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Growing Up Asian In Australia Identity And Belonging Persuasive Essay

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Novel Alice Pung

Novel Alice Pung

Autor: mizzsara • February 17, 2013 • Essay • 1,076 Words (5 Pages) • 751 Views

It is true to say that all of us must question our own identity and sense of belonging at some point in our lives. There are some important questions that many people ask themselves throughout their lives. Who are we? What is our identity? Where do we belong? In Alice Pung’s novel “Growing up Asian in Australia” we read about the challenges and struggles Australia-Asians had in belonging in Australian society and culture due to having a sense of being different, we read about many examples of Asian-Australian questioning their own identity and sense of belonging in their lives. Also if we look at the movie “Skin” we see examples of a girl named Sandra questioning her identity and questioning where she really belongs in society.

To begin with we see how in one of the texts in Growing up Asian Australia, The story “A Call to Arms”, Michelle Law is a girl lost between identities as she was born in Australia but constantly is bullied at school, can’t speak her native language and when she goes to Hong Kong she’s embarrassed as she can’t even order food in a country where she thought she would fit in because of her colour. Due to her being different in both worlds she feels a sense of difference that makes it difficult for her to belong in both societies which leads her questioning who she really is: “To this day I am to come extent confused… am I more Asian or Australia?” This led her to questioning who she really is and wether or not she’s more Asian or Australia.

Moreover another example that proves to us that everyone does question their identity and belonging is the story written in Growing up Asian in Australia called “Anzac Day”, James Chong is a high school student, his heritage was Asian, but was born in Australia and every Anzac day James would march in the city parade with his school playing the bagpipes. He was very proud to March commemorating the people who died for his country, until the year 1992 when he went over to a mates house and his father put in a tape of the ABC show Lateline. When the tape started to play he realised it was him that the cameras where zoomed on him during the Anzac Day parade. This got him excited until the words “TRUE BLUE?” came on the screen. He left and didn’t finish watching it. This made him question his identity and belonging, he felt: “confused and a little hurt” and he also felt “A lonely feeling of exclusion”. This made him question his identity and question his sense of belonging and where does he really belong, he felt excluded and different due to his race. In the story James also mentions how; “I felt at times, though, that because of my heritage and the colour of my skin, I was not allowed to be part of the Anzac tradition, which too many people defines what it is to be Australian.” This is another clear example that proves that each person questions their identity and belonging due to their certain circumstance.


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Redefining Identity Redefining Identity

“What's in a name? That which we call a rose. By any other word would smell as sweet”. Shakespeare had the right idea when he proposed that our name is society’s method of enforcing their expectations and judgements upon individuals. Our identity is forged by our name, which is given to us, and we usually retain for the remainder of our lives. Between the two extremes of accepting and rejecting our set identity, there is still a need to belong. This concept is one that is essential to humans as it gives us a sense of identity and security to our lives. In Alice Pung’s “Growing Up Asian in Australia” there are many detailed expositions of individuals who have had to combat with Australian culture versus their own heritage. Specifically, the story “Stick and Stones and Such-Like”, written by Sunil Badami, explores one’s struggle to be accepted as an individual in a community not yet willing to recognise that there is raw beauty in diversity.

Whether you were named after a red-headed Siamese twin, or the ‘breeze that blows at sunset on Shiva’s birthday once every thousand years”, the origin of a person’s name usually has a unique story. Our name is what is remembered of us over the years, is a part of our history. Through our name we belong to something, as it is a significant part of the social entity by which we take part in. However, for people such as Sunil, with a name outside the social norm, something as simply as a title can be a cause of discrimination and unfair prejudice. Sunil forfeits part of himself to his peers in an attempt to be recognised as a member of their population. He associates himself with the stereotype of Indian cricketers- assuming that he should be naturally talented at the game, because in an effort to fit in he “didn’t want to appear a bad sport”. Building up a tolerance to the childish taunts required Sunil to sacrifice some of his happiness and contentment many take for granted. He was constantly displeased with.

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The Relative Advantages of Learning my Language p

The Relative Advantages of Learning my Language p. 7

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•She didn’t see the point of speaking Chinese.

•Watched her grandfather age as he ventured out to the City every day from Monday to Friday.

•He hit his head one day and Amy had to go with him.

•He was diagnosed with a brain tumour and three years later he died.

•Amy later in life felt regret that she was never able to give her grandfather the commonest kindness.

