It’s Hard Out There For An Indian Idol

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been keeping up with Indian Idol fairly religiously. (You can catch up on all the episodes here, if you’re so inclined.) I don’t even understand Hindi all that well, but I love the music, the contestants are entertaining to watch, and the show doesn’t take itself nearly as seriously as American Idol does. Needless to say, I’m hooked.

I’m already placing my bets on one contestant in particular — Meiyang Chang. Unlike the other contestants I’ve seen (even those on American Idol), I actually feel moved by his voice. He’s that impressive. Not to mention that he’s also articulate, he writes well, and he looks good in fitted t-shirts. He’s quickly attracted a steady following.

Yet despite his appeal, the show is fairly obsessed with reminding us brown people that Chang is (gasp!) not quite one of “us.” Although Chang was born and raised in India, the Indian Idol website promotes him as the “contestant from China.” The show’s co-host first introduced him by stating, “His surname is Chinese, but his heart is Indian.” Even more embarrassing is this condescending exchange between the judges and Chang during the duet round, in which Anu Malik tells him, “You’ve just proven that music knows no language.” Thanks, Indian Idol, I had no idea that Chinese people could actually sing.

I can only imagine the sort of outrage that would follow in our community had the producers of American Idol promoted Sanjaya as “The Indian,” “The Contestant from India,” or “The Brown Guy Who’s Really an American at Heart.” But I have to give credit to Chang, though — in spite of the ignorant comments, he only smiles and nods, never protesting or showing frustration. Poor guy. And I thought I had it rough growing up in southern California.

Here’s a clip from the theater rounds:

198 thoughts on “It’s Hard Out There For An Indian Idol

  1. i’m pretty sure they meant DBDs, because it was by nationality, but as far as who they had in mind when they were thinking of americans, no clue…

  2. did anybody hear about the recent expedia survey that rated indians as the second worst travelers (after the french)?

    I don’t know about surveys, but I have experienced this firsthand. Basically, I don’t think desi passengers follow rules or directions very well.

    At the airport on a flight back to the US from India, there was a layover in Europe. It was actually a new flight, so they gave us new boarding passes with new seat numbers, etc. You know the drill. Well, the minute the gate opened, most of the desi passengers just rushed forward en masse, totally disregarding any of those row number announcements. Some old woman even shoved me out of line so she could get in ahead of me! Total chaos…

  3. I don’t know about surveys, but I have experienced this firsthand. Basically, I don’t think desi passengers follow rules or directions very well. At the airport on a flight back to the US from India, there was a layover in Europe. It was actually a new flight, so they gave us new boarding passes with new seat numbers, etc. You know the drill. Well, the minute the gate opened, most of the desi passengers just rushed forward en masse, totally disregarding any of those row number announcements. Some old woman even shoved me out of line so she could get in ahead of me! Total chaos…

    Are you talking about Lufthansa in Frankfurt? I just do not understand why the pursers/stewardesses do not actually enforce their announcements by checking the boarding passes.

    There are always people jockeying for position in every group. If there is no enforcement, then it is always going to be a race to the bottom because the meek will only find filled overhead compartments with no place to put their luggage.

    FOBs or ABCDs? Because the former smell, and the latter, well, they are supercilious. Like Le French. 151 · ak on June 5, 2007 08:16 PM · Direct link i’m pretty sure they meant DBDs, because it was by nationality, but as far as who they had in mind when they were thinking of americans, no clue…

    Well, I’m glad we beat out the Japanese on this one, after years of effort. India Shining!

    And, if we are going to start creating terminology, here’s one of my pet peeves – the use of the word Asians to refer exclusively to East Asians in the U.S. I suggest we own the term “Macaucasians” to refer to people from the subcontinent.

  4. Are you talking about Lufthansa in Frankfurt?

    Yep, it was in Frankfurt. Now that I think about it, I’ve never experienced the whole jockeying for seats business at Heathrow or in Amsterdam, so maybe it is a lack of enforcement by the Lufthansa staff.

