Chinese New Year
In light of Chinese New Year (or Lunar New Year) this week, I decided to feature a book with a Chinese protagonist. While I’ve not read Mambo in Chinatown by Jean Kwok yet, the synopsis sounds very fitting for this week’s theme.
Chinese New Year is an important Chinese festival, which lasts about two weeks. Even though my family doesn’t celebrate it, most of my friends here in Singapore do. On Chinese New Year’s Eve, families gather for their big reunion dinners with their relatives. Mandarin oranges and red envelopes feature prominently as oranges are exchanged as blessings of good fortune and children receive red envelopes with money for good luck.
Ethnicity in my Life
Since I’m someone of mixed heritage living abroad, ethnicity has always been an ambiguous concept for me. It’s not uncommon for people to ask me, “What are you?” when really they mean, “Where are you from?” or “What is your race/ethnicity?” Beyond a clipped, “I’m human,” I don’t always have an answer.
How do I explain that I can’t define my ethnicity? I’ve adopted a melting pot of customs that many might even consider mutually exclusive. That’s why I seek out books that feature multicultural or immigrant characters. As much as their experiences are different due to varying heritages and locales, being seen as “the Other” is something that often threatens to take over one’s identity.
Reading books that shed light on ethnicity or even question ethnicity reminds me that while I’ll always be in the minority, I’m never alone.
Here’s Georgie’s photo on ethnicity and remember to add your link to your photo in the linky widget down below!