Funniest Advice My Mother Has Ever Given Me: Catherine Liu of Oriental Girls Desire Romance
  • by Audrey Archives
  • May 30, 2013

Mothers — with all their earnest, loving intentions — can often be entertaining, and their advice can be an interesting mix of serious, silly, insightful and mind-boggling (sometimes all rolled up into one zinger you can’t wait to share with your friends). In honor of Mother’s Day, we’ve asked fellow Asian American writers and artists to share the funniest advice they’ve ever gotten from their mothers.


Catherine Liu
Associate Professor at UC Irvine and Author of Oriental Girls Desire Romance, published by Kaya Press


An excerpt from My Dark Materials (a memoir in progress)

As the dot com bubble was heating up in 1995, my stock on the Liu family exchange had taken a serious tumble. I was divorced. As a struggling academic, my poor salary was most dishonorable. I was ashamed of myself and kept my distance from my mother. I hadn’t
telephoned her in six months. One day during my first year living on my own in the Mid-West, my mother called me out of the blue despite the fact that she felt very strongly that parents were not supposed to call children: children were supposed to call their parents.

“It’s your mother,” she says in Chinese by way of an opening gambit.

“Hi mom, how are you?” I bravely replied.

She moved past small talk to ask me if I was seeing a “bad therapist.” She had watched something on television about bad therapists who urged their patients to cut off ties with their families. It was probably Oprah, or maybe even 60 Minutes.

“What do you mean bad therapist?” I ask tensely. I was a true believer in therapy at the time.

“I was watching this show on TV and it said that there were these bad therapists who told their patients not to have contact with their
families and I was just wondering if you were seeing one of these therapists.”

“No, no, no,” I answered defensively, lying.


Check out more funny advice in our Mother’s Day series:
Celebrating Asian Mothers: Funniest Advice My Mother Has Ever Given Me