Chinese | Indian

Monisha Changpuravalen.jpg

Both my parents were born in Malaysia. Mum from China / Dad from India.  I am very Chinese and very Indian at the same time and I am also quite English & quite westernized.  I love the traditions of home, the food, I love the comfort of it, I love the mystics of Asia. My mum is Buddhist, my dad is Hindu. I love London, I am able to express myself in many different ways. I am literally torn between the 2 because in one sense I am able to express myself as a gay person in London (western world) and it does not matter.  In Asia I think twice about how I dress, don't want to draw attention to myself cause already they can tell I am not quite one race. I would rather be somewhere where I can express myself but at the same time I want to hang on to bits of home as well, it’s a weird mix. The only people who know I am gay are my parents and my sister but as far a Asian family’s go, they are very accepting, very open, my dad especially. My parents are not together anymore.  I am closer to my mum. She is Chinese and I don’t look Chinese. I walk into a room full of family and I don't look like anyone there except the maids. It feels odd, it’s just sometimes they make unintentional comments about darker skin and comments and jokes about being darker. It's not meant in a malicious way but they don't realize how that feels. On my dad’s side (he never taught me how to speak Tamil) I look Indian enough. They are more accepting because I look more like that side. But then I get told off for not knowing my language, for not knowing how the family speaks and it like ahhahahah. It’s like a no win no win. On the other hand, they are all proud of me for being over here, for getting my degrees, though when I am there they will tease me about my accent. How I sound, how I look. It's hard if you are walking around with your mum and look very different. Someone would say, “are you adopted?” and that’s a weird thing to say, even if you were adopted!

I feel lucky to be born in this time that I am. As well as being mixed race, I am too foreign for here and I am too foreign for home, you find bits here and you find bits there.