Temperature is so low I lose the sensitivity of my fingers (without gloves) within minutes. The blanket of snow still greets me god morgon whenever I stepped out of the hostel. The shudder always comes next when I breathe in the chill of the air.
Few Swedish students will be heading towards the tropical island for their research project next semester. Other than the culture shock they will experience, I think they will find the weather shock more unbearable. It goes the same for me too, but I would rather the heat waves embracing me when I go home than the icy air sucking the life out of me everytime the door opens.
A multi-racial community is where I grew up in. Seeing different skin colors is a norm for people living in the place where I come from, in addition to the many attempts the government tries to normalize the mix, I don’t usually see race as an identity of a person. To my fullest knowledge, we respect each other’s cultures and festivities, we acknowledge the presence of differences between how these people of different colors behave and accept them. An occasional thorn may appear from the surface of
what seem like the peacefulness between races, but it never grows into the malicious and indiscriminate assaults between the people.
I don’t usually identify myself with being a Chinese, but I can’t help with the fact that I
celebrate attend Chinese festivities, tie myself with the traditional cultures that advocate down-to-the-earth attitude, and eat Chinese food (no, not Chinese noodles). Seldom have I thought that my Chinese heritage defines who I am, until I met a lot more people from other races, and mostly, other nationalities.
So one of my Swedish friends, who’s going over to my homeland for his research project, was caught in a shock when asked about the ethnicity group he belongs to, on top of his nationality. Here’s the question (which is specific only to my country, not sure about the rest), if we are just looking at the capability and educational qualification of an applicant, why bother about names and ethnicity? Interestingly, I was asked where/who do I identify myself with, my country or my race? While I couldn’t really find an answer to that, I realized that I don’t feel belonged to any group that people categorize themselves into. Not that I want or don’t want to be a Chinese, I’m genetically and culturally born to be a Chinese.
Race is always a sensitive topic, because people choose to distinguish and protect themselves, to keep on to a culture that was passed on to them. While nothing’s wrong with embracing your own culture, it’s only wrong when you prevent others from embracing their own cultures.
So let me end with a quote from Confucius – “Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself.”
One can never get enough of the pure whiteness.