currently: lying down on the couch.
It's been cold lately....
Not cold enough to see snow unfortunately - but using my birthday wish and hoping that it happens in Auckland!
Anyway, I finally get to share with you that I'm now writing a fortnightly column for my university magazine :D
Every second issue, you will find a column by me talking about multiculturalism in New Zealand. The topic kinda sounds boring, but I'll try to avoid it being that :)
Now I would post a link to the issue where you can read it, but it's not up online on ausm.org.nz, so if you get the chance, look for debate issue 14 2011.
Orrrrr, you can read it here. Enjoy :)
Homegrown Banana #1
Growing up as a short Asian child in a house in Auckland, I never really had strong female Asian role models in my life (other than my amazing mum.) There were no mainstream Asian celebrity role models that I could connect with, not even the equivalent of an Asian Barbie.
So I grew up like any other Kiwi girl was expected to do. I ate Weetbix, sang the national anthem in both Maori and English, always brought sausage rolls to a shared lunch, and ate a lot of Mallowpuffs when I could get the chance. It was the way everyone at school seemed to behaved, so I followed along.
It’s fair to say that because of the way I grew up, I wasn’t a very “Asian” girl by people’s standards. However, by face value, I’m not always accepted as being a “New Zealander”, and there are those that will not consider me to be fitting into this country at all.
That whole debacle with Paul Henry questioning Governor-General Sir Anand Satyanand and his “New Zealander” status can be proof that New Zealand hasn’t fully accepted the multi-cultural society it has turned out to be. Over the past 15 years as I’ve noticed more Asian restaurants being built in communities, we’re fully accepting of (most of) the delicious Asian food that is offered by the culture. But when it comes to dealing with people who are, as someone once said to me, “very Asian”, people can become frustrated with all the cultural differences and accuse them of being ignorant of the Kiwi culture.
Now don’t get me wrong and think I’m trying to offend everyone, I’ve been on both sides of the fence. Growing up in schools where races were generally of European decent, I sometimes felt disconnected with other Asians. Yet because of the way I look, I sometimes feel judged and stereotyped by the community that I grew up in. (I won’t even go into Kyle Chapman’s protest on the ‘Asian Invasion’ because that’s its own down-spiralling issue.)
I’m sure that I can find many New Zealand born Asians that feel the same way I do, but I don’t think it’s been realised by many that right now, a new Kiwi Asian generation growing. One where people may look Asian but can speak perfect English and are able to work in any industry this country has to offer, not just the stereotyped science or accounting.
Please don’t think I’m generalising all “white” people. I’m very thankful that all my friends and so many others of this country are completely accepting of the differences and embrace what the Asian community can offer. There is only the minority of people in this country that haven’t fully recognised how things have changed since the last millennium. To those I plead, get educated and realise that most Asians or people of Asian decent, like me, have been able to embrace the Kiwi culture and that they can offer a lot back.
Maybe ten years from now, if I ever have children, there will be positive Asian role models in mainstream media that they can look up to. But for now, I’ll keep embracing the two cultures that I connect with, and hope one day that everyone in this country embrace the same.
Look out for debate issue 16 online this Friday for my next column :)
currently: lying down on the couch.