    Funnily enough, boarding in India itself doesn’t seem to present all these problems.

  5. NRI or western origin= no culture,(< b>if femaleb>) -definitely a slut, probably imperialist racist, comic relief)….so the “other” Indians are played out to be not only “NOT REALLY” Indian but on top of that to be quite ridiculous altogether….just what the REAL Indian is…is a bit of a mystery….

    Yep, my experience too.

  6. NRI or western origin= no culture,(if female) -definitely a slut, probably imperialist racist, comic relief)….so the “other” Indians are played out to be not only “NOT REALLY” Indian but on top of that to be quite ridiculous altogether….just what the REAL Indian is…is a bit of a mystery….

  7. Prema, Boy are you one self-hating self-pitying brown person. Desis are the most disrespected people on the planet, umm how did you arrive at that conclusion. Is it because the some East Asians hate us? Well some E.Asians hate other E.Asians. Japanese look down on Koreans and Chinese, Chinese on Filipinos, Malays on Chinese etc…etc. The thing is pretty much there is bad-blood if you will between various Asian nationalities. Contrary to this, I have traveled many times in the US and international flights, never once was I mistreated,neither were any of my DBD friends. Give up your self-hate and self-pity.

  8. Basically, I don’t think desi passengers follow rules or directions very well.

    Hema, you clearly follow baseball.

    Although, as your response #154 indicates, maybe it is not a desi thing but poor crowd control.

  9. And, ak #151, I was, of course, being tongue-in-cheek with my FOB/ABCD generalizations (in the second half of #153 too). I’m sure there are one or two here and there that don’t meet the stereotypes.

  10. Desis are the most disrespected people on the planet, umm how did you arrive at that conclusion.

    Seriously, I thought this was a ridiculous statement! As well as a useless one. How does one go about deciding if the Chinese are more disrespected or the Brazilians or the Americans? Just a useless statement.

    I can tell you so many instances in Taiwan, some of which I’ve already alluded to, where even as a small minority, desis are looked up to. And I can give you many exs of where Taiwanese hated on the Japanese and other East Asians. It was ironic to me flying on the Thai airplane, seeing how the Thai crew was acting, when just a few months ago I’d been in Taiwan, and let me tell you the Thai in Taiwan are really looked down on. My Vietnamese-American friend complained to me how much she felt the Taiwanese were arrogant toward other Asians.

    Anyways making such flagrant useless statements, like “so and so are the most disrespected” is probably on Prema’s part, a way to equalize the many desis she’s encountered who think too high of themselves – and here I’m only guessing Prema’s thinking to making such a statement.

  11. Desis are the most disrespected people on the planet, umm how did you arrive at that conclusion. Seriously, I thought this was a ridiculous statement! As well as a useless one. How does one go about deciding if the Chinese are more disrespected or the Brazilians or the Americans? Just a useless statement.

    Well, if you respected desis, would you be dissing Prema like this? Just proving her point, you are. Yes, Yoda like, I am.

  12. At the airport on a flight back to the US from India, there was a layover in Europe. It was actually a new flight, so they gave us new boarding passes with new seat numbers, etc. You know the drill. Well, the minute the gate opened, most of the desi passengers just rushed forward en masse, totally disregarding any of those row number announcements. Some old woman even shoved me out of line so she could get in ahead of me! Total chaos..

    hema, I’ve found this is particular to Air India flight (or other “asiatic” airlines), rather, they won’t pull this sh*t on a British Airways flight, could possibly be because the passenger manifest isn’t majority desi, but say a BA flight from Bangalore to London to Newark is still predominantly desi, it’s weird, they still won’t pull this crap.

  13. Of course, in an ideal world noone should be subject to racism. But in reality, what can one do??

    Too bad you weren’t around to advise Malcolm and Martin.

