I think I have been staying in The Netherlands long enough to experience many things, in fact, more than many touristy Malaysians. Having stayed at 5 different hotels and accommodations in The Netherlands throughout my business trip of 1.5 months and this has taught me one thing – I am not made for Europe.
Not surprising but somehow, I suffered ‘discrimination’ in Europe. Not the racism disparity that we hear of every day in the news e.g. foreigners being treated differently from the local/citizens. Nope. None of that. In fact, The Netherlands has been amazing to me in terms of equality and I felt really welcomed in all ways both as a tourist and worker.
The ‘discrimination’ I face daily in The Netherlands – is the prejudice against my height.
If you are great with general knowledge, who wouldn’t know that the Dutch are the tallest people in the world. TALLEST, yes. It’s a cruel fact, and based on my personal experience with my Dutch counterparts that I stand only shoulder level to my Dutch female colleagues. For a Dutch male, 6 feet is slightly below average, while 5 ft 10″ is average for a female. And I am like 5 ft flat.
5.0 – 5.5ft is normal for Asian females. If you jalan-jalan at the city, from afar, you can spot an Asian walking in the streets, and you can tell who are local and who is not – from their height.
I have seen 6 ft 5″ Dutch guy, but so are 3 out of 10 Dutch surrounding him. Mind you,that even if they are tall, many are NOT overweight or obese. Many are tall and still fit (unlike the Americans eh)!!
I did ask why. First I googled, and then I did query my colleagues on their height and fit built.
|This was how Dutch Lady milk look like in those 1980s when I was a kid. Mum fed me lots of this, but still…..short.
1. Milk and Cheese
Yes, that’s about it. That’s the ONLY reason why the Dutch are so astronomically tall and are actually taller than the Icelanders: dairy. Over several decades, people in NL has ample supply of local milk and has had the knowledge of processing cheese. Milk and cheese are protein-rich foods and the Dutch are somewhat evolutionary immune to all types of milk products (=lactose tolerant). To date, if I go out for lunch with my Dutch colleagues, cheese, yoghurt, cold meats and wheat are staple. You can’t escape cheeses from your lunches. And the Dutch despises low-fat milk/skimmed milk. No one buys them in supermarket and you may notice that there’s 80% disparity of favouring full-cream milk over low-fat milk on the supermarket shelves.
And so I observed that hobbits like the Asians in a NL supermarket will go for CHEAP and LOW-FAT (hmmph why are Asians sooo scared of fats?). Therefore, you’ll see Asians stocking up on low-fat milk/skim in their carts because it’s cheaper than whole/full-cream milk, and yes, we like everything low-fat. We Asians are blinded to the fact that skim milk contains less nutrients (i.e. proteins, vitamins) and has more sugar content in it to make up for lost taste.
It is also sad that many Asians are lactose intolerant. I was in China for a business trip and my Chinese couterparts had a very ‘difficult time’ after I bought them Starbucks latte. If you notice in Beijing, Starbucks are springing like mushrooms but most Chinese still order flavoured tea or Americano (from my observation), as many can’t enjoy milk in their coffee.
Right…so enough of why we Asians are hobbits while the Dutch are not. Let’s discuss the disparity and indirect ‘discrimination’ we as Asians face in The Netherlands. This is TOTALLY true as it is based on the multitude incidences that I experience in a single country alone.
1. I can’t get to the shower head:
Okay, so my mum advised that I am not supposed to lift my arms beyond my head to grab anything above me. It is an old wives’ pantang because doing so may cause the baby in the womb to “drop” down and gets detached from my placenta, or intestines to curl around the baby’s neck. To me, WHATEVER!! The problem is not the baby. The problem is I can’t bring down the shower head to bathe my body. Two of the accommodations gave me a hard time as the room cleaners placed the shower head sooo damn high up, I can’t bring it down for my kinda shower. Nope, tip toe won’t do either. So, let it rain. There goes my wet hair everyday.
This damn Dutch cleaners!!! Why they place the adjustable shower head so high? Never think of hobbits like us meh?
2. I don’t even have to sit on the toilet bowl:
You know, as a hobbit, I have to tip-toe (!) before I can properly position my beautiful buttocks on the the toilet bowl. I was thinking: my as well don’t sit and please go ahead doing your no. 1 and 2 standing. You freaking Dutch built the toilet bowls sooo damn high, never think for hobbits like me! Damn.
1. Can’t see my face:
My father only could shave half of his mustache/stubbles. I can’t pop my pimples, while my mum can’t see herself brushing her teeth. This is the consequence of the Dutch people placing their bathroom mirrors sooo high. Even tip-toeing can’t help(!), and my dad didn’t complete his shaving cause he can’t see himself in the mirror.
WHY you put the mirror so damn high!?
4. Back out from the urinal:
This happened to my dad in a restaurant’s toilet. There’s urinal and there’s a single toilet cubicle. Dad can’t place his d*** to the urinal to pee because urinal was located at his waist-level. Not that my dad’s d**k was not long enough; the urinals were placed sooo freaking high, he can’t stand and pee. And at the same time, the cubicle was occupied at that time. Give up. Terus give up. And my dad is not that short, ok.
Why you Dutch sooo tall and place the male urinal soo high lah!?
5. Trouble signing my credit card for purchases:
Again, the table counters are so high (e.g. in museums, restaurants), I have to tip-toe to sign my credit card upon purchase. In The Hague, the Dutch lady behind the ticketing counter had a hard time hiding her giggles when I she just saw my eyes and nose, but not my mouth. I had to tip toe and sign my purchases when she blurted: “Well, this place was built with ONLY the Dutch in mind”,
Okay, end of my rant. Now I know why Dutch people are so great in many sports and dominates world arena – hockey, squash, soccer, swimming: they are tall. In sports, being tall beats talent/skills in many ways. I see our soccer team like looney tiny cartoon in the field against the Europeans.
Nevertheless, if you do notice, Asians are slowly becoming taller. We have access to meat (protein), our kids are genetically more tolerant to dairy, and eating less rice (carbs) compared to our grandfathers and forefathers. Keep up the proteins, people!