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.
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.
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.
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
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…