Heisui’s Thoughts: Where are you from? (And of course, where am I from?)

Heisui's ThoughtsOther

One thing that is quite rewarding about being a drama fan & drama blogger is that you get to interact with people from all over the world.  At first when I started my blog, I thought I would mainly get views from North America.  It turns out though, that my blog gets visitors from many different countries, particularly in South East Asia but also in Europe, South America, and even Africa!  O:  Yup, drama fans come from all over and it is kinda mind boggling once you really think about it.

Just to give you a feel for what I mean, here’s a map of my blog stats showing where views came from.  The red & dark orange regions show where the most highly concentrated views are from.

ht-8.1

And to be more specific, here’s the top 10 countries that visitors on my blog came from:

  1. U.S.
  2. Singapore
  3. Malaysia
  4. Canada
  5. Australia
  6. Indonesia
  7. U.K.
  8. Philippines
  9. France
  10. Thailand

Yup, that’s quite the diverse group, eh?  *W*  Of course, it is hard to tell where the majority of frequent visitors come from since that is not measured in my blog stats.  But I can confirm, I have chatted with drama fans from Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, the U.K., France, Indonesia, Hong Kong, etc.  Usually I can’t tell where people come from right away because after all…I can’t hear your accents when I’m reading what you wrote, haha! 😛  I can kinda guess though based on people’s vocabulary or if they randomly mention it in a conversation.  It is always a pleasant surprise when I find out where people are from!

ajw.6

^I come from another dimension that exists in xxxholic.

Anyways of course, I’m going to answer this question myself.  “Where am I from?”  Actually I’m from the U.S. (and I’m currently residing in the U.S. :3)   However if you live in a very multiethnic community you might be used to the double meaning of “Where do you come from?”.  In other words, this question is kinda ambiguous.  When people ask you where you’re from, they could be asking where were you raised or where you live.  But oftentimes when people ask me this, they mean “What ethnicity are you? Where did you COME FROM?”  To which I answer, “I’m a Chinese American.”  Some people may seem a bit surprised since I am very into Asian dramas and Asian pop culture, but actually I have never lived in China; I was born and raised in the U.S.  Also I cannot speak Mandarin or Cantonese since the language wasn’t passed down between generations.

So to me watching Asian dramas is a way of connecting with my heritage.  I don’t want to get all deep right now but the experience of watching dramas (and Chinese dramas in particular) is kind of like the “outside looking in” feeling.  I connect with dramas, I love them, and of course they are a large part of my life since drama-watching is my hobby.  But there will always be the reminder that I am outside looking in, sort of a part of it..but not exactly.  It’s a complicated thing, being a part of two identities.

So, of course this begs the question, where are YOU from?  To be more specific, what country do you live in and what ethnicity are you? While we’re at it, what language(s) do you speak?  😀

*Update: Wow everyone, I am really amazed by all of the great responses I’ve gotten!  It’s so amazing to hear about where you are all from, where you’ve been and where you are.

heisui

I'm heisui, an Asian drama blogger and the creator of My Drama Tea. I love stories and writing, so I watch dramas and blog. I especially have a penchant for Japanese and Chinese dramas, and those hidden gems that are waiting to be discovered. Oh, and I'm Legend of Zhen Huan-obsessed!
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  • Hi Heisui!

    I meant to say a proper hello here but keep forgetting. XD This has been an awesome read, thanks to you and your readers!

