10 Annoying Things 'Bananas' Have To Put Up With Because They’re "Not Chinese Enough"

"You're not a real Chinese!"

Cover image via Teo Heng KTV Studio / SAYS

Those of us who grew up as 'bananas' probably have little to no knowledge of the Mandarin language and Chinese dialects. Hoo boy, we sure get a lot of flak from our Chinese-speaking relatives and friends because of that!

What's a 'banana'? It is typically used to describe a Chinese person was born into a Western environment and are more inclined towards ang moh culture, identities, and values compared to traditional Chinese ones a.k.a. yellow on the outside, white on the inside.

'Bananas' usually consider English to be their primary language of communication and are not fluent in Mandarin or any Chinese dialect (if at all).

While we wholly admit that we're not Cina enough, but we sure wish they'd stop doing these:

1. Asking the same questions everyone else does e.g. "You're Chinese, how come you don't know how to speak Mandarin?"

"What do your parents speak at home? You mean they never speak to you in Mandarin/Hokkien/Cantonese/etc. one ah?"

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2. Occasionally followed by "You should know your roots!" and/or "You're not a real Chinese!"

What do you even mean by "real Chinese"...?

Image via ABC

3. "Do you know how to say your Chinese name?" "Yes." "Do you know how to write your Chinese name?"

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4. Assuming that we're Christian or don't celebrate Chinese New Year because we're so... "westernised"

We're still Chinese and very much attracted to fat angpows, thank you very much.

5. Getting the "respect your elders" lecture when we don't address our uncles and aunties by their ranks

Here's the thing - uncles and aunts of both sides of the family are supposed to be addressed in different ways according to dialect and their relation to you. For example, in Hokkien, your mother's sister is addressed as 'yi poh', while your father's sister is addressed as 'ah kor'. CONFUSING OR NOT, YOU TELL ME?

A not-quite-comprehensive list of our uncles and aunts' ranks according to dialect.

Image via Cilisos /

6. Making us recite Chinese phrases and then laughing non-stop when the words come out wrong

"Wah, your Chinese REALLY CANNOT PAKAI ONE HOR." *continues laughing their butts off*

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7. Cracking jokes in Mandarin or a Chinese dialect and when you ask them what it means, they always say "Aiyah, you don't know one lah!"

Image via iFunny

8. Deliberately talking to us in Mandarin ("that's how you learn!") then assuming we're hao lien (snobbish) when we refuse

9. Choosing ALL THE CHINESE SONGS when we go for karaoke

We'll just... sit awkwardly to the side then. :(

10. Insist on having Chinese subtitles instead of English or Malay subtitles when we're watching a Chinese movie or TV drama

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In case you're wondering why they can't co-exist, the English or Malay subtitles (usually encased in black boxes) might block over the Chinese subtitles. #BasedOnMyTrueStory

'Bananas', what are some soul-crushing things you've experienced for not being "Chinese enough"? Let us know in the comments below!

In the meantime, find out how much 'banana' DNA you actually have:

Or watch our 'banana' colleagues hilariously butcher CNY greetings (welp!):

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