When To Ask The “Where Are You From?” Question

As an Asian Australian living in Australia, I get the question “Where are you from?” thrown at me quite a bit.

When I get asked this, I pause: it’s a confusing question. Where exactly is “from”? The place where we were born? Where we live? Our heritage? One of my favourite responses to this question is, “I’m from three countries. Guess” (I grew up in Australia, Malaysia and Singapore to Chinese-Malaysian parents; see previous post). It’s also an intrusive question that demands a very personal answer, maybe demanding that we give our life story away.

A touch of kindness. A touch of kindness makes us feel at home| Weekly Photo Challenge: Humanity.

A touch of kindness. A touch of kindness makes us feel at home| Weekly Photo Challenge: Humanity.

We usually feel the urge to ask the question when get the feeling the person we’re talking to has a different story than us, judging by the accent on the tip of their tongue, the colour of their skin, the way they dress.

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Why Being A Writer Is Hard

It’s never easy being a writer. Some days the words flow, and some days they don’t. Sometimes we know exactly how our stories will end, and sometimes when we write we wonder, “Where is this all going?”.

Winter along the Yarra River. As writers, our stories naturally change over time, just like how seasons change (Photo 1/2) | Weekly Photo Challenge: Dialogue.

Winter along the Yarra River. As writers, our stories naturally change over time, just like how seasons change (Photo 1/2) | Weekly Photo Challenge: Dialogue.

Recently, I got tagged to participate in a writing tour by Sofia from Papaya Pieces and Lani over at Life, the Universe and Lani, which involves answering four questions about the “writing process”. These questions certainly reminded me of the frustrations of being a writer.

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When Is It Okay To Wear Cultural Costumes?

A few months ago, I was wandering through Bourke Street Mall on a summer’s Saturday afternoon and spied some buskers wearing traditional cultural attire (photo).

I wondered if anyone saw this scene as racist.

I stopped to watch. It stuck me as odd that they were wearing sunglasses with their outfits.

Three buskers, three instruments and three Sri Lankan outfits. | Weekly Photo Challenge: Threes.

Three buskers, three instruments and three Sri Lankan outfits. | Weekly Photo Challenge: Threes.

There are two scenarios when it comes to wearing cultural clothing: us wearing our own culture’s traditional clothes and us wearing another culture’s traditional clothes.

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Why Do We Go To The Beach When It’s Hot?

When the sun shines brightly on hot summer days in Melbourne, many of us make a beeline for the beach.

A lot of us say we go to the beach to cool off on these days.

Giving myself a high five at the beach | Weekly Photo Challenge: Selfie. Photo: Mabel Kwong

Giving myself a high five at the beach | Weekly Photo Challenge: Selfie. Photo: Mabel Kwong

This has always baffled me. Numerous times I’ve went down to St Kilda beach on 30-degree days decked out in a loose-fitting white T-shirt and shorts. After ten minutes or so of strolling on the sand under the cloudless sky, beads of sweat scramble to form on my forehead and back.

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Why Is Sushi So Popular?

It’s no secret many of us love eating sushi today.

Sushi seems to be as popular as McDonalds. Sushi shops are literally located all over Melbourne. There is one practically every one or two blocks in the CBD selling takeaway sushi. Japanese restaurants are aplenty too, some serving sushi on huge sharing platters.

Today sushi seems to be just as popular as burgers. Who would've thought? | Weekly Photo Challenge: Juxtaposition. Photo: Mabel Kwong

Today sushi seems to be just as popular as burgers. Who would’ve thought? | Weekly Photo Challenge: Juxtaposition. Photo: Mabel Kwong

Sushi is believed to have originated in Southeast Asia where people mixed fish with rice in order to preserve the seafood. This spread to Japan around the 8th Century; eating fish with rice was popular with the Japanese. From then on, the Japanese experimented and created different types of sushi and this cuisine eventually spread around the world.

What exactly is sushi’s appeal? Why do so many Asians, Westerners and other races like eating sushi all the time?

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