Friday, May 15, 2009

"Asian Huggers" - Guest Blog from Author Camy Tang

Today we have a guest blog by author Camy Tang. What she says here is soooo true. My fiance, who is white, totally did not get that my parents aren't very huggy people at first. Anyone else felt this way before?

Asian Huggers

There is no such thing.

No, just kidding. I’m sure they’re out there. They’re just a rare breed, not often seen in the wild.

They are more common in the second, third, and later generation of Asians living in America, but are virtually nonexistent among the first generation. Even among second generation Asians in certain towns, it can
be seen as an anomaly. It is perhaps the effect of the American environment, causing the evolution of the Asian Hugger in the later generations.

I think it’s because most overseas Asians bow to greet each other. They don’t shake hands, they don’t touch anybody. We are not an ethnic group of touchy feely people.

When encountering a hugger, non hugger Asians tend to freeze up. They will maybe condescend to a stiff pat on the back. Most of the time, they will try to extricate themselves from the hugger as quickly as possible, for fear the hugger germs will infect their systems.

It is not a rudeness. It is simply a case of an apple greeting an orange. The apple flashes its shiny red skin, the orange squirts it in the face. See? Not rude, just different.

The non hugger Asian is all smiles if greeted “properly” with a polite bow. Or maybe a handshake—often non huggers are okay with that.

This is a difficult thing when a hugger marries a non hugger’s family. Huggers often overrun the non huggers at family get-togethers, making the non huggers feel like they’ve been tumble-dried on low for a few minutes.

There is hope. Asians, in general, like to fit in. Because of that, non huggers will eventually get used to huggers and even try hugging back. This might take several years and not occur until the first grandchild arrives on the scene to spark joyous hugging from non huggers, but it will still occur eventually.

My family is not quite a “hugger”
family except for a few family members who are extreme Asian huggers. The rest of the family does the cursory clasp and pat on the back. My husband’s family is almost exactly the same, so we matched our hugginess quite well when we married.

I have friends, however, who are from huggy families and who married non huggers. The first family gathering was a tad awkward. But things have improved, so it’s not impossible for this melding of the huggers and non huggers to occur.

How about you? Hugger or non hugger?

Camy Tang writes romance with a kick of wasabi. Her chick lit Sushi series is out now: Sushi for One?, Only Uni, and Single Sashimi. In July, she’ll release Deadly Intent with Love Inspired Suspense. Originally from Hawaii, she worked as a biologist for 9 years, but now she is a staff worker for her San Jose church youth group and leads a worship team for Sunday service. She also runs the Story Sensei fiction critique service, which specializes in book doctoring. On her blog, she gives away Christian novels every week and ponders frivolous things. Visit her website at and sign up for her newsletter YahooGroup for monthly giveways!


  1. I love this post! The dry cleaners I use is owned by a family of Asian descent and they always bow to me as I leave. Are you a hugger, Deborah?

  2. My husband is part of an Asian family. His dad is half-Japanese, and I always thought it was very strange that he rarely showed any affection. I hardly ever saw him show any public affection to his wife. If he needed to congratulate my hubby for something, it was always a handshake, no hug or pat on the back. That's how he was when my hubby and I were dating, and I was scared to death his dad's non-affections would rub off on him and I would suffer serious hug withdrawels (I come from a very hugging family)! Good news is that, over time, my hubby has definitely become a hugger. :o)

  3. LOL My husband is low on the PDA stuff, too, and he's third generation Chinese!

    Thanks for chiming in, guys!

  4. You know, I've never really thought about this before, but it's so true! I don't remember my mom ever hugging me when I was young, although she does now (sometimes. okay, rarely, but still ...!) And come to think of it, I'm not a serious hugger myself, except with good friends.


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