•She starts to begin learning Chinese again so that the next time an elderly relative wants her to listen she will be able to listen to them.

Amy – young teenage girl who later regrets not listening to her grandfather while he was alive.

Grandfather – elderly Chinese man who wants his granddaughter to listen to his poems. She doesn’t and later on he starts to ignore her. Passes away.

Family and relationships – Relationship between Amy and her Grandfather and how it changed over time. Also how she changed as he passed away.

Regret – Realising that she hadn’t given her grandfather the kindness that he deserved when he was alive.

Language and Style: Personal reflection – author talking about her own personal experience. Reflecting on her relationship with her Grandfather.

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Creative: Narrative about the relationship between a father and a son and how it changes over time.

Expository. Personal reflective. Talking about my current relationships with my family and how they have changed over time.

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Storyline: Ivy absolutely despises Chinese lessons on a Saturday morning. She can’t understand why her father wants her to learn the language when every other kid can speak English. At one point, her father stops trying and Ivy makes the excuse of having a lot of homework. Later on, she realises that it’s important to learn one’s heritage and culture, to have a kind of authenticity that is her own. She wishes she can belong, eat at a Chinese restaurant and eavesdrop on mandarin conversations. She feels conflicted because she wants to speak English but there is also a part of her that wants to learn why her father was so persistent in teaching her the language. Now she is learning mandarin because she wants to understand her father.

Characters: Ivy, Jona, Lin, Ivy’s mother and father.

Themes: Belonging and authenticity. Pressured by parents to learn mandarin.

Language and style: It is a first person, personal recount with a reflective attribute. Ivy talks about hating mandarin lessons but gradually comes to accept the fact that she is different from people who speak “perfect English”. She comes to realise that she is mandarin and nothing will change that.

Issues of identity and belonging:

Identity. the experiences that affect Ivy are her father’s Chinese lessons. At one point she looks into a mirror and saw a Chinese girl who is tanned by the Australian sun yet has the blood of Taiwan and china.

Belonging. Ivy wishes she could feel more authentic. She wishes she could relate to her culture and background in some way. Before this, she wished she could’ve had normal parents who could speak perfect English. She wished she didn’t have to take mandarin lessons. But there will always be a part her that will question her why. Why do you not accept your heritage? Why do you not want to be different?

Ken Chau’s Poetry: The Early Settlers p.25, The Terrorists p.26, The Family Tree p.153, The First Born p.154

Author: Ken Chau, decedent of a corn tobacco farmer migrant.

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Ken Chau’s great grandfather arrived in Australia during the time of the white Australia policy in 1897. He was a corn tobacco farmer in Wahgunyah. He realised he did not belong. Chau describes how his great grandfather would fear the ‘foreign devil’ and use derogatory language.

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Themes: Prerogative discrimination-blames the early settlers for the way his great grandfather was treated.

Language and Style: Poetic form, brief, expressive and can be considered out of context

Issues of identity and Belonging. Because of Ken Chau’s great-grandfathers identity he was discriminated against and therefore did not belong as he calls the early settler’s very derogatory terms.

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Ken Chau describes to us his hatred of ‘the terrorists’ (early settler’s) how their alleged attacks cause Chau to want to die and want to kill them.

Characters: Ken Chau, The terrorists

Themes: Racism-Chau hates the early settlers or in his terms terrorists.

Language and style: Expressive, opinionative, very upfront and emotional

Storyline: The Family Tree

Ken Chau describes how his great grandfather unfurled the family tree. Only the males were on the family tree as they bare the family name. The women are not listed like they were never even born.

Characters: Ken Chau, His great grand father

Themes: Family and sexist

Language: Appeals to sympathy with a short sharp refection.

Issues of Identity and Belonging: Ken Chau believes that the women in his family tree never belonged.

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Chau describes his family’s movements and how his son is the firstborn is the firstborn on Australian soil. He is enlightened how his son does not have to travel and experience the hardships that he and his ancestors had to endure.

Themes: Migration, Hardships

Language: Repetitive and complex, Very short and brief

Issues of Identity and Belonging: Ken Chau feels as though someone in his family finally belongs in Australia and all they had to do was be born here.

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Creative -Migrating to Australia during “white Australia” short story

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Persuasive - Letter to Ken Chau saying how Chinese are racially discriminated against.

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Author: Thao Nguyen. Writes on Vietnamese-Australian experiences.

