Colour me excited. Next week I’ll be travelling to my Mum’s home country of the Philippines. We were last there in 1998, when I was 11. Growing up bi-racial in Australia is unquestionably awkward at times. In the 80s and 90s, in particular, the emphasis was on assimilation meaning certain traditions and customs were replaced in order to fit in. On one hand, I was visibly different to the eyes of your stereotypical ‘Aussie’. On the other, being brought up in a different country to one side of your family means you’re too far removed from that culture to be completely comfortable in that camp either. Being Australian-Filipino presented it’s own unique problem, looking ethnically ambiguous and not displaying the stereotypical traits of being unquestionably Asian (why am I SO BAD at math?). Fortunately, as I’ve grown, I’ve come to appreciate the differences. It’s a tale as old as time, but every year I more deeply explore and celebrate the other side of my ethnicity and culture. It’s wonderfully empowering to be truly aware of your identity. My values and outlook on life allow me to contribute a unique perspective. I love working with people with different backgrounds – in a sense, working out how others ‘tick’. It’s great to be around like-minded people, but it’s that point of difference, which really forces you to become bigger than yourself. Teams are enriched and strengthened through diversity!
What makes you different makes you special and valuable.