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#74 Middle Finger Pointing

Posted May 17th, 2008 by Peter · 11 Comments

Please continue to keep the hurricane and earthquake victims in your hearts in the upcoming days. To help support our organization, please join Project Peace Crane. People from the fuji islands all the way to America are folding 12,000 in conjunction with Asian Central to help support the relief efforts in China and the Burmese Islands (as well as all the other affected areas). You can also join the Project Peace Crane Facebook Group. Thanks.

And… We’re Back! Wow, it’s been about a week since the last post, but there is a very worthy cause. However, that can’t stop Stuff Asian People Like from continuing to crank out all the Asian goodness. Like today, for example, where the oddity that is the Asian tendency to point with their middle fingers is finally explained.

To start out: Why is there a problem with using one’s middle finger to point? In Britain, the equivalent of the middle finger is a peace sign turned backwards. In Asia, it’s the curling of the index finger at someone. Ultimately, it comes down to cultural preference. For that reason, Asians (not all asians, of course… *cough* Phillipines.) continue to cut in line, chew with their mouths open, and yes, point with their middle fingers. There are many reasons for the occurrence of this unsightly gesture:

Asians find it extremely rude to voice their concerns in public, or awe (in the case of yao ming) over certain situations. Like a cockatiel or peacock raises its feathers when scared, asians will point with their middle fingers and then huddle together in the corner of a room, sidewalk, or street to exchange their ooo’s and aah’s. This is also a defensive strategy asians have learned from natural observation.

Two other reasons for middle finger use are the reliability and convenience factors. When Asians are eating their sticky rice with chopsticks, they have no time to rearrange fingers and use their index finger to point. The middle finger is reliable in this situation, allowing Asians to quickly and efficiently warn someone. (or divert attention away from someone in order to get the last piece of food without anyone noticing.)

When accuracy is key, the middle finger proves quite superior over the index finger. The line of fire on a crossbow follows a
central imaginary line. The sniper scope is also centered. Everything that requires accuracy centers your focus. Why would asians waste their’s or another person’s time by using their index fingers, which will most likely skew another person’s line of view 10-30 degrees to the left. In Asia, the land of 5 billion people, this could be the difference between directing attention at a woman getting mugged or a rural rice patty farmer 300 feet away. (yes, try figuring that one out.)

When asians migrate to different countries, they need their middle fingers. It’s their freedom. It’s their birth rite. It’s… well… you get the point. The middle finger allows asians to satisfy their perceptive tendencies for symmetry and harmony. In addition, it’s a way for asians to warn or divert attention away from someone. It’s reliable, convenient, and extremely accurate. Asians have definitely made the right choice by using their Middle Fingers to Point. Let’s not forget that it’s about 3/4 of an inch longer than the index finger.

Heck, Cats even do it!

Last 5 posts by Peter

Tags: Activities · Culture · Customs · Environment · Habits · People · Social

11 responses so far ↓

  • 1 hrhkat // May 18, 2008 at 2:42 am

    yay i love being the first to respond, it makes me feel important, and it forces everyone to read and establish that i am first! yay good for me….

    back to the topic at hand- It is funny, because i have noticed that asians do point with their middle finger! I guess it makes sense…tobad though, if they point to the sky with their middle finger in say, Compton, or Watts, they will probably get shot. I guess it only works on a horizontal level though……and in other countries. regular people can point with there middle finger as well when they are eating with a fork, your fork just rests on your index finger which frees up a good 3 fingers, imagine the possibilities! I could sew a quilt with those 3 fingers, or paint a masterpiece, or do workbooks that asian parents buy their already over loaded with homework child! yay I could rule the world! asians are only using one extra finger while eating, and I can use 3!

  • 2 baboon // May 18, 2008 at 3:59 am

    I notice that my mom points with the middle finger. Now I know why lol I don’t do it. I think this is for the older generation.

  • 3 fallenangels // May 18, 2008 at 10:22 am

    Ok. I haven’t really noticed it much, all this fingerpointing with the middle finger on accident, but why is it that when my Korean mom does it on purpose, I feel so embarrassed? I don’t think she uses it right. Usually it’ll be on the road and for white people. I remember once she got really mad, the kind where she couldn’t breathe and her eyes started bugging out, because this white girl started cussing her driving. Naturally, my mom overreacted because she’s very traditional and thinks she can teach everyone to treat people with due respect. She started cussing back… and in Korean – the only way she knows how. The middle finger… was funny. It just was. Lol. My small Asian mother… the “hobo-home” clothes… the unintelligible cussing…

  • 4 Lana // May 20, 2008 at 9:18 am


    Compton or Watts? How stereotypical…

    Anyway, you can go A LOT OF PLACES where if you hold up your middle finger to someone, you’ll get cussed out before you’ll get shot.

    But I guess because we ‘darker minorities’ are sooo violent, we’ll just automatically shoot you, huh? We’re the only ones who go on shooting rampages, eh?


    It NEVER stops, but if that shoe was on the other foot, it’d be TIGHT, but it’s not so, nevermind!

    Keep holding up that middle finger!

  • 5 marcywarcy // Jun 2, 2008 at 8:38 am

    hah asians!! weinersss!

  • 6 seniora rear admiral muggles // Jun 2, 2008 at 8:05 pm

    Man, I knew more whites in school who pointed with their middle fingers than asians…even the Filipinos.

  • 7 viv // Jun 16, 2008 at 1:17 am

    geez. don’t all asians are weird. and… i’m asian.. and i don’t get the whole index finger thing. at school, whatever lol every does the middle finger. meh :/

  • 8 JBinCali // Aug 5, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    Cool your jets, Lana.

    You’re more likely to get shot in Compton or Watts for just about anything than you are pretty much anywhere in the greater L.A. area. Well, East LA would probably give them a run for their money, and a few other places I could think of.

    Anyway, the thing is, the shooting rate in general in Compton and Watts is the highest in the LA area, so yeah, I’d think flipping somebody off there would be much more likely to result in getting shot than flipping somebody off in, say, Brentwood, Beverly Hills, or Rancho Palos Verdes. Just like you’re more likely to get shot just walking down the street in Compton than your are in Beverly Hills.

    Nobody said anything about skin color here. Well, nobody except you. That tells us more about you than it does about the person who originally made the “Compton or Watts” comment.

  • 9 isee // Dec 16, 2008 at 7:24 pm

    I have noticed that some Asians also point with their thumb; after carefully tucking all their other fingers into a fist first.

    Someone said this has something to do with the rudeness of pointing with the index finger. All rather moot given they could well be burping or picking their nose at the same time as being polite with their pointing…


  • 10 Rowell // Jun 20, 2009 at 2:22 am

    For an Asian website and a website at all you pretty sure don’t know how to spell the PHILIPPINES right. I suggest proof reading your work first -_-
    *cough idiot.

  • 11 haha // Sep 1, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    lol…i was doing group work in school once and i used my middle finger to point at someone and my group mate (americans) all went “oooooh” and laughed cause they thought i was giving that person the middle finger!! >.<” was so embarassing haha

    it’s so funny how something can be so totally different in a different country

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