Actor Liu Ye, Wife Anais Martane Stand Up for Sea Turtles with WildAid

While reading China Daily’s newspaper recently, I came across a public service ad starring a rather familiar couple:

Sure enough, I recognized actor Liu Ye and his wife Anais Martane, one of the most beloved celebrity Chinese-foreign couples here in China — and now ambassadors for the nongovernmental organization WildAid:

WildAid released a new series of TV messages and billboards featuring popular actor Liu Ye and his wife Anais Martane to raise awareness about the threats while calling on the public to stop buying sea turtle products. Speaking at the launch event this week, Liu Ye said “we can all do something really simple to help protect sea turtles, and that is simply not buying sea turtle products. We should all also reduce our use of plastics, and keep plastic waste away from coastlines.”

Liu Ye, considered one of the top actors in the Chinese mainland, remains best known in the West for his breakout performance in the 2005 release of Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, the 2006 Curse of the Golden Flower and the 2007 Hollywood film Dark Matter. He and Anais Martane, a French photographer, married in Beijing in 2009.

According to a China Daily interview with Liu Ye — Heartthrob Liu Ye Now Enjoying Work and Married Life, published March 11, 2010 — Liu said, “We decided to get married because we share traditional views of the family. I am over 30 and she is one year younger than me. I want to be responsible for her and marriage is a promise.” In response to a question about what he found most attractive about Martane, he said, “She is a very nice woman. She gives me lots of peaceful feelings. She likes reading and has read many classics. She likes Israeli and Russian music.”

And another China Daily article notes Anais Martane stands as “more than just a Chinese celebrity’s wife” as she has become involved in public service projects and cares very deeply about the environment. She told China Daily, “My relationship with environmental protection began with a connection to the sea, as my childhood was spent in a coastal town, and I am crazy about everything to do with the sea.”

You can learn more about the WildAid campaign for Sea Turtles involving Liu Ye and Anais Martane at the WildAid website.

Giant Man Zhan Shicai (Chang Woo Gow) and Catherine Santley

If Yao Ming had lived in Qing Dynasty China, perhaps his astonishing height might have landed him a role in a circus or onstage.

Photo credit: By ralph repo – Chang The Chinese Giant [c1870] Attribution Unk [RESTORED], CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=33422368
That was the life of Zhan Shicai, better known among Western audiences as Chang Woo Gow, whose towering stature (he reportedly stood over 8 feet tall) propelled him into such a career in the 1800s, including a stint in P.T. Barnum’s famous circus freak show that toured the US.

Born in Qing-era China in the 1840s, Chang Woo Gow made his first appearance abroad in London in 1865 at the Egyptian Hall in Piccadilly, together Kin Foo, his onstage wife, and the dwarf Chung Mow. An article published on Nov 9, 1893 in the London Times described what Chang Woo Gow’s performances were like in that era:

Amidst a hushed room Chang would arise to the tinkles of bells and a piano playing a Polka. He slowly descended to greet his audience, and to gasps of amazement at his great height, he would gently shake hands with those nearest the front. With excitedly playing music he would “chin chin” to his audience and then, with a great flourish of gongs he would majestically regain his throne – and the exhibition would be finished.

The admission fees to this spectacle of Victorian human curiosity were up to three shillings. Chang’s employers disgracefully refused him permission to walk about town with the shameful excuse that this lowered his value as an “exhibit”. This he found untenable, and longed for a quieter life.

Indeed, as Chang Woo Gow, who went on to tour Europe, the US and Australia as “Chang the Chinese Giant”, lived an existence which the Dorset Magazine characterized as “tawdry”:

Even though Barnum paid him the handsome sum of $500-a-month to dress up in Mandarin robes or the war-mongering finery of a Mongolian warrior, Chang almost certainly wished that it didn’t have to be that way.

He was fluent in six languages, gentle, intelligent, well-mannered and quiet by nature with no natural affinity for the brash showmanship of the circus world.

Still, traveling the globe allowed Chang Woo Gow to meet Catherine Santley, who enchanted him during his visit to Australia. They married in a church in Sydney and went on to have two children, Edwin and Ernest.