  14. I can tell you so many instances in Taiwan, some of which I’ve already alluded to, where even as a small minority, desis are looked up to

    You are suffering from the usual desi delusion, denial, naivety, and irrationality. A few posts back you wrote about your experience in Taiwan:

    then rubbing their skin on their arm and they would intimate that my skin color was no good. Funny….I felt I was ready for this b/c I got the same crap among non-pc Indians. I was protected from a lot of outright racism b/c I was an American citizen and an English teacher…; I think it would have been very difficult, whatever anyone thought about my looks, if I wasn’t an American citizen and dark-skinned.

    Its just incredible that you are clueless enough to think that people who tell you to your face that your “skin color was no good” are “looking up” to you! East and south-east asians also rub their noses and their bellies in front of desis, signifying their contempt for the poor hygiene and rampant hunger in the subcontinent.

    Yes the chinese also look down on malays, thais etc……and the malays and thais look down on indians. Desis rank at the bottom of the hierarchy as the poorest and blackest people of Asia. Colorism is an international phenomenon in this age. In Dubai, Kuwait etc the arabs treat Bangladeshis with more contempt than Filipinos, despite the fact that they are fellow muslims while the Filipinos are catholics.

    You cant expect the world to respect desis as a people as long as the Indian subcontinent remains a land of horrible poverty, hunger, filth and human suffering.

  15. East and south-east asians also rub their noses and their bellies in front of desis, signifying their contempt for the poor hygiene and rampant hunger in the subcontinent.

    They also do a dance where they hop from foot to foot while alternately beating their thighs and biceps, and putting their palm against their mouth, to reflect their contempt of casteism.

    After all, the Vedas do say “The Brahmana was his mouth, the Kshatriya formed his arms, the Vaishya his thighs; the Shudia was born from his feet.”

  16. You cant expect the world to respect desis as a people as long as the Indian subcontinent remains a land of horrible poverty, hunger, filth and human suffering.

    money doesnt really solve colorism. If people are looking down on you cause your too brown, being a rich brown doesnt change their mind.

  17. Oh Prema – it is you who are delusional on this.

    You are so adamant that Desis are looked down upon to make up for the fact that lots of desis think highly of themselves. You are so delusional…that you create the opposite situation – which is desis are so looked down upon by everyone. What a joke!

    There’s no use in fighting arrogant desis with flagrant generalizations of how desis are looked down upon.

    Please, like I said Desis are the most disrespected people on the planet, umm how did you arrive at that conclusion. Seriously, I thought this was a ridiculous statement! As well as a useless one. How does one go about deciding if the Chinese are more disrespected or the Brazilians or the Americans? Just a useless statement

    Life is pretty complicated even in the desis-are-bottom of the hierarchy world you try so hard to prove (w/o any proof) to fight the arrogant desis who think desis are better than everyone. Your generalizations that desis suck are just as bad as the blind, India “shining” people.


    can tell you so many instances in Taiwan, some of which I’ve already alluded to, where even as a small minority, desis are looked up to

    PREMA says – You are suffering from the usual desi delusion, denial, naivety, and irrationality. A few posts back you wrote about your experience in Taiwan:

    then rubbing their skin on their arm and they would intimate that my skin color was no good. Funny….I felt I was readyI was for this b/c I got the same crap among non-pc Indians. protected from a lot of outright racism b/c I was an American citizen and an English teacher…; I think it would have been very difficult, whatever anyone thought about my looks, if I wasn’t an American citizen and dark-skinned.

    THEN PREMA says -
    Its just incredible that you are clueless enough to think that people who tell you to your face that your “skin color was no good” are “looking up” to you!

    What an ignorant statement — Guess what Prema? My poor fellow white teacher colleagues got all the time to their face, that they were too fat and would overhear (b/c they could understand Mandarin)that they were ugly. Oh, I guess that means that all white people are spat upon in Taiwan.

