English | American/Chinese
My mother was born in America but her parents were Chinese. She didn’t know who here real mother was till she was in her 50s. There were two women who raised her. A lot of that was due to the Immigration and Exclusion Act of Chinese immigrants in America. You had to be related to someone who already lived there to be allowed into the U.S. It wasn’t until the end of the second world war where that law was lifted. The Chinese were the only named country to be excluded that way. It was very pointed racism. She had so much pressure on her. A lot of bad stuff went down.
I always knew there was something different about me. I guess it was when I put on a new dress for Chinese New Year and my mum sent me to school in it. I must have been about 5. As chance would have it, I had a Chinese-American teacher and she made me stand up in class and explain what I was doing. It was painful then but now looking back I can see what she was doing. A lot of the teasing I got was racially motivated but I didn’t understand that's what it was. I took it as something was wrong with me. I didn’t fully understand until I was at a private school where I was on scholarship. They sent me a letter when I must have been about 15 saying, “congratulations you are part of the 11% minority ethnic student body”. It finally all clicked. It was like, even though you are incredibly different, we are letting you be apart of this community.
If you are mixed race then you have the bog standard thing of not being part of the status quo. The caucasian society. And then there is a sense of you are a race traitor or that you are betraying your background. Or the big one is that I am not Chinese enough. I’m just not Chinese enough. I don’t know enough. I don’t speak the language. I don't look or behave the way I am supposed to. From the caucasian side, I don't behave how a Chinese person is supposed to, from their point of view. Oh it's really fucking confusing man. I have to keep telling myself who I am. I’m me and I’m all of these things mixed up. Self identification is the most important thing. Not only as an artist but as a human being. I have to tell myself that everyday.