Writers from China's diaspora Beth Yahp felt most Chinese when she lived in Australia. It wasn't that she felt part of a thriving community that plied her with dim sum and offered magnificent networking opportunities. She felt Chinese because of the hostility some Australians expressed after she arrived in 1984. 'When I got to Australia there was a big debate going on about Asianisation,' she says. 'Immediately you're tagged based on what you look like.' With dry humour, she recalls a man spitting at her car. 'That kind of stuff doesn't have to happen often. It only has to happen once to give you a kind of paranoia.' In 1998, Yahp, now 41, headed for Paris for five years. She puts her tendency to wander from country to country down to her origins. Yahp is part-Hakka. 'I come from a family of migrants,' she says. Her great-grandparents lived in Guangdong and Chengdu before settling in Malaysia at the turn of the last century. Now, she's on the move again - back to Sydney. She refuses to commit to either Australia, Malaysia or her other love, France, because she doesn't want to abandon the social and family networks she's established in each country. 'I feel like home is divided,' she says. Now and then, Yahp visits China, which has been a mixed experience. She says she dislikes the pigeonholing of experience. In 1995, she went to Guangzhou in casual western dress and discovered that, despite her roots, she didn't fit in. Undeterred by her sense of alienation, last year she went to Chengdu in Sichuan and was impressed by the zest of the cooking. 'In Malaysia, we pride ourselves on spicy dishes, but you know I found the chilli in Sichuan was wow!' she says with a laugh. 'I was crying.' She says she'd like to visit China more often. Her novel The Crocodile Fury was peppered with Chinese cultural references: the moon, the sea and sea goddesses. One reader accused her of making errors. Yahp shrugs off the charge. 'I don't think culture is a fixed thing,' she says. 'These myths and beliefs travel, and they can't help but change according to where they travel to. A purist would say you got something wrong, but it's actually hard to be a purist in our increasingly globalised and connected world.' When not writing short fiction, the globetrotter with a degree in communication from the University of Technology in Sydney reviews books and works as fiction editor for the monthly supplement for Malaysia's The Edge newspaper, Off the Edge. She also finds time to teach creative writing in Kuala Lumpur. Her hobbies include 'teh tarik-ing' (teh tarik is a hot, frothy tea) at tea stalls around town. Where does she think she'll wind up? She comes up with a typically dry response: 'In the ground. No, in a jar.'