Thursday, December 02, 2004 ______________________________________________________________________________

Four Years and Counting 

Yesterday marked the start of my fifth year as a Canadian Permanent Resident. I landed here on Dec 1st 2000 kicking and screaming. I don't think I've stopped kicking and screaming, but there have been improvements.

I have to say that I'm an incredibly different person than I was when I arrived here. Considering that most people change between the age of 16 and 20 proclaiming that I'm a different person might seem to be trumpeting the obvious, but no. The move here made me challenge much of what I had previously accepted unquestioningly. I don't want to go into everything here, but suffice to say I'm much happier with who I am as a person than I ever was in my entire life.

In an earlier conversation with Lisa, I mentioned that for the first time ever I'm not wishing I was someone else or other variations on that same theme. Growing up I was never really comfortable in my own skin. Most of my time spent day dreaming was wishing that I belonged to a different family, a different race, wishing I were prettier, more atheletic, smarter, more talented. I would classify it as a full blown obsession. Almost every moment that my mind had time to itself (during my daily commute, during meals, walking, during classes, during exams...) I was preoccupied with how my life would be better if. I'm not saying that I don't wish for a few things right now (like a smaller dress size and the ability to go back to Singapore) but the things that I wish for a reasonable and within my control.

Lisa said that this means that I have arrived. Arrivvedd, I think was how she spelt it.

I can't help but realise that much of this self-discovery is tied to my moving out of my parents' house. For once I wasn't trying to live up to a standard that kept moving higher as soon as the old one was met. For once I wasn't living with a mother who's convinced that being Chinese is one of the biggest misfortunes in the world. (More on this below) For once I was achieving academically for me and not for anyone else. For once I wasn't afraid that someone would put a negative spin on my innocent actions and be mad at me for it. For once I wasn't the target of random anger that didn't have anything to do with me anyway.

I really don't understand why my mother dislikes the Chinese so much. She thinks that they are less attractive and less civic minded. She believes in white supremacy, just not lynching. It must be hard to hate your own race. Living on my own and interacting with others of my own race without the influence of my mother, I've come to the conclusion that Chinese people are attractive and that in many ways I'd much rather be Chinese than any other race in the world. Although I must say that I find my own white boy rather cute. :) I think the more relevant issue here is that while there are differences amongst the different races, the differences don't equate to good and bad. It's more subjective, like how green is different from blue, but both are perfectly acceptable colours.

Four years later and I know that I don't have anything to prove. I'm still kicking and screaming a little about being here, but hey. At least I'm getting a degree while in exile, it's not a complete waste of my time.


posted by Joie! at 9:59 AM

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