Prose, poetry and prattle: some published, and some ... well, not yet.

Wednesday, 4 January 2006

The Race Forward

In Malaysia, the Malays mostly think I'm Chinese, the Chinese mostly think I'm Malay - neither wants to have me as their own. I have also been mistaken for a Chindian. A frequent mistake is that I am Sarawakian Iban.

In Australia, I was called both Paki and Nip (Japanese) by Skinheads looking for a fight. My classmates at high-school nicknamed me 'Refo' - short for 'refugee', and accorded with the greatest affection.

At university in Australia in the early '80s I had a stranglehold on any coloured part that was up for auditions during my theatre arts course - playing Gautama Buddha, Red Indian Chief, Pakistani schizophrenic, a black sex slave (??), a Chinese cook in the Wild West, and a Russian of Mongol extraction in Fiddler On The Roof. I think these days, most white Australians would be able to tell the Asian races apart.

In Dijon, France a beautiful mademoiselle once insisted that I was facially too expressive to be fully Asian. I found that an interesting echo of the inscrutable Oriental.

I don't think a mixed-race person is more attractive - just less provocative in that the level of racial specificity is blunted somewhat, and therefore garners greater acceptability across racial lines. Yeah - less provocative: more inclined to 'sameness', and less of 'the other'.

If you ask me Devon Aoki looks distinctly Asian against someone like Nicole Kidman. And I believe I do have Catherine Zeta-Jones and Mariah Carey look-a-likes among my millions of Serani cousins.

IMHO, when those celebrities who look unmistakeably of their non-Caucasian race, can be accepted and deemed attractive and sexy by others outside their race - I think that's when humanity is really moving forward.

And, people - the first Serani's are a result of that cross-cultural/racial acceptance, attraction.and collaboration. :-)

Enough of me.

(I wrote the above piece in response to a SeraniSembang.Org thread referring to a Psychology Today article entitled MIXED RACE, PRETTY FACE: Why we are drawn to exotic beauty. You can read the article by clicking on the thumbnail.)