Are you (half) chinese?

(Sultan Mosque, Singapore)

It was late afternoon when I sat in front of Sultan Mosque Singapore. I was waiting for my parents did the afternoon prayer (I was having the monthly guest, so wasn’t allowed to pray). And there I was, sitting in front of the mosque’s gate.

A man next to me, who had sat there before me, suddenly asked me for time. I guessed he was just a bit younger than my dad, so i thought it was fine to tell him the time.

Then he asked me this surprising question, “Do you speak Malay or Chinese?”

I was taken aback for awhile, but then answer, “I’m Indonesian.”

“Indo-Malay or Indo-Chinese?” asked him again. That 3rd question really made me give him a wince.

“Indo-Malay.” But i don’t think that’s a perfect answer, so I continued, “Actually Sundanese.”

He nodded. “Oh.”

“Do I look like a Chinese to you?”

He simply said, “Yes.”

Then i kept thinking, do I look like a (half) Chinese? I mean, that man seemed very surprise when i said i’m not at all Chinese. And you know what, it actually wasn’t my first time being asked that kind of question.

just for comparison, i checked on a picture i once took with my Malay-Chinese friend. she’s so obviously Chinese while i’m…well, I don’t think so.


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