    I am almost ‘pureblood’ Chinese, born and raised in Hong Kong till legal, haha, 18 yo. Went to college in US midwest, west coast is now my home. I am told I have a Cali accent very recently, which I was not aware of. In the tiny microcosm of a city like Hong Kong, I have had teachers from all ends of the British Commonwealth growing up, and kids assimilate like sponges. When I was fresh off boat for college, I was greeted by a perpetual question mark on a lot of faces putting a finger on where I was ‘from’. I still occasionally get that treatment from someone too curious to not ask. I think my English back then sounded a lousy imitation of Queen’s English with a heavy twang of Aussie and New Zealand because my favorite highschool English teachers were natives from both countries and my Eng. Lit. teacher through six years of highschool was a Londoner. That was complicated by the fact I got a few cases of curious misconception of Hong Kong as a city in Japan because I looked Japanese to them (and I do not) yet my accent had nothing to do with that region. I think it is common practice still in Hong Kong to regard oneself as HongKonger if you are born and raised or have legal status living there, with the label referring to your ancestry, usually aligning with your paternal grandpa. I identify myself with where all my grandparents originated and it’s a hodgepodge. All of them fled to Hong Kong from different parts of China during WWII and since then they self taught ‘fluent’ Hong Kong Cantonese. My four grandparents are mixes of different mother tongues of dialects and I was blessed to spend a lot of time with them as a very young child. I was immersed in Shanghainese (mother tongue of maternal grandma, who is part British), Hokkien (mother tongue of maternal grandpa who is part Shanghainese), variants of Cantonese: Taishanese (mother tongue of my paternal grandpa who was from a lineage of ‘pure blood Taishanese’ ), Hokshanese + Foshanese (mother tongues of my paternal grandma, but she was raised in GuangZhou and can speak the most perfect ‘proper’ Cantonese of everyone I know) and the most intriguing part is they all have a certain grasp of every dialect above and could communicate in a fluid spectrum, throwing in their unique accented HongKong Cantonese. I have never got a hold of speaking fluently and properly any of their dialects, but I have the listening proficiency. It is easy to be lazy when they can understand my Cantonese. My parents speak ‘authentic’ HK Cantonese with me, depending on what is your interpretation of authentic. Imo they have a hint of their parents’ mother tongues. Some things just stick with you. I speak Cantonese with a very slight weird ‘accent’, I still do and probably it is only noticeable to me but it was my hobby to pick out the ancestry or what is the most influential dialect from someone’s Cantonese back when I was growing up because the majority of the population of Hong Kong are not native natives. The great influx happened post WWII and almost everyone has grannies speaking Cantonese heavily tinged with dialects.

    English is still my second language. I did not use it to communicate at all except for schoolwork until moving to US. I had compulsory Mandarin lessons in grade school (or primary school) but it was a period a week I did not pay attention to for 2 years and nothing stuck when I was bombarded by nothing but Cantonese and English in dramas, movies and music. I studied a year of French at Alliance Francaise for fun as a teenager, retaining nothing much and I picked up a measly amount of Japanese from my Japanese childhood bff since kindergarten.

    • Hi Mookie! Wow I thought you still lived in HK but it turns out I was totally wrong! T__T It’s so interesting how you were exposed to so many different dialects. I knew there are many different dialects but it never occurred to me that a lot of HKers also have an accent from their dialects. O: And WHAT THE HECK, who would think that HK is in Japan?? *MAJOR FACEPALM*

  • Hello!!! Where are you from? is one of the most complicated questions I have to answer. I always say I’m Mexican-American. I was born in US(Texas) but lived for 2 years in California. We moved to Mexico when I was 3 yrs-old and grew up there until I graduated from High School. I returned to Texas for college and lived there for 10 years. After my marriage, Mexico is now the place I live, well sort of, I live in a border town,so I commute daily to work in US…very tiring, LOL. As result of this, at times I wonder what is my real “i’m from..”place so it’s easier to stick with the “Mexican-American”tag. My heritage is mostly of NativeSpanish descent(like most of latin america), part of my family is fair skinblue eyes and the other is mediumdark-skinbrown eyes.
    I know Mexico spanish, english and recently mastered spanglish, which is at times the only way to communicate in the border town where people mixed both languages all time. I’m currently starting to learn Japanese but the kanji is so difficult I don’t know if I will be able to learn it anytime soon. So for now I have only mastered the Arashi writing part(crazy fangirl here).

    • Wow that is quite complicated. O______O I have heard about the border cities in Texas/Mexico, I heard a radio feature on it before and it really fascinated me. Before that I had never really realized how close the Texan/Mexican borders are and how many people commute from Mexico to work in Texas.

      Anyways this is the first time I’ve actually gotten to talk to someone who actually does commute from Mexico to the US! Is it a long commute or an ok drive? It must feel kinda weird to be in two different countries all in one day!

  • Hi Heisui,

    It’s been a long time since I replied to your post! Well, I’m still around but I’ve been lurking, haha.
    Anyways, I’m a Chinese Canadian, but I was born in China. I immigrated to Canada when I was young so my Chinese wasn’t that good at first. Now after years of Asian dramas and Chinese school, I’m basically fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese. The only thing is I can’t write in Chinese although I can read and type. 😛

    • That’s great you were able to improve your Chinese after moving to Canada..instead of forgetting it, lol. And it’s also great you know both Mandarin & Canto! 😀

  • Damn, I read through the comments – every single one! – and wow Heisui, you’re totally right about being surprised at where everyone’s from and how true it is that NO ONE can judge a book by its cover these days! I am constantly fascinated by TCK kids (having lived with one for 2 years recently, after all) and more so by people who look say, South Asian but then turn out to have been raised in EU and so speak French etc. Very, very cool . More so when contrasted to me haha who’s plain.. .Normal? Plain. You know where I’m from, what I speak etc haha so I won’t go into that but I will say I AM surprised you’re actually Chinese American! I’d figured you live on this side of the world too, but would never have guessed you’re Chinese haha. My bad. BTW this section is really the best! If your real self is anything like your online persona, you’re so adorable 🙂 hehe.

