Un-Chinese Singaporean

My name is Rayve. I was born in Singapore and am a proud Singaporean. I did military service for a couple of years and, according to my Singaporean ID, I am Singaporean Chinese.

I come from a well-educated, conservative Chinese family, who are generally successful in their careers and passionate about their own culture. Just to show you how much the Chinese value ‘family’ (家), my uncle is currently on a tour of China, visiting distant family and writing a 家谱, which is an ancestry record; It traces our family history back to the 1200s in northern China, and notes the historical records of each member of each family belonging to this huge family tree. A monumental task.

I am, according to many, a very unorthodox Singaporean Chinese person. I have always been an extremely rebellious and wild individual. I chose to be an artist, which is a career route that is rare for someone of my ‘race’, I’d say.

Last Chinese New Year, I was once again reminded of the importance of adhering to my traditions and customs at home, and that I should be proud of my glorious Chinese past and not be influenced by “others”. I was lectured on the things I should do to “gain respect” from other Chinese people, and was even scolded a little bit for sharing some of my rather unorthodox and un-Chinese views on things.

I am fiercely proud of my bloodline and Chinese heritage. 在我心里,我是百分之百纯东方人 [in my heart, I am 100% pure Asian], but at the same time, I am sick of being told what to do, just because I belong to a certain group.

While I generally make great personal relationships with people around me, I find myself slightly turned off when people put a tag on me. I have great friends from different races and friend groups all over the world; I believe in sincerity and freedom of thought and being the maverick I am; I do not enjoy to be told what to do.

I don’t feel like I “belong to a people” or that I “belong somewhere I should belong”, so to speak. The only thing I can claim myself to be… is a plethora of colors and dimensions… that don’t really give a ****!



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Edited by Sam Bekemans
Cover image ©CC BY-NC 2.0 Erwin Soo
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