As far as I know, many people especially Westerners consider Asians are oriental looking faced, have almond eyes, straight hair and yellow skinned. It’s generalization for more specific Asian features as exactly same as we generalized Europeans. We also consider Europeans almost identical in physical appearances. In my humble opinion, Westerners’ idea about Asians like that as because there are many East Asians who immigrate and scatter everywhere in the world for even hundred years and it’s still continued up to nowadays.
Asian = oriental
Surely yes, because Asians live eastward of Europe, except the Russians who annexed eastward through its Cossacks between the 16th-19th century until reached Alaska, and also European settlers who immigrated to Australia and New Zealand. But for us, they’re still considered as Westerners or Europeans. However, as Europeans, they can tell who’s from who through their physical treats. Among Europeans, they can differentiate Dutch, German, Polish, French and Russians either directly or indirectly. People sometimes guess at first from physics in general.
Africans are considered as dark complexioned and identical to Sub-Saharan Africans, not include North Africans. It’s merely generalization as many people –maybe- too lazy to find out someone’s real original place, then. How about Middle Easterners and Indians (that’s why now there’s Native American terms for distinguish it to East Indians)? They can also be called Asians too.
Asian = Chinese, Korean, Japanese?
In my humble opinion, they have already immigrated all around the world and that’s why people, particularly Europeans, Americans and Australians at first generalized them as Asian. But then, after Filipinos, Vietnamese, Hmongs and more East Asians immigrated, Asian becomes wider meaning.
Whatever it is, I am proud for being Asian, why?
1. I live in South East Asia, though it’s in archipelago (like The Philippines, Taiwan, Japan and others).
2. I live in Indonesia which is part of Asia region.
3. Asia has got its own unique cultures. For me, every Asians are unique.
Indonesians are sometimes considered same as Filipinos. My friends told me, when they’re in Europe or America, even when visiting The Philippines, people thought they’re Filipinos. Even, my late friend (as she’s already passed away two years ago) told me, as just because she said “takut” (Indonesian : afraid) in a Swiss carnival, someone asked her in Tagalog. Why? As takut has got similar meaning to takot in Tagalog. Indonesians and Filipinos have got similarities in many ways, including physical features.
Overseas Indonesians are far less than Filipinos in number. Filipinos are everywhere too, but for numbers they’re may be a very tiny in Suriname, as the most numerous Asians are Javanese descendants after Hindustani.
In Malaysia, sometimes people consider me as Hindustani looked, while in my own country, for the first encounter so many people think about my origins from my face. Ambonese? East Nusa Tenggara? Arab-looked? Malays? (In Indonesia, The Malay term is restricted to an ethnic group who inhabits along Sumatran east coasts, Riau Archipelago and its surroundings, along Borneo’s coastal areas and some in Jakarta as well as a sub-district in Bali (Loloan)). I think, whatever they say…
Generalization is common among society, and I won’t complain anymore about it, just explain about the details. The results? They’re amazed and some will asked me more.
This article doesn’t emphasize about race, it merely tells about generalization through physical features. Next, I’ll tell you about generalization among Indonesian themselves in the following article.
Saturday, 14 March 2015