Forever Immigrant, Forever Minority

People say living abroad would change your perspective about the world. But you know what else does? Being a minority who lives abroad. I have practically been a minority my whole life. When I was three, I live in what I would call the only country (so far) that I would say is friendly to immigrants. Not a hard guess. Yes, its Canada. Going back to my home country, Indonesia, I am technically a minority once again because I lost the ability to speak my own mother tongue. As a child whose not even 100% Indonesian (my mother is Chinese) being able to only speak English was not exactly a nice thing. I don’t really have friends, also due to my indifferent personality, but I also couldn’t really take more English course because the only class that would suit my competence would be sitting with high schoolers and adults, which would be really awkward. I am however, still grateful that in the end I am able to have both as mother tongue.

I came from a family whose practically been immigrants nearly every generation since my great grandparents. My great grandparents ran from China due to political reasons, taking a raft to Indonesia, seeking for asylum. For the two first generations, it was rather simple. They live in the city where other Chinese asylum seekers live, and they started a small business to make a living. Difficulties started to arise when my mother, who is still a pure-blood Chinese wants to marry my father, who is a native (Javanese). Although in the end this particular case was resolved, but it doesn’t mean the problem just vanished especially if you reflect them from any other similar mixed blood families. For instance, looking back before my parents even met, my grandparents who are Confucionists had their children all convert to Catholic, but as most local schools are Moslem schools; since Indonesia is a Moslem-majority country (some people mistaken it as a Moslem country) most elementary and middle school in that area required the students to study Arabic.  Continue reading