The couple eventually moved to a villa they dubbed “Moyuen” in Bournemouth, England, at a time when Chang Woo Gow suffered from tuberculosis. He opened a teahouse and store selling Chinese imports there. But surely he harbored deep affection for his wife Catherine, as the report in the London times stated that in 1893 “he died of a broken heart, at the age of 52, just four months after his wife’s death.”

You can also learn more about Zhan Shicai/Chang Woo Gow and Catherine Santley at his Wikipedia page and this page maintained by the Chinese Museum in Australia.

What do you think of Zhan Shicai/Chang Woo Gow and Catherine Santley?

Photo credit: By ralph repo – Chang The Chinese Giant [c1870] Attribution Unk [RESTORED], CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=33422368

The Magical World of Janet DeNeefe and Ketut Suardana in Bali, Indonesia

As summer vacation has begun, this time of enchantment, love and travel feels like the perfect time to focus on a couple whose lives truly symbolize the spirit of the season — Australian Janet DeNeefe and Balinese Ketut Suardana, the duo behind some of the most magical dining and hospitality businesses in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

A native of Melbourne, Australia, Janet DeNeefe found herself captivated with Bali when she first traveled to the island with family in 1974, and on a return trip in 1984, fell in love once again — this time, with a particular person, as described by an article published on the Four Seasons:

She met a Balinese man named Ketut, who at the time owned a successful art gallery and was studying political science in Denpasar. Within five years, she had moved there, the pair had wed, and they had opened their first restaurant, Lilies, on Monkey Forest Road.

DeNeefe had also fallen in love with Ubud, its people and the idea of helping visitors find their own love of her adopted hometown. This passion would transform DeNeefe into a tireless mini mogul, in a town where most expats are on permanent holiday.

Janet DeNeefe and Ketut Suardana went on to open Casa Luna and the Indus Restaurant, both premier dining spots in Bali, along with the top-rated Honeymoon Guesthouse. DeNeefe also launched the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival in the 2000s and, more recently, the Ubud Food Festival. Some have dubbed her the “Queen of Ubud” and even compared her fairytale life to the acclaimed memoir Eat, Pray, Love (though it’s worth noting Janet DeNeefe wrote her own memoir titled Fragrant Rice).

In an interview in the Honeycombers, DeNeefe speaks of how the love between her and Ketut has evolved over the years:

Ketut, my husband – he’s around somewhere! We survive by staying out of each other’s hair. 80 percent of stuff we agree to, the other 20 percent we definitely don’t! You’re never going to be completely in tune after all. As you get older, it’s a different sort of love; it’s a deeper, more solid sense of security – where you know that you belong. It’s about having a family and being happy together.

She also told the Honeycombers she considers her sense of humor vital in life.

I can laugh my way through anything, which works in Bali because there’s a real kind of ribald, slapstick humour here. After meeting my husband, our businesses grew, our families grew, and that was that!

You can explore the creations of Janet DeNeefe and Ketut Suardana by visiting the websites for Casa Luna (which served up some of the most memorable meals I enjoyed on two trips to Bali), the Indus Restaurant, and the Honeymoon Guesthouse. To learn more about Janet DeNeefe, visit her website or pick up a copy of her memoir Fragrant Rice.

What do you think about Janet DeNeefe and Ketut Suardana?

A Trip Backwards: How People Thought of Interracial Marriages With Asian Men in the Past

People often say that to understand the present, you have to look at the past. That’s why I started my AMWF History series, to examine interracial relationships between Asian men and non-Asian women in earlier times.

So today, I’m revisiting some rather telling quotes from posts I’ve featured for AMWF History, in an effort to raise awareness about how people have talked about Asian men in interracial relationships years ago.

As I compiled this post, I found it disconcerting (but not surprising) that a number of the opinions described below still endure, including in dark corners of the internet. A lot of people still believe interracial love is wrong.

This list of quotes is by no means comprehensive. So please, sound off in the comments with your examples too — let’s continue the conversation together.


From the San Francisco Chronicle, 7 April 1883 (per Frederickbee.com) (featured in my post Sarah Burke and Wong Suey Wong, Arrested in 1883 USA (For Love)):

Sarah Burke, who has unalterably set her mind upon a disgusting marriage with a Chinese laundryman, acknowledged that she had passed a dismally and frigidly cold night in prison on Friday.

