【自白】“喜欢安静”等于”很亚洲”?(中英双语)

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一些欧美人的观念中,亚洲人都是“十分安静的”。当人们谈论到亚裔,“喜欢安静”往往被扩大化为群体特征,而忽视了个体性格上的差异。可是,“喜欢安静”真的等同于“亚洲人”吗?亚裔真的就很“安静”吗?在下面这篇文章中,华裔作家Christine Tan分享了自己对“安静的亚洲人“的看法。非常值得大家深思。(文末附英文原文)

一直都是个喜欢安静的人。

我曾经是那个在别人玩耍时独自读书的小孩,那个放学后泡在图书馆看书的女孩儿,以及那个沉迷于自己世界中的少女。在我的成长过程中,我一直对自己的安静抱有极大自信。安静沉默是我的本质,是我之所以是“我”的原因。这和我的文化背景没有任何关系我父母分别来自中国和马来西亚,喜欢热闹的他们一直对擅长社交的人颇为钟情,自然希望我也如此。我还是个孩子的时候,他们就一直鼓励我去成为和那些人一样的“社交达人”。

“你必须走出去,”他们说。“你得多点交朋友。”

但对于我来说,长时间被人群包围很容易耗尽我的精力。我更喜欢独自坐在角落静静地观察着人们交际周旋,然后将这些“安静的观察”写出来。

在我去皇后大学上学之前,我一直对自己的内向性格非常满意。直到有一天我参加一个派对时,有人喊了一声:你们看!居然有个安静的亚洲小孩儿来了!

“安静的亚洲小孩儿?!”派对过后,我近乎咆哮地对我的一个白人朋友Abby抱怨道。Abby和我一样安静,有些时候甚至比我还要安静。事实上,我们成为朋友也是因为在上第一堂哲学课时,我注意到她十分安静。带着“也许她是同类人”的猜测,在下课后,我走到了她的面前,介绍了自己。事实证明我的猜测是对的。

既然无论亚洲人还是白人都可能是喜欢安静的内向者,为什么我(作为亚洲人)就应该被贴上“标签”,受到如此评价呢?

“呃……因为很多亚洲人都非常安静,”Abby说道。“很多时候,我都希望自己是亚洲人,这样我能为我自己的内向找个合理的借口。”

了解到我早已因为我的肤色而被定义了“安静”这个属性时,我震惊得说不出话来。在那之后,我记录下了一些关于“亚裔感”和“安静”的评论。这类评论出现频率之高远远超出了我的想象。

安静的亚洲人总是在学习,而且他们总是抢到图书馆最好的位置。
安静的亚洲人从不和别人出去玩。
亚洲人从不在课上发言,这说得起来真是太奇怪了。
那个安静的亚洲家伙总是能拿到奖学金(因为他们总是泡图书馆)
她看起来一直都像一个典型的害羞的亚裔,但在床上表现(床技)一流

当我越来越深刻地认识到人们总是将“亚裔”和“安静”同题并论,我也开始反思我自己的言行举止。我试着通过扩大社交去反抗这些刻板印象,但我最终在“成为外向者”这条路上失败了,而且败得很惨。

当我试图像别人一样,当堂进行一场很棒的演讲,或者去参加些社团和组织时,我开始因为紧张而大量出汗。我试图聊些轻松地话题作为开场白,却因为紧张而变得口齿不清。

经过了一段时间的努力之后,我最终发现我并不能成为一个外向者,于是我选择开启了一段“自我发现之旅”。事实上,我“逃”去了亚洲,先去新加坡学习了一年,然后到中国读研。

以下是我在两个城市中学习到的:有些亚洲人很安静,有些很吵闹。在任何地方,这些人都同时存在。

是的,在这两个城市中都有典型的安静的亚洲人。在新加坡,当我那些从北美大学交换过来的学生抱怨班上都是“安静的本地人”时,我点头了。但同时,我又很开心的与这些当地人(有些很安静)玩在了一起。在中国,西方国家来的国际生也有同样的抱怨,比如“安静的中国学生从不在课堂上发言”,而我就湮没于这群(有些安静的)学生中。

这些描述中最重要的词是:“有些安静”。是的,在很多亚洲国家的教育体系和观念中,通过死记硬背而在标准化考试中获得高分的学生往往被列为榜样。而西方国家推崇的课堂讨论和辩论在这些国家的教育制度却并不重视。

但正是在这群安静的新加坡和中国学生中,我发现他们也并非“时时安静”。相反,他们是那群总是发出“噪音”而一直处在焦点的人。他们也是那群自信满满甚至有些厚脸皮的,非常喜欢社交的人。他们中有很多人未来将会成为律师、记者、公关专员、电视名人、政治家以及其他许多“不适于内向者”的职位。而且,如果你离开了课堂……去听听中国人如何讨价还价,调解问题或者拉家常吧!你绝对不会再认为亚洲人本质上是内向害羞的群体。

