To be completely honest, I am much more inclined to be a poser than an enthusiast for my subculture. I am of Southeast Asian descent (born and raised in Singapore), and am allowing myself to shamelessly declare my distaste for spicy food, glutinous rice, and bak kut teh (a popular Chinese pork ribs soup). My mother thinks that I am a disgrace to my Chinese heritage, but I recieve her harsh critique with as much pride as I can master.
My friends, let me tell you that the power of globalization, or should I say, “Americanization,” rings true. Despite what I tell myself, people remind me over and over again that I do not truly belong in that little Asian bubble I call home.
“You aren’t really one of us, are you?”
“You’re not Chinese enough… blah blah blah.”
“Woah wait, you don’t sound like us either.”
There are so many personalities captured in who I am, and it becomes exhausting sometimes. The last time I checked, Miley Cyrus is back to producing country music, and I couldn’t be happier. Yes, Miley, yes! Stick to your roots, Miley! Yeehaw! As elated as I am for my childhood icon to make a comeback, I empathize deeply with Miley, because both she and I fell prey to identity crises.
Spending a good amount of time thinking about which subculture I belong to is puzzling in itself. Shouldn’t the feeling of belonging be inherent? Attending an international American high school the past two years in Singapore didn’t help. I tried to commit to behaving and speaking in a way that I was used to at home, but was easily swayed by my influencers. Finally, after two partially confusing years of high school, and a vigorous self-prognosis, I have decided to live life with each foot in a motley mix of subcultures. I realized that the more I skim the surface of manifold coteries, the closer I get to finding my authenticity—what feels right, wrong, or meh.
As I draw closer to the end of my labyrinthine diary entry, my advice to all the people reading this is to be a poser. Be a damn poseur if that is all you can manage for the time being because I can assure you that most of the people around you are doing the same thing. So, if you change your mind about the traditional Chinese pot stickers on Saturday night family gatherings, and decide on burgers, great! If strictly listening to American music makes you feel good, but also like an active contributor to cultural dumping, I say do it. And, if pondering over who I want to be today, tomorrow, or for the next five days makes me inauthentic, I’m offering the sincerest of apologies, because I can’t quite possibly live my life another way. Well, at least for now.