    PS Thanks for the comment yesterday, sorry I didn’t reply… We don’t do emofunk phone calls, hence I can’t just call and say nothing. It’s too awkward. It’s a tough transition period right now and I’m coping. (trying, I swear!)

    • Yeah isn’t is such a pleasant surprise (and almost a shock, LOL) to find out where everyone’s from? I could never guess it all, haha. Hmm well I think you are unique considering you have lived in 2 different countries. I’ve only lived in one! >__<

      So you thought I was Asian but not Chinese? LOL. Um well my real self is perhaps not as openly spazzy as my online persona. 😛 I take that as a compliment though thanks!

      Maybe you can have an emofunk call with a close friend then?

      • I call Housemate #1 occasionally (okay, pretty often haha she’s like my emotional cipher) but she’s also so uber-rational it kinda kills me sometimes. You know when you just kinda wanna whine about all the things that’s wrong with the world but the other person just keeps asking you, “And so…?” or “O don’t understand why you’re feeling sad – because they didn’t do X and Y as you thought?” You know what I mean? Yeah she can be like that haha. Hence the crazy jump in depressing entry write-up – back to the writing, trying to make sense of my internal clutter. So in some ways, maybe… thank YOU for listening cos you’d pop in there to read 🙂

  • I have some “inclination” or was it intuition that you’re Chinese, probably because I have a lot of Chinese cousins on my Dad’s side, plus your review of Chinese drama – so I was wondering if I’m right and so I am! 🙂 I’m from the Philippines, settled a bit in Houston, TX then got a job auditing a large oil company and is now traveling such places as Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Turkey, Libya and now at the center of where oil is being harvested in Saudi Arabia (a small place called Ras Tanura – they created an island out of the sea here… ) . Basically I have nothing to do but watch Japanese movies and drama, and I got to know you thru NeeNee via xxxHolic.

    I feel like I can relate to you on a personal level because you’ve been one of the nicest bloggers and now friend I have. I enjoy your reviews very much because (unlike me) you’re spontaneous and funny and serious in equal measures and I feel comfortable expressing myself here. There are other blogs which I find difficult tom open up and here – it feels like everyone is welcome and I think I’m not the only one who thinks that.

    I don’t have an accent – tried to have one but failed. I’m 5’9″ and still insecure about my English… 🙁

    • Well you guessed right! 😀 Unfortunately I guessed wrongly when I imagined you. T_T I don’t know why, I pictured you as a European guy in Texas. Now I need to picture you as a very tall Filipino guy. O__O And wow I didn’t know you moved already, I thought you were still living in Texas! How is it traveling to so many places? Do you get to sight-see or is there no time to? And wow you are on a manmade island. That is really something. O_______O

      Aww thanks Jed. You are a great friend to it’s always so much fun to talk to you. Lol actually I’m not very spontaneous in real life but on my blog I guess I am more spontaneous. >__> “I don’t have an accent – tried to have one but failed. ” << I can't imitate accents either. T___T Which accent did you attempt? Your English is really good by the way.

      • haha You’re not the only one who think I’m European… 🙂 the accent I tried is British, just wanted to follow a friend who resides in London now, he used to be in the Philippines too hahaha Thanks for the comment on my English, that’s a big morale booster… I’m insecure with how I write. 🙂

        Traveling is a great way to see a lot of new things and eat new stuff and dishes! 🙂 I got lots of time, my job got some pressure but after finishing reports there is much time left, so I really love exploring the places – especially Oman, so much history and the ancient places there, like Arabian nights movies… 🙂

        I’m tall probably due to my Chinese blood… lol 🙂

        • Oh yeah, the British accent is always the one that I think sounds really cool. 😛 I think your writing is great. :3

          That’s so awesome you get to try new foods and go sight-seeing after you’re done with work!!! I hope to see some of your travel pics someday! 😀

  • Yeah, I’ve got a very difficult relationship with my name lol. My Chinese family in China can’t roll the r, so when they call me ‘Rose’ it sounds snail or ‘ nosy person’ in Chinese -.-. ( my granddad loves to tease me about it haha and I’ve heard enough puns about too haha) So to Chinese people I introduce myself with my Chinese name as it is easier for them. People not familiar with Chinese names have trouble pronouncing my Chinese name, especially French people because my Chinese name has an H in it and French has a silent H, so when they say my Chinese name ( if they do at all) it sounds like oui or onion in Duth -.- So to Dutch-speaking people or French Belgian I’m Roos. Roos is just how you spell Rose in Dutch ( but peeps have called me ‘roos’ as of rooster) so to Non-speaking Dutch people and Non speaking Chinese people I introduce myself as Rose to avoid confusion, LOL. I think I’ve heard every possible pronounciation of both my Western and Chinese names now haha and more than enough ‘names’ to go by to get an instant identity crisis xD. As to your question, it’s a simple question, but a difficult answer kind of thing haha. I can explain it, but only if you don’t mind a bit of political background to your question haha.

