I am not afriad of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday and I love today~William Allen White

Archive for December 2, 2010

identity crisis

Yep, I have been having a little bit of an identity crisis lately and here is my story:

When I am in Singapore and speak with a Western accent rather than the local style of Singapore English, people would automatically ask me where I am from.  I would generally say I am from Hong Kong because I always fly into Singapore from Hong Kong.  When I am in Hong Kong, I could speak fluent Cantonese, the local dialect; however, to the “local” population, the way I express myself and how every now and then, I forgot certain “Chinese” words and substitute them with English would also generate me the question of where I am from.  In Hong Kong, my answer is, I am from Canada.  When I am in Canada, people would consider me “Asian” or “Chinese” or “Chinese Canadian” at best and when I pay with cash and am not interested in discounts through store related credit cards, the sales would ask me if I am on vacation from the US.  SIGH.

I always wanted to answer I am a citizen of the world, but who really answers like that?  People will think I am nuts, so I am stuck in the vicious circle of giving confusing answers to the question of “WHERE ARE YOU FROM”?  Aiya!  In truth, I actually will have tri-citizenship whereby I have citizenship status in both Canada and Hong Kong and on route to permanent residency status in Singapore, and I pay taxes to all three countries!  So!  I am a citizen of the world, and can people stop asking other people where they are from?  Is that even important?  I mean, so long as we are all communicating and you could understand what I am saying, does it really matter?

I seriously believe the most frequently asked questions are #1:  Where are you from and #2:  what do you do?  It looks like that is how we are all defined: where we are from and what we do for a living.  I usually enjoy chatting with people and could “define” myself quite well, but I seem to be having a little bit of an identity crisis today.

ps.  The reason I could definite myself quite well is because in all honesty, at least once a week I receive the statement “you are not from around here are you” and immediately followed by the question “so where are you originally from”?

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