InterrogAsian: The Music Issue

Hyphen’s sensei of sensibility answers your questions about Asian culture.

October 1, 2006

Dear InterrogAsian,

Why do older Asian women wear those huge visors? Any time I go to the market or walk the dog, I see at least three older women wearing visors that approximate a welder’s mask. What’s up with that?

Hat to the Back

Dear Shat,

Ah yes. There are a few theories circulating about the Ridiculously Large Visor (RLV). Some would point to the popularity of Peanuts, and its main character Charlie Brown whose baseball cap would cast formidable shade. Others believe that it goes back to Angel Island, where newly processed immigrants were handed an RLV along with proof of citizenship, a used Honda Accord and a kick in the ass. However, the tradition of the RLV has its roots in the motherland, especially Vietnam and Korea, where women of higher societal means would intentionally stay out of the sun to give the impression they were rich and didn’t have to work. As pale skin gained favor, the use of parasols and bamboo rice picker hats skyrocketed. Stateside, visors are a natural progression of the desire to keep peaches and cream complexions from curdling. I bet Nancy Kwan has one. Today, the RLV is experiencing a resurgence among skin savvy Asians due to ozone layer depletion and Bird Flu. The sturdy head gasket with wide-brimmed shield protects against harmful UV rays and the errant contaminated airborne bird dropping.

Dear InterrogAsian,

Why do Asian people always order water with no ice? It’s just weird.

Cold As Ice

Dear Icee,

I know Asians like to order soda pop with no ice for economic reasons: more soda! As for water: anti-flatulent powders mix best with room temperature water. Lactose intolerant brothers and sisters with a hankering for pizza or ice cream don’t want nasty clumps swimming around their water glass. Seriously though, a recent report stated that restaurant ice containers contain more nasty germs than a Turlock, CA gas station bathroom. Asian cultures, for the most part, value cleanliness and “water without ice” is a precautionary gesture. The less time spent curling up in a fetal position spewing dirty brown dishwater out of the chocolate starfish, the better.

Dear InterrogAsian,

The other night I was followed home by a guy who said, “Hey, are you Asian? Because I’m really into the Asian persuasion.” Do you have any comebacks other than saying “No!” and running away like a pansy?

An Unpersuaded Asian

Dear Hot Thing,

That has got to be the corniest opening line. “Do you need a light, because you’re smmmmoking!” seems downright chivalrous by comparison. Before we get into the proper response, let’s quickly examine the origins of the male species. Men are prone to impulse and blurt out things even Pavlov could count on, hence the popularity of Hooters and yelling at football players on TV. When someone comments on your ethnicity as a show of woo, you are not dealing with a full deck here. And banish the pansy thought; fleeing is an ingrained mechanism to stress. Ever see the crowds in Godzilla movies? Respect that. Own that. So back to Chad No Game. It’s already assumed in his mind that you’re foreign goods, so why not use it to your advantage? The best response is not to respond at all. Feign limited English proficiency, paired with a shake of the head and wag of the finger. Follow Yunjin Kim’s lead on Lost. If Chad persists, bust an Oriental Flavor freestyle on him: “Call off the invasion/This ass is a sovereign nation/This Asian persuasion don’t do Caucasian.” Then spray the dude square in the eyes with Sriracha sauce and bounce.

Have a question for our inscrutable sensei? Send them to interrogAsian [at]

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