Growing holidays from Growing Up Asian… : Chinese
Growing up Asian in Australia Stories for Study Growing Up Asian… Here are the stories you must read over the holidays from Growing Up Asian… : Chinese Lessons The Water Buffalo Wei Lee and Me Perfect Chinese Students Conversations with My Parents Five ways to Disappoint your Vietnamese Mother Look for common themes and the relationship to identity and belonging! Everyone has their battle scars from primary school.
One of my worst was turning up at my school, a newly arrived child-migrant, attending her first sports day. My problem was sartorial – I wasn’t wearing shorts like everyone else in grade 3.My mother, in the Sri Lankan style, had insisted I wear a lovely short smock – garish green for my house – with a matching set of (handmade) knickers. It was the Age of Aquarius – the mid-1970s – but it wasn’t exactly the outfit to perform the mandatory somersault in. Of course, I couldn’t get out of it.
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The public humiliation lingers. Enduring such schoolyard challenges as well as the much bigger ones – language barriers, discrimination and a mother-lode of parental expectation – forms the basis for a new volume exploring what it is to grow up Asian in Australia.Despite the shrill call of some politician under the spell of elections, Australia has absorbed successive waves of migrants for more than 200 years. Asians have come in large different waves after the white-Australia policy was phased out through the late ’60s and early ’70s.
Yet there’s been a paucity of voices from Australians who claim an Asian background. Too many, perhaps, were being channelled into the doctor/dentist/lawyer and IT pathways to afford much public introspection about simply “being”.It’s an expression of assertiveness and confidence when the experiences of a group – hardships as much as triumphs and easy self-deprecations – are shared broadly. If you’re going to be empowered as a community, it’s surely as important to migrate into the public space as much as the surgical suite? In this anthology, editor Alice Pung has marshalled more than 50people – some known names, most not – who grasp the ambiguities, conflicts, gastronomic delights and, yes, parental missteps that come with having a dual cultural identity.These writers engage in the realm of the profound as much as the everyday: from living above a Chinese restaurant, another aspiring to be Wonderwoman in a super-modest Indian dress to someone else escaping from the trauma of family violence. There are more confusions than most for the gay-Asian contributors: Benjamin Law offers a wonderful wry perspective on his coming out – and his mother’s take on the revelation.
Xerxes Matza, a bloke boasting Philippine and Turkish descent, might even be the most “exotic” of the writers collective. Celebrating “exoticism”, of course, is not the preoccupation of this project.It’s really about “us” in the universal sense: capturing an Australian-ness that is rarely reflected on TV or radio but you’ll spot on the train, at schools or next door. Today, according to the 2006 census, one in 30 Australians has Chinese ancestry. And more than 1.
6million declared that they had Asian ancestry. This book is more heartful, however, than statistical. Pung, a fine writer (Unpolished Gem) who fulfilled the destiny of an accomplished Asian by completing a law degree, sounds a warning in her introduction that none of it is meant as sociological exposition, these being “deeply personal stories told with great literary skill”.
On the writing side, this is too ambitious a claim – some of the prose is excellent while other parts more pedestrian. A portion near the end featuring Q & A interviews with select tall poppies – Melbourne’s Lord Mayor, John So, and actor-comedian Anh Doh are among those featured – might be consciousness-raising, but feels structurally uncomfortable. Being Asian, of course, is such an umbrella term it’s probably best only served for cartography. After all, its area traverses from Japan to Indo-China – Pung, for example, has a Chinese-Cambodian background – to the Indian subcontinent.But the selection, because of its sheer diversity, succeeds well in cataloguing the not-so linear trajectory of growing up Asian in Australia: the casual schoolyard bullying for the shape of your nose; the toll of high academic expectation; and the nether-status of not knowing how to communicate with your non-English-speaking grandfather.
Or, even, wearing a dress to sports day. The shared experience is solidifying. Exploring Identity and Belonging : When studying Exploring Issues of Identity and Belonging, there are some key uestions that you will need to ask yourself in order to understand the concept. Those key questions are raised in this chapter, Exploring Identity and Belonging. What is Identity and Belonging? An identity is who or what a person or thing is. Your identity defines who you are.
It is a self-representation of your interests, relationships, social activity and much more. Our sense of identity and belonging is impacted by various factors, including our experiences, relationships, and our environment. The journey to find identity and belonging can often be a struggle, since we ask ourselves, ‘who am I? vs. ‘who do others want me to be? ’ and ‘where do I belong? Where do I fit in? ’ This point in our lives is completely subjective, meaning that it is our personal view that influences our decisions. The issue of identity and belonging has encompassed humans for many generations, and will remain a key turning point for many to come.
What is an identity? Identity is multi-faceted, meaning that a combination of many traits forms one identity. An identity can be defined as anything, depending on what you wish others to perceive and also how others wish to perceive you.Listed below are some examples of ‘identities’ : * Career identity : Lawyer, nurse, environmentalist, politician * Family identity : Father, mother, older sister, nephew, cousin * Skills identity : Athletic, intelligent, leader, listener * Cultural identity : History, tradition, religion, gender, ethics * Social identity : Peer group, clique, gang, club, mob, social class Note that people do not just possess one concrete identity. We are neither just a doctor nor an entrepreneur, but also someone who loves rock music and likes to dine out.In different situations, we may alter our identity accordingly to the environment and the people. For example, you may be lively with your primary school friends, yet more reserved and serious with your high school friends.
