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“We are largely invisible when it comes to politics and popular culture, yet there's a very palpable urban myth that Asian women make better lovers than other women”, she says.
The stereotyping plays itself out in the roles you see Chinese women playing in theatre, on TV or in films.
"It’s rare to see a Chinese character written that is ‘normal’ or ‘well rounded’," says Chan, naming a set of typical roles that include: hard-working businesswoman; exotic, gentle flower; illegal immigrant selling DVDs or turning to prostitution (someone once actually yelled “selling DVDs? In the book The Asian Mystique (2005) the author Sheridan Prasso traced the “exoticism” of East Asian women as far back as Marco Polo’s travels along the Silk Road in the 1200s, in the literature and art it inspired.She tells me how she was instantly associated with being quiet, analytical and nice when she started working in London, and describes fighting for opportunities to speak and chair meetings.“It took me a long time to get over that," she says.One acquaintance told me in wonderment that Chinese women are great in the bedroom – as if I wasn't one – to being casually asked if I’d be interested in a guy “who has been with Chinese girls and likes it”.I’ve been left puzzled by the insensitivity, and the lack of awareness that such comments may cause offence.