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Great Wall & Chinoy Dating 101

Great Wall & Chinoy Dating 101

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If you’re a Filipina dating a Chinese guy, you may hear a lot of horror stories about meeting the family and then breaking up because the clan hates non-Chinese people. I’m Chinese, and yes, I hear these stories. But, ethnicity is not the sole indicator of where a relationship is going.

It may be one of them, and some people put more value in it than others. But, in the end, that can only do so much to deter a relationship that’s genuinely loving and respectful. Here’s the low-down on Chinoy dating, and how, despite all the trappings that come with being Chinese, love is still greater than the walls we put up.

Image from: Love Beijing at
Image from: Love Beijing at

The Great Wall

“May Great Wall ka ba?” This was how I first came across the term.

The Great Wall describes how Chinese folks tend to be highly discouraged to date people who aren’t of the same descent. Preserving the culture and tradition is the main rationale behind the Great Wall, and this explains the obvious preference for Chinoys over non-Chinoys.

Whenever I ask permission to go out, my parents would ask if I’ll be with a Chinese friend. It may seem too exclusive, but after all these years, it’s become normal for me. I think of it this way: they’re just asking if I’m with someone they’re already familiar with. It’s not like they forbid me to hang out with non-Chinese peeps. I even got to date one.

This also applies in most romantic relationships. Don’t think of the Great Wall as a must. It’s just the Chinoy way of saying, “birds of the same feather flock together”. And no, that term didn’t even come from us.

Image from: Patti Chiu of
Image from: Patti Chiu of

Chinese Folks Are Sticklers to Tradition

Maybe your guy isn’t, but his family probably is. Chinese folks are sticklers to tradition and are very family oriented. So, a couple of your dates may include a dinner with the rest of the clan. It’s not like you need to know how to use chopsticks or have a crash course in Mandarin or Fukyuan.

Before you get too overwhelmed, see this as a chance to show that you’re open to learning them. Try picking up some short greetings. For starters, though, a “ho tsa ki” or “ho a mi” (good morning or good night in fukyuan) can make a good first impression. Upon seeing his parents and other elder members of the fam, mano, as you would do to your lolo and lola.

My cousin is married to a pure Filipina, and it’s not like we went all “Mano Po” with her. My aunt was impressed with how she cared for my cousin, and how well she got along with the rest of us. See, while we stick to tradition, we know respect when we see it, like everyone else does. As long as you have that, there’s no reason for even the most traditional Chinese families to make you feel unwelcome.

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Image from:

Chinoys Are Just Like You, In Many Ways

Maybe you have that friend who broke up with his girlfriend because his parents don’t approve of her. Maybe he also said that they loved all the previous girlfriends, who are all Chinese. I have friends who were in the same situation, and yes, the Great Wall may be too great a hindrance for some.

It’s easy to say that it doesn’t have to be, but it is sometimes, and you feel helpless and trapped. Your guy may be under constant pressure to marry Chinese, manage the business, preserve the lineage and many other things.

Given this, some Filipina-Chinese couples part ways, not because the wall is too great, but because the way to overcome it is to do so. And this scenario isn’t exclusive to these couples; it can happen to any relationship. In this regard, we Chinoys can say we’re just like you.

We know love, and it doesn’t always mean holding on. Sometimes, it means letting go. Hugot aside, seriously, we’re like everyone else. We want the best for our loved ones. We lose sight of what’s important at times because of what we believe matters most.

For several of us, it’s the lineage and culture. But, once we see how happy and loved a family member is, even the strictest in the clan will eventually stop minding if you’re Chinese or not. It’s not going to be easy, but it does happen. Your love shouldn’t be dictated by the Wall, and that goes for his family’s love as well.

Relationships have different outcomes, yes. But, cheesy as it is, if there’s mutual love, respect and openness, even ethnicity and the Wall have nothing on them. Chinese or not, we all have walls. They’re never greater than love.

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  • This blog just enlightened me as i have someone who i really like and he is pure chinese living in the Philippines. I have some chinese blood but it’s less 50% as you may say. And im really afraid if his parents wont like me. But im really willing to learn and accept the culture. I even embrace it as if im a pure chinese even though im not. I’m really interested about the culture since i have some blood of it but still it’s the most interesting thing for me and it matters a lot. Before i didn’t understand that forbidden love, i knew but just didn’t comprehend why. Now, thanks for sharing your helpful words.

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