Storyline: A king lived abounded in his herd, he was no different, lived to share and stand noble to others. Darkness came upon the air and a thunderous roar of immense screams, echoed and carved themselves onto the field. The king arrived in the south with a feeling of abundance. He did not know what these people were speaking and had to learn around him. Strong and willing to protect his family, he wanted success from all of them and worked his heart out every day to feed and house his family. He painted canvas through his thoughts and dreams of his imagination. Timed passed and his daughter came to see his dreams and reality of the world she now existed, a place of truth.

Thao Nguyen: A father’s daughter who loved and cared about her father, she thought of him as a loving and noble man who did anything for his family.

Father/water buffalo: A noble and caring father, who loved and fought for his family to give them better lives in the south.

Family- Thao’s father cared for his family, lost most in his country and moved south to start a new one.

Noble-The water buffalo was abounded, felt and looked no different than the others who stood noble in his herd.

Personal event- Thao experienced the event of her father through his painting and his stories of his home and her description of the water buffalo. Strong metaphor of water buffalo used to suggest transition as well as the personal qualities and struggles of her father. Written in a way to suggest father morphed from the buffalo into a human inspired by his final painting of himself.

Issue of Identity and Belonging:

Identity- Her identity has been affected by the world she lived in which she could neither explore nor explain, she was caught in a dimension of a reality and a dream world. But her father’s experience and his paintings of his dreams and reality. She now found the reason why she existed in the world and the true place she lives in.

Ideas for Writing Pieces:

Creative: A story on an immigrant who travelled to live in another country and trying to fit into a totally different culture and language to this new country.

Expository: A personal reflection on an event of the Afghanistan immigrants who travel to Australia leaving their home and trying to fit into another.

Author: Annette Shun Wah, born in Cairns Queensland on the 26 th of March, 1958.

Storyline: Annette takes us back to when she was eight years of age, when her dad had just bought a seven-acre land with high hopes of making a poultry farm. The land at time was bare but the road, which was built by the Americans during the Second World War, was very impressive. Her dad admired the Americans, mainly because they had given him a job as a translator in China and because they had defended the Chinese from the Japanese invaders.

Annette’s fathers motives for making the poultry farm was simple, he had had enough of slaughtering birds and now wanted to care for them. He built the whole barn and farm himself, asking the point of “paying good money for something you can handle yourself”.

They were all very proud when they received their first one-day old chicken offspring.

Every once in a while she was asked by her mother for spider duty, which was simply killing all the spiders in the farm yard and clean up the cobwebs. (You wouldn’t expect a 8 year old girl stepping on spider’s without any fear what so ever).

They celebrated Christmas instead of New Year because her parents could afford to give money away. Even the few cents counted to them.

Every once in a while something that threatened the lives of the chickens would come along and it was Annette’s job to keep them safe. She talks about how there was a heat-wave that killed a lot of chickens. Some died of the heat and some were put down by Annette herself. (Another thing you wouldn’t expect it an eight year old girl to wring the neck of a chicken, even if it was to put it out of its misery). They had lost 10 percent of their stock in the end, which was pretty bad. But nobody was blamed because it was Christmas.

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•Responsibility, parental influence on identity, childhood is overrated, age does not define job.

Language and Style: The story was written as a recap of her childhood. The use of colloquial language and stereotypical Aussie phrases made the whole narrative seem as somewhat casual and to the point without going into too much detail.

Issues of Identity and Belonging:

Annette didn’t have much of a childhood; while all the other girls played with their Barbie dolls and plated their hair Annette took care of chickens and killed spiders. It could be argued that her Identity was negatively affected but her experiences would have given her a sense of responsibility.

Take Me Away, Please p.64

Author: Lily Chan. Nationality- Chinese. Born- Australia, Queensland

Storyline: Lily Chan is of Chinese decent and runs a local family orientated Chinese take-away restaurant with her parents and sister which they also live in. Lily dreads when the clock turns 4.00pm because that is when she starts work. Lily’s job as assigned by her parents is behind the counter controlling the cash register. Peter Chan’s Chinese take away restaurant is opened for 6 days a week, lily, while juggling home studies and the demands of her parents proves to be a tricky and time consuming task that she does not enjoy. All in all she thinks she is unlucky.Characters:

Lily Chan - The main character of this short story wants to do well on her parent’s behalf but feels as though she has a thick leash on her ankle, holding her back.

