“Being Australian-born Chinese doesn’t mean we have to divide or choose between our Chinese and Australian roots. We are 100% Australian and 100% Chinese.”
“There are some moments the East and the West melt together like pavlova on the tongue and some, where it’s more like gum stuck on a gravel road…”
“Had I been so caught up in making others “forget” I was Asian, that I myself had forgotten?”
THE ABC ISSUE’s first project features fifty individuals of Chinese descent who have grown up in Australian society. Some of them were born here, and Australia is the only home they’ve ever known. Others migrated here during their formative years, leaving a culture so familiar only to land deep in another so foreign. Spanning six major cities across Australia, these fifty individuals offer a glimpse into moments in their lives that are amusing, thought-provoking, and deeply moving all at once. They have shared what being an Australian-born (or raised) Chinese individual means to them, and how they battle with or embrace the duality of cultures they perpetually face.
It is important to note that these fifty people are a small sample of the Australian population that identify as Asian. By 2025, it is projected that 16 per cent of the population will be ethnically Asian. Not all Asian-Australians are of Chinese descent; however, this project acts as a starting point for highlighting one of the many cultural communities that have developed over the years in Australia’s multicultural melting pot. We are a nation of immigrants - 26 per cent of the population was born overseas in one of 200 different countries, and there are over 300 different languages spoken in Australian households.
Everyone has a different story to tell, and often, we don’t pause to ponder why someone may do things a certain way until we consider how their life experiences have shaped them into the person they have become. As you read these stories, perhaps you may reflect on how your upbringing has been similar or different to those that have shared. Maybe you’ll be able to pinpoint what you experienced during the same period in your life. Maybe you’ll walk away with a renewed sense of reassurance, or an epiphanic moment of understanding. Hopefully you’ll be able to celebrate the incongruity of cultures and variety of perspectives brought to life in these stories. At the heart of the matter, we hope you discover that there is no such thing as flaws in someone’s cultural identity - only differences.