From the LA Herald piece “Married to Chinamen – White Women Who Accept Mongolian Husbands” (featured in my post 4 Stinging 1890s Quotes on White Women Who Loved Chinese Men):

The average American cannot understand how any human being, however inured by custom, can live in an average Chinatown. That white women should live there by deliberate choice seems to him monstrous, horrible.

She is but twenty-two years of age, remarkably beautiful and possessed of a voice that…would be a fortune. Yet three years ago, she met and loved a Chinaman.

It is also well known that not one Chinaman in a hundred comes to these shores without leaving behind a wife in China; so by the laws of China, the white wife is not a wife…

They have had six children, of whom five are living – bright, intelligent half breeds. And Mrs. Watson (her husband took that name when baptized) is still handsome and pleasant spoken.

From Culture Victoria (featured in my post Mei Quong Tart, A Chinese Gentleman and Leader in Victorian Australia):

Quong asked Margaret’s father, George Scarlett, for his daughter’s hand in marriage. Even though he was a friend of Quong’s, George refused. Quong Tart and Margaret waited until the day after her twenty-first birthday, on 30 August 1886, and married anyway. Quong was then thirty-six. The appearance of grandchildren eventually reconciled Margaret’s parents to their daughter’s marriage.

From Lisa See’s book On Gold Mountain (featured in my post Letticie “Ticie” Pruett and Fong See from Lisa See’s “On Gold Mountain”):

Letticie wrote her brothers of her marriage, and received a terse letter back, in which her family disowned her. How could she marry a Chinese? It was disgusting, they wrote, and she was no longer their sister. She knew she would never see or hear from any of them ever again.

From Moviemaker.com (featured in the post Cinematographer James Wong Howe and Author Sanora Babb):

Aunt Sanora told me that on one particular occasion when they were going out to dine at a Chinese restaurant, a woman had taken the time to follow them to the entrance of the establishment. As she harassed the two of them for being together, Aunt Sanora took the woman’s hat and tossed it in the gutter. Aunt Sanora remembers this woman chasing the hat down the sewer drain exclaiming, “My $100 hat!” When the miscegenation laws were repealed, it took them three days to find a judge who would marry them. When they finally did, the judge remarked, “She looks old enough. If she wants to marry a chink, that’s her business.”

From the Australian Maritime Museum (featured in the post Australian Women Who Married Indonesian Men, Supported Indonesian Independence in 1940s):

Lotte fell in love with Anton Maramis, a Manadonese petty officer, and married him with her family’s support, although she battled much antagonism from the broader Australian public she encountered. Many other young Australian women faced strong opposition from families and friends to the decisions they made to marry their Indonesian fiancés and return with them to their homes once Independence had been declared.

From the South China Morning Post (featured in the post Liverpool’s Lost Chinese Sailors, and the Families Left Behind in the UK)

Married or not, they earned a reputation in ultra-conservative post-war England as being “loose women” and, in another archive, Charles Foley found that government officials dismissed those married to or cohabiting with a Chinese partner as “the prostitute class”.

What quotes have you come across about how people in the past thought of interracial relationships with Asian men?

Guest Post: AMWF ‘Thor and Sif’ Thunder Ahead in Photos

Enjoy this AMWF Thor and Sif photo collaboration by Ana Hudson, a new model and photographer hitting the scene. This is part of her portfolio titled “Project Justice”, which includes her previous posts: Lucky in Love – 21 Photos of ‘AMWF Iris West, Flash’9 Powerful ‘AMWF Superman’ Photos to ‘Save’ Your Day and 13 Sexy, Fun ‘AMXF Deadpool’ Photos to Make You Smile.

What superhero would you like to see Ana feature in her next photo shoot? Let us know in the comments!

If you are an AMXF couple in the Los Angeles area, Ana Hudson would love to offer you a free/donations accepted photoshoot. To find out more information about planning a photoshoot you can reach her at [email protected]


Credits:
Models: Justin Zhang (IG @NoobStrength) and Liz
Photographer: Ana Hudson (@WhiteChocolatePlayer)

If you are an AMXF couple in the Los Angeles area, Ana Hudson would love to offer you a free/donations accepted photoshoot. To find out more information about planning a photoshoot you can reach her at [email protected]


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.

