Why Are We Afraid Of Standing Up Against Racism?

I’m no stranger to racism in Melbourne. As an Asian Australian, racist encounters have been a part of my life here for as long as I can remember. But I don’t remember doing much about this.

Over the years, I learned there are different types of racism. I’ve had insults about my non-Aussie accent and yellow skin thrown verbally in my face by non-Asians. There have been times where I met new people who immediately assumed I wasn’t Australian and asked, “Where are you from?” That is, there is direct racism and casual/everyday racism, one of them more subtle than the other.

Light zig-zagging over chess pieces. No matter our culture, we're all in this world together | Weekly Photo Challenge: Refraction.

Light zig-zagging over chess pieces. No matter our culture, we’re all in this world together | Weekly Photo Challenge: Refraction.

It’s not hard to spot either kind of racism. But it’s not always easy speaking up about either one, at least in Australia.

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Why We Love Living In Cities. Especially Asians

City life. Some of us love a lot of the things that come along with being in the city.

I’m one of those city-loving folk in Melbourne. Whenever I have a free day, I usually head down to the city and see what’s going on there.

Silhouettes of Melbourne as the sun goes down. Princes Bridge | Weekly Photo Challenge: Silhouette.

Silhouettes of Melbourne as the sun goes down. Princes Bridge | Weekly Photo Challenge: Silhouette.

We love living in cities because everything is literally at the tip of our fingers here. Shops and restaurants are just around the corner in Melbourne: Nike shoes to Nintendo games, Hong Kong yum cha to Spanish paella. Convenient, and variety is never dull.

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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.

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.

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

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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The Lunar “Chinese” New Year: A New Beginning

When I was a kid, I celebrated the “Chinese New Year” in Malaysia with my family.

When we moved back to Australia seven years after living in Asia, to my confusion I learnt that the “Lunar New Year” is often used to refer to the “Chinese New Year” in Melbourne. Both phrases are used interchangeably literally everywhere here – on posters, flyers and billboards to name a few – time and time again.

Call it the Lunar or Chinese New Year, the start of the lunar calendar is a new beginning | Weekly Photo Challenge: Beginning. Photo: Mabel Kwong

Call it the Lunar or Chinese New Year, the start of the lunar calendar is a new beginning | Weekly Photo Challenge: Beginning. Photo: Mabel Kwong

Do the two phrases mean the same thing? Do people confuse the two terms?

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The Asian Obsession With Taking Photos

Photos of food. Monuments. Flowers. Sunsets. You name it.

When a good number of us see that something we don’t see too often, we pause. Whip out our camera phones. Snap a photo of it. Or two. Sometimes three or more just in case the first two turned out blurry.

When our eye fancies something, some of us rush to snap a photo of it. Photo: Mabel Kwong

When our eye fancies something, some of us rush to snap a photo of it. Photo: Mabel Kwong

Then we upload the photos to Facebook or Instagram. Perhaps Twitter. It seems the cool, in-thing to do at the moment for anyone from Gen-Y regardless of race. Right…

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