As someone who is born in the UK with Asian parents I can tell you it is not an easy lifestyle with the reality being we encounter a number of race-related problems pretty regularly. Everyone has heard of the BBC, but there is another BBC that you may not know about and this one stands for British Born Chinese which is what we refer ourselves to.
So I’ve had my fair share of problems so below I share with you some realities of being a BBC.
Where are you actually from though?
Oh yes, this joyous question of my origins. When people ask me this I usually see a spark of excitement on their faces as they expect something like China or Singapore but what comes out of my mouth is ‘Folkestone near Dover’. And then they will say ‘no I mean, where are you from originally?’ and I would say the same answer as I said earlier. Instantly their faces would go from interested to confusion as they start to ask questions about my parents’ birth place and try to guess what ethnicity I am. And no, I am not Hong Kongese as many people have tried to guess.
Pronouncing the surname.
Okay so this one isn’t too bad as I have the same surname as Gok Wan (too bad we are not related) but people still pronounce it differently every single time. Sometimes I get a ‘Wan’, or a ‘Wun’ or a ‘Worn’ and even a ‘Wang’! After a few more times of correcting people it gets boring and I would assume you’re just being a bit racist.
The only Chinese girl at school.
Eh, this heading is kind of true apart from of course when my little sister joined a few years after me but nevertheless this was my childhood. As there is not a lot of Chinese people in the neighbourhood there would of course not be a lot of Chinese children at the schools so I was kind of the odd one out. There have been a few stereotypes which I can laugh off but don’t assume that because I am Asian I would automatically get A*’s on my GCSE’s and then question me about it when I don’t as I am only human just like you.
Of course growing up in an Asian household with kind of traditional parents, they would be delighted if I had a rich, handsome and Chinese husband but due to me being surrounded by 99% of non-Asian people I ended up with my current boyfriend Rob who is English. At first they were very against it which of course I would have expect no less from them, but eventually they grew fond of him and just had to accept that this is the 21st century now and times have changed. When I was growing up my parents always used to say that all English guys will only play with your feelings which I am so glad to say is not true. Regardless of their images of the best guy for me I feel I have found someone who is an amazing guy and I am happy to have proved them wrong. Date who you want to date as at the end it is your happiness!
Being judged by the ‘actual’ Chinese people.
When I decided to go to university I was very excited as I wanted to make friends with some Chinese people since there was not a lot in my hometown, however not all the meetings were as sweet as I would have wanted them to be. On first impressions things would go well; we would talk about university, what we are studying and other random things, but then the question of whether I was born in China or Hong Kong finally crops up. I wasn’t going to lie so of course I said the UK and just like that the good mood would instantly change and they would lose interest and judge me because I’m not a real Chinese person if I was born in the UK? How does that logic even work? My parents are both Chinese so therefore I’m Chinese too? Plus I speak Cantonese, so I’m totally an Asian just not born in Asia!
So yeah, usually things like this would have upset me but when I grew older I understood that the people who are more open and less discriminating are hard to come across and I’m glad that I did eventually make some Chinese friends’ (both non-BBC and BBC) and they are 100 times better than the ones that judged me before they even got to know me.
And there you have it, a little of my woes that I faced growing up as a BBC! These are all my opinions so please don’t take things to heart as I am just expressing my feelings as real as I can through this article.
If you would like to share some of your experiences with me or have any more questions regarding this topic, feel free to message me!
Remember; be happy with who you are and don’t change yourself for anyone!
Thanks for reading and see you in the next post,