Issue Five: Foreign

Asians Between Cultures

I’m often mistaken for an Australian-born Chinese, but in reality I have a bright red Malaysian passport. I hate that I feel ashamed when I tell someone that I am an international student. I’m not ashamed of my culture, where my parents were born or where I grew up. Instead, I’m ashamed of the stigmas & stereotypes plaguing ‘our kind’.

I was fortunate enough to attend an Australian International School from Year 2-10. As a product of our Aussie curriculum, Aussie teachers & befriending Aussie expats, many of us ‘locals’ grew up immersed in all things Australian. Our personalities; a confused love child of Asian & Aussie cultures. At the end of year 10, I moved to Perth to pursue a better education. I thought I was a perfect fit.

Australia, you are such a multicultural nation. Ancient, Aboriginal traditions & a melting pot of cultures of diverse migrants - old & new - who have built this country. I love home, but I’ve always felt that ancient Asian values have been the shackles around my wrists preventing me from reaching my potential. However, with the current policies & changing public perceptions the possibilities of migrating aren’t looking in my favour. Sometimes you forget your past. Like those before me, I just want a better life. I crave the freedom.

Please stop thinking that all international students are rich. A lot of us aren’t. Please stop thinking we don’t work hard. Most of us do. Please don’t think it’s simple for us. It’s not easy leaving everything you know. Please judge me on my character & not where I come from. Australia, I’m so grateful for all the memorable moments you have given me, so please don’t replace them with bad ones.