Ma, Ba, may we talk?: The East Asian dinner table conversation, and what it says about mental health
At 14, you were braiding your younger sister’s hair into a Chinese ladder when Mom called both of you downstairs. It is dinnertime, and your grandparents, parents and older brother are already seated around the table, the thick aroma of pork potstickers and fresh jasmine rice wafting through the kitchen air. And just like an alarm set for 7:15 p.m. every night, Grandma asks your brother if he is ever going to bring home a girlfriend so he can finally give her the great-grandchildren that she has always wanted. You look at your brother, and the two of you laugh nervously. The entire table follows suit, erupting into a light chuckle.
A new study has shown that a majority of Japanese and South Koreans mutually do not trust each other.
Researchers from the Yomiuri Shimbun in Japan and the Hankook Ilbo in Korea found that an astounding 74% of the Japanese people are now distrustful of South Koreans, while 75% of South Koreans felt the same about the Japanese, South China Morning Post reports.
In East Asia, it’s not uncommon to find people fully-dressed on beaches, carrying umbrellas on sunny days, or wearing full face-covering masks in parks. Women in particular go to extreme lengths to achieve pale skin whether it’s through obsessive whitening skin care routines or melanin-reducing injections. But where did all of this come from?
Some western media outlets like to report that this desire to have clear, white skin is a reflection on East Asians wanting to look more European. However, these hypotheses barely scratch the surface when discussing the origin of the pale skin beauty standards.
East Asia is growing old much faster than any other region in the planet — a trend indicative of improved living conditions but also big challenges ahead.
According to the latest data from the United Nations, the median age in East Asia — which consists of China, Hong Kong, Japan, North and South Korea, Macao, Mongolia and Taiwan — is now 38, while the world trails behind at 30.