Being Chinese wasn’t very cool growing up. As early as I can remember, Western parenting was very much embraced at home. My first words were in English and that was the only language I knew for the first two decades of my life. No after school tutoring or Chinese school on Saturdays, rather from an early age, I was encouraged to think for myself and pursue what interested me. My parents’ efforts to integrate into Australia ensured I never felt left out or felt different for being Chinese.
Fast-forward two decades. China’s roaring economy cannot be overlooked and society’s attitudes towards China have completely changed. I too am victim to social pressures and to my surprise, being Chinese and creating value through diversity is suddenly cool.
It’s sad that growing up, I struggled to connect with my Chinese heritage. As an adult, I now find myself playing trajectory catch-up for my shortfall in language and cultural understanding. I am also saddened that economic pursuits underline the value society places on culture, but nevertheless, it’s never too late to go back to your roots.
A hybridisation between a Western upbringing and a Chinese cultural identity is not a bad thing. It has taken me a long time to accept that I can belong to more than one culture. In fact being in the middle between the East and the West is just where I want to be.