Riding the ‘Love Boat’: Ukrainian Woman Falls for Chinese Cruise Ship Colleague

Have you ever imagined romance on the wide, open seas? Meet Mary, a Ukrainian woman who worked on a cruise ship and fell for her colleague from South China. I’m honored to share the tale, along with a lovely collection of photos that document their precious love.

Do you have a love story or other post you’d like to see featured here? Visit the submit a post page to learn more and then contact me today with your ideas.
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He asked if he could accompany me on this trip … and he became my companion for life.

I was working on a luxury cruise ship and my day off looked pretty fun. I planned to sail up to Manaus, the capital of northwestern Brazil, for shopping, lunch, a crocodile safari tour in the Amazon river just for crew members, dinner in a traditional Mexican restaurant and clubbing all night.

When my girlfriends and I entered the l boat for the safari tour, which was supposed to take us to see dangerous crocodiles, he was already onboard, taking pictures of the Amazonian waters.

He was the handsome IT engineer on the cruise ship.

I had talked to him on our ship before. He was always very polite and friendly, and this moment was no exception. He asked if he could sit next to me and accompany me on this trip.

I said “Yes,” never realizing it was the beginning of our romance.

The next day we had a date in Manaus city. Then we got together Curacao island, Aruba, St. Martin and Puerto Rico, and along the way our love grew.

Both of us had worked on cruise ships for a few years, traveling all over the world. We shared a lot in common, including the fact that we were both dreamers who were accustomed to taking action to achieve our goals. With him everything always felt easy and enjoyable.

When our working contracts had ended, I flew back to the Ukraine, while he went home to South China. Yet the bond between the two of us remained strong.

Three months after we parted, he arrived in my city of Lviv and we traveled together to all the best places in Ukraine.

Later, I was invited to visit him and his family in Guangzhou, where he proposed to me. I went back home and announced to my parents that I would move to China.

We did not find any obstacles in our way. My parents really liked him, and his parents liked me.

Before the wedding, we lived together for one year. We established our own home and found jobs (as we had resigned from the cruise company). We also traveled together to Shanghai, Hong Kong and Macau, and had a paradise honeymoon in Hawaii. Our wedding supposed to be small, but we ended up with 120 people in attendance. My parents, a few relatives and friends came from Ukraine. It was mix of traditions, with sea-inspired decorations, Chinese cuisine, Ukrainian embroidered towels, a first dance and a hip party for younger guests on the 65th floor of the Hyatt rooftop bar.

Eleven months after the wedding, we were blessed with our gorgeous daughter Alicia, becoming the happiest parents ever. Now seven months old, she is a very interesting and cute little baby.

When we are together, nothing seems impossible. There are no distances, no obstacles and barriers for us. We are citizens of the world. And we will continue to open up this world together and show all of its beauty to our girl.
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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: Lucky in Love – 21 Photos of ‘AMWF Iris West, Flash’

Enjoy this AMWF Flash and Iris West photo collaboration by Ana Hudson, a new model and photographer hitting the scene. This is part of her portfolio titled “Project Justice”, which includes her previous posts: 9 Powerful ‘AMWF Superman’ Photos to ‘Save’ Your Day and 13 Sexy, Fun ‘AMXF Deadpool’ Photos to Make You Smile.

What superhero would you like to see Ana feature in her next photo shoot? Let us know in the comments!

If you are an AMXF couple in the Los Angeles area, Ana Hudson would love to offer you a free/donations accepted photoshoot. To find out more information about planning a photoshoot you can reach her at [email protected]


With this particular shoot, I focused more on the comic book character version of Iris West. I noticed how red and vibrant her hair was and thought about how lucky and loving the color red is to Asians. I wanted to focus on the color red for this piece- it’s the color of love and luck. How lucky we are to be alive and to love those who mean the most to us. – Ana Hudson, WhiteChocolatePlayer

Credits:
Models: Justin Zhang (IG @NoobStrength) and Angelique Evans (IG @angelique.evans3)
Photographer: Ana Hudson (@WhiteChocolatePlayer)

If you are an AMXF couple in the Los Angeles area, Ana Hudson would love to offer you a free/donations accepted photoshoot. To find out more information about planning a photoshoot you can reach her at [email protected]


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.

