people laugh at me when I watch international competitions like the Euro because I am such a child of the world and have so many connections, that I have so many reasons to support so many nations. here’s what I know – my grandpa’s surname is de Cruz and Spanish, and his mother’s side was of Irish descent, and when he traced his family tree, he found out he also has Javanese blood. my Grandpa’s aunt married a Dutchman and thanks to that, I have wonderful Dutch family in Holland. my Grandma’s surname is Chamerette and her father was French-Anglo-Indian and her mother was of mixed Portuguese descent. my Grandma’s sister married a Pakistani. Singapore was a British colony; and I refuse to be a victim of that, so I’ll just say I’m thankful for the infrastructure that was setup; so I grew up unabashedly-hard-core supporting England in football etc. my Goddaughter is Welsh and her family (my aunt, uncle, cousins and now their children) have lived there since I was a teenager. my partner is German.
and then of course, half of me is South Indian Tamil Catholic and my cousins on that side of the family are half-Chinese, half-American, half-Filipino, half-German etc etc etc. what I don’t know is whether my African roots come from me just being a human being (and black as black under it all) or whether my father has some legit African blood, judging by the dope fros he and his brothers kept in the 70’s. either way, I know my natural ability for jazz and the blues comes from somewhere. I also have very close family living in Australia, New Zealand, America and very deep friendships with people of all races and nationalities who live all over the world. to top that all off, I am a child of Singapore and I speak a language that mixes Chinese, Malay and Tamil, and I grew up in a mess of culture and religion that I love and respect as a whole, despite perhaps, not understanding (and sometimes not liking) parts of that whole.
and to top even that, my brother-in-law is Chinese, and my niece whom he and my sister created, is a mix of ALL OF THE ABOVE and then some.
which is why it breaks my heart when people act out of fear and prejudice, voting to separate instead of to unite, voting to hate instead of to accept, to judge instead of to try to understand. we are so different and there’s a reason that we don’t always get along. but not getting along doesn’t mean we need to hate, it just means we need to keep trying to understand – which is different from simply tolerating. it means we need to put ourselves in each other’s shoes more often. putting up more barriers just makes that harder and harder and makes the world a more and more dangerous and volatile place. and I cannot breathe easy knowing that this is the world that my nieces and my goddaughter and my nephews are growing up in.
I know I am extremely privileged to have grown up with no prejudice, to have been told by my most openhearted family, even as a young girl, that when someone discriminates against you because of the colour of your skin or anything else, it means they were not taught to be accepting and all you can do is your best to show them what you’re made of so as to change their preconception. I know many people don’t have access to that kind of thinking. but it’s one of the main reasons I always feel a responsibility to write long and winding posts like this. we need to step up, because our future generation deserves a much, much, MUCH better place to live in. WE are the generation who has the resources to do this but somehow it seems like the hate is greater now than ever, and it makes no sense to me. the world SHOULD be a free zone, EU or not, America, South America, Russia or China or South East Asia. Africa is so ridiculously beautiful, I don’t know who could have the heart to exploit it. and the children of the Middle East are so ridiculously beautiful, I don’t know who could have the heart to hurt them. but I do know that if you feel like me, you need to spread the love a bit and not just keep silent, and if you have a chance to vote for inclusivity, get your vote counted and don’t be indifferent and think your one opinion doesn’t mean anything. it’s a weird damn time and we need goodness and empathy to be the louder voice.