Just a little over 2 weeks ago, me and my husband became US citizens. It is still surreal to us. 20 years of hardship from being an exchange student in the most rural town in the country to a Silicon Valley homeowner. We are now given a new nationality – American.
I guess the pride of being an American …or let say ‘owning’ a nationality still seems a bit ‘foreign’ to us. Born and raised in Hong Kong, the former colony of United Kingdom, we were taught in British English. We were surrounded by UK flags and influenced by their lifestyle, anything from having baked beans to afternoon tea. I still remember we used to have Queen Elizabeth’s portrait hanging on the wall at school.
But then when Hong Kong was handed over to China in the late 90s, all the sudden, we felt like we were the orphans being ‘adopted’ by our biological parent (China). This is worse than a divorce settlement. No joint custody whatsoever!
We have been carrying an issue called ‘identity confusion’. Feeling like somewhat British-ish, yet we have no status to claim but to accept the fact that our ‘nationality’ is China.
I am not the only person got confused by our identity. Even the officials across the country (US) are confused, too! When we filed the paper for US citizenship, the officer particularly asked us to declare ‘China’ as our nationality (not Hong Kong). But during the naturalization ceremony, the facilitator/ host listed ‘Hong Kong’ as a country and asked people to cheer if they were originally from there.
To make fun of the situation, my husband and I decided to stand up and cheered when they announced United Kingdom. But I kid you not, that was a very awkward moment…all the Chinese mainlanders (almost 40% of the audiences in the naturalization ceremony) were staring at us like we were aliens.
No one in our lives taught us what patriotism is and how to act patriotic… should I hang an U.S. flag outside my door? Or do I need to develop a family tradition for July 4th? I believe this is not something you can force someone to do so. It is a mutual feeling. Something that grow organically over the years.
While I was still trying to figure out how I should embrace my new nationality, 49 lives were taken in Orlando – all killed by a domestic abuser/mental unstable person who legally owned assault weapons. And for the past 72 hours, at least 4 people (all minority) were shot by police across the country. One of the victims had to live stream the incident on Facebook as 911 isn’t the option at all!
Then 5 polices were ambushed by a black sniper and dozens were injuries in Dallas last night….
If I had children, how should I teach him/her? Would I still be able to tell them humanity and kindness still exist? should I show them trust? What should I do about embracing our nationality while people are being killed for racial bias, hatred, and revenge? How do I explain to my children that mommy and daddy chose to stay in this country despite all the injustice and non-sense violence?
And if something happens to me…should I live stream the event on Facebook rather than calling the police?
Oh America, what should I tell my children?
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