Translators? Tour Guides? Teachers? More Mistaken Identities for AMXF Couples

Last week, I shared my experience of having a foreign man in China mistake me and my husband for being “mother and son”. (Though, it wasn’t entirely surprising because I’d once had a woman working at a cash register in the US wonder if my husband was my foreign exchange student!)

Well, readers took to this blog and social media to share their own experiences of mistaken identity as part of interracial couples of Asian men and non-Asian women (AMXF). The comments were fascinating, highlighting a number of “mistaken identity” situations that I’ve either heard of or experienced myself.

AMXF couples are still a rare enough sight in China that people often don’t assume you’re actually husband and wife when they first see you. (And sometimes they don’t even believe you when you tell them that, yes, you are in fact a couple, which once happened to me and my husband.)

Here are a few common themes, inspired by your comments. (Note: A big thank you to Ana Hudson (IG: whitechocolateplayer) for permission to run the her photo with this post, featuring models Justin Zhang (IG: NoobStrength) and Marina Bruzadin (IG: marinabruzadin). You can see more of these photos in the post 13 Sexy, Fun ‘AMXF Deadpool’ Photos to Make You Smile.)

Is he your translator?

One fellow on Facebook chimed in with what must surely be the No 1 thing that comes to mind when people in China happen to see Chinese men walking around with a woman of a different race: “I have been considered as her interpreter more than husband ????”

This actually happens all the time to me and my husband as well — so much so that I’ve come to expect it from people in China, particularly when we’re in places like banks or stores!

Is he your tour guide?

Similar to “Is he your translator?”, a “tour guide” is another form of mistaken identity frequently experienced by AMXF couples together here in China. Especially if you happen to be together at any tourist attractions in China. As a woman commented on Facebook, “When we were young people thought my husband was a tour guide ????”

Is she your teacher?

As everyone knows, English teacher is the most common profession for foreigners in China. Well, when some folks in China see a Western woman walking with a Chinese man — two people who are actually in a couple — they might assume she’s his English teacher.

That’s what happened with one woman who commented on Facebook, noting, “My husband is always asked if I’m his English teacher but actually he used to be my Mandarin teacher!”

And more…

A Chinese man and a white woman, who were husband and wife, walked into a restaurant…but – no joke here — the staff didn’t take them for a couple, as one woman took to Facebook to share: “I get this constantly when we eat out together. ‘Is this one check or two?’ – to which my response is always, ‘Since he is my husband, yes I will be paying the check for us together.’”

Then again, speaking of jokes, sometimes the best response to all of this is a smile and good sense of humor.

Have you ever been mistaken as something other than a couple?

Chinese Men Can’t Date White European or American Women? Chinese Overseas Students Weigh In

My husband shared with me an article published on the Beimei Liuxuesheng Ribao (The North American Overseas Student Daily) here in China — and it happened to be about a topic dear to my heart. Why do so few Chinese men end up with white women? But this time, from a Chinese perspective. They widen their exploration to consider the rarity of Asian men and white women together, and while their conclusions are mostly what you might expect, there are some surprises along the way.

Below is my translation of the original piece in Chinese. In a few areas, I’ve added my own comments as well as relevant links to cited materials and topics. The piece also includes some links to Amazon, where your purchases help support this blog.

Also please note the following credit for the featured photo up top, first seen in the post 9 Powerful ‘AMWF Superman’ Photos to ‘Save’ Your Day: (Photo by Ana Hudson (WhiteChocolatePlayer), featuring Justin Zhang (IG: NoobStrength) and Angelina (IG: musicloveandlies))
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Whenever walking through Beijing’s most international Sanlitun area, from time to time you will see “yellow and white pairs” – foreign men and Chinese women together as couples. But there’s another kind of “yellow and white pair” – couples of white women and Chinese men, which are extremely rare to see.

(Photo by Ana Hudson (WhiteChocolatePlayer), featuring Justin Zhang (IG: NoobStrength) and Angelina (IG: musicloveandlies))

Those who are good at analyzing the inherent ethnic flaws of Chinese people will more or less have seen or heard something like this. There are people who believe Chinese women have a “white” allegiance and throw themselves at these foreign men, characterizing them as the very “easy girls” foreigners say they are.

