Hi, I’m Mark. I’m half Australian, half Singaporean-Chinese. I was born and raised in Singapore and moved over to Adelaide a couple of years back for studies.
I’ve lived with my mum most of my life as my folks are divorced. I’m really thankful that she comes from a large, closely-knit, traditional Chinese family. That really fostered my appreciation and love for the Chinese culture and its values.
And despite being traditional, they’ve accepted me for who I am, and for that I’m really thankful. I think the point where I realized “Oh, I’m Hapa” was when I was 15 and got my identity card.
Under the race section it was stated that I was Chinese. I didn’t want to hurt the family by saying otherwise, but at the same time I knew I’m not one. Prior to this, the point was never raised, probably to not make me feel weird at home. So this 15-year-old chubby kid had to sack up right there in front of my mum and say no, you guys messed up.
It was terrifying, ’cause that was me pointing out that I’m different for the first time. When I told the lady at the counter that it should read “Eurasian,” not “Chinese,” I remember her giving me a perplexed look and asking if I was sure. I think that was it for me. I think that incident was the start of me actually identifying myself as Hapa.
Aside from that one event, I don’t think I suffered much of an identity crisis. I mean in secondary school I was called “ang mo” which is dialect for “white guy.” I mean it bothered me at first, since all I was trying to do was fit in, but after a while it dawned on me that it wasn’t a mean-spirited remark, but rather a term of endearment. And then after I accepted it, and I learned to accept the weird looks you get when you get on the bus and everyone’s obviously wondering what manner of creature you are.
It’s entertaining, but for someone like me who likes the idea of being the most invisible person in the room, it wasn’t very appealing. That’s probably why I’m glad I’m in Adelaide cause everyone just does their own thing and you’re just another face in the crowd. Which is great I guess.
Over the years I’ve met relatively few Hapas. But when I do meet one, it’s great ’cause I think there is something instantly present just by knowing there’s this other person who doesn’t fit in. And we can relate. I’m not exactly sure how to verbalize it, but it feels sort of comfortable, even though you just met. Also, there are so many words (Eurasian, halfies, Hapas, mixed-bloods) I think it gets too confusing for people sometimes. Like in Singapore it’s “Eurasian,” but in Adelaide, it’s normally “halfies” or “mixies.”
Anyway, I’m glad I found this site, it’s always good to know what other people’s experiences are like. So thank you for making this site. And I’m always keen to meet other Hapas, wherever you may be, so feel free to drop me a holla on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/aquadore.