This is a user submission to IRL. The opinions expressed are solely those of the author, and do not represent the opinions of IRL or its affiliates.
Ah, yes…Malaysia; home to an estimated number of 32.6 million individual of diverse ethnics, which makes it so unique.
And with its diversity, we have mix marriages which then results with a child of ‘mix-blood’ – like me!
I’m a mix of Eurasian and Malay. It does sound fascinating, but living a life as a ‘mix-blood’ is no walk in the park.
But is being a ‘mix-blood’ really a struggle or just pure unique?
What Am I?
We’ve all seen many version of the ‘Personal Particulars’ form and filling up isn’t a big deal, until you reach the section of identifying your ‘Race’.
For me, it’s a constant debate. Should I tick ‘Malay’ or ‘Others’ or should I tick both?!
I remembered during my primary school days, I’ve always ticked ‘Malay’ as I was told. No question, no debates; just a quick tick on ‘Malay’.
Then at the age of 10, when I fully comprehended the whole ‘mix-blood’ concept and that I belonged in this category, I started questioning why I should tick only ‘Malay’ and not ‘Malay’ and ‘Others’?
I was informed, however, that it was a requirement and that I’m only allowed to pick one. Leaving it blank was not an option.
But, I resorted to following the option as set in my birth certificate.
And What Are You?
Well, I live in an area where majority of its tenants are Chinese and walking into a Provision Store, I was always greeted in Mandarin.
I welcome these gestures with a smile, until they initiated a conversation with me in which I do not understand a single word.
I interject them politely and say, “I’m sorry, but I don’t speak Mandarin.”
They were shocked, of course, and they then asked me, “Are you not Chinese?” in which I smile and shook my head.
Then comes the famous question I’ve gotten for as long as I remembered; “You look Chinese though! So, what are you?”
Now, explaining what I am is not simple, because most do not really know what a ‘Eurasian’ is.
So I usually resort to explaining where my ancestors were from and only then do they understand.
Wow, You Are Tall!
I am blessed with the height of 178cm, which is not an average height for most female Asians.
Plus points are that I’m able to pull off most dresses worn by Europeans.
Aside from that, not many will notice if I gained weight, because my height does a good job of hiding it.
And also, I’m able to reach high spots easily without the need of a stool or ladder (this depends, of course).
The ‘not so’ plus points are that I have limited selection on shoes.
To find a shoe of size 9 is like finding a needle in a haystack. It’s depressing, especially if the shoes that I like does not have my size.
Decent dresses turns into super mini dresses because their lengths cater more to the majority of petite size market. So, goodbye cute dresses!
The most popular of it all is the frequent question of “Are you a model / stewardess?” Or even “Why don’t you be a model / stewardess?”
I do take it as a compliment, but constantly explaining myself that I’m not a model / stewardess and why I don’t want to be one, gets tiring.
Modernized VS Conservative Cultures
Ahhh…yes, with both cultures conflicting, there is no way to please any sides.
It’s like constantly being caught between two separate WORLDS!
I struggled to fit in, because on both ends, they weren’t really receptive of me because of who I am.
Brought up as a Muslim, my family of the ‘modernized culture’ side were concerned that they might offend me. From what they say, to the food they offer.
On the other hand, being part Eurasian, the ‘conservative culture’ side of the family somehow disliked the way I carried myself. From the way I dress to the way I speak.
I spoke to my dad once about this and till this very day, I held on to his words.
He said, “We won’t ever be able to please both sides of the family, but let our hearts define who we are and always be kind.”
His words are true.
Growing up is a struggle to fit in into two separate cultures. But we, as a family, have learnt to get along harmoniously with love and kindness.
Now, both of my family have learnt about both cultures and they are more receptive of us.
Indeed, it was all about learning and understanding each other.
Growing up as a ‘Mix-Blood’ is indeed no walk in the park. But to be honest, being a ‘mix-blood’ is beyond blessing.
I celebrate every festive season there is in Malaysia.
I’ve learnt how unique and beautiful every culture is just from my family alone.
Most importantly, I’ve understood unity and love, from the heart.
I am a ‘Mix-Blood’ and I will always be proud of who I am.
What are your experiences as a mixed-blood Malaysian? Let us know in the comments!