Mum - Is a traditional Chinese mother who expects hard work of her daughter. She is busy trying to run a family business and make ends meet.

Dad - Similar to the mother is a pushy Father who expects the family to coordinate and work well together to achieve the goals and objectives set by the family. Also a busy man does not have too much time for his daughter which is evident. Sister- Only small, works at the restaurant doing minor jobs such as changing the ‘’open’’ and ‘’closed’’ sign and greeting customers. She and Lily Chan get along and talk when they get the chance.

‘’Battler’’ juggling school and the pressure of the family restaurant highlights the sheer tough work that is present in her life. The pure and utter challenge of working 6 days while being a kid is pretty rough on a teenager trying to find her own way in life.

‘’Family and Belonging’’ in Lily’s eyes she has a distant relationship with her parents due to the ridiculous hours that need to be met in order for the business to be successful. She feels as though it’s all about work, where there is no time for relationships to be established. This is a huge factor due to the development of Lily into an adult and not establishing a solid relationship with her parents in order to create values and morals drummed in by her parents.

Language and style: The language and style that are spoken on Lily’s behalf is depressing to an extent because of how she explain her lifestyle. Issues of Identity and belonging: There are issues of identity and belonging because she feels as though she cannot discover who she really is because of her parents holding her down and not letting her create her own path.

Ideas for Writing Pieces:

Creative- A story that can be created could be my family migrating from Italy to Australia.

Expository- Describing how hard it is to come to a completely new country and make a living to make ends meet.

Persuasive - Italians are racially discriminated against in Australia, persuade the audience to believe how hard done by Italians are.

Hot and Spicy p.81

Author: Oliver Phommavanah

Storyline: Albert Yip is a grade six student who loves food. Unfortunately the food he likes is the food from the county he lives in, not the food from his parent’s nation, Thailand. Albert’s parents own a Thai Restaurant and his family live in the back section of the store. Albert despises the food that his parents cook. He much prefers the food that his school canteen sells. Albert loves meat pies, sausage rolls and chicken burgers. During a day at school Albert discovers that his school is having a “feast day” and that each student is required to bring a dish relating to their background as a way of celebrating the cultural diversity of the school. As Albert’s parents run their own Thai Restaurant, Albert’s teacher Mr Winfree asks him to question his parents if they could bring in a variety of dishes that that their restaurant sells. Overjoyed, Alberts parents agree to make up a range of dishes for the schools unique day. Fearing the worst Albert sabotages his parents’ dishes by adding extra spices to all the dishes, resulting in the teachers and students of the school becoming completely overwhelmed by the spicy nature of the dishes.

Albert Yip – A grade six student who loves Australian food and despises the food that his parents make for him

Rajiv – An Indian boy who also has a large interest in food. Could be thought to be overweight as he is constantly eating unhealthy food.

Kitachi – Albert’s brother who unlike him enjoys spicy foods and all the food the Thai food that his parents make for him.

Mum and Dad – Albert’s parents who run and operate the Thai restaurant on their own. They live at the back of the restaurant. Albert’s Dad is said to have a ‘tongue of steel’ as he can eat the very spiciest of food.

Mr Winfree – Albert’s teacher who has a vested interest in Thai food

Mr Murphy – Albert’s principal who also like Mr Winfree loves Thai food.

Themes: “ The rebellious nature of children” The book explores this theme through the use of Albert. He is portrayed throughout the story as mischievous child who has strong feelings towards Australian cuisine.

Identity and Belonging: This theme is explored throughout the text through the use of the main character Albert. Although Albert knows he belongs to the Thai heritage in which his family is from he also feels as if he belongs with everyone else that isn’t of Thai ancestry. This can be seen, as Albert loves food that is often classified as Australian such as meat pies and sausage rolls. Furthermore, Albert continues to explore his true identity by debating with himself which foods he likes most and which foods do not quite satisfy his cravings.

Ideas for Writing Pieces:

Imaginative: Imaginative piece surrounding issues such as the pressures of being a part of a family business, and also being forced into enjoying specific things.

Expository: An informative piece regarding the upbringing and struggles that a child from an Asian background may face growing up in Australia.

Lessons from my School Years p.89

Author/authors context. This story is written by Ray Wing-Lun, a second generation Chinese man who was born in Australia.

