Anglo-British | Chinese

Jay Oliver Yip.jpg

In all my schools I was only ever one of two Asians, all my friends were all white. I think I just kind of felt white basically until it was pointed out to me that I was something different. Growing up, that’s the confusing thing. You just think you are like everyone else but then someone points it out that you’re not.

When I was younger I think I had a deep sense of being mixed, my mum did enforce that and made sure that I was aware. My Asian looks are quite strong and particularly when I was younger, people would just presume that I was Chinese. People would say you are Chinese and I would say no, I am half-Chinese. It seemed like an odd concept to somebody else or they just didn’t really understand. It was only my close friends who I grew up with who would refer to me to other people as half-Chinese. Most people would say Chinese. I was thinking I was white because everyone else was white!

The one thing that I get asked the most is, “What do you have in you?”. I don’t think it always comes from a place of negativity. I don’t think it is a meaning for or purpose for statement or comment to make to make you feel different or make you feel like an ‘other’. I think it does come from a genuine place of interest. I often find being ethnically ambiguous is quite exciting. Having that as a card maybe. People do feel that they have to ask where you are from. The flipside of the coin of not knowing exactly where you can place yourself is at the same time having that uniqueness which is attractive to people.

I went back to Hong Kong last year because my nan passed away. I thought this morning on the way here that i’d never actually had a conversation with her which is really kind of profound I guess in some way. I do wish we were able to have a conversation but it was mostly by her talking in Chinese and making a few small gestures that made me feel that we still connected. I think there’s something quite nice about it. We did converse but just not through language. I definitely feel there was a connection made and I think that in some way that's quite nice.