Just Jemini

A UK Beauty, Style, Travel & Lifestyle Blog

Monday, 5 September 2016

What It's Like Being A BBC (British Born Chinese)

British born chinese asian blog relatable funny BBC girl community
Oh, so what are you? Are you Chinese? Yes. But you speak really good English? So? I was born here. Oh, so you're English too? Ermm you can say that, yeah. So one of your parents is white? Wtf? No. I'm so confused. I'm Chinese but I was born in England, you moron."

Growing up and being raised in two different cultures can be pretty exhausting - especially in your younger years. You'd spend your days at school and even in your part-time work explaining to people who and what you are. Whilst trying to find your own identity by figuring out the balance of 'am I more Asian?' or 'am I more Western? So, what is it truly like being a British-born Chinese? Here... please let this fully-fledged first generation BBC give you a taster:

1. When Mikado (the chocolate covered ultra-thin biscuit sticks) hit the UK shelves in 2009, we were so confused about the entire craze that our English friends were all caught up in.  Ermmm... have you never heard of Pocky or Pretz before?

2. We'd have to find good reasons (Chinese mum's standards) how it is not cool to bring last night's dinner leftovers to school as our packed-lunch. We want a ham sandwich mum! Not steamed ginger & spring onion fish with pak choi and boiled rice!

3. You can't share meals with your friends because they're not keen on spicy food whilst you're culturally trained to. Ok... looks like I'll just play and eat this wing roulette by myself then.

4. Not being able to call your older sibling by their first name when all your English friends can.
Friend: "Oi Matt, can I borrow... "
Me: "O.M.G! You so didn't just call your older brother by their first name! *Shocked face* 
Friend: *Confused face* "Yeah... don't you?"
Me: "No, I'm not allowed. I have to call him 'brother' in cantonese".
Goes home and tries it.
Me: "Oi Sonny, can I borrow...*receives dead arm before I'd even finished my sentence*.

5. Growing up being known as the kid with all the game consoles and newest games before anyone else has them. Coz we have contacts back in Asia yoooo.

6. Growing up, WING YIP Chinese Supermarket was basically our transporter that teleported us back to Asia. The snack isle was where our parent's would find us whenever they'd lose us in that maze of a warehouse. Tesco who?

7. When we first received our own mobile phones, we would decline our parents call every time we were with our friends and call them back somewhere private looking like we're dealing drugs. Mum/Dad! I don't want to speak Chinese in front of my friends or they'd start asking for a Chinese lesson!!!

8. Being invited to our friend's house for 'tea' after school was our ticket to heaven. Errrhmagerddd! I get to eat English food for dinner! Overdose me with chips, pizza, chicken dippers, pies everything!

9. Constantly getting into arguments with your parents because you weren't allowed to do things your friends were allowed to do.
"But mum! Tom, Dick and Harry's mum said that they can!" ... "So? Your cousins Ling Ling, Ping Pong, King Kong can't?" ... *goes back into room to have a hissy fit until dinner is ready*

10. Avoiding going to Chinatown when you're with your friends because the whereabouts, who you're with and what you're doing will be reported straight back to your parents in a matter of minutes. 
*Phone rings*
Parents: "Oh I heard you were in Birmingham Chinatown with 2 other girls and 3 boys?"
Me: "How do you know?"
Parents: "Oh the owner of blah blah takeaway said they saw you."
Me: "Who the hell is that? And how the F do they know what I look like and who I am?"
Parents: "Doesn't matter. What are you doing? Whilst you're there, bring us back a pack of tofu and Char Siu Baos back. Bye."

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  1. Oh, how I understand what you go through! It's so true, even though we're born and raised in the west, there's such a huge cultural clash.
    What you described in the first paragraph happens to me often, and I've learned to slowly explain to people how nationality is different from race (until religion talk comes along, that's on a whole other league haha).
    The only thing we can hope for is that as society gets more multicultural, what comes with it is acceptance, rather than fear or confusion. And that the next generation won't go through what we did as kids.


    1. Oh yeah definitely, I totally agree with you. The world is definitely becoming more multicultural already, which is why it is so interesting and nice to watch the next generation feel so much more at ease than we did back then x

  2. Oh my gosh I know exactly how this feels! I'm mixed race but things like having leftovers for lunch, and going to Wing Yip resonates with me. There are some points I haven't experienced but I hate how whenever I tell someone I'm mixed they're always asking me to say things in Chinese which gets a bit annoying after a while...

    Lizzie Bee // mysticthorn.com

    1. Yeah it does get annoying after a while, but it's great that people tend to understand a lot more now as being mixed-raced or being raised in two cultures is becoming a lot more common than it used to x

  3. As a Canadian born Chinese person, It's so interesting seeing how different growing up in Britain is!

  4. lol, love this post! It applies to being a bbt too (british born thai)

  5. Not sure if I agree on the last point though...My parents don't have any connection whatsoever to Chinatown so it ain't matter (apart from the restaurant we always visit). The thing with Chinatown is that there are many tourists from mainland China and HK quick to judge and comment.

  6. Where's the love for these guys? check out their youtube channel wearesoy covering streetwear, travel and food.


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