Dutchinese Topics

kiss3What would attract a White girl to an Asian guy?
“Hey, I couldn’t help noticing that you two are a couple, so I just wanted to ask you, ‘What would attract a White girl to an Asian guy?’”

It was a Sunday morning. Junwen and I were walking out of the Santa Monica High School auditorium, where we had just attended a church service, when a young Asian man ran up to us to ask this question.  Without thinking I burst into laughter and turned my face into Junwen’s shoulder, I suppose out of awkwardness and complete surprise. [Read more…]

2015 HalloweenAn AMWF Halloween!
Happy Halloween! This year I’ve been up to my neck in work and anxieties…Feeling overwhelmed makes the smallest things feel impossible to do! Because of that, we very last-minute invited a few friends over to celebrate Halloween. I was pretty proud of what we all came up with in a day’s worth of prep: Dirt cups (chocolate pudding with Oreo crumbles) with headstones, peeled clementines with celery sticks inserted to look like pumpkins, cookies shaped like fingers with an almond fingernail, and banana ghosts with chocolate chip eyes and mouths (courtesy of Junwen)! [Read more…]

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Singapore Turns Fifty
Who knows what this little guy is? It’s a Merlion! I found it hiding in one of my research notebooks from 2010, back when Junwen and I had just started dating. I thought it would be cute to do a little Dutchinese post on the Merlion, when lo and behold I found an entire UNPUBLISHED post about Singapore’s 50th Anniversary! :-O And that was almost a year ago! Well, since Singapore is still in its 50th year, it’s not too late to share, right? ? And for folks who have never heard about the Merlion …well consider this a bit of a history lesson! [Read More…]

20160424_141916(1)Dutch King’s Day
Today, Junwen and I went with some friends to celebrate Dutch King’s Day at the Santa Monica Pier. To be honest, it’s not a holiday that I grew up celebrating here in the States, so any explanation I give about it is from reading up on it myself. The day became a holiday when Wilhelmina was still a young princess, so the day was dubbed, “Princess Day”. When she grew up, it was renamed “Queen’s Day”. Her daughter followed the tradition, as did her grandson and current king, King Willem-Alexander (who took the throne in 2013). The holiday then became “King’s Day” and is actually celebrated on April 27, King Willem-Alexander’s birthday. Because the Dutch royal family is House of Oranje, the national color of the Netherlands is orange and this is the color everyone wears on King’s Day. It sounds like in the Netherlands, it’s one HUGE street party with music and drinks and food galore! [Read More]

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Stereotypes: Is there such thing as a complimentary insult?
I wanted to pass this question on to you guys, since we have a pretty broad range of friends (as far as nationalities go). My favorite daily comic strip is “For Better or For Worse” by Lynn Johnston. Right now it runs in syndicate, but almost every day she includes some comment about why she drew that strip, what was going on in her life at the time, or what her viewers’ response was. In today’s comic, Michael—the protagonist’s son—is complaining about school starting up again after summer break. His Japanese friend, Brian, however, is excited for school to begin: [Read More…]

 

Turtle Bread

Turtle Bread

 Turtle Bread
Oh man you guys, just look at how CUTE this little Turtle is! Look closer: he is made out of bread! He is Turtle Bread! When I was traveling in Switzerland for a work meeting last week, I was overwhelmed by the amount of delicious home-made bread you could find just about everywhere you went. [Read More to find out out Turtle Bread led me to yet another Dutchinese connection!]

 

IMG_6130-cropAh Ma
A very important person in Junwen’s upbringing—and the current matriarch of the family—is our Ah Ma. “Ah Ma” is the name for “Paternal Grandma” in Hokkien, the particular Chinese dialect that most Chinese-Singaporeans speak (originating from the south of China). Ah Ma is 85 years old, and as such, she has a lot of exciting life stories to share—from traveling two weeks by boat while immigrating from China, to dressing as a boy to hide from Japanese soldiers! I wanted to record the ones she shared with us before forgetting. [Read more…]

 

IMG_6070-cropThe Singaporean Chinese Family Portrait
When you walk into any given Singaporean Chinese home, there is one thing you can be pretty sure to find: the Singaporean Chinese family portrait. Most families take the portrait after a child has graduated from college, and he or she will wear the graduation cap and gown. The difference between this and say, an American family taking graduation pictures with their graduate, is that all of the children who have graduated wear their cap and gown—even if their graduation was seven years ago! This was the case for our family yesterday. [Read More…]

 

Kueh or Kuih

Kueh or Kuih

紅龜粿 (Ang Ku Kueh) for the New Year
Happy New Year! 新年快乐! (Pronounced: “Xīnnián kuàilè” or to my American ear, “SING nee-en KWAI-leh”) As my previous post mentioned, Junwen and I are currently in Singapore! We’ve been visiting family and friends, just taking the time to be together and to enjoy the holidays. We had considered visiting for the Chinese New Year, but the way recent life events unfolded, we decided to visit over the Christmas season.

Today is the first day of 2015 (though back in the States, friends and family are still hours away from the New Year’s countdown)! This morning my mum offered me a delicious treat to try: 粿 (Hokkien) or “kueh”, pronounced like “kway” or “gway”. (I’ve noticed that the “k” and “g” sounds in Chinese/Hokkien are very close in sound, similar to the way “p” and “b” are similar in Chinese/Hokkien.) You may also find it spelled, “kuih”. She picked it up from a famous stall in Outram Park, Ji Xiang Confectionary. (The link takes you to their Facebook page, where you can see more pictures of the aunties preparing the cakes.) [Read More…]

 

just cant winWhat’s in a Name? (A Different Name Order)
In our very first post, we mentioned that we were quite ignorant about some things regarding each other’s cultures. However, one thing I (Christine) did learn before meeting Junwen was that many Asian cultures give their name as “Family Name + Given Name”, instead of what I am used to (in the West), “Given Name + Family Name”.  For example, “Lin Junwen” instead of “Junwen Lin”. If you ever watched Disney’s Mulan, you may have noticed that the Matchmaker calls her “Fa Mulan” instead of “Mulan Fa”. [Read More…]

 

Mid-AutuIMG_3883-croppedmn Festival- 中秋节
“Ah, the Mid-Autumn Festival! Or, as it’s sometimes called in Singapore, the Lantern Festival! (Not to be confused with the Lantern Festival at the end of Chinese New Year.) Many cultures celebrate the harvest, as it’s the time of year when all the hard work of planting and sowing, watering and feeding, protecting and watching over the year’s crops is finally rewarded!” [Read More…]

 

dutchineseLet’s Start at the Very Beginning…
“Since one of the main focuses (foci?) of this blog is to explore the joining of two cultures, we thought a good topic to explore is our initial preconceptions or ideas were about each others’ cultures…” [Read More…]