House at Pooh Corner

House at Pooh Corner
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Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Waving a flag for the Asian/European Tribe

Book I am reading at the moment frequently mentions Eurasian & Anglo-Indians during the time of the British Raj.

Apparently, Eurasian originally referred to Anglo-Indians whereas I think in the last, say 40-50 years it refers to those of mixed Far-East Asian & European ancestry.

Made me contemplate my own racial status. 

Contemplation done.  Conclusion reached. 

Being mixed-race is a blessing.
Proud as hell of my Mum & Dad
(granted The Scowl might be misleading)

(A few years later - Scowl Absentia)

Although, to be fair, being any race is a blessing.  So, no great revelation there.

But, for a while there, if you are of mixed-race, there are moments when you aren't really sure where you are 'meant' to fit in.

As a child, way back when, there were moments when it was a little difficult, being different.

Of course, NOW Big Girl Roo realises that EVERYBODY is different & everybody had 'difficult moments'.

In fact, it is the very thing that makes us the same.

Pfft.  Big deal. nothing special about you, kiddo....

.... 'cos guess what? at the exact same time you think you are being all different & better put The Smiths on, other kids were feeling different too.  Their parents may have been splitting up, perhaps they had weight issues (up or down), skin issues, learning difficulties, didn't have a Walkman (I'm dating myself, aren't I?), had Betamax while everyone else had the other thing (Stop it. You are working out how old I am right now, aren't you?!?!), blah blah blah.

The early part of Secondary School had crappy times, the name-calling "hey chinky", "oi, fish-lips" and the, what I think is a unique HK school word (at the time anyway) "hey, choge" was upsetting but it passed.  Other kids were teased for stutters or acne so again, it was no different to that.

I don't recall how or why it suddenly stopped but it did & school was a very happy time for me.  Socially.  Academically, that's a different story &, not one we are telling now. 

On reflection,
*  attending family Hungry Ghost dinners (when it seemed no-one else you knew had to. They were, btw.  I just didn't know) at PorPor's flat,
A bit about Hungry Ghosts

*  being an already self-conscious 13 yr old & enduring inquisitive looks at the Aberdeen cemetery every Grave-Sweeping (Ching Ming) holiday,
A bit about Ching Ming (Grave Sweeping)

*  the Red Egg parties (they were quite fun!),
a bit about Red Egg parties

*  Chinese New Year Kung Hei Fat Choy'ing
A bit about celebrating Chinese New Year

*  wandering around the MidLevels with my lantern (as a little kid) & into the teenage years, candles & lanterns in Victoria Park or on Repulse Bay beach
Photos of Mid-Autumn Festival
(as an aside, this a real favourite festival of mine)
(I had that exact rabbit lantern, the one she's holding, one year. AND I distinctly remember several of those fish)

all of it centred around being part of a family & jeez, I realise now, how cool that was.

The Brit side is there too. I also got to feel part of Royal Weddings (Charles & Diana's, I think was the first I really recall & set a precedent. I love an occasion, me.), Wimbledon, Christmases, BlackBerrying walks on the Downs in Sussex & freezing family swims (not me though. Noooooooo.  Roo don't do cold water swimming.  Thin tropical blood, see? but I DID watch The Cousins swimming) on shingle beaches, fish & chips & yearly family gatherings at my other grandparents' house.

How the mix manifests itself depends on the races involved &, a kind of genetic lucky dip. 

No one knows what feature from which side will step up & make an appearance. 

Tribe members will all have experienced comments like: "wow, really? but now you say I CAN see something" to the other end of the spectrum "how could anyone NOT see it?". 

Articles like this The Eurasian Nation & books like The Eurasian Face fascinate me.  I am really nosy to see how "the genetic legacy is etched" on others.  I like to think I can spot 'another one like me' with ease!

The only thing I don't enjoy are the people (utter strangers) who stare & stare, literally scratch their heads, can bear it no longer & ask me outright "Where ARE you from?".

This seems to be unique to this part of the world, with that undeniable tone "WHAT the hell are you? I need to know how I should treat you & I shall make that decision based on your race.  Damn you for confusing me".

It happens a lot at work. And infuriatingly, often in shops.  I have no interest in discussing my racial background in either of those situations.

I am no stranger to Discrimination. *pauses for dramatic effect*

People, I was beaten into 2nd place in  the Cussons Baby Powder Most Photogenic Baby competition (1970-something) by a Chinese boy baby.

I was robbed.
My Mummy & Daddy said so.* So it could only have been a race thing.  Right?

(I mean it couldn't POSSIBLY mean that I simply Wasn't, could it?)

It is a short hop from baby powder advertising to segregation on the backseat of a bus.

 * granted Mummies & Daddies are not always good judges of these things

I'll move on.
Globally, I don't think we are a minority anymore.  Not now.

There are loads of us Hapa brothers & sisters.  Some are my age but also, as our friends' families grow, new tribe members are swelling the ranks.
Hands up if you are a Hapa!!!!

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