Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Asian cliché

Around once a week my coworkers would bring over something to share at coffee break hours : croissants, chocolate breads, brioches (sweet bread)...Most of the time is for their birthday, or someone leaving the company...

I only go when I really know the person. I'm not a big fan of these pastries especially I have already had my breakfast at home. One day a coworker brought over something and he was asking everyone to join him. It so happened that I was walking back to my office so he stopped me and invited me to go. I reluntantly joined them as I had tons of work to finish.

When we were in the office pantry, he asked me why I never join them for breaks, and I really do fall into the Asian cliché as someone who works too much. And this relatively show that French work less in comparaison. I was taken aback when he threw this question to me. It was not my purpose to show that I work harder than anyone. I do not take break because:
- The vending machine proposes a bunch of coffee drinks except one type of tea and tomato soup. I do not take coffee.
- Most of the time people spend like 30 minutes to chit chat, two breaks/day meaning one hour's gone. Since I need to respect a certain amount of working hours per day, I prefer to spend time enjoying my lunch break, then go home early.
- Sometimes the conversation topics bore me, a lot of bitching, complaining, I prefer conversations that give me positive energies :-).

Frankly it is just a matter of habit. My pace is set at working, lunch break, working, go home. Some people would take several breaks because they couldn't stand to sit down for too long, or some need to go out for a cigarette, everyone is different. Having said so, generally I like my coworkers in the company. I enjoy working here because most of the coworkers are easy going, friendly, there are less office politic... As for Asian cliché, I'm fair from it, I know many Malaysians who work long long hours, I'm more on the French rhythm, 37 hours / week, and I'm so eager to be on summer holidays! :-)


  1. Anonymous4:01 AM

    I'm not sure why this cliché exists in France, and I don't think it exists in Canada. Here, I'd say people can think Asians are good with money and good in science, but not necessarily super hard working.

    Anyway, your reasons are completely legit. I'm the same, when I work, I put my heart into it... because I want to wrap up and do something else after!

    1. This is surprising, when I lived in US there was also a thinking that Asians are hard working, as Asian shops / restaurants open everyday during long hours...students have good grades because they work hard. I didn't know it would be different in Canada since these two countries are so close by (geographically et culturally).

  2. Have you ever encountered any discrimination in France? For example, your idea could be innovative but because they think Chinese are boring and not trained to be creative hence can never come up with brilliant ideas or solutions? South Korean in general think that native speaker or Caucasian makes a better English teacher. Some people really do get privileges just because of their skin color. Do you ever get compared to more advance countries such as Japan or South Korea? Thank you.

    1. No, I have not really encountered discrimination in France due to my skin color. Asians in general are well perceived in France. They work hard and do not cause trouble. No, nobody compares me to Japanese or South Korean. Well, in general they don't know telling the difference between a Malaysian or a Chinese or a Korean...

  3. Those who take more breaks, do they stay back after office hours to fulfill the number of working hours?