Riding Around Asia in Taxis

We’re back from hiatus after taking some time away from BPESisters to disconnect and focus on other priorities. We’ve been itching to get back on the blog and are excited to say a belated hello to 2019.

A few weeks ago I was in a taxi between meetings, with a particularly opinionated cab driver. I find there are three types of cab drivers: those who don’t speak at all during the trip, those who exchange some pleasantries and brief chatter at the beginning of the journey, then slip into silence for the rest of the trip, and finally those who chatter nonstop during the entire ride. I appreciate all three depending on my mood. It doesn’t always happen that my mood matches that of my cab driver. I might be feeling outgoing and chatty only to get in a taxi with a silent driver. Or as was the case a few weeks ago, I really just needed some quiet time to reflect and rest, and my cab driver talked to me the entire trip. He was friendly enough, but he made some rather radical political statements. I politely went with the flow and acknowledged that we all have different opinions, without really agreeing or disagreeing with his statements. The conversation got weirder when he started to allude to my appearance and my eyes. I knew where this was going. As a woman with BPES I can tell when someone wants to ask me why my eyes are so small or if I have Asian heritage. It drives me crazy EVERY SINGLE TIME. As an adult, I have been able to brush it off much more easily. I used to get annoyed, stand offish, and defensive. I think ultimately what really annoys me is that I just think it isn’t someone’s business to ask me about my eyes. I am not embarrassed, self conscious, or ashamed of my BPES-related features. I just feel that I shouldn’t have to explain my features to others. Their curiosity or confusion should not become my burden.

I took a deep breath and cut him to the chase, telling him if he was wondering if I was Asian, I was not. He then proceeded to make some rather racists statements. I politely informed him that his statements were not acceptable to say and offensive. Thankfully we were very close to the end of my ride. Amongst other things, this ride stood out to me because after being in Asia for about seven months, that was the first time someone here asked me if I was part Asian. I can’t help but wonder how many other people assume or think this, but are too polite to ask. I laughed off my cab driver and was mostly thankful that I safely got to my destination in tact. Funny how it rarely happens now, but each time someone asks me about my eyes, something deep in my gut triggers, and I get prickly, annoyed, defensive, and irritated by the entire thing. Thankfully once I shut the cab door and walked away from the curb, I was able to leave my irritation behind and not give it a second thought. I laughed it off as as crazy cab ride.

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