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Dishonor on Your Cow: Ways You Have Probably Disappointed Your Ancestors

Chinoy culture comes with a lot of important practices and traditions, and even though you try to follow them diligently, there are just too many to remember. There are times when you don’t act the way you are expected to or forget to do things that are the norm, and although there are rarely any consequences to this, your ancestors might be sighing in disappointment. Here are some ways you might have disappointed your ancestors.

Note: the examples stated in this article should not be taken too seriously. They’re not necessarily do’s and don’ts because they’re only meant to poke fun at real-life experiences.


1. You’re not able to speak in straight Mandarin

Photo from The Conversation

Imagine spending more than ten years learning Mandarin in school, and yet your vocabulary still only consists of “這個” “那個”  “謝謝” and “再見.” You can fake it til you make it if you’re in a school setting or if you’re simply ordering food, but you will expose yourself once a fluent Mandarin speaker tries to converse with you.


2. You don’t know how to use chopsticks

Photo from Matcha

If you’re that person who asks for a spoon and fork at a Chinese restaurant, you better learn how to conquer those chopsticks quickly to avoid incurring the wrath of your ancestors. But even if you know how to use chopsticks, do not, under any circumstances, leave them impaled on your rice. That’s an even quicker way of getting disowned by your ancestors.


3. You don’t know how to cook rice

Photo from mrnigelng on YouTube

Are you that person who only eats rice but doesn’t know how to make it? Have you ever watched those videos of Uncle Roger reacting to poorly made fried rice? Well, that’s how your ancestors would react too if they found out you don’t know how to cook rice, so you better avoid that while you still can. Get yourself a rice cooker, and if you already have one, start figuring out how to use it.


4. You didn’t fight to pay the bill

Photo from SBS

It’s the standard procedure after dining out. Someone will volunteer to pay the bill, but you shouldn’t let it go that easily. Fight for it if you have to. Engage in tug-of-war or make a beeline for the payment counter in lieu of going to the bathroom. Winning the sneaky-payment game might not necessarily make your ancestors proud, but at least you won’t be a disappointment either.


5. You’re the first one to get food from the Lazy Susan

Photo from Wikipedia

This is also another standard procedure when eating at restaurants. When the food is served on the Lazy Susan, there’s always a moment where your relatives or friends are pushing the dishes back and forth in an attempt to let others get the food. Try not to be the first, especially when you’re the younger one. Just let the Lazy Susan spin around like a rotisserie chicken for hours if no one makes the first move.


6. You didn’t receive something using two hands

Photo from Hi Expat

When someone, especially an elder, gives something to you, you better receive it with both hands to show respect. When you use one hand to receive something, it doesn’t matter if you smile or say thank you. Your ancestors are frowning upon you already.


7. You spend more time thinking about Shopee sales rather than starting a business

Photo from The Science Survey

Chinoys have always been known to be business-minded, so you’re probably expected to constantly be on the lookout for new business opportunities. And yet here you are, adding more products to your Shopee cart even though you’re still waiting for your previous orders to arrive. Try to imagine your ancestors hovering over your shoulder the next time you’re planning to spend money.

8. You’re not good at math

Photo from Kumon

Being a math wizard is  probably the biggest Chinoy stereotype of all time, but perhaps there’s some truth to it. After all, Chinoy kids have always been subjected to Kumon training during summer breaks. You’d expect them to be good with numbers, and yet there are some people (like me) who can’t even do basic math without a calculator.


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