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#139 – Thinking They Know Best

Posted January 16th, 2013 by Peter · 4 Comments

It’s been a while since my last post, but I’m excited to be writing again! This week’s post is about Asians “Thinking They Know Best,” something I’ve seen a great deal in my 4.5 years at Berkeley and 22 years on earth. I’ve seen it with family members, colleagues, and co-workers; so here’s a little glimpse into how Asians deal with their inferiority complexes. 

Asians are certainly a different breed of.. um.. human. Instead of accepting gifts for their sentimental value, some Asians enjoy deconstructing and belittling gifts so as to not appear surprised, outdone, or gasp– thankful. This comes off as “high and mighty” to some, and downright ungrateful. Why does this occur?

Let’s start with an anecdote: Someone I know gave a jar of imported Korean Lemon Tea Mix to their friend a year ago for Christmas. Instead of saying thanks for the gift, the friend shunned her; looking at the ingredients list on the back and talking about how much sugar is in it. To make things worse, the friend said, “I can make a better one than this.” How are you supposed to respond to this? You simply can’t, the Asian already believes they Know Best. Next, I will introduce someone who became someone that “knows best.”

At Fountain Valley High School, I led the Media Production team for 3 years. In those three years, I had invited an Asian friend to join the program with my recommendation. He was very willing to learn, and I taught him everything he knows (to this day) about software like Adobe Premiere and Adobe After Effects. After giving him some tutorials that had helped me in the past, he started becoming “wiser.” He would always ask, “is the new effect you used just the one on the tutorial?”

How was I supposed to respond? I had clearly given him the ingredients and told him I had learned the tutorials. This guy thought he was better than his Sensei, and accordingly… Knew Best as well.

Fast forward to college– I saw a Facebook update from a friend about Adobe Master Collection, and how cool it is that Berkeley students get it for free. Some smart ass thought he would comment, “anything you can do with Master Collection, I can do with Python and Java.” Being someone that does in fact know about how difficult media production is, I suggested that he show me something he did in Python and Java that rivaled some of the clips I did in high school. Two days later, no answer.

I then asked how it was possible that he could do Video Production, Video Editing, Sound Production, Graphic Effects,  and everything else Adobe had spent millions on with Java and Python. After calling him out for boasting about his competency in Java and Python (), he still had no answer– And then got defensive. He had become a victim of his own “Thinking I Know Best-ness.”

He said that he deserves to be “full of it” because all the greats like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were full of it (truth is, that’s correct– but these guys were amazing as children and teens, and were known geniuses by the time they were in college). He then gave stupid workarounds like “taking screenshots every second of a video clip using Python, and then editing it in a Java application.” What’s the difference between doing that and editing it on Adobe Premiere?

Hint: It’s much faster, efficient, and easier to do on Adobe’s Master Collection software. I would be surprised if he were able to do a simple motion tween without spending hours. 

Similar to the ungrateful Lemon Tea receiver, this Berkeley EECS student had become so obsessed with their skills and know-how that they couldn’t just accept that someone had given them the means to accomplishing their tasks with much less effort. Do you know what that Lemon Tea Mix receiver did a year later? They brought their version to my friend and said, “I made the Lemon Tea Mix.. and it’s better than what you gave me too.” (It was actually sweeter and less healthy).


Take Home Points: The only way to make an Asian more humble is by being knowledgeable yourself. If you challenge them, they will fold and become defensive. If you don’t, they will rub it in your face. At the end of the day, that sort’ve requires that you “know best” as well. Thus, the cycle continues.


I hope you enjoyed this week’s post!

I’ll try to get a new post in every week or so. Stay tuned!


Last 5 posts by Peter

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

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 berkeleystudent // Jan 17, 2013 at 12:02 am

    I believe that this type of ignorance will come back to bite them in the butt! It’s just a matter of time.

  • 2 Kvietgrl // Jan 17, 2013 at 10:24 am

    Glad you’re back. People need to get their head outa the clouds. Thanks for sympathizing

  • 3 Vicente // Jan 17, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    This is one of the best posts yet. Welcome back!

  • 4 Peter // Jan 17, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    Thanks Guys! I’m glad to be back, too!

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