By Wayne Chan, AsAmNews Humorist
After reading the book, “The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People” by Stephen Covey, it had such a profound impact on me that it inspired me to come up with my own list, this one specific for Asian Americans.
It is my sincere hope that the list I’ve come up with will provide some in-sight into the intricate workings of Asian socio-economic dynamics, some helpful hints on how to improve your own productivity, and perhaps most importantly, allow me to sell twelve kajillion books.
In the interests of full disclosure, let me first say that I am an Asian American, who is writing from a particular perspective. Therefore, the opinions that I am about to express may not necessarily represent the opinions of this publication, and certainly not every Asian American family. Having said that, if you do not believe in everything I am about to say, then your mama wears army boots and you are a complete chowderhead.
Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, and without further ado, let me present the definitive list entitled, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Asians.”
Habit Number One: Rice – A staple as well as an adhesive
While rice is a staple crop like potatoes and wheat, it is not widely known outside of the Asian culture that rice also serves as a be-all, end-all of adhesives. Go into any typical Asian home, and it is quite likely that you will not see any tape, glue, or paper clips. As most Asian kids learned at a young age, any time you asked your parents for some tape or glue for a project, they would eventually direct you to the refrigerator and a bowl of leftover rice. Take a few grains of day old rice, mash them together between your fingers, and Voila! Instant glue.
I recently helped my son build a treehouse using nothing more than some lumber, paint, and five bowls of leftover chicken fried rice.
Habit Number Two: Banners – Not necessarily a sign of the times
The next time you visit a Chinese, Vietnamese or other Asian restaurant, be sure to check out the restaurant sign out in front. More likely than not, you will see a “Grand Opening” banner hanging not too far from it. Asians realize that it makes no sense to invest hundreds of dollars on a “Grand Opening” sign only to use it for the first few weeks of a brand new restaurant. No, if it was a good idea to keep the sign up for a few weeks, then it makes even more sense to have the signs up for the long haul.
When I was a kid growing up, I thought the name of my favorite Chinese restaurant was called “Beijing Gardens Grand Opening.” It wasn’t until a few years later that I started to get suspicious when the same restaurant changed its name to “Beijing Gardens Grand Opening Under New Management.”
Habit Number Three: Never judge a seat by its cover
When invited over for dinner in an Asian household, most especially your grandparent’s house, you may notice upon sitting at the formal dining table that all the chairs have the thick, transparent plastic sheet covering the seat of the chair that came with the furniture when you bought it. You may also wonder whether your host may have inadvertently forgotten to remove the cover after they got the dining set home.
This is a common misperception by people who have not closely studied habit number three of the seven habits.
While most people assume the see-through plastic covering is used only to protect the seat fabric while the furniture is in route from the furniture store to your home, it is a little-known fact that this plastic material is an industrial grade product, manufactured to withstand liquid spills, sharp utensils, hot pans, and low-grade nuclear explosions.
My aunt once proudly explained that her dining room seat covers were custom-made using intricately hand-woven silk from a rare silkworm that only lives in one nearly inaccessible area of China. She described the design of the seat covers in great detail, which she had to do by memory since you couldn’t see anything through the faded, now yellow-colored plastic covering the seat.
But take my word for it – if anyone could see under the plastic I’m sure those seat covers would have been beautiful…and pristine.
Habit Number Four: Tea’d off yet squeaky clean
Habit Number Four is a daily ritual performed routinely on the lives of young Asian children throughout the world by their mothers. Asian mothers are convinced that tea is a magic elixir that will not only quench thirst, but is also a natural disinfectant that can clean anything known to man.
It’s the same image the world over – an Asian mom holding a small towel in one hand and a pot of tea in another. Next thing you know, the tea is poured out onto the towel, and whatever the object – tabletop, chopsticks, 57 Chevy, is now clean.
Unfortunately, the object of my mom’s disinfecting skills was often me and my brother. During the course of any meal, you could predict that my mom would eventually pour hot tea onto a napkin and wipe our faces with it. While our faces would certainly end up clean, I’m not sure whether the tea was really effective or whether applying any liquid the temperature of scalding lava to a child’s face would be a good disinfectant since it’s likely to kill germs as well as burn off a few layers of the kid’s epidermis.
I hope these habits will have a positive impact in your life. And for those of you who have noticed that I only got through four of the seven habits, hopefully you’ll be able to find them in my upcoming book.
How else am I going to sell twelve kajillion copies?
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