an excerpt from an article on Slate.com about a trip to Mongolia by a Taiwanese-American writer:
Since we’re talking about cowboys, I can’t close this entry without tackling a somewhat sensitive topic: Asian manhood. There is a widely held stereotype that, samurais and Bruce Lee aside, East Asian men are not particularly masculine. I hate to admit it, but as with many stereotypes, there’s some truth to this. Take my native Taiwan: Good food? Yes. Friendly? Yes. Macho? Not at all. Many Taiwanese men consider it perfectly normal to fill their cars with stuffed animals. More broadly, male pop stars across East Asia have a disturbing tendency to look exactly like the teenage girls who are their biggest fans.
Please don’t get angry about this. It’s true that Western popular culture tends to emasculate Asian men. I am also aware that cultural ideals of manhood vary, and that Taiwanese men are more likely to express their masculinity in other ways, like collecting tea pots or chewing on betel nuts. But rough and tough they aren’t. And some of this gives Asian men outside Asia something of a complex.
The antidote to any idea that this might be a racial, as opposed to cultural, trait is a trip to Mongolia. Mongolian men in the countryside spend their time riding horses, killing animals, and breaking firewood. They tend to hold their face in a fixed grimace. At times, it is like a country of Daniel Craig impersonators. Along with parts of Latin America, it’s probably the most macho place I’ve ever been. And so, my Asian brothers, if you ever want to know what the extremes of Eastern manhood look like, forget about Jet Li or even Bruce Lee. It’s Mongolia where Asia gets tough.