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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What is your identity?

Whenever people ask me what ethnicity am I, I would automatically say Malaysian without a doubt. Funny thing is that when people get into detail of what and where Malaysia is, I would go the whole nine yards and explain to them that we are a multicultural country, and to be specific, I am ethnically Chinese born in Malaysia. Some people might understand and some might not until I compare myself with African Americans and Asian born Americans. they all call themselves Americans!

The chefs at the restaurant that I work at are Chinese. When I talk to them, they will always call me 'Malai Mei', which meant Malay girl. I would often correct them by saying that I am not a Malay girl, I am Chinese. But they would always go back to the idea that I am a Malaysian.

I was just having a conversation with my sister about this the other day and she said something that struck me. "What a pity for us, we are neither here nor there. What are we?"
Back home the Other ethnic groups and ourselves would always consider us Chinese, overseas, we would say that we are Malaysians, and when you speak to a Chinese from China, he would consider you otherwise.

Why are things always categorized so specifically? Can't I just be Malaysian born Chinese and stay as simple as that?

What are you?

1 comment:

EmElbee said...

-- You?? You're a star-in-the-making. That's what YOU are.
-- Others? Consider that the two parts of Afro-American or Mexican-American refer to Original ETHNIC roots, and then to GEOGRAPHICAL circumstances. Would you find fault with Sino-Malaysian? or Chinese-Malaysian? These terms describe both your Ethnic and Geographical dimensions.
-- To your friends you're probably just a wigged, wild child, party girl who works her butt off honing her skills in her chosen profession.