"Why is your English so good?"
That is the question doctor-turned-comedian Jason Leong and his fellow Malaysian medical students remember being asked when they were studying in Dublin, Ireland more than a decade ago.
Sounds like a harmless question to ask, but in truth, it's just one of many instances where Asians based abroad encounter casual racism from the ignorant subset among Westerners... even until today.
Leong's comment was made in reference to a collection of viral photos from the #ThisIs2016 project initiated by Asian students from Bowdoin College in Maine, US
New York Times editor Michael Luo created the hashtag #ThisIs2016 when he wrote an open letter to a woman who told him to "go back to China" in October. Asian-Americans and Asians of all ethnicities across the nation began sharing their stories of the stereotyping and racial harassment they've endured, some of which were compiled into a video.
The photos, which have been shared by Malaysians and non-Malaysians alike, feature real statements and experiences encountered by the students themselves.
Like Leong, many have been questioned about their command of the English language and made fun of for the supposed "Asian accent":
Some have had their facial features remarked upon and even got manhandled in public...
... While some had their names made fun of
Asian stereotypes are alive and kicking... even in 2016
So are stereotypes linking certain ethnicities to violent activities
What is it with people labelling Asian people as "exotic"?
Or "interrogated" about their ethnicity and place of origin, even though they might have been born and raised right there in the US?
Being confused for another ethnicity is one thing. Being told to "go back to China" or having your heritage dismissed or appropriated, on the other hand...
And then there are people who stubbornly hold on to the narrow view of Asians
Have you studied or worked abroad before? Let us know your thoughts and experiences on how Asian people are perceived in the comments section below.