    Don’t use my quotes for your campaign to state how desis suck — Your campaign is just as ignorant as those desis that close their eyes to problems within our community.

    For me to say that desis are treated like crap in Taiwan, would be lie and would do disservice to the lovely people I met there and the good that is in their culture. I have acknowledged that dark skin isn’t considered premium and I’ve also acknowledged other factors. Do you know how many times I heard, “Indians are so successful” or “indians are so beautiful”.

    Prema, if your going to rant and rave w/o a sense of reality than your not enlightening anyone.

  18. rahul – i got your humour, except that isn’t it true that some people might think of both ABDs and DBDs in answering the survey? from that aspect, it doesn’t matter whether people fit the stereotype – it matters that other people still believe in the stereotype. plus, the survey itself is geared towards creating some sort of stereotype about ethnicities/nationalities – otherwise, why the generalization of entire people?

  19. Do you know how many times I heard, “Indians are so successful” or “indians are so beautiful”.

    Oh yeah Prema, and I heard the above niceties in Taiwan — wow according to your logic, that must mean all Taiwanses think desis are the bomb – Like I said life is pretty complicated.

    If I just brought up crap that I heard in Taiwan about desis, would that make your day?

  20. And I can give you many exs of where Taiwanese hated on the Japanese and other East Asians.

    Really, so how many Taiwenese people have you dated, that hate on Japanese and other East Asians? To produce all these ex’s I mean.

  21. See, I thought that, but then I thought you meant to say, “examples of people I dated” but it’s like good you cleared it up.

  22. HMF – this attitude I got a lot from my Taiwanese friends, some of whom I got very close to and visited their family’s home; there seems to be, at least from my experience with my friends, a lot of anger towards the Japanese, stemming from their treatment of other Asians during WWII.

    And at the same time, they were (and to me understandably) angry at China and seemed to look down on mainland China as poor and backward.

  23. Puliogre in Post#168 is right. Money doesn’t solve anti-brown colorism (or any other prejudice). Effective propaganda solves prejudice. Rich desis would be wise to invest portions of their wealth in effective propaganda. But I don’t think sepiamutiny regulars need to be lectured on that.

  24. Being a southie, I’ve heard a lot of racist shit from north indians about my hindi, patriotism, etc. It isn’t that uncommon among indians.

  25. I suggest we own the term “Macaucasians” to refer to people from the subcontinent.

    Wouldn’t that start a northern/southern race war, though? :)

  26. What an ignorant statement — Guess what Prema? My poor fellow white teacher colleagues got all the time to their face, that they were too fat and would overhear (b/c they could understand Mandarin)that they were ugly. Oh, I guess that means that all white people are spat upon in Taiwan.

    Look, calm down and use your common sense. Its illogical of you to say that these whites were being called ugly “to their face” when the words were said in mandarin with the assumption that they could not understand it. Thats the equivalent of insulting “behind their backs” not “to their face” as they insulted you.

    The taiwanese do not look down on the highly successful japanese and whites as they look down on indians (and malays, africans etc). Its laughably idiotic to try to lump desis with whites and japanese. Like many desis you delude yourself in thinking that the global status of Indians is higher than it actually is. When you write self-aggrandizing nonsense like “desis are looked up to” you deserve a harsh reality check.

    I can give you many exs of where Taiwanese hated on the Japanese and other East Asians.

    More ignorance. The taiwanese are the most japanophilic among the (non-japanese) east asians.

  27. Prema – the only one who is ignorant is you. I’m not sure why I should go on about this — I’m sure you realize your illogical nonsense and uselessness of statements that “desis are the bottom of the hierarchy”;

    Look, calm down and use your common sense. Its illogical of you to say that these whites were being called ugly “to their face” when the words were said in mandarin with the assumption that they could not understand it. Thats the equivalent of insulting “behind their backs” not “to their face” as they insulted you.

