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2012 New Year’s Resolution

December 3rd 2012 21:00


Now that the year is almost over, I’ve been reflecting on how my new year’s resolution went. Some might say it was an unusual – even anti-social – one as it involved me becoming less compliant. By that I mean ignoring people who ask me for help or money and disobeying people who try to tell me what to do.

What I’ve learnt so far is that people don’t like it. But my resolution also had a lot to do with me trying to break down the racial stereotype of Asians being petite, short, skinny, soft spoken and non-confrontational. Now, anyone who knows me or my Asian friends know none of us fit that mould.


One of my friends is convinced that the reason why strangers are so rude to me is because of that stereotype. Ditto my parents. I try not to think that way because if I did it would mean taking their rudeness as a personal attack and sooner or later it would do my head in.

On the other hand, to quote the Breakfast Club, being bad feels good. But being yelled at by p*ssed off people isn’t. A recent example: during the final weeks of the Biennale of Sydney, I was queuing up for a free ferry back to the CBD from Cockatoo Island. The captain stopped me and all those behind me from getting on the ferry, saying it was full.

A woman from behind me told him she had to get on and proceeded to push past me and head for the ferry. Then a large group of people appeared from nowhere also pleading with the captain to be let on.

“I can only let on five more people,” he said.

“But my kids are on that ferry,” one of them said.

What a stupid woman, I thought. Why the hell weren’t the kids with you in the first place? And who gives you the right to push in?


Seeing that there were more than five of them, I decided to apply the almost-full nightclub bouncers’ rule to my situation. Anyone who ever goes nightclubbing on their own will know that on a busy night they are more likely to get in than a huge group of people. So while the captain continued to talk to the group about what they were going to do, I ran for the ferry.

I was just about to board when he tapped me on the shoulder and told me off for disobeying his instructions.

“You said you could let on five more people,” I yelled back. “Five more people!” I then hopped on, praying he wasn’t going to force me to get off it.

I was surprised I argued back with him; Aspergic me normally would have walked off in silence. Of course, if I had any brains I would also have asked him why he let the other woman jump the queue in the first place.

When I told one of my colleagues what had happened he thought the captain was stupid for not properly monitoring the number of people getting on in the first place and that if he had been me, he would have done exactly the same thing. I know Fred would have.
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