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Jook-sing

Jook-sing (Cantonese for 竹升), or banana, is a pejorative term used to describe Westernized East Asians, particularly Chinese, who have lost or denied themselves their Asian heritage. Jook-sing are virtually all citizens of a Western nations who are descendants of immigrant families. However, some are international students who have spend an extended amount of time overseas. And a minority of first-generation family's Chinese-born children may become extremely acculturated in the West and called "Jook-sing" as well.

"ABC" (from "American-born Chinese") and "CBC" ("Canadian-born Chinese") are more generic terms without negative implications completely.

Table of contents

Etymology

"Jook-sing" literally means "A grain-measuring container made of bamboo". An example of a jook-sing would be sing-dou (升斗). This refers to the fact that bamboos are hollow and compartmentalized, thus water poured in one end does not flow out the other end. The metaphor is that "Jook-sings" are not part of either culture. Some so labeled do not consider the term literal and hence, not derogatory, though many do.

"Banana" is an alternative pejorative term to "Jook-sing" with the same basic connotation. The metaphor is that the person is yellow on the outside but white on the inside. (Some describe the skin colour of the Chinese as yellow.)

Values and cultures

"Jook-sing" usually consider China as the mere cause of their appearance and an abstraction possessed by their parents or ancestors. They may know slightly more about traditional Chinese culture, especially the customs, than many Whites, but they still consider themselves to be solely say, Canadian, in all sense. Nothing more, nothing less.

Some praise the "Jook-sing" for their great pride and patriotism of their birth country. However, most first-generations see them as denying themselves of their identity and shamed by the traditions of their families.

The denial of their themselves' Chineseness is most obvious in a very common childhood fantasy to be born White, or at least have White parents or siblings, so they could avoid the teasing and name-calling of other non-Chinese children at neighbourhoods and schools. However, like most fantasy, by early adulthood, this is usually abandoned and coincided with the beginning of an acceptance and embrace of their heritage.

Some "Jook-sing" adults, however, severe their ties with their families and Chinese communities informally and mingle only with non-Chinese, mostly Whites. They consider their social status and family to be all product of the dominant society, and the Chinese heritage only functions as a setback that they conquered.

Language

Virtually all Jook-sing speak English-accented Chinese mixed with English, with more complex and detailed parts in English, but abstract nouns unique to the Chinese cultures in Chinese. But when they speak English, it contains only slight or no accent, and never is mixed with Chinese words, except proper nouns.

A minority, the "standard" Jook-sing, cannot speak more than a dozen Chinese sentences, and may get very offended when other, of Chinese ancestry or not, assume they have command of Chinese. The feeling of insult parallels to the presumption that all African Americans speak Swahili.

There are also Jook-sing with an understandable command in Chinese who only speaks Chinese with family, but never speak Chinese with their Chinese friends publically.

In addition, some first-generation youth aspire greatly to become deeply acculturated in the West, but still could only speak what other Chinese sarcastically say as "pidgin English". They sometimes are called "Jook-sing" completely out of insult, since they may have partly abandoned or ignored their Chinese heritage as well.

Marriage

Many think that, as a group, virtually all Jook-sing, especially the women, marry Whites. However, many Chinese-born North American women marry non-Chinese as well, although considerably less frequently. Moreover, a minority of Chinese-born Chinese marry Whites as well. In some families, marrying non-Chinese is strongly forbidden or discouraged; other families encourage marrying non-Chinese, but only the Whites; a minority do not dictate either way.

Related terms

"Egg" is a rarely used term, occasionally pejorative, for the symmetric opposite situation: A Caucasian who has acquired Asian culture. Many "eggs" were children who were not popular at school's white circles, but were not rejected by children of Chinese ancestry. Most "eggs" acquired only superficial understanding of Chinese culture, however, and cannot speak more than a dozen sentences in Chinese. A small minority of "eggs" pursue higher education in Asian studies[?].

"FOB" is a pejorative acronym for "Fresh off the Boat" used by ABCs/CBCs to describe recent immigrants. Typically, the recent immigrant doesn't understand the term "FOB" (as they are not fluent in English) and thus don't know when they are being insulted. Conversely ABCs/CBCs typically do understand the term "Jook-sing".

See also: Overseas Chinese, Chinese American, Chinese Canadian, ethnic slur



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