因此,不,我不认为我的内向来源于我是亚裔。毕竟,我是一个生活在西方,而且是被两个亚裔外向者养大的人。现在的我,依旧是一个沉迷于书本,写些不需要公开演说的作品的,喜欢安静的亚裔女子。可能我只是那种典型的潜意识里反抗父母的孩子吧,那种通过成为他们的反面而沾沾自喜的人。

“你并不是因为亚裔身份所以安静,”我的丈夫说,“你安静只是因为你很奇怪。你就是你。”

比起那些带有种族和文化意味的解释,我会永远更支持这个说法。

英文原文
On Being Quiet and Asian
I’ve always been quiet. I was the child reading alone during playtime, the girl hanging out at the library after school, and the teenager lost in her own world. Growing up, I was confident in my quietness. It was just my nature, a personality quirk that made me me. It had nothing to do with my cultural background. My Chinese-Malaysian parents have always been gregarious and opinionated people who thrive at social events, and throughout my childhood they encouraged me to be the same. “You have to put yourself out there,” they said. “Go on, make more friends.” But being around too many people for too long sapped my energy. I preferred to sit back and observe, and to put those quiet observations into writing.
I was perfectly content with my introversion until my first year at Queen’s University, when I showed up at a party and someone yelled, “Hey, one of the quiet Asian kids actually made it!”
“Quiet Asian kid?!” I ranted to a Caucasian friend afterwards. Abby was just as quiet as me, if not more so; in fact, we became friends when I walked over and introduced myself to her after noticing how quiet she’d been that first day in our first philosophy class. “A kindred spirit,” I thought, and I was right. So why was I the one who deserved that kind of remark?
“Yeah, well, Asians seem to be really quiet,” she said. “So much that sometimes, I wish I were Asian so I would have an excuse to be introverted.”
Having quietness attributed to my skin color shocked me into silence. After that, I took note of any remarks conflating quietness and Asianness—and those comments were more frequent than I thought:
The quiet Asians are always studying, and they take the best seats in the library.
The quiet Asians never hang out with anyone else.
The Asians never talk in class—it’s so creepy.
That quiet Asian dude got the scholarship. Of course.
She always seemed like a shy Asian, but she was ferocious in bed.
(“Well,” I thought about the last comment, ”the quiet ones will surprise you.”)
The more I realized that people saw quietness and Asianness going hand in hand, the more self-conscious I became of how I looked and acted. I tried subverting the stereotype by being more social, but I failed miserably as an extrovert. While I managed to give great presentations in class and joined clubs and societies like everyone else, I started breaking out in a nervous sweat at parties and twisted my tongue trying to make small talk.
After a while, I couldn’t take it and went on a “journey of self-discovery.” In truth I escaped to Asia: first to Singapore on a year-long study abroad, then to China for my Master’s.
Here’s what I learned from my time in both countries: some Asians are quiet. Some are loud. The same as everywhere else.
Yes, there were the typically quiet Asians. In Singapore, I nodded whenever my fellow exchange students from North American universities complained about the “quiet locals” in class, then I happily blended in with the (somewhat quiet) Singaporean students during lectures. In China, international students from the West had the same complaints about the “quiet Chinese kids” who barely spoke in class, and I hid among those (somewhat quiet) students too.
But that’s the key phrase—somewhat quiet. Yes, it’s well known that the education system in many Asian countries encourages rote-learning students who aim to score high on standardized exams and are less used to classroom discussion and debate compared to their Western counterparts. But amongst those quiet(er) Singaporean and Chinese students I studied with were the talkative ones, who asked questions and challenged professors. They were the noisy ones at the center of attention. They were the brazen, confident ones who were energized by human contact and who would go on to become lawyers, journalists, PR execs, TV personalities, politicians, or whatever professions are not for the attention-averse. And away from the classroom… Well, listen to how Chinese people bargain, resolve a dispute, or shoot the breeze with each other, and I dare you to tell me that Asians are an inherently shy, introverted bunch.
So no, I don’t think I’m introverted because I’m Asian. After all, I was raised by two Asian extroverts in the West, and here I am, a quiet woman with her nose in a book and a career allowing her to write things she’d never say out loud in public. Maybe I was just a typical kid who subconsciously rebelled against my parents by being the complete opposite of them, personality-wise.
“You’re not quiet because you’re Asian,” says my extroverted husband. “You’re just quiet because you’re weird. You’re you.”
I’ll take that over the racial/cultural explanation any day.

本文系美国转学转载、翻译自Quiet Revolution, 作者为Christine Tan。转载请标明出处和微信号(UStransfer),不然一群西兰花

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