Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Being a Banana or an Egg

Are you a 'banana'? If you didn't know already, 'banana' is slang for an Asian born in North America. That's right, yellow on the outside, white on the inside. However, I really think that the term applies to Asians who have left their country and have pretty well adopted their new 'white' country's culture (for example, leaving Taiwan at even a young age).

Some ABC and CBCs I know have told me about their experiences in Taiwan, interacting with their relatives without the language ability or the acceptance of a lot of the customs. It's the distance they sometimes feel cultural-wise from their local counterparts. Some Taiwanese must really feel that these guys are a pale shade of what real Taiwanese are.

And another odd thing happens to me when I go back to Canada. I go see my Chinese friend who, for all extents and purposes, is less Chinese than me. Hey, I speak Mandarin; he doesn't! I eat Chinese food every day. Not him!

That's why I guess I'm kind of an 'egg'. You got it! White on the outside and yellow on the inside. Hey, I don't get offended! I'm not a total Asian convert and will probably never be but there is something to be said about returning to your native country and have a little bit of reverse culture shock.

In fact, I believe there is a kind of reversion that happens when we do return to a place that we have an affinity for. I guess for some it can really get confusing, especially when you don't know where you should really call home. Eggs of Taiwan unite!
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