Asian Kid Self-Censorship Syndrome

I was emailing my cousin D an SNL clip on YouTube, that was a little raunchy. In my email I confessed that I would have put the video on the blog if my mum, aunts and uncles were not a huge part of my loyal fan-base. It would just feel really awkward. My cousin wrote back saying that this is a topic I should definitely blog about. Why do we Asian kids, not matter how old we are, feel a need to censor ourselves?

Our parents did it as well, with their parents. When we were teens, my grandmother used to think that we came home straight after school and never went out any later than 6pm – basically when it got dark. My sister and I used to come home at midnight, but my mum let my grandma have this illusion of us being angelic, goody two shoes from another era. My mum would be the one who got scolded if my grandma knew otherwise. It was all pretty funny to me when I was a kid, that my mum had to censor so much information.

I tell my mum everything. But somehow, I feel compelled to censor, raunchy stuff. Like I don’t blog about stuff that is too sexy that she or my uncles or aunts would be uncomfortable viewing. The one time I posted a too sexy picture, she rated it low. So the low ratings you see are my mum. The top ratings you see are also my mum. The majority of hits I get are also my mum.

I tease my mum that she’s too innocent to watch some movies – meaning those with nudity and sex scenes. The reality is, I feel uncomfortable too. If my mum comes into the room while I am watching something not PG on the computer, then I will need to collapse the screen. Once my cousin was showing me this R rated YouTube video in another aunt’s house and I was so nervous about it. I kept telling her, someone’s gonna walk by any moment now. In a way my mum is like this innocent creature to me while I am the majorly corrupt one. It’s absurd I know, but that’s how it is for Asian kids. It doesn’t matter if we’re twenty, fourty or sixty. Well at least in my family. I think we are very much repressed too, but that’s a whole other story.

Another incident was when we went with a few cousins and my aunt to a Kumar show at the Boom Boom room years ago. My aunt had no idea how incredibly raunchy it would be. She was so uncomfortable and felt it was crude, but the rest of us really enjoyed it. Although we giggled about it, we felt sorry for my aunt though. I guess we are quite protective that way.

My mum and aunts are really a whole lot more innocent as their lives were very sheltered. They have never uttered a swear word in their lives. My mum just says idiot when she gets mad at rude drivers, and my aunt says fool. I only learnt swear words when I started working. Before that I had completely no idea and was quite innocent myself. What they call ‘green’ in Singapore.

When my mum accidentally sees too much sexiness on screen she likes to makes this rhetorical statement, “What is this rubbish”, which makes my sister and me, hysterical. On another note, my mum and aunts watch Tamil and Hindi movies that are a whole lot more suggestive. There is no kissing, but the amount of bodily contact and almost touching of boobs and butts, makes them tantamount to porn, in my opinion. But it’s part of the song and dance, so I guess it’s ok to her although recently she did admit that these scenes are getting increasingly crude and ‘fast forwards’ them.

What is it like in your family? Is this really an Asian phenomenon or a universal one. This spoof I saw, with Andy Samberg and Jane Lynch on SNL makes me think it might be more universal than I think? I would love to hear your thoughts.


About bookjunkie

Blogging about life in Singapore & recently cancer too.
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7 Responses to Asian Kid Self-Censorship Syndrome

  1. I think that’s sweet that you keep your swear words down to a minimum and are concerned about your video ratings. You are funny when you say your mom gave you the high and low rating.

    You know why? Some days I feel like my mom is my only blog reader too. I suppose we know that through thick and thin family is just ALWAYS there for us.

    In the mean time, in Italy we see naked women, some times full frontal nudity to sell anything and everything from ice cream to cars to kids’ toys for all I know. (j/k)

    I think being exposed to images at a young age makes kids desensitized and in the long run MIGHT be healthier than trying to hide things.

    At the same time I think we can all learn a lesson from your mom and curve our languare.


    • bookjunkie says:

      Wow that sounds interesting. Wish you had a picture, but I think that would be a hard one to take and post. Seriously they sell stuff to kids? That would be culture shock to me, but fascinating.

  2. These are some great thoughts!
    For me, it comes down to respect. If I know that something is going to make my Mom uncomfortable, I avoid it out of respect for her feelings.
    But it may be a generation thing because my teens have no problem watching all the “reality trash” with me!

  3. thinkpinktoo says:

    The weird thing about this whole self-censorship thing is that it kind of happens both ways… Like our parents still shielding us from things although we are well into adulthood because they think we can’t handle it although we are well into adulthood… and us censoring things about sex, drugs etc from our parents because we think they are too innocent to handle it….

    It would be a very different world if we weren’t all so repressed… 😛

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