July 07, 2007
2nd Generation Identity

Read this article from DimSum BBC or ABC - it’s all about identity.

She is like me, a 2nd generation overseas born Chinese, England in her instance. Her parents worked hard in the family restaurant to put herself and her siblings through school and higher education.

And the guilty angst of wanting to do your own thing, and yet wanting to please your parents' wishes. My parents did not explicitly say it to me, but there were always hints for me to take over the family business. But for me, they brought me up on a one track mind to take up another profession other than catering. Although I sometimes feel that they do not take my software engineering job seriously, but it pays well, and I would bore of it at some stage. Which is definately not the case. I like tech so much, I'm heading back to college to do my MSc. in Multimedia for a year.

Back to the article, she's married to a HK Chinese man, and her children were born in US. She's finding it tought to try and have her kids speak Chinese. I have not sprouted any kids yet, but that is one of my goals as well, to teach my kids Chinese. At least so they can communicate with my mom and aunt back home down in Limerick. Granted I can only understand Hakka and not speak it, but I'm fluent in Cantonese. And that's what we speak down home anyway.

There is one thing that really strikes a chord:

"I realized my cultural values were already infused into my being, resulting in my uniqueness -- not my parents’ vision, not the rebel, but someone who is proud of her roots and has a diverse outlook gained through her hard-won experiences"

Now that I'm reaching 30 this year, I still am proud of my roots. I am different to my parents' vision. Well, given I married the cutest Irish fella in Ireland, and he was not Chinese was sort of different to my mom's vision anyway. But we managed to change her mind, and given that my hubby (then boyfriend) tried to speak Cantonese, shows he is willing to try things (he still knows the few basic sayings to get him by ).

Now the author of the article found herself quizzing about how her family reached England and about her family history. I think that it's important for all of us to find out more about our family history. There is so much to learn and appreciate. But unfortunately for me, my father is not around to pass on any more of his stories and family history. Although my brother has some of his stories jotted down.

So our identity as IBC is topic that is barely talked about. And of course, Nichola Boland posted on the IBC Forum for help on her thesis about 2nd generation identity.

Please discuss more at the forum.

Posted by whykay at July 07, 2007 12:27 PM