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Saturday, February 4, 2023


I’m in my late 30s, so I’m more of a millennial than a Gen Z, but recently, my company has been taking more and more interns, who are Gen Z (and mostly chinese), and here’s my experience with them that I cannot comprehend.


During COVID-19, I was working from home, and because of cut back work, I found myself spending a lot more time on Instagram than normal. There were a few posts about how Asians in America were getting spit on, hit, and the likes of it. It’s really upsetting, and in the bottom of the comments section (you know how if someone you followed comments on a post, it’s the first comment that shows up) I see one of my interns commented some lengthy passage about fighting racism against Asians everywhere. I “liked” that comment and “liked” the post, and scrolled on.

In the next batch of interns, (I’ve had 3 batches on interns since that post), the same thing happens. I’m on Instagram, see some post about racism against Asians in America, one of my interns post a lengthy comment (or make a story), I “like” the comment/story and scroll on. There’s this one particular intern that comments about her experience fighting racism where she mentions that her boss (not me) called her “the Chinese one” when referring to her (she very conveniently didn’t mention how there were only 2 interns that day, her and another Indian girl, and the Indian girl was called “the Indian one”). Maybe it’s just me, but I really don’t see how that was remotely racist, or even how she “fought” racism.

Recently, there’s a meme of John Cena going around where he says, “早上好,我喜欢冰淇淋” (bing chilling meme) or something to that effect, and again, one of my interns makes a story about how this is incredibly racist, and how she feels like this is a hate crime against Chinese people and the Chinese language. She then shared a tiktok (completely unrelated to the bing chilling meme) where the creator was sharing her experience growing up in a family who has a heavy PRC accent in America. The creator was clearly very emotional and I felt bad, but my intern shared the story with the caption “We need to stand up for ourselves”.

I don’t know if it’s just me being ignorant, but why are they (my interns who do this) so obsessed with making other people’s experiences their own? The more I think about it, the less it makes sense. Like complaining about racism while living in America makes sense. It’s a famously racist nation where Asians (Chinese people) do get hate crimed. But we live in Singapore, where the majority race is Chinese, so what racism are you (my interns) facing? Why do you need to stand up for yourself? It’s one thing to be empathetic, it’s another thing to impose someone else’s experience on yourself just because you happen to have the same skin tone.


I’ve also noticed that all the experiences I’ve had are with my female Chinese interns (this “trend” of placing Chinese-Americans stories as their own happened a lot of times, I just wrote down the most memorable ones) but I don’t really know what to make of that.

Edit: A lot of people in the comments think that when I say Chinese interns, I’m talking about PRCs. I’m not, these are Singaporean-Chinese interns

Netizens’ comments

  • Playing the victim is very popular these days.
  • A lot of young people nowadays are severely lacking in self-identity so they just blindly ape from whatever’s trending on social media. Maybe you’ve noticed this, maybe not, but successive generations have become more and more insecure about everything in their lives including their self-identity.

    That’s why as you said, you see them blindly latching onto foreign issues and feeling vicarious outrage over things that have nothing to do with them, simply because they think they share something in common with whoever’s on the losing end in whatever shitty situation is happening abroad. We are defined not only by knowing who we are, but also who we are not, and what we stand for/against. Lose that fundamental grounding of self-awareness and confidence in one’s own identity, and suddenly the other legs holding up one’s self-image (who we are not, what we stand for/against) become inflated in importance beyond all reasonable proportion.

    This is not something anybody can help with apart from oneself, in this case the female Chinese interns you mention. I guess this is the real-life manifestation of a description often used on SG Chinese females as “blank sheets of paper” without character or personality (or shallow ones at best): anyone and anything can draw on them and they simply accept it with learned helplessness and zero critical thinking.
  • Imo, the younger generation (Gen Z) are more exposed to social media where they have easy access to look at their peers’ lives. This leads them to compare themselves more with their peers. So they’re more vulnerable to feel insecurities compared to the generations before them.
  • You gotta recognise that they have been living in a bubble all their lives.
    Right now, they are looking outside their bubble, and it is dangerous/offensive to them. Although they are still in a safe space.
    Dude, you can’t change anything. Just stop liking their comments.
  • people just want to be the victim soo badly nowadays. like how everyone self diagnoses themselves- maybe they want pity or sympathy??
    i’ve had friends support BLM and voice out against all the hate crime in US but when i shared my personal racist stories, they turn a blind eye or try to justify the other party.
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