Crazy things an Asian student did to blend into Western society
Jason Hung enumerates the barbs and slurs directed at Asians who live in the West, and explains the need for a movie like Crazy Rich Asians (“Asian-Americans, crazy rich or not, just want acceptance”, August 30).
In order to fit in better and not stick out like a sore thumb, some immigrants reject their heritage to adopt the values and lifestyles of the dominant society. However, ideas of the superiority of Western culture can do lifelong harm and inculcate hatred of one’s origins.
As a heavily accented Chinese-Malaysian student at an Australian medical school, I once took it upon myself to adopt the plummy, sophisticated English accent I’d encountered in Merchant Ivory films. I had hoped this would help me fit in with my peers from elite private schools once I graduated into medical practice.
One day, a senior surgeon mistook me for a graduate from the hallowed Cambridge University. He then noted my surname and proceeded to heap praise on a rugby-playing cousin of mine, an Asian-Australian trailblazer in the game.
This surreal episode made me feel like an extension of a fabricated identity, which I have long since chosen to abandon. My career advancement hasn’t suffered as a result, however, even as I resolve to be my own singular person.
Joseph Ting, Brisbane