There are also those who believe the problem is with Chinese men. Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences Professor Zhang Jiehai published the results of his own Survey of Chinese Men and directly gave Chinese men a “death penalty”: suffering from a collective mental impotence. Foreign women don’t look for Chinese men because the men lack confidence, and this however was “the result of China’s backwardness over the past century, because of ceding territory and losing money.” The analysis of Chinese-foreign differences had a master key. Anything, as long as it was backward, was because of inherent ethnic flaws; and these inherent ethnic flaws could all be traced back to the late Qing Dynasty.

The truth is what people see – that there are many more pairs of white foreign men and Chinese women, and very rarely do Chinese men get together with white European or American women. But you cannot merely blame this on Chinese men. In all of Asia, especially East Asia, it’s rare to see the men paired with white European or American women.

Asian men – at the bottom of the food chain

Overall, the ratio of Asian women and white men together is much higher than Asian men and white women.

According to the 2012 Pew survey on interracial marriage, in 2010 in the US, some 36 percent of newly married Asian women had spouses of another race, compared to 17 percent of Asian men.

But this was the opposite for African American men – 24 percent of the men were married to spouses of another race, compared to only 9 percent of the women. For white and Hispanic people, the situation was not that different.

In the dating market, for Asian men it’s even crueler. The online dating site OKCupid found that Asian women were the only group that all men (Asian, white, black, Hispanic) considered attractive at a rate that was higher than average – not even white women reached that level of popularity. Meanwhile, Asian men were rated far lower than the average by all other races, except for Asian women.

The OKCupid data also gave this kind of result – that men who weren’t black didn’t like black women. The racial preferences of black men weren’t obvious, and all women liked men of their own race. Relatively speaking, women were less attracted to Asian men and black men. Black men and Asian men were at the bottom of the marriage food chain.

Data from another dating app called Are You Interested found similar results. Except for black women, nearly all women flocked to white men. While when it came to women, Asian women were most popular.

So, when it comes to interracial marriage, white men and Asian women are the most common pairing. Both stand at the top of the marriage and love food chain. In the interracial dating marriage market, Asian men are most thoroughly a case where “women are superior to men”.

This phenomenon of the women marrying other races more than the men is almost peculiar to Asians. Even men from Korea and Japan, developed countries with living standards and educated populations, cannot overcome whites. What is it that caused such a great divide between Asian men and women?

Is it that from the perspective of other races, Asian men are not attractive enough? Research by Cardiff University in the UK found that, among whites, blacks and Asians, Asian men were considered the least attractive, with a rating of 3.781 (a perfect score was 10). But the study also found that Asian women were considered the best looking group, with a rating of 5.511, higher than the 5.065 for white women and the 4.720 for black women.

The sex appeal of Asian women has been called “yellow fever” (a term that originally referred to a disease). The Chinese American playwright David Henry Hwang’s “M. Butterfly” proposed this for the first time. And Asian women also flock to Western men. William Somerset Maugham wrote in “The Moon and Sixpence” that “You know what these girls are; they’re always pleased to go with a white man.” This phenomenon has been named the “Pinkerton Syndrome”, and is also called Madame Butterfly Syndrome, borrowing its name from the opera “Madame Butterfly”. [Jocelyn’s note: it’s important to recognize that the Asian fetish has a negative effect on Asian women in particular, and that Asian women can face harsh and unfair judgment in interracial dating.] 

While both are Asian, why is it that Asian men are at the bottom of the dating food chain, while Asian women are at the top? Perhaps through the typical images of Asian men in Western movies and TV, we can see some underlying reasons.

What’s the use of studying well?

Before the 1960s, evil like Fu Manchu and emasculated like Charlie Chan were the typical images of Asian men that thrived on screens big and small. But since the 1960s, against the backdrop of counterculture and civil rights movements in Europe and America, the images of Asian men became more diverse. On one side of the equation you had evil, crafty, emasculated and low-status Asian men; on the other were smart, studious, high-achieving and increasingly “model minority” examples.

But this high-achieving attribute did not make Asian men more attractive. At best, they’re high achievers; at worst, nerds without social skills who have strange behavior and never talk. Even in countries that value education like China, it’s hard for nerds to find a partner, let alone in the United States of America.

