What am I?

What makes up one's identity?

Is it your nationality? Or is it your parental ancestry? How about where you were brought up; does this contribute to your identity?

I honestly don’t know it myself!

I mean, of course technically I know what I am but more often than not, I am quite confused myself. I know I am half-Filipino, half-Sabahan with a Malaysian Citizenship but beyond that, I am sometimes confused where my sentiments are. More often than not, I always need to explain to people the complexities of my identity.

Am I a Filipino? Yes I am...

Am I a Malaysian? Yes I am…

But I’m also a Sabahan. In fact, I consider myself a Sabahan more than I am a Malaysian.

So, based on the above, it is safe to say that I am a Filipino-Sabahan with Malaysian citizenship, no? Technically, this is correct...

The confusion normally starts whenever I meet people for the first time, or when the subjects of sports are concerned. Whenever I meet someone new, they themselves get confused as to what I am. Allow me to cite examples of what I mean.

In Malaysia, when I meet someone for the first time, the conversation would always start generally with me being asked:

“Are you a Filipino? Coz you speak like one..."

And I reply: "Yes I am"... Such questions are fine by me because, despite how Filipinos are perceived in this country, I am still proud to be a one!

However, in the course of the conversation and upon hearing me speak Bahasa, the same person would then add:

"How come you speak like a Sabahan ya? Are you a Sabahan?

"To which I then explain: "I am half-Sabahan".

They then would ask: "So, you're half-Filipino, half-Sabahan lah; Are you a Malaysian?"

Now, let’s apply the same scenario, only this time the setting is in the Philippines. After the initial pleasantries, the barrages of questions always begin with:

"So, which part of the States did you grow up in?"

"Oh, I grew up in NY", I reply as my standard answer.

Then they would always proceed to ask: "How long have you been an American Citizen?

And I say: "Never. I am a Malaysian Citizen".

By the time I tell them this, their confusion is visible. They will then ask me:

"How come you're a Malaysian when you grew up in the States and have Filipino parents?"

"Well, I am half-Malaysian, half-Filipino who grew up in the States" is yet again, my standard answer.

You see the difference? Again, not that it matters. But what I find funny is that, as soon as I open my mouth here in Malaysia, they always say that I speak like a Filipino. But when I'm in the Philippines, they always think I speak like an American. So which is which?

However, there are times though when Malaysians asked me which part of the states I was. Or which University did I attend? But these are rare; only when I meet Malaysians who's lived in the States before. I guess they assume from the way I talk...

So, who is right here? The majority of the Malaysians who think I am a Filipino because I speak like one? Or the Filipinos who think I am a Filipino-American because I speak like one? I find it totally funny that the Malaysians think I speak like a Filipino and yet, the Filipinos themselves don't think I do. LOL

Anyways, that's my normal predicament. Not that it matters really... But the thing is, albeit I am half and half, I am never regarded as one, y'know what I mean? To Malaysians, I am not really a Malaysian; to the Filipinos, I am not really a Filipino... So what I am then?

This confusion is not only restricted to people I interact with. I am also as confused as they are when it comes to which team to support in sports. For example, in Basketball, I always cheer for the Philippine team but when it comes to Football, I support the Malaysian Team. It may not be right but I guess, subconsciously, I support whichever is the stronger team in that sport! hahahaha

But in the end of it all, I am proud to be everything that I am. I am proud to be a Filipino and I am equally proud to be a Malaysian from Sabah. And I am also proud to have been brought up in the NY; the one place where I am not asked silly questions like the one I described above.

Does it really matter what I am?


Anonymous said...

hi der just wana comment..hehe havent seen any other half filo half pinoy like me..:D..its just nice 2 see dat der are also some half malay half pinoy out der hehe..but yea nice blog...:D...__FC__

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