Issue One: Broken
I have been told that I was a broken Asian - an individual of Asian descent who wasn’t just quite Asian enough. Apparently or so I was told, they knew instantly I was “broken” because of the way I dressed, the way that I carried myself or that just like litmus paper in acid, my cheeks would turn bright red when exposed to the humid climates of South-East Asia.
A broken Asian was just one of the many labels I was assigned throughout my childhood. There was the classic; “banana” (yellow on the outside, white on the inside), some not very creative ones like “the bad Asian” (an Asian who doesn’t get good grades) and amusingly “the good immigrant” (the ideal immigrant who assimilates painlessly into a new society).
In all honesty I never really paid attention to these “characters”, I just thought that they didn’t define me well enough. I think like many other Asians in Australia I ran with the fact that I was just like every other Australian except with a better food palate. Put simply I was just your average Australian-born Chinese with an identity crisis.
However, I’ve started to warm to the idea of being “broken”. I mean, if broken meant celebrating Chinese New Year and Christmas who wouldn’t want to be “broken”? I am certainly no expert in identity, in fact, I would say I am still figuring out how broken I really am, but if there’s no downside why not own the label you are given and embrace it!