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People's Daily Online>>Opinion

Asians no longer go under the knife to look 'white'

(Shanghai Daily)

15:20, November 21, 2011

Illustration by Zhou Tao

More than three decades ago, fresh from the refugee camp of Vietnam, I was first made acutely aware of my own Asian looks by a schoolyard bully in my junior high.

He pulled the sides of his eyes back to make them look slanted and sang the ditty now made famous by Rosie O'Donnell a few years ago on "The View " - "Ching Chong, Ching Chong Chinaman."

Well, good old I'm-funny-not-a-racist Rosie didn't say "Chinaman," but you get the point.

I never thought of how I looked living in homogenous Saigon, but in America, as an outsider barely speaking English, I was fodder for teasing and racist epithets.

In the bathroom one night, I used a toothpick to push up my epicanthic folds.

They held for a few seconds, giving me the appearance of rounder eyes, and a glimpse of what I might look like with double eyelids. I had contemplated cosmetic surgery, and for a few months, even saved money for the purpose.

I never went through with the surgery, but my experience is hardly unique.

The pressure to alter one's features and body is endemic in every group and ethnic community in America, and in Asia it is as routine as having one's wisdom teeth pulled.

But the number of minorities getting plastic surgery is apparently on a steep rise.

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Leave your comment3 comments

  1. Name

Dan at 2011-11-2476.121.249.*
Cosmetic surgery should be kept to a minimum. If everyone in the world looked the same, it would be pretty boring.
ari at 2011-11-22116.197.0.*
And don"t forget the Mongols in Krgyzstan and Kazakstan calling themselves Turks. Were it not for the forced reverse assimilation, no amount of cosmetic surgery would deliver the blue=eyes, londe hair, pale skin DNA!
helen at 2011-11-22203.82.82.*
Don"t make the Japanese and South Koreans laugh!The Japanese have been doing this for ages and they still can"t shed their Asian skins. They should have learnt from Michael Jackson.

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