Every Asian kid from 13-30 has a curfew, whether real or implied. This applies as long as they still live under their parents’ roof. Real means “get home by 10PM.” Implied means your dad would have been waiting for you, by the door, into the wee hours of 4AM. The latter case makes an Asian feel guilty because he or she understands that the dad has just sacrificed sleep to see to the safety of his own child, and this is a sign of love that the Asian child should not waste on one night of drunken karaoke. The guilt is further amplified when the father says nothing, only to silently nod and follow up with a gentle reprimand in the morning.

A girl’s curfew is usually real, while a boy’s curfew is moreso implied. While Asian parents may accept their daughter staying late into/staying over at an approved boyfriend’s house, inexplicable and random breaches of curfew (especially those that reek of promiscuity) are not tolerated.

Curfews may be stretched by “study sessions” at the library or by late-night church fellowship gatherings. It is also a good idea to follow up a broken curfew with an offer to drive grandma to a mahjong match with the other grannies, go over hard-to-understand documents and flyers in English, and just lay low at home for the next couple of days. Your parents were genuinely worried for you.


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