The Race: Asian Australian, Part 10

Mabel Kwong:

Normally I don’t do reblogs, but today I want to share A Holistic’s Journey’s ‘RACE Around The World’. Check out all the submissions about race and identity, worth reading!

Originally posted on A Holistic Journey:

1) How do you define yourself racially or ethnically and why is it important to you? Please tell us about the racial makeup of your family if you were adopted or come from a colorful family.

I was born in Australia to very traditional Chinese-Malaysian parents. The word “Malaysian” refers to a nationality. There are predominantly three races living in Malaysia – Chinese, Malay and Indian. A very long time ago, the Chinese came and settled in Malaysia. My grandparents – and many generations before them – were born in Malaysia. My relatives and extended family don’t know where our ancestors originated. We don’t talk about Chinese history but the history of Malaysia. We’ve always considered ourselves Chinese people living in Malaysia. We don’t identify with China the country but with Chinese culture. Chinese Malaysian is similar to the term, say, Korean American.

Melbourne

Melbourne

When I was growing up in Melbourne…

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How To Travel Safe

We experience the unknown when we travel. Wandering unfamiliar streets. Seeing faces we don’t recognise. Sampling food we don’t get at home. Usually we come back with thrilling adventures to share.

Wandering the timeless streets of Melbourne, sometimes it's hard to find an info booth | Weekly Photo Challenge: Street Life.

Wandering aimlessly the timeless streets of Melbourne, sometimes it’s hard to find an information booth. Bourke Street Mall. | Weekly Photo Challenge: Street Life.

But sometimes some of us come back with the odd horror story of getting pick-pocketed, getting lost and probably everyone’s worst nightmare, their passport stolen.

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Why We Get Names Wrong

When I was born, my Malaysian parents named me Mabel (may-berl). They also gave me a Chinese name, Li Teng (lee ting, 丽 婷), which is my middle name on my Australian passport.

When we look in the mirror or reflect on who we are, we see imperfections in ourselves. Our name is a big part of our perfectly imperfect selves | Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflections.

When we look in the mirror or reflect on who we are, we see imperfections in ourselves. Our name is a big part of our perfectly imperfect selves | Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflections.

I’ve always went by my English name. Growing up, my parents called me Mabel at home. I introduced myself as Mabel when I went to school and still do today.

In this world made up of so many cultures, there are countless of us non-Caucasians who have Western first and last names. But there are times when some assume we go by “exotic” names if we aren’t Caucasian. If we’re dark-skinned, some might think we’re a Muhammad or Suresh. If we’re Asian, our first and last names might be Lee or Nguyen.

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