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Featured Submission: I’m Short, But Nothing Short of Perspective

Posted August 23rd, 2009 by Peter · 9 Comments

Hello SAPL family. This week’s post is from guest writer Vannie Sung. She delves into the positives and (sometimes) negatives of being short in stature.

stadiometer-for-measuring-heightI had never been self-conscious of height until I stopped growing in 5th grade (I blame it on the coffee machine left out at the parent-teacher conference because after that first sip, my growth was forever stunted). Standing at 5 feet at the age of 10, I hated being shoved at the back of each class picture.

At this point, I should mention that I attended an all-Asian school. Context shifted, right? It’s no surprise that we’ve been conditioned to “down-size” anything with the word “Asian” just like any other stereotype. Even Obama’s aware of it (see his comment on his Hawaiian basketball teammates). This is probably why we get carded all the time.

It wasn’t until I transferred to an all-white school it became an obligation for me to be positioned in the front during grade picture time.  Due to my now lack of height, I felt constantly pressured to prove myself. I, frustrated, chugged a gallon of milk in 2 days- despite my genetically Asian lactose intolerance. I begged my mother to purchase growth pills. However, I’d decided I had enough after being called “cute” by a waitress who thought I was 16- on my 18th birthday.

It was only in places teeming with Asians that I didn’t stand out. Just average. But only out of that world did I feel extremely small and out of place. Why do we assume that the taller you are, the older you are? Oh, how America- the land of diversity- molds your brain to assimilate.


Over the years, I’ve come to terms with my height insecurities. Most of all, I’ve learned that everything is a matter of perception. Besides, there’s no point in laying the blame on my genes (although I do resent the fact that I have to limit my intake of ice cream).

So to all my “shorties” out there, take the term as a compliment. And remember, you’ll feel much better in the future when you’ve reached 50 and charmingly deceive the world looking 10 years younger- gracefully

Thanks Vannie, we hope to hear from you again soon! If you’re asian and have some perspective on your stature, please comment below. You’ll also be randomly selected to win free itunes downloads for Ryan and Sean’s Not so Excellent Adventure. Have at it!

Last 5 posts by Peter

Tags: Open Dialogue · People

9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Ai // Aug 26, 2009 at 11:46 am

    I understand…i just stopped growing and i have discovered that ill never reach 5’2 without heels…which i hate..grr..

  • 2 Linda // Aug 27, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    I was always the shortest kid and was even teased by the Asian kids of my school. Then I grew the summer before college. Now I stand 5’6 1/2″ tall. Ahh, justice.

  • 3 Asian Entertainment News // Aug 27, 2009 at 7:05 pm

    I’m Asian and I’m short! 5’81/2

  • 4 Angeline // Aug 28, 2009 at 1:23 am

    Oh, boo-hoo, you got mistaken for a 16-year-old instead of an 18-year-old. Wow, I’m sorry little child, but 2 years does not make a very big difference. Oh, does that hurt your wee little feelings? Sowwie….


    When you’re 35 and still being asked what colleges you are going to apply to in the fall, that is when you complain about it on your blog. When you do not reach past 152cm, that is when you complain.

    We cannot change our physical height except through painful surgery, but we can change how people take notice of us.

  • 5 Peter // Aug 28, 2009 at 10:54 am

    It’s more of an insightful post than rant in my opinion because she gives the upside and downsides of being vertically challenged. I really enjoy it when submissions to SAPL have these types of explanations and introspections.

    Great Job, Vannie!

  • 6 yamatoman // Sep 1, 2009 at 6:22 am

    Is 5’6″ considered short?

  • 7 Peter // Sep 1, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    heck no in asia

  • 8 kazuko // Sep 6, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    just moved to the mainland from hawaii. never have i realized just how short i really was. in hawaii everyone is around 5’1” so i felt like i was of normal height. coming here everyone’s so tall!
    this post really helped. now i feel proud to be 5’1” and full ASIAN! holler!

  • 9 sarah // Sep 6, 2009 at 11:10 pm

    psshaw, sucks now, but can’t wait to be a hot milf in my 40s and a gilf in my 80s.

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