Category: Current Affairs
Published on Thursday, 09 October 2014 00:00
The Sunday Times' Lifestyle section last week had a piece on how Eurasians deal with questions about them and their identity. Which comes on the heels of the Joseph Schooling nationality “crisis”. Truth be told the Schooling identity is nothing new to any Eurasian who has grown up in Singapore. I also think those interviewed in the Sunday piece either pulled their punches for the sake of niceness or rather had their "blows" dulled by the paper's editors. Here’s how I've had deal with growing up Eurasian in Singapore. Yes, this is a Eurasian talking – My father comes from a long line of Dutch and Portuguese Eurasians while my mother is Malaysian Chinese. Note: This is written from personal experience from growing up in Singapore where for some funny reason the only people to constantly ask me about my race are Chinese Singaporeans.
Q: How come your name sounds like so ang mo?
A: Really meh? How come your name sounds so cheena? Just like you, a long long time ago my ancestors came from somewhere else to settle down here ma. My family is not ang mo but maybe if you shake our family tree hard enough an ang mo will fall out.
Q: You look Malay/Indian/mixed blood…are you?
A: No, I'm Singaporean just like you. But if you really want to be specific I'm a Eurasian. You know that I never get this question from Malays or Indians? Or that the term mixed blood is derogatory? Please don't call me mixed blood, it's offensive.
Q: You look Malay. Which country you come from?
A: I was born in Singapore so I'm from Singapore? You look Chinese, are you from the Mainland? What do you mean don't insult you? What do you mean you're British? You are Chinese aren't you? (The irony being that some local born Chinese Singaporeans like to claim that they're British because of our colonial history and local Chinese hate being associated with PRCs.)
Q: You speak English very well because you're not Singaporean right? Are you a FT who've lived here for a long time?
A: Ya, I've lived here since the day I was born during that period when I went overseas for my studies. Would you like to see my pink IC, 11B and birth certificate?
Q: How come you can speak Chinese (aka Mandarin)?
A: I learnt from my mother and in school. I studied Chinese up to O levels and passed with a D7 ok? Dun play play! Many PRCs have complemented me on my Mandarin when I engage them in conversation. They seem to think that my Mandarin enunciation is impeccable. What does enunciate and impeccable mean?! Eh I thought you spoke English?
Q: I heard all Eurasians very laid-back and love to sing and dance. Really meh?
A: Not sure. I also heard that all Chinese people love to sing and dance too. Do you sing?
Q: You supposed to put down your race…
A: Ok la, I'm Singaporean.
Q: Why are you still living here har? Why haven't you moved to Oz?
A: The makan here is nicer ma. How come you haven't moved to Vancouver?
Q: Eh friend why are you so grouchy?
A: Friend, remember at the end of the day even though we don't look the same we were all born and raised here. We breathe the same air and love the same makan and we are all in this together as one people.