being asian australian

17:42 Cyndi 0 Comments

Growing up as an Asian-Australian, I had to deal with people throwing racist remarks at not just me but hearing about it from my parents and my sister and how upset and helpless they felt when being attacked.

Growing up Asian-Australian meant that my life would be completely different to the lives of Asians growing up in predominantly and homogenous countries like the city I'm from - Hong Kong - they wouldn't need to deal with being oppressed or being discriminated against just because of the colour of their skin.

Growing up Asian-Australian meant that for most of my life I had an identity crisis and going to a predominantly-white Christian-religion school did not help. I remember coming back from Hong Kong and being at school and trying to share my culture and what I had learnt from being overseas to my friends and they told me I had changed and became more Asian. Like it was a bad thing.

I had an identity crisis over how I should act and dress and I tried to hide my culture because it didn't fit in with this particular society's standards. There was only one way of doing things and if I didn't do things their way I was considered 'different' and 'weird'

I was labelled weird throughout the majority of my high school life and it was me not understanding that I needed to have dual personalities to fit in - the one at home and the one outside of home and sometimes the one I had in front of white people.

Growing up Asian-Australian meant that I wanted to learn about my culture but there was nothing here to learn from. Nobody talked about it and there were hardly any history books about Chinese history or culture. Even if there were - it was either all in Chinese or from a Western point of view.

Even now, being Asian-Australian and coming over to Australia before I even turned 1 - I still get people asking me where I'm really from, where my parents are from, if I'm really from Australia and telling me that I speak English really well...for an Asian. They start asking me questions about China that I don't even know the answers to. I want to embrace my culture but the culture I've ever really known is Australian culture.

I've been in Australia my whole life but to them, I'm not Australian. I hardly know anything about China or Hong Kong because where am I supposed to get any of this information from other than my parents and Google? The only thing the white education system has ever taught me about history was it's Aboriginal Australians, World War 1 & 2 and the gold rush where they completely missed out on how they attacked the Chinese.

2016 was such an important year for me. I've learnt so much and heard stories from people of different races and backgrounds. Listening to stories about what it's like to be African-American, Latina and a Muslim haunts me to this day and watching all these documentaries has educated me so much about the world and so I've decided that 2017 will be the year that I will stand up for my beliefs and core values without even caring about what people think of me or if I offend them because people have already offended me enough already.

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