    Who the hell cares if they insulted them behind their backs or to their face – They insulted them to their face that they were fat – it’s funny how you try to ignore that.

    Its laughably idiotic to try to lump desis with whites and japanese. Like many desis you delude yourself in thinking that the global status of Indians is higher than it

    You really make me cringe. I don’t know what the global status of Indians is…I am saying your comment is stupid about Indian being-at-the-bottom – a lot of self-hate and a lot of hyperboles to somehow overcome the arrogance of some Indians.

    And then the way you try to prove that Indians-are-at-the-bottom crap statment is to misuse my personal experiences in Taiwan — like I have shared I have personal experiences that express the opposite and that is to show the idiocy of your logic.

    Its laughably idiotic to try to lump desis with whites and japanese. Like many desis you delude yourself in thinking that the global status of Indians is higher than it actually is.

    This statement is cringeworthy idiotic. “lump desis with whites and japanese”; “global status of indians higher” – who the hell is trying to do that? No, Prema I’m trying to show the salient idiocy of your sweeping statement that indian are at the bottom crap.

    If you are really interested in helping enlighten people to problems within Indian society I suggest you calm down and make some sense. Otherwise it’ll go the way of the sweeping generalizations of the poor Korean-guy-who loses-his-girlfriend-to-a-white.

    When you write self-aggrandizing nonsense like “desis are looked up to” you deserve a harsh reality check. – Your not giving me or anyone a reality check, b/c unfortunately you do not present any reality with your sweeping self-hate useless statements trying to prove Indians are crap.

  28. Wouldn’t that (Macaucasians) start a northern/southern race war, though? :)

    See, the macaca part refers to Dravidians, like the monkeys from Ramayana. And the caucasians part refers to the North Indians, because they are just the product of an Aryan invasion. So, the term is all-encompassing, and everybody’s, er, happy, right?

  29. the only one who is ignorant is you.

    Right. Its ignorant of me to point out the obvious: that in a world where prosperity and skin color are metrics that assign status, desis, who are the darkest-skinned of asians and the most impoverished, are also the most disrespected. But according to you indians are “looked up to” by the far lighter and far wealthier taiwanese!

    I have personal experiences that express the opposite and that is to show the idiocy of your logic.

    Here’s the idiocy of your own logic, exposed in your own words:

    then rubbing their skin on their arm and they would intimate that my skin color was no good……I was protected from a lot of outright racism b/c I was an American citizen and an English teacher…; I think it would have been very difficult, whatever anyone thought about my looks, if I wasn’t an American citizen
    I can tell you so many instances in Taiwan, some of which I’ve already alluded to, where even as a small minority, desis are looked up to

    You are just being naive, gullible and delusional. On the one hand you acknowledge taiwanese racism towards dark-skinned races and on the other you idiotically claim that they look up to indians!

    This statement is cringeworthy idiotic. “lump desis with whites and japanese”; “global status of indians higher” – who the hell is trying to do that?

    What else were you doing when you tried to compare the disrespect you received to what whites and japanese also supposedly receive, and concluded that I was wrong to say that desis have a lower status than them? Get real. Whites have a much higher status across Asia and the world including in India. Indians, including NRIs, get less respect even on Indian airlines and in Indian hotels than white foreigners, and the story is the same across Asia. In your own words:

    the Thai crew were kissing the white people’s asses. The Indians, they were oblivious to

    This is the harsh reality across Asia (including India) and across the world. To deny obvious facts serves what purpose?

  30. Money doesn’t solve anti-brown colorism (or any other prejudice). Effective propaganda solves prejudice. Rich desis would be wise to invest portions of their wealth in effective propaganda. But I don’t think sepiamutiny regulars need to be lectured on that.

    You mean propaganda like “India is Shining; the world is in awe of us”; “India is an IT Superpower”; “Amazing India”; “Indian-americans dominate science and technology in America” and other such BS? Such silly lies keep fooling only indians.

