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Reconnecting With My Chinese Heritage

This Native New Yorker reconnects with her Chinese heritage and reflects on her most recent trip to China from disgusting Chinese tourist to high-end dim sum.


It’s been a while since I’ve visited my motherland. My Chinese heritage has not been lost, but I learn something new every time I reconnect with my extended family.

This is my first trip back in almost a decade. Shortly after I landed, I was reminded of the Chinese tourists who have shamed me in the press. The media has written about their disgusting behavior and lack of respect for cultural landmarks. The people are still a bit uncouth compared to western standards, but I really try not to judge. After all, I am in their territory.

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Riding On An Elephant Train In Bangkok

I checked “riding on an elephant” off my bucket list on my Thailand trip, but didn’t realize it’s not always the most socially responsible thing to do.


Riding on an #elephant train. #enoughsaid #travel #Thailand #Bangkok

A photo posted by Monica Wong (@_monicawong) on

The small backlash at the Tiger Temple was slightly mitigated by my excitement to complete the next “must-do” in Bangkok – riding on an elephant! I held on for dear life as we crossed a small river. The elephant in front of me peed like a waterfall. The last thing I want is to fall over and be drenched it in.

The elephant behind me was quite mischievous – tapping me with its trunk and blowing air at me as we made our way down the bushy path. Good thing it didn’t have bad breath. I was too enveloped in the experience to even notice the heat and humidity.

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Backlash at the Tiger Temple in Thailand

Are they sedated tigers or are they just tired from the heat and humidity at the Tiger Temple in Thailand?


A little nervous meeting my new pet tiger. #BFF #dreamcometrue #Travel #Thailand #Bangkok

A photo posted by Monica Wong (@_monicawong) on

Pet a tiger. Check!

Receive backlash for petting a tiger. Check.

That’s what I get for not doing my homework before my visit to the Tiger Temple in Thailand. Before I got to the designated tiger petting area, I was distracted by the unfenced wildlife scattered throughout the temple area. Wild boars chased one other from tree to tree. Lazy oxes soaked themselves neck deep in muddy green water. And I think it was a yak that I saw in the middle of the dusty road.

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