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That racist debate

As I wake up this morning to Adam Goodes reports trending on my Facebook and Fifth Harmony’s “Sledgehammer” blaring in my head, I reflect on my own personal experience growing up in Australia.

Growing up in a country when you’re the minority, you’re most likely going to be faced with instances that are discriminatory and racist… At least that’s what I imagine for anyone that has been in my shoes. Whether you’re white growing up in a predominantly Asian country or you’re Asian growing up in a white country etc, I believe, us as a minority would have been subjected to the same experiences that are not so pleasant.

I love Australia… when positive things happen and I am proud of the work good people do, but then there’s the side I hate and fear most days of my life. So these Adam Goodes stories sparks the “is Australia racist?” debate and whilst some would like to think not, I believe this country still is.

I’ll tell you my memories growing up in Australia, some that have never been revealed because they paint this country in the baddest of lights. I’ve been called many derogatory racial Asian names you can think of from “gook” to “ching chong” to “slope”. When I was in primary school I never understood why people would call me these names. I haven’t done anything but be in their presence, and yet I was abused. I used to walk home from school and I was sometimes chased, having stones thrown at me, being called names and had to run home just to be safe. I used to take other routes walking home just so I didn’t get abused every day because I feared what would happen next. Why should any child be subjected to this and feel ashamed of their ethnicity?

As I grew up into high school, the racial taunts didn’t stop. I accepted it and never answered back…. Mostly because I was scared to. Not only was I going through puberty and trying to understand myself as a person but I still had to deal with constant abuse because people thought it was funny. I had no confidence and no self esteem because I lived in a community where it was acceptable to racially abuse people.

I really don’t mind people arguing about my experience. It’s my experience and you can’t judge on my feelings. My parents came here for a better opportunity. And granted, this country has given me that but still doesn’t escape the fact that I live in fear every day that I will be racially abused. I’m now an adult and still get abused… It may not happen as often as when I was growing up (as society has become more accepting), but it still happens. I moved from Perth to Melbourne and got told to get out of the country by a white man (because I am Asian). Excuse me? What? I’m an Australian citizen, I have a right to live here. Who are you to tell me to get out of the country? Just because you’re white and think it’s your god given right to belong here, do I need to remind you that your people stole the land from the original inhabitants? And on the other side, I have been had racial slurs from non-whites too.  Australia, is after all, multi-cultural, mutli-raced and multi-coloured.

I’m glad these Adam Goodes articles shoved in our faces brings up the age old racist debate in Australia. Yes, the debate started about whether booing him was either racist or that people are booing him for his inappropriate football tactics but then again, it brings attention the uncomfortable conversation about whether Australia is racist. People don’t speak of it in general every day conversation but it brings to light a serious issue of racial vilification.

I hope to one day live in this country without the fear of being racially abused. I’d love to live safe and free because that’s my right as a human being… and as an Australian citizen.

I’m not excusing anything I say. I can say Australia is racist because I live it.

 

Breaking off friendships

I had to cut off a friendship today. Trust me, it’s not always an easy decision but when that person doesn’t fit into your puzzle, then why try make that piece fit? I like to give people chances. Everyone deserves second chances, sometimes even third and fourth chances. I think it’s in our nature to forgive. I was faced with a difficult situation that was forgivable. I genuinely wanted my friend to seek professional help and recognise their wrong doings in this situation. I was willing to put aside anger and take them to get the help they needed. They sought help once… just once, and thought they were fine after that. Appearances would suggest everything was fine – obviously, this was not the case.

The reason I decided to part ways was because friendship takes two. To me friendship should flow naturally and yes, we go through our ups and downs, but it is also how we can overcome situations together that count. Understanding each other is imperative. When this fails, then the friendship follows suit. I tried to be there – that didn’t help. I tried to explain my feelings of the situation and why I felt the way I did – there wasn’t a true acknowledgement nor understanding. I tried to understand their questionable decisions out of concern – apparently it wasn’t my place to judge. We had lost our friendship and now we don’t really know each other.

What I learned today is that, not everyone is going to bring positivity in your life and maybe they aren’t meant to be part of YOUR bigger picture. You shouldn’t feel bad for the decisions YOU make that will make YOUR life better. Sometimes releasing that part of your life lifts a weight off your shoulders. I definitely feel better. Even though I wanted to forgive this friend, it became clear that this friendship just didn’t fit me. Maybe one day we may rekindle the spark we had and share the good memories, but either way, I’m happy if the friendship is there or not.

Caring hurts…

I’m a person who cares about my friends and family. I care to a point that I put others needs before my own and I leave myself behind. Why do I care so much for others? Because if I see a friend in need, I can’t sit idly by – I actually think I need to help them. In recent times, I’ve sat here and wondered why do I do this? I only question it, because there is only so much help you can give, and only so much advice you can give, before that person needs to help themselves. Now, it’s taken me a long time to realise this. Caring for people can sometimes hurt. What do I mean? Well….. I mean that if it’s placing obstacles in your own life, or, preventing you to care for yourself, then why are you caring so much?

I, in no way am saying that you shouldn’t care for others. What I’m saying is, don’t let caring have a negative impact, to you. It’s taken me months, sometimes years, to realise that some people in life can take advantage of my caring nature, and not only absorb my energy, but also never take steps to help themselves.

I’m not a person who asks for help often. I am the type of person who likes to deal with my problems myself. Even when I’ve hit rock bottom, I never burdened my friends and family with my issues, I’ve just tackled it myself. If I needed to get professional help, I’d get it. And, I know that not everyone can do this themselves, or admit it to themselves, and you need your friends and family to give you this kind of push to go see a professional. I’ve had to deal with loved ones having mental issues, and though it’s taken time for them to seek the actual help they need, it has placed a strain on me. This is something I just don’t think I have capacity to deal with right now – well, taking on too much that I leave myself behind.

Before any judges and thinks I’m being selfish, I’m going to say, yes I do need to be selfish. I don’t see the problem in being selfish, when I’ve always been selfless, with my friends and family. I’m not asking anyone to care for me. I’m asking myself to care for me and that’s the best kind of selfishness people need. What brought this on? People’s actions speaks volumes. When you take it upon yourself to be inconsiderate towards me, that’s an indication to me that, you do not care for me the way I care for you. So my advice to anyone is: Don’t let caring get to a point that it hurts you.