Asians in BA


Oct 12, 2006
I actually had this question with respect to Asians in BA (of which there are many more than those of African descent, I am sure, but still somewhat on topic). I asked on a forum that I suspect is mostly viewed by native Argentinians and not expats (hence the broken Spanish) but I will repost again here for another perspective. Hope the OP doesn't mind the hijacking of the thread.


Estoy pensando en pasar unos meses in Bs As en el próximo año. Quisiera saber como es el actitud para con gente de origen asiático en Argentina. Sé que existe un "barrio chino" en Bs As pero eso no necesarimente significa que los chinos (y otras asiáticos) son aceptados. Y de todos modos, cuando voy a conocer un pais no quiero conocer gente china; quiero conocer los del pais. (La idea es conocer algo nuevo, no lo que ya conoczo.) Sé que Argentinos tienen mucho orgullo de ser "europeo". Tienen los Argentinos que ser europeo significa ser mejor? Como son relaciones entre la "segunda generación" de Asiáticos (los que nacieron en Argentina) y Argentinos de origen europeo en comparición de los inmigrantes? Y, aunque sean poco común, los que han traslado de paises occidentales tales como los EE UU, Canadá, Reina Unida, etc.? En general, están los Asiáticos percibidos como asimilando o como extranjeros que se relacionan solo entre ellos? Gracias por sus comentarios.
I am local and this is a bit of a mystery to me too. I can tell you that nikkei - japanese- are very well integrated, koreans of second generation are very integrated as well, same happens with chinese. I notice that for certain activities, such as dating, and clubbing they are still kind of close, probably because their families are reluctant of mixed couples. For other activities, at university, school, kids, etc they are pretty open, but it is not common for instance to get invited to their homes. I admire asian culture and even though I had friends at school and at university, I was only once invited to one of my koreans friends´. Some young people feel a bit embarrased in front of their argentinian friends when are called by their asian names, or have to wear certain clothing at parties, etc. It is indeed a shame, but I think argentinians are a lot more open now to asian culture, food, traditions, etc. I have visited San Francisco, US and I think asian culture is a lot more assimilated and mixed already there. We are a couple of steps behind...
Where are you from?
Great response, thanks! Even though I've never been to Argentina I think a lot of things that you report tend to be correct within Asian culture; the first-generation often does not desire to integrate even though the second (and subsequent) generations do (or are at least ambivalent about it).

To answer your question, I am from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (one of the most Asian cities in the world outside of Asia). Even here such behaviour you describe is not uncommon.
Well it is a different culture, and I must say that it is a great thing to do: keeping your own identity, I still am very curious and would love to interact in a more open way with asina descendants.V
Please understand that Asians have held on to their culture for hundreds of years because of the emphasis they had placed on the nucleus - family. Generations are still dictated by practices of the past - even if it is not as strict at years past. Being a matriachal society in general - Asians value customs and traditions - it is not an easy circle to get into, but once in - you are family - and family take care of each other. It is encouraging to see other cultures show interest - even if just for curiosity sake- to the Asian cultures in general. It is after all through understanding others that you get yourself understood. Southeast Asians in particular are resilient having been gone thru the hands of tyrannts and despots in the past, the characteristic that best describes Asians - is their ability to assimilate, adapt and survival regardless of harshest conditions.
Argentines know little to nothing about Asia. They persist with an old fashioned Eurocentric focus that largely excludes a desire to catch up on what is going on in Asia. Few here, for example, have any idea of India's economic progress. They are invariably astonished to learn that India produces highly skilled professionals and often have no idea that English is the native language of the sub continent. The ignorance regarding India is well reflected in the local practice of referring to Indians as "Hindus". Korea to many Argentines is a vague, dirty and poor place in Asia, much the same as China (Koreans and Chinese are invariably lumped together) that exports grocers to Argentine to the consternation of Portenos. The Asian communities remain relatively isolated, I believe, largely as a consequence of Argentines to embrace them as a part of what they falsely perceive to be a European society.
"horacew2006" said:
Argentines know little to nothing about Asia. They persist with an old fashioned Eurocentric focus that largely excludes a desire to catch up on what is going on in Asia.
This may be true, but South America in general, and Argentina in particular, is trading more and more intensively with China. Trade with India is relatively low at the moment, but will probably pick up. South America and Asia can probably complement each other economically: the manufactures of one area for the agricultural produce of the other.
Statistics show that China is currently the fourth largest trade partner of Argentina and the largest export market in Asia for the SACM, the first common market comprised only of developing countries, including Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.
Sino-Argentina trade reached 3.176 billion US dollars last year, up 122.9 per cent year-on-year, and it witnessed strong upward momentum in the first half of this year.
Argentina hopes to expand bilateral cooperation in fields such as trade, tourism, energy, and infrastructure construction, Scioli said, stressing that Argentina welcomes Chinese companies who want to invest in the country.