I tried to have blond hair blue eyes too, but I still look Asian. Somehow my black hair brown eyes are more attractive. I was born that way!
A milestone to remember when I received my first hate post on my Facebook Page out of no where. Instead of being really angry about it, I left it there. And then posted – “Just got my first racist message on my page! Seriously mate, you’ve just made a fool outta yourself.”
So I am Asian. I am Chinese. Technically, a 1/16th Manchurian Chinese and the rest, Han Chinese. Born in Hong Kong to a British Colony; before it became the Chinese Colony. (A matter to be discussed at another time.) From one British Colony to another, we have now settled in New Zealand.
Much like my fellow Asian friend, SMNZ’s John Lai, we seems to go through rather similar experiences. Reading his latest blog, Asian By Accident (and his drawing of Dragon Ball Z) brings back memories. My parents were not Tiger Parents because they never expected me to be amazing in my studies. However, my mom did all she can to make sure we have the best education so we can be ahead of everyone. Like all other Chinese kids, I did do ballet as a kid. But between sleeping and getting up at 9 to do ballet, sleeping won. And then, my grandmother thought it is better that my sister and I learn to swim instead of going to dance classes. And then my dad thought it was better for the girls to learn Teakwondo instead for some self-defense skills. My sister never stayed on, and I did.
Unlike John, we relocated because Hong Kong was going to become a Chinese colony and that freaked everyone out. So between UK, Singapore, and Australia, we have chosen New Zealand simply because it is a lot prettier. Yeah yeah, you would think if we have chosen UK, Singapore or Australia, my life would be a lot better than now too.
I was Asian by accident; in a different space. Suddenly my Asian-ness became a focus. Everyone assumed that I know everything about being Asian. The culture, the language. I’ve worked really hard to please their curiosity so I’ve learnt as much as I can about the different Asian communities.
And then like John, I’ve started my own business, not because I want to be inspirational like he is; nor because I found a gap somewhere so I want to be creative and come up with something smart. But it is because I want to pursue something that many Asian mothers will see as their worst fears – politics. Mom still extremely worried that I can’t make it, and that it is no good for me. Why can’t this girl just settle with office work, marry a nice guy and have a family, aye?
Messages like the one I received last night is one of the reasons why I want to pursue politics. I am not a hard-core advocate; I don’t believe that any race is better than the others. As a matter of fact, my family often talks about the Mainland Chinese culture because it is so alien to us. We can never understand why the Mainland Chinese want to do a dump in the middle of a shopping mall; nor why they squat in public spaces. I just want to help share the views and do something for the community that helped my grow. Nah, not world peace – if I thought that was important, I would have run for Miss Chinese New Zealand.
Like what John, and my friend Oliver said, I think our parents just wanted the best for us. Similar to every other migrants that settled in New Zealand for many generations.
And yeah, mom, I am actually doing alright. Maybe not as much money as I hope to earn; nor as normal as you wish I am. But I am really content. <3 you.
Follow up – 22 April 2013
Follow on from the posts – an article titled “warning on racist campaign” was featured on the NZ Herald. (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10878942). My advice to everyone, regardless of their ethnicities, is to treat this with respect. I do not encourage more abuse or attack; nor I think anyone should confront this and therefore result in any physical harm. It is important that we discuss racism and discrimination in an open, respectful and positive manner. This is an important discussion that needs to be discussed and not be scared.