5 Differences between Kiwi vs Malaysian-Chinese

Hello all! Today I thought I’d give a little more insight into my life.

The other half is central to today’s post, so let me introduce him.

20140110_120850Say hello to M. Oh and yes, that is me. Do I look like a ninja? This picture was taken during our trip to Korea. As you can see, me and M come from different cultures. He is Kiwi and I am Malaysian-Chinese. Since we started going out there are some things I have noticed we do differently. I think culture plays a role in these differences but not solely. The way we were raised likely plays a role in these differences too.

Disclaimer: These are just things I have noticed between us. It does not apply to everyone.

1. Spoon usage

This is something I have read on another couple’s blog. Phew, guess I am not the only one to have noticed it.

I use a spoon for everything. When I say everything I mean it. The knife hardly makes an appearance on my plate. On the rare occasion it does, it is because I am having a steak. I cut meat with a spoon and scoop up just about anything perfectly fine with the spoon alone. Until this day, M still cannot fathom how I am able to scoop every last bit on my plate without the aid of a fork or knife.

I think it is safe for everyone to assume that M, like most people require the knife and fork. In fact, when we first started going out he ate rice with a fork. This is perfectly normal amongst Kiwi’s but to me it was the weirdest and most inefficient method. How is one suppose to scoop up the grains of rice with a fork?!

He has now moved on to the spoon most of the time but still, he has yet to level up to my ninja spoon skill level.

2. Washing dishes

In fact, we just had a discussion about this last night. So what is this difference?

This is how I do the dishes. Turn on the tap, grab a plate, soap it, rinse it and stack it – repeat.

This is how M did the dishes. Turn on tap, put stopper in the sink, fill sink up with soapy water, wash all dishes in soapy water, take dishes out, drain.

This was me the first time I saw him do dishes. The only thing going through my mind was how all the bacteria was clinging on to those dishes.

Disclaimer: To those who do dishes like M, I am sorry. I still think it is yucky and cannot get over it. But do the dishes your way, whatever floats your boat.

M argues that doing it his way saves water and that the dishes are perfectly clean that way. I suppose that is true and my way is not for the environment loving person. But the bacterial image I have in my head irks me. I am not sure when but at some point he realized (or maybe I told him) that I was not comfortable with that method. So he now does dishes my way at home but I think if we are at his parents, he does them his old way.

3. Hot drinks

Before I met M, I did not have a hot drink after every meal. In fact, I had hot drinks far and few in between.

In Malaysia, I drank everything cold. Iced coffee, milo, tea, horlicks etc etc you name it. When we were young and my grandad made us coffee, he would mix the powder in with 1/4 hot water then top it up with ice cold water. Heck even my first year here. In the dead of winter, I still wanted iced milo. Everything hot felt like it was scalding my tongue.

But in the last 4 years, I have to say I adopted his penchant for a hot cuppa after dinner. It is now our practice to have a hot drink after our meal. I find it quite nice now just to have a cuppa and relax, slowly sipping away. Although, my version of a hot drink is what most people would label as warm – it is a step up from iced drinks at least .


4. Piling food on your plate

Right, the heading sounds terrible. Let me explain.

When you sit down and have tea, my family (and I think most Asian families) would have all the dishes at the center or the table and a plate of rice to each individual. Then we just keep topping up when necessary to go with the rice. Chopsticks and spoons are constantly flying towards the center of the table when we eat.

M likes to have his food plated. Everything portioned to him placed on his plate. Kinda how everything is portioned to you when you eat at a Western restaurant. Even when we have a sit down tea with his family and they pass the dishes around, it seems to be you take what you want, then you start eating. When the plate is empty, you top up.

I think each style has its own merit.  So, we eat the Asian way when we have an Asian styled tea and we eat the Western way when we have Western meals.

5. Calling elders by their first name

I think this is something most people know about. Not all Kiwi families do this but it is not unique to M either.

It took me awhile to get used to when I heard him refer to his mum and dad by their first names. I could never imagine calling my parents by their first names. While they are not strict parents, it would just feel…odd. In fact, I call everyone aunty and uncle. My friend’s parents would be Aunty x and Uncle Y. I think for awhile, M must have thought I was related to everyone I called aunty and uncle.

He eventually cottoned on. But when he first met my family I knew it was difficult because he didn’t know how to address them. It would be rude to address them the way he does with his family but it was also odd to call everyone aunty and uncle. I think we are now in a happy medium with regards to that and my family understands his predicament as well.

I on the other had have gotten comfortable enough to call his parent by their first name. Pretty sure if I did the aunty and uncle thing, they would have thought I was the biggest oddball. I am not sure, but I am pretty sure I called his mum Mrs xxx the first time I met her


So there you have it, these are the 5 things that stick out to me the most. Of course there are many many other things. But hey, every couple have their differences right?

Culture, Difference, M

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