Storyline: Ray Wing-Lun is a Chinese man who was born in Australia. He grew up helping around his family’s fruit shop with his dad. He had a difficult time adjusting to the different customs and behaviours of his family and peers. Even at his social; prime he still didn’t feel like he was one of the pieces of that puzzle. In the end he finds that he just needed to feel like he was needed to achieve his greatness.

Characters: Ray Wing-LunRay’s fatherRay’s motherRay’s nine siblingsRay’s many aunties and uncles

Themes: ConflictBelongingSelf motivation

Language styles: Formal language

Issues of identity and belonging: Ray didn’t feel like he belonged in his family because he never was as good as his siblingsRay didn’t feel like he belonged at school cause he was not a Gwuelo.Ideas for Writing Piece:Creative: Exploring how an individual’s experience sculpts their future more than teachings OR how self-belief is the building blocks to success

Persuasive. “I couldn’t do what a good Chinese boy should do” Racial stereotypes are important when an individual is attempting to shape their future?

Storyline. Rudi Soman tells a story of when he was a boy living with his parents. He explains that in their house, there is a mouse that Rudi’s father Acha is trying to catch. Every night Acha puts a mouse trap in the pantry with the bait being Coon Cheese. Acha is confident he will catch the mouse, but what he doesn’t know is that his wife and Rudi’s mother, Amma, each night puts some Crackers in a pan in the pantry which the mouse eats instead of the Coon Cheese on the mouse trap. The mouse reminds Rudi of a tortoise he found when he first moved into his house. He called the Tortoise Bronchi and developed a connection with him. Rudi’s mother Amma started to feed the Tortoise leftovers from what they ate the night before. She would feed Bronchi the food out of an icecream container, Rudi didn’t think that Bronci would be able to eat the food out of the container seeing as he would not be able to get in it. Amma just told Rudi that when Bronchi’s hungry he will eat it. One day Amma showed Rudi that Bronchi had eaten some of the food, Rudi found a chicken bone though and saw savage bite marks on it and presumed that is was a dog, cat or a possum. After a week of not seeing Bronchi, Rudi decided to look for him and found a small hole under the fence and had to face the fact that Bronchi had moved on. Rudi finds it funny in light to the way Amma feed Bronchi a year ago, that she actually put research into the food that she feeds this mouse. Eventually Rudi and his dad catch the mouse and free it through the hole under the fence.

Rudi Soman- Rudi in this story is a young Boy who gets caught up between his dad trying to catch a mouse and his mum trying to save it.

Acha Soman- Acha is a very religious man, who desperately wants to catch a mouse running around in his house.

Amma Soman- Amma is Rudi’s mother who tries her best to save the mouse that her husband is trying to catch.

Family Relationships’- Both the parents have different ideas on what to do with the mouse. Dad wants to kill it and mum wants to save it. The son gets caught up in the middle and ends up solving the problem by getting rid of the mouse but not killing it, making both parents happy.

Language and style: The language is very descriptive in explaining what was going on in this story. It doesn’t really explain how anyone was feeling, just what they were thinking.

Issues of Identity and Belonging: The story told is a typically Australian, although, the people in it are from another culture. The things that separate this from an Australian explaining this story are the little cultural things that are different to people from different backgrounds.

Ideas for Writing Piece:

A story you can relate to or is similar to this one.

You can explain that a lot of families have different points of views on different topic, some of which might be more serious than this one and some might not be.

You can write a piece saying that the father was entitled to kill the mouse or that he wasn’t.

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Author/Author’s context: Mia Francis is a 2 nd Generation Australian mother.

Storyline: During this story Mia Francis highlights her journey of mothering a Filipino child in Australia. It begins in the Philippines where Mia and her husband adopt a 3 year Filipino boy named Ricky from an orphanage and bring him home to Adelaide. The couple raise Ricky in an Australian culture but try to keep him involved in Filipino ways and traditions but the older he gets the less he seems to care about it. The family move to regional Victoria which is predominantly mono-cultural as Ricky enters his teenage years where he begins high school. He is the subject of much racism and prejudice considering the students are all Anglo-Australian but he never lashed out. Francis describes the day where Ricky had had enough and punched another student and threw him in a bin. Since that event, Ricky has gained much more respect from his fellow students and makes many friends. At the age of 18 Ricky returns to the Philippines with Mia and her husband to understand where he really is from.

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    Belonging essays

    Neva 09/08/2015 21:23:57

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    Identity and belonging poems

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