMWF Couples – A Canadian PerspectiveInspired by Fred’s survey in Hong Kong, Maria Deng offered a report of her own on AMWF couples in Canada – a post that speaks to the value of the AMWF community. She also went on to form a Facebook group for AMWF couples in Canada.

#3: Double Happiness: “He just never thought a Western girl could [love] him”When Marghini wrote that her Chinese boyfriend “just never thought a Western girl could ever be interested in him,” her story touched on a major issue in the AMWF dating world — and sparked a lot of comments!

#2: 7 of the Best Things about being married to a Non-Native English SpeakerAs Grace of Texan in Tokyo has taken the Internet by storm this year and made a splash with her successful new comic book, it’s been a pleasure to feature her outstanding writing on my site, including this post and her piece on the dark side of moving across the world for love.

#1: Are interracial couples of Asian men & Western women really that rare? A field report from Hong KongFred has become a guest posting legend on this site, especially with his tales of trying to set up a nephew in Hong Kong with American women, and this post is no exception. People were amazed by Fred’s informal survey of AMWF couples versus WMAF couples in Hong Kong. The results will shock you if you haven’t read it yet.

What were your favorite guest posts on this site for 2014? What voices would you like to see featured here in 2015?

Speaking of China is always on the lookout for outstanding guest posts and love stories! If you have something you’d like us to feature, visit the submit a post page for details — and then submit yours today.

Guest Post: What My Korean Ex Taught Me About Spending Holidays Abroad / Korean Culture and Information Service (Photographer name) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons / Korean Culture and Information Service (Photographer name) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
One of the greatest gifts of being in a cross-cultural or international relationship is how it changes your perspective on the world. That’s what happened to American book blogger Svetlana, who once dated a Korean guy — and at first, couldn’t understand his reluctance to celebrate the Korean Lunar New Year in America.

Do you have a fascinating lesson you’ve learned from a relationship or another guest post you’re dying to share here at Speaking of China? Head over to the submit a post page to learn how to get your words published here.


“How are you going to celebrate Lunar New Years?” I asked him over the phone, holding my cell phone close to my ear.

He chuckled as if I made a joke instead of asking a serious question. “Back in Korea, there is already a holiday atmosphere, something that’s not here,” he told me. “It’s hard to get excited over Korean holidays.”

As much as I could relate to that, a part of me didn’t entirely understand. My family also came over to America and yet we celebrated Russian and Jewish holidays. So why was it hard for him to celebrate Korean holidays?

The only holidays he and I ever celebrated together were birthdays. We would talk about holidays, and I learned more about Korean culture and where he came from. But despite my wishes, we never celebrated any Asian holidays. Only a few times did we celebrate Valentine’s Day, mostly by giving each other small gifts. But other than that, nothing.

Only after he went back to South Korea did I finally understand why he didn’t celebrate Korean holidays with me.

Creating a community on your own is difficult, and holidays often mean intimate moments between family members instead of passing acquaintances or co-workers. Since I have my parents and my sister with me in America, it’s much easier to enjoy that sense of community. He was also surrounded by a Korean community, but how many of these people were his friends or family members? How many of them were able to understand and support him? I also realized it probably wasn’t easy for him to help me, an outsider, understand what to do and not to do for the holidays.

Sometimes when I met international students from China, it seemed as if they were living in survival mode. I doubted they celebrated Chinese holidays on their own. After all, when they have to worry about things like finances and even jobs, how can they have time to kick back and relax?

What if I had been an international student like him, dating a guy in that country? Would I have forsaken my own holidays, or would I have asked him to celebrate with me? Chances are, if I had worried about things like finances, I would have done the same as him.

It’s a shame I never had the chance to celebrate Seollal, the Korean Lunar New Year, with my past Korean boyfriend. Still, thanks to him, now I understand more how difficult it is to be here alone in America, especially during holiday gatherings, as well as the importance of establishing a community to help you celebrate holidays. All along, I took it for granted that I was surrounded by supportive family members to celebrate the holidays with me.

Svetlana is a book review blogger. She enjoys reading unique books set in Asian cultures, from classics to contemporaries, and introducing her followers to AM/WF books that aren’t so well known. Her blog has something for everyone. She is still single.
Speaking of China is always on the lookout for outstanding guest posts and love stories! If you have something you’d like us to feature, visit the submit a post page for details — and then submit yours today.