The Screwy Skeptic wrote about being Asian but not quite accepted as one. Specifically, to non-Asians she’s Asian but to an Asian, she’s not “fully” Asian. From her post:
For 15 out of my 19 years I have not lived in an Asian country. Naturally, an identity struggle is inevitable. I cannot for the life of me hold a conversation in Mandarin, but I love all sorts of Chinese music. I cannot discuss intricate matters of Asian politics with you from a nationalistic insider’s perspective, but I do know my history. I cannot say I’ve been on more than one date with an Asian boy, but I am not opposed to the idea of ever dating one (should he fit all the usual criteria, of course). I’m a hyphen, just trying to find a decent balance that I so require.
This topic of living in a non-Asian environment while being expected to maintain your Asian “values”, speech and behaviour was covered quite well in Clara Law’s “Floating Life“. The metaphor is that migrants float from their homelands to their new home but remain floating even after they’ve arrived – neither here nor there.
I for one enjoy floating because I get to see and do more than I would have, had we remained in Malaysia. And I have been lucky to have been able to maintain my language skills in Mandarin, Hokkien and Cantonese. But in the end language skills to me are not as important as knowing and accepting your cultural background whilst embracing that of those around you in the new environment.
What’s really Asian anyway? We are all a rainbow of colours and influences.
[tags]Asian identity, culture, migration[/tags]