Monday, October 1, 2012

I am not exotic

"I am an Asian. I didn't realize it before coming to USA"

"I am an Asian and I am not exotic"

What do you feel when you read @ listen these two statements from an Asian in USA?


I read both statements in the Perkin Library,  Duke University (yes, I was in the library... an achievement for me!). Both sayings from another 36 more, were stated on their portrait pictures, hung on the library's wall (photo below).


That corner presents a current research about Asian in USA... BUT... I didn't read (understand) the whole research.. I am attracted with how Asian (some? at least, the respondents of the research) think @ feel about staying in USA as what I can understand from the sayings on the photos hung. (Please don't blame me for not reading about the research more, I have something else to do in the library, okay? hehehe...)

I feel like, this exhibition is run to avoid (or minimize) racist, or at least, to bring up the awareness of feeling differently treated. (Feeling.. I didn't say it is true or not..). Yes, they (who run the research) are aware for not being racist for people who not even their citizen! (racist is differently treating people because of their races, origins in any way ; speaking, looking, serving... okay, this is my own definition of 'racist')  They are (including me actually) only visiting, studying or living temporarily in US but they (American @ the researchers) still care what we feel! I think they care, because I found this corner.

They care if Chinese (from China) feel different, and awkward in USA, and make others aware about it. But do we care if Chinese or Indian who are MALAYSIANS feel differently treated and awkward in MALAYSIA, OUR own country? Yes, OUR country.

Is feel left or treat differently because of races should be happen among CITIZEN?


Okay, enough to be a patriotic beautiful girl. Now, I would like to share a story as a cheerful pretty girl. It was in the elevator of the students' hostel in Warsaw, Poland, last 2008. My friends and I were going down (remembering that we are Malay girls, shorter, walk slower, talk more, laugh a lot and wearing scarf.... enough to show that we are different from Polish students).

"Hye, where are you come from?"
A Polish student asked. I believe he was not used to speak English but he was trying.
"Wow....!!! You are... you are..."
We were patiently waiting (like an English native speaker waiting for me while I speak)
"You are... exotic!"

It sounded funny for me at the first time (I always see the funny parts before the sarcastic @ hard feelings, my friend said), until my friend told after he left, "What? Exotic? Do we look like.. dangerous snakes???"

Maybe the Polish guy didn't mean to hurt us, I believe it is because of English vocabulary limitation only (I am a nice person... Moreover, he was a good-looking guy). But feel 'exotic' and 'strange' is a non-happy effect, I guess, and I believe that what the portraits hung on the library's wall want to deliver.


I remember, my housemate in US, she is from China, once asked while eating with me, "Are Chinese in Malaysia feel happy living in Malaysia?"
"Of course they are happy..."
Am I right?  Eerr.. hurm...

This writing is my personal taught and feeling, not from my deep research and not on behalf of a group of people from anywhere in this world. I just feel like, EVERY MALAYSIAN SHOULD HAPPY AS MALAYSIAN.

Suddenly I remember, the first friend I made in my first day at school (I was 7), an Indian girl, Bhanupriya. I lost contact with her now. Bhanu!!!! I miss you!!!

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