hapa314My name is Jasmin Ikhwan Kwan, as my father is Chinese, and I inherited the surname “Kwan.”

In Malaysia, there are a lot of people who are Chinese-Malay like me, and most of us are able to speak Malay and Chinese. Some learn the languages from parents, and others learn it from school. For me, my Malay mother sent us to Chinese primary school, so that we could speak and write in Chinese.

hapa314-2I have four siblings, among the four of us, I have the smallest eyes. Growing up, people would compare how different we looked, that definitely was the challenge. We felt uncomfortable with it but as we get older, we take it as something unique, rather than difference.

The Malays celebrate Hari Raya, the Chinese celebrate Chinese New Year. My family celebrates both festivals. Malaysia is a multiracial country, so it’s common for all races to celebrate these festivals together. There are open houses welcoming friends of all different backgrounds.

To me, Hapas are exotic and unique.

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