This is usually due to our innate desire to belong; sacrificing or amending our identity to do so. What is belonging? Belonging means to feel a sense of welcome and acceptance to someone or something. As suggested by Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a psychological theory centered on humans’ innate desire for fulfillment, belonging is a eed that we naturally seek in order to feel loved. In the same manner as our identities, there are many forms of belonging. * Relationships : Family, friends, partner, teacher, associate, pet * Social : groups, classes, clubs, organisations, teams * Environment : Australia, America, Melbourne, Queensland, countryside, metropolitan, nature vs.
man-made environments If we fail to find a sense of belonging, isolation and depression often ensues. However, there are those who don not belong but are in fact, liberated by their independence.This may be since they wished to rebel from their family tradition, friends’ expectations or commitment to work and thus, pleased to be set-apart. What influences identity and belonging? Everything and everyone can influence a person’s identity and belonging. While some influences can be major, such as one’s relationship with their family, other influences may be minor, for example an incident with a friend many years ago. For different people, the same experience may have affected them to a different extent, for example, a pair of friends travelling to an art exhibition.
While for one friend, the experience was exquisite and a good night out, for the other, it may have inspired them to switch careers and become an artist. Although we all live in the same world where many of our experiences overlap, the reason why we are all unique is because we ultimately choose what does or does not impact us in a crucial or unimportant way. It is through the addition of the myriad parts of our lives that come together to create our identity. Why does the struggle with identity and belonging occur?It is a valid point to argue that everyone has struggled with their identity and belonging during a chapter of their life. There comes a time when our opinions and beliefs begin to differentiate from those around us. During this time, some people may discover where they belong, whereas many others do not.
It is not solely one stage of our lives when we are confronted with an identity crisis, but a continuous challenge throughout our lives as we encounter new experiences that will alter our thoughts, emotions and perspective on ourselves.QUOTES “The more woman aims for personal identity and autonomy … the fiercer will be her struggle with nature – that is, with the intractable physical laws of her own body. And the more nature will punish her: ‘Do not dare to be free! For your body does not belong to you.
‘ ” – Camille Paglia “These are outlaws, these are terrorists, barbarians who don’t really belong to any identity, any nationality. ” – Marwan Muasher “If you wake up at a different time, in a different place, could you wake up as a different person? ” – Chuck Palahniuk Integrity simple means not violating one’s own identity. ” – Erich Fromm “To be idle requires a strong sense of personal identity. ” – Robert Louis Stevenson “Identity is such a crucial affair that one shouldn’t rush into it. ” – David Quammen “I began wearing hats as a young lawyer because it helped me to establish my professional identity.
Before that, whenever I was at a meeting, someone would ask me to get coffee… ” – Bella Abzug “Anybody who has an identity problem had better wise up and get with the program! ” – Jack Handy “Belladonna, n. In Italian a beautiful lady; in English a deadly poison.
A striking example of the essential identity of the two tongues. ” – Ambrose Bierce “I’ve grown certain that the root of all fear is that we’ve been forced to deny who we are. ” – Frances Moore Lappe Theme 1: Identity ; Belonging In this theme, students from Arabic backgrounds were invited to explore broad themes of identity and belonging. Students’ stories demonstrate the complex meanings of place, ethnicity and “home”.
Students from Arabic-speaking backgrounds are often keen to articulate their stories.Second generation Australian-Arab youth discuss growing up in suburban Melbourne as migrant youth. Overseas-born students speak of their journey to Australia, experiences in their country of origin and family ordeals in relocating. These stories help other students and teachers to better understand the Australian-Arab members of the school community.
These students are also interested in exchanging stories beyond their own cultural group so they can better understand other students, the ones they themselves refer to as “Aussie” kids.At times some Arabic-speaking background students seem genuinely perplexed about “Aussie” kids’ behaviour, especially to do with some social norms, or attitudes to interpersonal relationships which may be unfamiliar. One student highlights the importance of context in shaping identity, suggesting that “it depends who you’re hanging around with”. Other students give an impression of social dislocation, a feeling of “in-between-ness” that is commonly experienced amongst young people from migrant backgrounds.This experience of being in-between, sometimes referred to as “cultural hybridity”, becomes evident when reflecting upon family life. One student said that “I speak Arabic at home half the time.
Always with my parents, but I speak English with my brothers and sisters…” Another student stated that “On cable, we watch the news in Arabic, because my parents watch that, and others shows in English. ” In their private lives many students of Arabic-speaking backgrounds live within traditionally ordered, and often quite conservative, family structures.Conversely, the public world they inhabit emphasises equal access to a range of employment or lifestyle choices, and quite different ideas about personal relationships. Tensions must inevitably arise between these two conflicting spaces and the expectations they carry with them.
The school is often an important place for many Arabic-speaking background students to learn more about Australian society in the process of cultural change. The experience of teachers illustrated within this theme of “Identity” highlight the need for students to re-establish identity as they experience varying degrees of alienation from their own cultures.