Third Culture Kid (TCK)

This particular conversation started with Yaya telling me about how it is going to be when  she joins Uni..

People are bound to ask her

“So where are you from?”

She could say “Australia” and that would surely elicit the question “Where are you really from?”

She didn’t know how to answer that question.

There is a long version.. she could say, I was born in Malaysia to a half Malaysian parent, grew up in Canada and then moved to Australia, and admitting that she doesn’t think like a Malaysian or have a Malaysian Indian identity, or a Canadian identity or an Aussie identity.

Her normal accent is Australian, but when she is annoyed with you, her accent will change to Canadian and she will swear at you in pure unadulterated Strine . I do love to bug her enough to get her angry.. just to watch her accent change..

Her second language is Spanish and third language is French….

I have often been worried about how my children would cope with lack of an identity or roots..

A friend of mine who has mixed parentage and didn’t live in either of the countries where his parents are from, told me  not to fret..  he is confident that my children will bloom wherever they are planted..

But I have often  imagined this.. a guy wanting to date Yaya because she is exotic… (it is the same idea with  most men whom I met and wanted to date me..) and find that she is a coconut.. ( brown on the outside and white inside..)

I don’t have any answers or solutions..

I chose to travel and hopefully my kids won’t end up paying a heavier price for my decisions..


8 thoughts on “TCK

  1. I think they will not care. Most of them will accept her the way she is and who she is – Australian. She might choose to explain this to a few close friends and they will hear and may think it helps them understand her better, but will not care. She is an axiom!!

  2. I agree with your friend who said they will bloom where they are planted. I wonder what makes you feel they “lack” an identity. Everyone has an identity one way or another. I always felt that identity is something that an individual him/herself should construct, not something that is determined from what region one is born into or what cultural heritage your ancestors lie from. Since your kids spent most of their life in Australia, I’m sure they would mostly identify as Australian and therefore their home is Australia. In terms of “roots”, well I’m sure they know you are of Indian ancestry and so they have some Indian roots. I chose to have an Indian-American identity. Even though I’m more American, I have some sense of Indianness in me and I really like the identity I constructed and feel it’s right for me I get to branch out in a lot of ways that I wouldn’t have had if I only stuck with an Indian identity alone or American identity alone. But that is just me haha.

    Anyway, what identity one has has is a minor thing IMO. I think it’s more important to be a good person and be good to others 🙂

    • J1206: What you wrote is exactly that bothers my kids.. that they must be Aussies because they spent 7 years here and have a home here.. Yaya also spent 6 years in Malaysia and has a home there.. The identity you think they should construct is difficult for them because they actually never stayed in any place for them to develop a sense of belonging.

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