    Wealthy desis would do better with their money by investing in businesses in south asia; and funding schools, hospitals and charitable foundations.

  31. Prema

    Desis are definitely the most disrespected people on the planet. Its not just in east or south-east asia. You have to wonder if it is karmic payback, since desis themselves disrespect each other even more based on casteism, colorism, lingualism, regionalism etc.

    You are so INCREDIBLY correct. Desis are DEFINITELY the most horrible people in the world. I am personally glad that they are the most disrespected, this will pay them back for 1000s of years of being horrible. Also have you smelled their kitchens? Yuck, that alone is a good reason to be rude to them.

    I am only sorry there isn’t a hitler-like figure who would teach desis a lesson just like the jews. Wouldnt that be a really nice payback for the fascist, casteist, colorist, regionalist, lingualist and just plain disgusting desis??

  32. You are just being naive, gullible and delusional. On the one hand you acknowledge taiwanese racism towards dark-skinned races and on the other you idiotically claim that they look up to indians!

    you are obviously digging yourself deeper into your own ignorant logic – Why do you think that they are mutually exclusive. I’ve noticed the same crap happening all the time in India -

    As OSN claims, she experienced a lot of harrassment looking different as Chinese-Indian, yet I’ve met desis who admire characteristics that they stereotype Chinese as having and at the same time tell me that they don’t like smaller eyes. For the Tiawanese man who sold me my egg and noodles I had 5 people tell me how much they admired Indians — either way, it was nice to hear but i also know how easily these things can change; maybe they were saying it to sound nice to my face, then again maybe that’s how they really felt; – I didn’t take these things too seriously, only I realize the world is complicated and people are much more intelligent than you give them credit for. You are right on par with the blind, India “shining” people.

    Another situation that illustrates the point – I’m with my family in India and they’ll say some nice trait about Jewish people and then say something stereotypically negative.

    Prema – your statement is useless – face it. And your only deluding yourself if you think Taiwanese do not negatively stereotype Japanese — unless of course my experience living there for year is just hogwash. And you continually ignore what I tell you all the good things I heard about Indians.

    The reason I want to present these different experiences, both good and bad, b/c I don’t want my experience in East Asia to be stereotyped to what people like you already have in your head. That’s just not true. I’m sure you would love it if I told you everyday that I was spat on and called ugly and told Indians stink and people rubbed their tummies to me (lol!) all the time, but that’s not the reality I experience. And as I told you, it would be wrong of me to paint it otherwise.

    By the way, I’m on the board of a Vietnamese-American org, where I’m at, and my close friend is the ED, and I’ve heard from people within the org about the whole Indians are model minority crap. From their perspective they see Indian-Americans as very successful and as the ED said, “we have a long way to go for the success of the INdian community”. Wow Prema, can you believe that the Vietnamese-Americans aren’t so stupidly blinded by colorism, despite and let me quote you, that in a world where prosperity and skin color are metrics that assign status, desis, who are the darkest-skinned of asians and the most impoverished, are also the most disrespected. that people could actually admire desis. I guess that some Asians aren’t as ignorant as you.

    I realize you will ignore realities like that – that just doesn’t fit into your world where Indians are seen as the scum of Asia (as I have asked you what proof do you have? and what is the point of your statement? I think it reflects so negatively on the rest of Asia – like as if they are some rabid, prejudicial idiots that read from your hot-headed Korean male manual). As I pointed to the Viet-Am ED, that the whole success of Indians shouldn’t be stereotyped – I pointed out to her that the only Indians that were initially let into the country could only be professionals so that adds a lot to their apparent “success” in this country and it’s different in other countries that had different immigration rules and as for Viet-Amers immigrants – they are immigrants who were running away from a war-torn nation and find themselves in a completely different socio-economic situation than the large number of desis that entered this country with phds.

