Scottish | Hong Kong Chinese

I identify as British/Hong Kong Chinese. My mum is originally from Hong Kong and my dad is originally from Scotland. They met in Hong Kong through their love of sailing when my dad moved there for work. I was born in London and grew up in a small town in Surrey.

I feel like I’ve always known I’m mixed-race, there’s no defining point I can remember. I have been going over to Hong Kong and Singapore to see my mum’s family since I was a baby & during school summer holidays. Travelling between continents was normal for me growing up. I have both a Scottish and Chinese name, so being from two cultures has always been part of my identity.

I have experienced growing up with British culture and a combination of both of my parent’s cultures. My parents have different views on some issues due to their cultural backgrounds, but ultimately it is a positive thing as I receive multiple views from different cultures. Having my mum’s view on British culture has been important to my outlook. She has taught me to look at things from a different perspective and question things taken for the norm in England.

Having a mixed identity means I have experienced the feeling of being different and not fitting completely into one or the other culture. I only really started to meet people with different backgrounds once I finished school and left Surrey. Meeting others from mixed British and Asian backgrounds in particular has been great, as they understand the experience I wasn’t able to easily share with English friends. I don’t care where people are from, I just like people who have a positive attitude and don’t hold pre‐assumed judgements against others.

The town I lived and went to school in was probably 99% White, so as a teenager I naturally felt conscious about my appearance. It never seriously got me down, as I’ve always embraced the fact I’m more unusual, it’s just in the UK we are mainly surrounded by images of attractive White people, which gives people a predetermined idea of beauty that lacks in diversity. We hardly see Asian models and actors, which is wrong.

Sometimes people who I’ve only just met are very interested in the fact I’m mixed‐race, which is awkward. When they find out I’m Chinese and Scottish they react like it’s something amazing, which I find weird. It’s just two people met and fell in love, why is that so different from two people meeting from anywhere else? I don’t think they mean to be rude, but I think they are narrow minded. I get told frequently that I ‘don’t look Chinese’, which I do find rude and annoying. Again, I don’t think people intend to be rude, but they should think about how it feels to be told you don’t look like something you are. I could speak some basic Chinese when I was younger, but I am learning properly now.

I connect with both sides of my culture and wouldn’t put one above the other. When I was younger I connected more with my British side, as that is the culture I grew up in, but as I’ve grown older I’ve become increasingly interested in connecting more with my Chinese side.

I always find it challenging to answer the question ‘where are you from?’. I usually just start with wherever I am living at the moment, kind of hoping to avoid the question. Then when it’s clear they mean where am I ‘really from’ I’ll tell them I was born in London and decide whether to elaborate depending on the situation.

A negative is a lack of people’s understanding, the in‐between experience of being mixed-race. A positive of being mixed-race is the in‐between experience and the natural position it puts you in to be more open minded.

It’s great being mixed‐race in today’s society. I can enjoy being part of different cultures and also have my own culture. Being mixed-race isn’t talked about much in today’s society, even though there are many mixed-race people. This project is a good way to share the experience of being mixed‐race more widely. Society likes to box people in. I don’t know if it’s because of my mixed background that I notice small racist comments/actions more, but I see so much casual racism still persisting today. I think moving forwards it will be more common to have a mixed background and more positive attitudes will surrounded being mixed‐race.

If I had the opportunity to be reborn I would want to return exactly the same, I would not change anything.