My name is Quincy, and I’m a sixteen-year-old high school student born and raised in New South Wales, Australia.
My father is Burmese, my mother is white American, and they met through work in Thailand.
As I was scrolling through this website, despite being able to find similarities of most people to me, I found no trace of those with any Burmese heritage , and I wanted to make a representation of Burmese Hapas.
When I was younger, I wasn’t too fazed about my cultural background but was always aware of it. In school I’d be the “smart Asian kid” who was overly nice, and expectations were always high.
But people eventually seemed to question if there was more to me. In the past few years I’ve found myself explaining myself to people more and more and I thus realised how unique my heritage really was.
Going to America every two years since I was a baby to see family was always exciting, but going to Burma for the first time when I was thirteen to see what my father’s life was like before meeting my mother was an unforgettable experience. Now, after seeing both cultures, I seem to understand myself more. No longer would I say I’m half Burmese half American, not knowing what I was saying.
There was a time when I tried to teach myself the Burmese language when I was fifteen, but this has been put on hold for a while due to school and other obligations. Other than that, Burmese prayers with my father, turning on Buddha’s light in the study every night, eating Burmese food, taking shoes off before entering the house, gadaw (giving thanks to elders), reciting a Sanskrit chant before a meal, filling Buddha’s water, and receiving money in a red envelope are just a few customs I’ve had the opportunity to experience.
Difference in religion, educational views, and culture are the main challenges in the household. Outside the household, dealing with stereotypes, being questioned about my heritage, and identity crises are the main challenges.
Nonetheless, I am happy with who I am and wouldn’t change it! I’m a happy Hapa.