    It’s unfortunate Prema you can’t tone down your rabid, delusionary, raging, b/c I know underneath a lot of crap there’s a lot of intelligent stuff you pull out of your butt.

  33. sorry, wasn’t quite clear! Let me rewrite part of above:

    For the Tiawanese man who sold me my egg and noodles (and rubbed his arm to tell me he didn’t like my skin color and at the same time tell me I was “pyow lien” (means pretty)) I had 5 people tell me how much they admired Indians — either way, it was nice to hear but i also know how easily these things can change;

  34. karmic payback, since desis themselves disrespect each other even more based on casteism, colorism, lingualism, regionalism etc.

    And this statement just I guess wishful thinking on your part. you’d love it if the rest of Asia practiced love and peace and Indians are the only ones troubled with prejudice. You hold China as an example — a country that institutionalized killing its own people – you should read Chairman’s Mao’s biography Prema.

    Oh by the way, notice the title of this blog…. “hard out there for an Indian idol”; How can it be hard Prema, when Indians supposedly look up to the Chinese, you know cause Indians are in the bottom of the hierarchy and all. Does this make any sense in Prema-land? Why aren’t they kissing the Chinese-looking Indians asses, like say the Thai flight crew were kissing the whites on the plane? No, none of this makes sense in your narrow-minded logic and misuse of my experiences that I shared about in Taiwan. By the way have you ever been to East Asia? Just curious…did people pass you by and rub their bellies?

  35. So, the term is all-encompassing, and everybody’s, er, happy, right?

    I am amazed how, in one day, you have solved the rift dividing northies and southies :)

  36. @PS, Dude dont try arguing with Prema. She is convinced that Indians are the n***ers of Asia. Let her wallow in her self-hate and self-pity. With no or little evidence she is convinced that all Asians look down on Indians. Let her live out her fantasy.

  37. I am amazed how, in one day, you have solved the rift dividing northies and southies

    I do what I can. Next stop Colombo! “Just one more thing.” I am not talking about a shambling guy in a trenchcoat.

  38. Prema in post #183, since your wrote “Such silly lies keep fooling only indians”, it seems to me you deliberately listed ineffective propaganda, whereas I recommended effective propaganda as the best way to combat anti-brown colorism. I think a good models of how minority communities use effective propaganda to reduce prejudice include how the jewish community has effectively reduced anti-semetic prejudice in American society (from the 1930s to today), and how the gay community has effectively reduced homophobia in American society (from the 1970s to today). It seems to me that it includes media watch organizations (like sepiamutiny), and production of positive entertainment and information mass media. Of course building better schools, hospitals, etc. in the indian subcontinent is also very, very important.

  39. things like racism actlually should not be bought up in shows like reality one…. this is a show after all…. and for publicity people can drown themself up to any level….what a shame!!!! factors like indian or not….shouldn’t really matter in here….Chang is born and bought up in india….yes he is a chinese…so what?? when audiance are liking him that means people are voting him entirely on his singing basis… among all, me and my family like chang……why??? beacaus he is a great singer as well as a performer…that’s it….. lets keep everything aside…….remember just one thing he is a human being first then comes the rest good luck chang…..

  40. I am a Nepali from Kathmandu, and during my boarding school days in Darjeeling many of my classmates were Chinese–from Tangra, Calcutta. They spoke Hindi like it was their mother tongue. Some of them even spoke a Hindi-ized version of Nepali that they’d picked up from the Nepali workers in their tanneries. So, it’s not surprising to me that Chang speaks such impeccable Hindi.

    Onto a “chinky story” now.

    I suppose I look like a Chinese or a Tibetan or whatever, and this whole “chinky” thing is not new to me. I’ve spent a major portion of my life in Darjeeling, Bangalore and Delhi. I don’t remember ever being labeled “chinky” in Darjeeling. In Delhi and Bangalore, I would be lumped together with all the other chinky people–Mizo, Naga, Sikkimese, Tibetan etc. But I don’t recall ever being called a chinky out of spite. Maybe the chinky experience is different for Indian chinkies. In fact, I’ve found that this contemptuous attitude towards chinky looking people is actually the most pronounced in my homeland–Nepal. That’s just my take.

