Moving from Melbourne, Victoria to a town in South-West Australia was a lot harder than I initially anticipated. It wasn’t just the significant reduction of food choices, or the realisation that shops closed at 5pm but also the sudden decrease in people of Asian descent. In a town with a population of approximately 80 000 people, only a meagre 0.2% speak Mandarin and 0.3% speak Filipino. Adjusting to the lifestyle, learning to assimilate and trying to appreciate the town favourites; BBQs, beers, footy and fishing, was difficult. Since moving, I have been asked numerous times “But where are you really from?” and “Do you celebrate Christmas?”.
Initially, it was a bit of an uncomfortable situation but I have since learnt to smile and answer the question with patience. I have realised that many times, these questions are not asked with the intention to harm but rather a genuine interest and curiosity. Sure, the questions could have been worded better, but in a place with little exposure to Asian culture, I have become more understanding of the situation and developed an appreciation for those that try to learn and understand my background and ethnicity. I am proud to be of Chinese descent and even more proud to share with those around me.