Today, the images of Asian men in mainstream Western culture have become more abundant, but they tend to stick to only a few types. They can do kungfu (like Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan or Jet Li), they’re pedantic (like Charlie Chan), they’re high achievers (as seen on almost any American university), their role is the punchline of the series (like the Korean boss in “Two Broke Girls”). These roles might on some level inspire admiration, but they are entirely without sex appeal.

In fact, the dominant images of Asian men in American media are not sexual roles. Research has found that Asian American men on the screen are only 25 percent as likely to have a romantic or family relationship as other races, overall portraying Asian American men as “asexual”. Even the most masculine martial arts stars are usually only responsible for those hand-to-hand fights among men, and sex scenes are rare for them.

For example, in the American movie “Romeo Must Die,” the film originally had the American female lead Aaliyah kiss the male lead played by Jet Li. But during a screen test, audiences were really not used to it. So the film company changed the ending, having Aaliyah and Jet Li hug. In discussing “The Slanted Screen,” the documentary about the portrayals of Asian Americans on the screen, its director said, “Mainstream America, for the most part, gets uncomfortable with seeing an Asian man portrayed in a sexual light.”

This may have something to do with the perceived lack of masculinity among Asian American men. The earliest Asians in America, particularly Chinese immigrants, were more engaged in washing clothes, caring for children and cooking, business pursuits considered more feminine. Add to that short stature and wearing a long braid, which was very unpopular in mainstream society. This perceived effeminate character has continued to the present without much change. Even Asian actors with outstanding capabilities such as Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan are only permitted to be “hired fighters”, where there’s no opportunity for romance.

At the moment, Asian men are mainly portrayed in mainstream America as idiotic nerds or as someone with eccentric behavior meant for comic relief. Although this is a significant improvement over the 1st half of the 20th century with its “evil Fu Manchu”, it’s nevertheless still not that likeable. For example, Asian men play characters that are meant to be laughed at. Consider Han Lee, the short boss who owns the diner in “Two Broke Girls”, the gay Asian boss in “The Dictator” who screwed Edward Norton, Leslie Chow in “The Hangover”, or the Asian man in the US version of “The Office”.

Asian men like that could hardly meet the European or American women’s standard for guys – a fully masculine “Marlboro Man”. Think of how odd it would be for an Asian man to dress up as a Western cowboy, while a black man or a latino could surely pass. [Jocelyn’s note: Actually, an Asian man, Lee Byung-hun, did star as a Western cowboy in the movie “The Magnificent Seven“.]

Demand determines supply, and there’s such a small number of Asian American actors playing a narrow range of characters because audiences don’t accept them. Popular entertainers in Europe and America are also popular in Asia, while Asian entertainers rarely make it big in Europe or America. If you were asked within five seconds to name an Asian male star in the American and European entertainment industry, most people would be tongue-tied.

There are some TV shows and movies that include love affairs between Asian men and white women. Chinese people are most familiar with Tony Leung Ka-fai and Jane March in “The Lover,” and Chow Yun Fat and Jody Foster in “Anna and the King”. But when Annaud, the director of “The Lover”, was selecting the male lead, he experienced some difficulties. As there was no one who could meet the requirements among Hollywood’s Asian actors, who mainly played bit parts and had difficulty conveying the emotional drama of the character, after much struggle the actor settled on Hong Kong actor Tony Leung Ka-fai.

Lucy Liu. By Georges Biard, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14301219

Asian women are the most likeable

Research has found that the image of Asian Americans is overall perceived as more feminine. This has impacted Asian men, where “at best they’re an effeminate queen of the deep, like Charlie Chan; at worst, they’re a homosexual threat like Fu Manchu.” But at the same time this has benefited Asian women. As America’s “model minority”, this perceived subservience, kindness and loyalty are considered good qualities for women. [Jocelyn’s note: However, these stereotypes have negatively impacted Asian women, so this isn’t really a benefit.]

