I have never been more aware that I am Chinese.
Three weeks into settling in Hong Kong, not a day has passed that people don’t talk to me in the local or Mandarin language. Every single time, a tinge of embarrassment emerges with my soft “我不会说中文 (I can’t speak Chinese).” Here, I am faced with the fact that I look Chink, but I am not Chink. After a life of being raised in Indonesia where the Chinese culture was strictly forbidden, I have lost practically everything rooting me to my Chinese origin.
A few days before my departure to Hong Kong, I was involved in a very small incident that was caused by a motorbike rider’s disobedience against the traffic laws. Although anyone would tell you that he was the one at fault, I did not receive anything from him. I did not ask for anything either, as I was aware of my position: a girl with an ethnic minority against a homogenous society. There was no way I was going to right myself without getting involved in a bloody fight. That day, I realised that the place I called and loved as home did not accept me for who I am. They have never did.
And then I arrived in Hong Kong, where the fact that I have Chinese ethnicity running in my veins is slammed right in my face. I now live in China, where the indigenous look down at Chinese people who can’t speak Chinese.
Wherever I go, I will always be a minority. Being a result of mixed ethnicity comes with the same problems, because you can never be fully accepted for who you are in neither of your origins. I mean, let’s face it: people will judge a book by its cover.
With all of that in mind, I know that there is a small community existing that fully accepts me for who I am. I call that community my family and friends, and that is good enough for me.
I will still pursue both cultures from both my origins. I know that I will forever be more Indonesian than I am Chinese, but learning about the other half of myself wouldn’t hurt. Maybe it’s time for a self-discovery journey, after all.
Blueaholic is listening to: Taemin – ACE mini album