Saturday, June 16, 2007

Who are you anyway?

Most of my Singaporean friends will have experience some variation of this kind of conversation . My American friends Gina and Shilpa probably get some permutation of it.

The views of the lovely Taiwanese transplant in Melbourne strike a chord with me somehow, even though she's talking of entirely different places. It's more the feeling that gets me.

What I really wonder is what the HECK Sophie will say when people ask about the identity of our Franco-Singaporean daughter, born in Moncalieri and raised (thus far!) in Turin and Beijing. Her little friend Julius will be able to give her a bunch of pointers. Actually Sophie will also be able to have this discussion with Cat and her mum Fioleta .

She's in good company though. I hired a lovely Canadian Chinese girl (here for Summer) to come play with her twice a week, sing song in English (albeit Canadian English - but who's cares?), sign and do a bit of baby gym. And tommorrow morning I will interview a Tahitian girl who will come to speak to Sophie in French with a New Caledonian accent. We'll see how that one goes, but so far so good.


Xavier said...

Maybe Sophie will vary her answers to get a quick understanding from her interlocutors, and to avoid making a lengthy exposé to every other person.
In Europe, she may play the "there is no questioning I am French". In SE Asia, she may do same with "S'pore".
Elsewhere, she would have to be a bit more creative than this.
At the end of the day though, I would tend to say that her "variety", both in blood and travel, makes her richer, more tolerant and more adaptable for it.
Then, when meeting new people herself, she may simply skip the "where are you from?" question and go straight to more valuable considerations such as "do we understand each other?", "can we work together?" or "do we like / love each other?".
Indeed, I suspect people ask "where are you from?" as a proxy to the previous 3 (or more) questions.
If Sophie ever gets a sibling, which I hope for her own good, that sibling would not have been born in Italy, so s/he would be different from her from the start.
I can't believe you read down to here :D

DC said...

Sharon (thanks for the link btw),

Global citizens like Sophie will help change the world for the better. We need more little ones like her, rather than the mono-cultural/ethnic ones.

I live to see the day when passports, ethnicity and national borders will mean as little as possible.

Sprog Mamma said...

Wow babysitters must be dirt cheap in China. How fun it will be for Sophie to have multi-cultural/ethnic playmates, who knew they existed in China.

Michael Low said...

Talk about small world!!! That blog that you pulled up belongs to a friend of mine...yes, that is MY comment that you see on it. She is a church friend who married a Frenchman and now lives and works in Paris. Even in cyberspace, its a small world, no?