Sunday, 7 February 2016

Episode C: Being Chinese


If you haven't figured it out by now, I'm Chinese. Kind of. I'm what we Chinese people a "BBC". No, I'm not named after a major global television company but BBC to the Chinese means "British Born Chinese" - Ronseal kind of term. And to celebrate Chinese New Year 2016, the latest instalment in my blog mini-series is Episode C: Being Chinese.

Kung Hei Fat Choi!
Growing up to 100% Chinese parents (there's no other mix in me) meant I was exposed to the Chinese culture from a very early age and this in turn has had a major effect on my childhood and my lifestyle. Being Chinese is definitely one of my favourite things about myself, if not THE favourite thing. I absolutely adore the culture, the food, the traditions. I could move to Hong Kong in an absolute heartbeat and never get bored. The dramas and the films, the sights and sounds, the feasts and the shopping. I love it all.

My parents are from Hong Kong and so communicated to me in Cantonese since young which has resulted in me understanding the language fluently. However, struggles at Chinese school meant I never really picked up the other disciplines in the language and I forever hang my head in shame. I can kind of speak it but there will a comment saying I sound like a kindergarten child early on in the conversation on repeated occasions so I refrain from speaking it but 10 days solid in Hong with Mr LGD who does not understand a word in the language meant I was forced to act as a translator so by the end of my travels, I felt pretty confident speaking it. 

Nevertheless, this has never had a negative impact on my passion of being Chinese and all things Chinese. The best outcome for me from attending boarding school was the Chinese friends I came out with - you know who you are! =D =D - who have since invited me to traditional Chinese weddings, met their parents and accepted me for who I am. They have reignited the true meaning of what it means to be Chinese, and for that I am forever grateful. 

Growing in London, and central London no less meant I have always been accustomed to the bright lights of the city and Hong Kong is absolutely no different. The fast paced style of 852 is colloquially known as the "Asian New York" and having now being to New York, I can certainly vouch for that. Hong Kong is so much smaller but so much more packed with people. It's such an incredible city and I highly recommend everyone to go visit at least once.

London's Chinatown offerings pales in comparison to what can be served up in Hong Kong. Even the McDonald's menu changes on a regular basis! There are so many vendors which serves an iconic dish, so much so that queues form at its door before the place even opens (Australian Dairy Co I'm looking at you), enough shops on offer to make you feel as if your pockets are burning a hole, and something to cater to everyone's tastes no matter what part of the world you are from. 

Chinese culture is hard to explain to a foreigner because it's so unique in its own right. We have one of the best celebrations in the calendar - Chinese New Year - which involves receiving red pockets filled with money. We love the colour red. Like seriously. Any celebration is decked out in red from weddings to Chinese New Year and everything in between. We pretty much eat anything. And aren't afraid of trying anything new. We love family - they are mega important to us. Any gathering of family will always involve food. We like slippers so please leave your outdoor shoes by the front door. The stereotype is true - I can count on one hand how many Chinese people I know who does not need to wear glasses or contacts. The maths part though? Kinda true for the majority of us. And did I mention that we love food? 

Despite going to Hong Kong on several occasions over my lifetime, I always get the feeling of coming home every time I peer out the aeroplane window and see the outline of Hong Kong. Maybe it's because I know I'm going to be within minutes of a decent dim sum restaurant or a good foot massage place. 

Or maybe its because where I truly belong. 


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