First post of the year.
One thing I noticed about myself as I got older was that I started becoming more aware of my Chinese culture.
Well here’s the story. I was raised in a small city with virtually no other Chinese people. So I started becoming very white washed. I lost all my Chinese skills and sense of culture. When I came to Toronto, due to the influence of other Chinese people, I’ve started rediscovering that culture – and in the process becoming more traditionally Chinese.
Even more so than my parents. My parents never really thought much about going back to China, but I’ve been wanting to go back for a while now. There’s a sense of beauty and history there I wanted to experience. I guess you could call it “一种落叶归根的感觉”, a sense of belonging. I wanted to go back to visit because my ancestral home and my relatives were calling me.
My ideals for what the ‘perfect woman’ for me changed as well: It used to be that I had crushes on Caucasian girls, or Asian girls that were raised here. No longer the case. Now I’m all about the ‘traditional’ Chinese beauty – the shy, quiet reservedness, honesty, politeness, calmness, loyalty, obedience; basically the same qualities I had myself.
I’m the Chinese student that the average Asian parent would probably like to have. I’m obedient, reliable, took orders well, and work efficiently. I have ‘artistic’ talents, rather than physical talents. I wished that my parents had pushed me harder during elementary / high school because I wanted to get into a good university. I went into Computer Science not because I was forced to but because I wanted to. I wished my parents made me learn piano; instead I learned it by myself because I had no money for piano lessons. Same with guitar. I wish my parents sent me to Chinese school; I learn it by myself during my spare time. I’ve designed websites since I was a kid – again in my spare time.
In short, I didn’t really relate to other Asians saying their parents ‘forced’ them to do this or that, because I wanted to be a good student. You only get one chance at life so make it your best, that’s my way of thinking. Get a good education, network well, find a good job, marry into a good family. I’ve wanted to live a good life – hence I was never bothered by overwork; I liked working hard; I like striving; I wanted to be the best I could be. My brother is like me – but even more competitive. I think it may come from our genes – my dad was a farmer so he’s worked hard his whole life, and my mother’s side was descended from Chinese nobility so the ambition was always there. I guess some of it passed on to me.
Basically, during these past few years, I’ve ‘rediscovered’ who I really am; I’m at my core a Chinese person, traditional and conservative, and heavily influenced by American ideals of innovation and leadership; I’m also politically conservative. But I don’t think I would be satisfied with myself if I was any different.