In addition, Asian women are thought to be mysterious and exotic. The famous opera “Madame Butterfly” fully satisfied the fantasies of white people about Asian women. Butterfly is a Japanese geisha who meets the American military officer named Pinkerton stationed in Japan and falls in love with him. Even after Pinkerton returns to his country, Butterfly still deeply loves him and believes that he will return. Finally Pinkerton returns to Japan but brings with him his American wife. Upon learning the truth Butterfly committed suicide — thus Asian women are subservient, kind, loyal and full of Eastern character. “Madame Butterfly” was later adapted to “Miss Saigon” — the story and background was moved from Japan to Vietnam, but the essence of the story remained the same.

In addition to being perceived as submissive, Asian women have a fortitude and sex appeal that is considered rare among Asian men. For example, there’s Lucy Liu’s role in the 1997 to 2002 American TV series “Ally McBeal”, Maggie Q’s lead role in the 2010 to 2013 TV series “Nikita”, or even Lucy Liu’s main role as a female Watson in the TV series “Elementary”. These characters have not only the excellent qualities attributed to Asian people, but also a sex appeal that Westerners prefer.

Of course, Asian men at the bottom of the marriage food chain need not worry too much. When it comes to choosing a mate, Asian women first consider their own men. [Jocelyn’s note: as the 2008 study Racial Preferences in Dating: Evidence from a Speed Dating Experiment noted, “women of all races exhibit strong same-race preferences”. See also the NYTimes article, highlighting that more Asian-Americans are dating within their race.]

Then again, if you really want to win the hearts of foreign women, take a look at movies like “The Lover” and “Anna and the King” with Asian men paired with white women, and you will realize a truth: as long as you have money, the color of your skin isn’t a problem anymore.

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Indian Man Bikes to Sweden to Marry White Woman in 1970s

A broke, “untouchable” art student from India and a woman descended from Swedish nobility fell for each other during a chance meeting in Delhi in 1975. And their seemingly improbable love affair eventually paved the way for him to travel 3,600 kilometers from India to Sweden in 1977, with only $80 in his pocket, a bicycle and a promise of marriage to her upon arrival.

If this doesn’t count as one of the most romantic gestures ever witnessed across the world, I don’t know what does.

CNN reported on the love story of Charlotte Von Schedvin and PK Mahanandia, noting that his mother even predicted early in life that he would marry a white woman. So when they had their second encounter in Delhi, India, here’s what happened:

When she returned, a realization dawned on Mahanandia. Could Von Schedvin be the western woman in his horoscope?

For the first time, that night Mahanandia says he prayed to the elephant god Ganesh. He wanted Von Schedvin to come back so he could ask if she was a Taurus.

“When I saw her at the traffic lights, I got nervous in the stomach. I put on my easel, ‘artist is sick’,” he said.

Then came the questions.

She was a Taurus.

She played the piano.

She owned forests — indeed, Von Schedvin’s ancestors had been given a portion of Swedish woodland after helping the King in the 1700s.

“I became shaky,” said Mahanandia. “I said: ‘It’s decided in the heavens, we are destined to meet each other.’ She was shocked!” …

Trusting her instinct, Von Schedvin followed Mahanandia to meet his father in Odisha, where the couple received tribal blessings.

“I didn’t think, I just followed my heart 100%. There was no logic,” she said.

“When I was with her, I felt taller than the sky,” said Mahanandia. “I was no longer an outcast. It changed my attitude to myself inside.”

After spending a month together in India, the two remained in touch through written letters – and eventually Mahanandia proposed his epic bicycle journey to reunite in Sweden and get married.

His trip would take him from Delhi, India, through Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey and the former Yugoslavia into Europe. At the time, it was a safe and well-established route known and the “Hippie Trail” and travelers didn’t require visas to pass through, facilitating Mahanandia’s extraordinary feat to bicycle so far for love:

Setting off on two wheels, Mahanandia left Delhi with just $80. But he arrived in Sweden with more than $800 — painting portraits for food and money along the way.

Though some days he cycled up to 70km, the artist admits he got lifts wherever possible — even being gifted a train ticket from Istanbul to Vienna.

“Sometimes you’d get two or three hitchhiking offers and you’d have to choose!” said Mahanandia. “I bicycled for love, but I never loved biking.”

He arrived in Boras on 28 May 1977, over four months after his departure.

The couple have been married for over 40 years, with two children, and continue to pass on the power of love to others, such as through offering cultural scholarships to others of the “untouchable” caste in India.

You can read the full story at CNN.

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