Working where I do now makes me realise how un-Chinese I am.
1. I can’t speak Chinese.
2. I prefer Western cuisine over Chinese any day, even though I do like some Chinese food.
3. I don’t watch Chinese movies – though I would if a good one is on tv. I’d rather watch a mediocre English movie than I probably would with a notable Chinese one.
4. I don’t listen to Chinese songs – unless I happen to listen to one by chance and like it and so I’d download the mp3.
5. I dont really celebrate Chinese festivals.
6. I feel more at home with English-speaking people, regardless of race, than I would with Chinese people who generally speak more Chinese than English.
7. I think in English.
8. I am more interested in English civilization or Greek mythology than I am in Chinese culture, ancient or popular.
9. I have to tell fellow Chinese people that I can’t speak Chinese each time they speak in Chinese to me.
10. I’m more attracted to English-speaking men than I am with Chinese men in general (unless they happen to speak English well enough).
You know how a transsexual might describe himself as being a man on the outside but feeling like a woman on the inside? Well, I feel like a transracial – I am a Chinese on the outside but I feel like a Westerner inside. And like all transsexuals must have once gone through in their lives, I feel bad for feeling like this.
Unlike transsexuals, my inclination is all nurtured. I grew up with Archie comics, not Lou Fu Chi (a funny Chinese comic). I read Enid Blytons and sang along to whatever Sesame Street showed. I loved My Little Pony and Jem & the Holograms and The Care Bears. I played with Barbie and Lego. All my characters have English names and surnames. I loved The Spice Girls and all sorts of boy bands.
I could do something about my situation, I do know that. I could start learning Mandarin. I could start watching more Chinese tv shows (there are Malay subtitles if I need help understanding) and I could start listening to Chinese radio (or Cantonese, at least, since I understand a smattering of it). I could read up on Chinese culture – written in English, of course. I could start trying out more Chinese restaurants other than Kim Gary (a famous Hong Kong-style restaurant chain in Malaysia). I could…
But I don’t want to. I’m just not interested. And that’s why I feel bad, because I have barely any interest in my own culture. A culture rich unlike any other, intricate and detailed and beautiful beyond any other, probably. Chinese civilization is one of the most majestic in its time. And yet I rather read Phillippa Gregory’s novels about English royalty…
Meh, I just feel like I’m a pretty poor excuse for a Chinese.
ps. I know I don’t have to beat myself up about this, since I’ve written a similar post in the past and had readers saying that race doesn’t matter! Just a pity post as a result of my inability to fit in current office… (not that will be a problem for long, heh)
Edit: Even though I’m not exactly proud of my un-Chinese tendencies, I am proud to be Chinese. (Though I’m not sure how exactly can one be proud of or show one’s pride in one’s race without seeming, well… racist?) And I also believe that I wouldn’t be who I am today if it weren’t for all my “English”-ness. I don’t think I’d speak English as fluently, nor would I be having a job like I have now, nor would I have friends like you because I would be a different person altogether. That’s what I believe, anyway.
I don’t like many things about myself, but this “English”-ness… I like. I like reading chick lit. I like eating Italian and Tex-Mex cuisine. I like that I speak the world’s lingua franca fluently enough that the majority of the world can understand me. I like the fact that I speak the world’s lingua franca fluently enough is reason enough not to worry about getting a job because my work requires me to be good in English and only that.
So it’s not all bad in the end, huh? 🙂