Like many other people, I was aghast by two recent disgusting, intoxicatingly negative episodes that happened in Australia.
Earlier this month, commuters on a packed suburban Melbourne bus ride hurled racist and violent threats at a fellow passenger, a French woman who was singing in her native tongue. Video footage of this incident shows a middle-aged man yelling at her to speak English and all the worst obscenities possible. A man pushing a pram chimed in to the xenophobic chorus, shouting vulgar phrases at her.
People of all backgrounds going about their own business in Melbourne’s CBD. No fuss, no drama. It’s like this almost everyday. Photo by Mabel Kwong.
At the beginning of the month, Channel 9’s A Current Affair broadcasted a report titled “All-Asian Mall” that investigated the apparent “Asian invasion” of a shopping mall in NSW suburb Castle Hill. This television segment emphatically stated the mall was receiving an “Asian makeover” with four Asian food shops moving in and (white) Aussie shopkeepers were unfairly forced to move out as a result. This was later refuted.
I used to be one of those people who honestly thought and held the perception that white-skinned Caucasians were the ultimate epitome of beauty.
That is, when I was living in South East Asia, I genuinely regarded Caucasians and people with fair skin and blue eyes as physically attractive, thinking “whiteness” was what you needed in order to be beautiful inside out.
Whenever it was blazingly hot and sunny outside in Malaysia or Singapore and I wanted to go out, my mum would incessantly nag at me to stay in the shade or else I would “get all black” and ugly. I always naively obliged thinking she was Mrs. Know It All.
People in East Asia are known to use every means to shield themselves from the sun so as to not get tanned while outdoors. Photo by Replacing Ink.
I would also always gawk in admiration at Caucasians who strolled around here as the thought “oh wow, they are so beautiful” whirled around in my head.
In an age where so many of us are geographically on the move, what does the word ‘home’ mean today?
What exactly is ‘home’?
Traditionally, (the) ‘home’ is regarded as a physical place, the place you return to after a hard day at school or work. The place that you call your sanctuary.
Home is sort of like a lost ship at sea – drifting, drifting. Where it goes and where it docks, no one knows. Photo by Mabel Kwong (Port Melbourne Beach)
In such a mobile world, ‘home’ really isn’t just about a fixed location or the house you live in. The assumption that people live in one place and abide by one set of cultures and norms no longer holds; home today often means more than one country.