THE ASIAN EQUATION

Photo via Refinery29

Photo via Refinery29

You know I have a lot of pet peeves. I don't have to list them, or go on about them, but I thought I'd highlight a discriminatory incident that happened earlier today that happens a lot and people don't even realise that they're doing it.

I found myself at an adorable beauty even earlier this afternoon, and during the presentation, the lady presenting was talking about how "we Asians have really sparse lashes, and unlike Indians or Caucasians, we don't even have thick eyebrows".

Here's my issue - I recognise myself as being Singaporean first, than Asian next. I was born in Asia, doesn't that make me Asian? I'm not of Chinese descent, therefore I'm not Asian? Someone highlighted on my Facebook that Indians, Pakistanis, and well, brown people in Asia are referred to as Southasian, but that doesn't make any sense to me because Thailand is part of Southeast Asia, too? I don't see them being referred to as Southasian.

You know, it's something I would brush off when I'm in the US. Asian means, someone of Chinese, Korean, Japanese, etc descent. I mean, yes, it is still a generic way of addressing people but the least I can expect is to be cast away from people who were born in the same country as I am right?

My point is - where do I belong? In a world where people throw around collective terminology thinking that there is some sort of cohesion in melding your origins, where do I, as an Indian Muslim woman who speaks no Indian languages but instead, has a pretty good grasp of English, Malay and a meagre vocabulary of Spanish, Hokkien and Mandarin (which includes a good load of cuss words). Where do I find that little part in society that I can call my own?

I'm not even the most complicated of people, too. Where would my and John's children be pigeonholed in society? The beautiful little things that they will be, together with my Blob and my niece Nora whose racial make-up is far more complicated than I can decipher, will be mushed together in a sphere called "mixed kids". 

I guess when you talk about "we" make sure it's actually collective. Make sure it's non-discriminatory. Make sure nobody feels cast aside and left out of the equation because their skin is a different colour than yours.