    I’ve also lived in the US and in China. In the US, my chinky look didn’t really seem to bother most people I hung out with. Most Americans thought I was either a Lao, or a Hmong, or a Chinese or, again, whatever, but I didn’t think it was such a big deal. It seemed like my African American friends had a much harder time than me, in general.

    But China was a whole different thing altogether. I found out that if you were a chinky-looking foreigner, then you wouldn’t be treated as well as the other “foreign-looking” foreigners or the Han Chinese for that matter. It’s not like I wanted to be a neo-imperialist in China or anything, but the treatment I received there sort of brought home the chinky-experience full circle. In China, I was not considered a “Lao Wai” since I didn’t fit the profile the Chinese had in mind, and thus sometimes, the treatment I received at tourist hotels or at work wasn’t all that great. I also found out that since I didn’t speak Mandarin, many Chinese thought I was a Miao, or Hu or whatever, and thus I was kindly accorded the kind of treatment one metes out to creatures deemed inferior.

    So, that’s my chinky experience. I would not defend the use of “chinky” as a racial tag, but I guess the Indian fans of Chang actually think that chinky is an endearing term. On fan-forums, they call him “my Haka noodle,” my “Chinky star,” etc. and I’m sure it’s not meant as an epithet. The tone implied is all important, and Chang’s fans seem to have changed this oft-used epithet to mean something good.

  41. Hey, dont bend your head too much on this…this is not racism as you know, Chinese in India are rare, and mostly people outside of Calcutta dont know them…but its not that Indians are unused to living with the Mongol kind of people, nor do Indians feel any hatred towards them or condider to be racist towards them…what if he is Chinese, have you never seen a Bhutani, Nepali, Burmese living in india, we all have have grown up with them. Racism is what it is in America where they really hate others, we dont hate any Chinese, we are just curious, and maybe our curisosity looks wierd at times, but they are different so they are talked to in a different way, but not that we dont accept them…you cannot just be blind, no? He is a Chinese Indian so what, he is one of many types living in India? Believe me, they dont feel bad, nor are they poor chaps, if he is Indian and grown up here, he knows our heart very well and more than you even. So get out of your box of America-brand race classification and get into the real world where there is no such thing as racism, still there is a clear mark between things.

    BhaskarC.

  42. Why no one says the same for the contstant Prashant? He is also like a Chinese no? But because Chang has said that he is Chinese, that’s why you are discussing so much about him; had he said he was Nepali, no one would have talked about him so much…I say why did Chang say he is Chinese in the first place? He should have said he is Indian, and why did the judges ask about the origins, both were wrong; but maybe both are right and races do exist, but there is no such hatred here, anything is respect..and do not create that topic between Indians and Chinese, we are races that are much matured in this respect than whites who have created their racism with others..let Americans live in their foolish race, race, race thing..we are not to apply this fools-study in India, India is totally a different and much more liberal country than the U.S, I think.

  43. I think our nepali friend gtaragiven a good insight…thankyou gtara, tell them that we are never racist towards any chinky.

    BhaskarC.

  44. Vola..! too many comments. but… belonging to a different doesn’t matter on indian shows… you gotta speak good hindi, sing well, look charming… like chang does. His looks being chinese is noticed… you cant blame some one for pointing that out. if some one says I look indian.. I say yes man. I do. if some one asks me “Espanuel?” I dont get angry at them.. I just tell them sorry, im from india. it’s as simple as stating a fact…

  45. nyone know whether other South Asian languages are found on banknotes outside the subcontinent? I would have guessed Trinidad (40% desi), Guyana (44%) and Fiji (38%), but not so.