Belgian | Hong Kong Chinese
My mum is Belgian, and my dad is Hong Kong Chinese, I was born and bred in South London and it’s given me an appreciation for slow travel on buses, versus the stress of tubes!
I think I’ve known I was mixed-race my whole life. We grew up celebrating different cultural traditions from Belgium’s St. Nicholas Day to Chinese New Year. Plus, both sides of my family look different to me, so I was certainly aware I was a mesh of the two. But I grew up in an ethnically diverse area and went to a local state school, so race was never that defining to me growing up.
I have a few different friendship circles. I’ve got my home friends, first job friends and people I met at university and in my 20s. They’re all pretty diverse because I met them all through so many different avenues. I’m a naturally curious person so I love learning about different ways of life through my friends.
Personality is the biggest factor for me when dating, so I mainly seek out traits like kindness, loyalty, humour and empathy. I want someone who can make me laugh but can also stand the tears, too. In terms of looks, I’ve dated men from all different racial backgrounds but the older I’ve gotten, the more I seem to gravitate towards mixed-race men usually with dark features – but it’s not a conscious decision. Perhaps I seek out men who sort of look like me? Who knows. Religion-wise, I like them to at least be agnostic because God plays a big role in my life and I’d like to incorporate going to church again in my future.
I think my biggest issue is when people only credit the more visibly-obvious race. Just because I don’t look traditionally White doesn’t mean I don’t also own my Caucasian side. People too quickly class me as ‘Asian’ and that negates 50% of who I am. Also, people often jump to the conclusion that you can speak both languages of your parents when in actuality, being mixed-race, often means that your parents speak one communal language to each other and that’ll be the language you predominantly speak. When people ask me if I can speak Cantonese, French, Flemish and/or Mandarin, it makes me feel inadequate for not being able to.
My positive experience of being mixed-race has included negative experiences, too. I’ve had racial slurs, stereotypical remarks and overfamiliarity thrown towards me as a result of the way I look – and how people attach their own beliefs to what it means to be me. But, all that’s done is given me a fierce resilience, empathy and curiosity about everyone else’s walk of life. I love being a part of two very different cultures and it’s made me adventurous in my love of food (albeit vegetarian), travel and hearing stories around the world. My only complaint is that my family are spread out all over the world and sometimes, selfishly, I wish they could all be in one place.
I am very close to my immediate family though. My sister Ariane Chui and I run our own organic/beauty lifestyle blog @ftoxins.
I’ve spent so much time learning to love myself, scars, blemishes, flaws and all, the things I used to hate (like my squash nose, my frizzy hair and my birthmark on the side of my face etc) are what make me me.
I think the future is going to be more and more mixed – and I love that because I think it’s a celebration of how diverse our world is. But, I do think mixed raced people’s ethnicities could start becoming more saturated. For example, my kids could have a Chinese surname but only be a quarter Chinese (so might not look Asian) so I think we all need to be curious, polite and never afraid to ask questions because it’s always better to ask than to assume.