    • Wow I never knew there would be so many differences in how people who speak different languages pronounce your name, LOL. I never thought it would sound like words in other languages either!! SO I guess basically you have Chinese, Dutch, and English names. O__O

  • It’s funny, in my own stats, my top 10 countries are almost exactly the same as yours!

    and lol I think you know already that I’m Dutch, but I theoretically could have been Chinese in my previous life

    so I want a high five also!

  • Hello, Hei Sui! I’m from Canada and I’m Chinese as well. I randomly landed on your blog while I was googling for Chen Qiao En (Joe Chen). I just finished watching her as Dong Fang Bu Bai and I loved it! Anyhow, great blog!! Thank you so much for sharing. 🙂

  • I was born in China and moved to America at the age of 1. I’m sort of like you. My mom speaks Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese but I only speak okay Cantonese. I can’t say that I’m a huge drama fan since I stopped watching dramas frequently. Now I only watch dramas that capture my attention and usually the popular ones don’t do it for me. I found your site through your Zhen Huan posts while I was watching it last year. I had nobody to talk to about this drama because all my friends only like Japanese, Taiwanese and Korean dramas. It’s hard to find a Mainland China drama fan in my group of friends.

    • This year & last year it has taken me a lot longer to find dramas that I actually stick with. I drop way more dramas than I watch now. :'( It’s just hard to find dramas that are unique or are a must-watch. Since I focus a lot on c-dramas, I guess I know a good amount of c-drama bloggers. But in the grand scheme of things, the c-drama fanbase is way smaller compared to the k-drama one.

  • I never really leave comments on blogs but you are just adorable! I live in Sweden, so I speak swedish. My parents are from kurdistan so I also speak kurdish. And of course english (it’s mandatory in Sweden to learn english or else you won’t be able to graduate from high school) right now I’m learning mandarin in university, been studying for almost a year now and I’ve learned quite alot 🙂 I just stumbled across you’r blog googled empresses in the palace, looove that show!

  • Hi Hesui!

    Your recent reflections about drama blogging brought me back to this post! I’m Singaporean Chinese! Do your stats still reflect Singaporean viewership as 2nd? Scrolling through the comments I realised the number of Singaporean comments were not representative of the stats haha. I think we tend to be the silent viewers kind of people as exemplified by me although I’ve been reading every single post of yours for over a year now 🙂

    Those in Singapore who are 40 and below probably speak what we affectionately term as “Singlish” which is a English with a convoluted mix of Mandarin, Hokkien, Malay and other uniquely Singaporean terminology. Around foreigners we will clean up our Singlish to speak “properly” though 🙂

    As Singapore is super multi racial and our grandparents/parents were mostly immigrants from China, India, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia etc, Singlish is our unofficial national language that all races understand and its unique accent means that any Singaporean will recognise a fellow Singaporean anywhere in the world! Its pretty awesome haha.

    Besides it being compulsory to learn English in school, every race will also learn their own mother tongue eg. Chinese learn Mandarin, Malay learn Malay, Indians learn tamil or hindi. Sadly though, the younger generation tend to be not as good with our mother tongue as Singapore is becoming increasingly globalised. Chinese dialects like hokkien, Cantonese, hakka etc are generally only spoken by the older generation and such dialects will likely die out in the future generations of Singaporeans to come 🙁

    I myself only became fluent in Mandarin when I hit university and I can speak basic Hokkien although I am a Hakka by heritage haha. Watching c-dramas actually helped me to pick up Mandarin faster so don’t ever stop or regret drama blogging! Its your blog that introduced me to LZH and the amazing world of c-dramas! I now almost exclusively only watch c-dramas! (previously watched mainly american and korean shows)

    Thank you for your continued blogging and I’ll try to comment more in the future as well! 🙂

    • Hi, great to hear from you from Singapore! Thanks for sharing a bit of what it’s like there. According to my stats, in 2015 most of my visitors came from the US, Singapore, and Malaysia. And I’m glad you’ve found some good c-dramas to watch! 😀

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