I am a Banana. Yellow on the outside, White on the inside. But not quite, I am more complicated than that.

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Egg or Banana?

Or you could call me an Egg, white on the outside, yellow inside, but I am not an Egg. Eggs are used to describe non-Asians who want to be Asian.But I would consider some Asians Eggs, they look and act non-Asian, but deep down inside there's some Asian brewing in the core. I am a hybrid of both, Banana and Egg.

The Beginnings of A Banana

I was born in Canada to immigrant parents. My mother came from Hong Kong via London, and my father straight off the boat from Guangdong, China, they met cute and married 3 months after meeting. I popped out a year later and landed in the suburbs of Toronto, in the area of Don Mills. At home we spoke Cantonese and at school, I spoke English. My school lunch was cheese sandwiches and dinner was home cooked Chinese family style food. In Canada, I lived in a pluralist culture, where all cultures were accepted and protected by law. For instance, Toronto has street signs in English and the dominant language of the community, Chinatown had signs in both English and Chinese, Little Italy had theirs in Italian, I learned the romantic languages by walking the city. I lived in a city that honored the diversity of the communities, and because of that I grew up with that sense that I was one and both.

Making a Choice

Growing up I was just Chinese. Then in the 80's, I became Chinese Canadian, fast forward to the 90's, I became an Asian Pacific Islander of Chinese extraction by way of Canada. What am I now? Chinese American, I became a citizen in 2000, so that I could vote, it was that important to me to be able to have a voice in who I wanted to be President, that I gave up my Canadian Citizenship.


This month we are celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. KCET and Union Bank ask you to nominate an unsung hero in the Asian Pacific Islander community as part of the celebration. Who are your heroes?

Everyday Heroes

I have many heroes. From the aged Korean man who goes through the recycling bins in my neighborhood to support his family to the Chinese waitress who sends half her pay home to put her kids through school and the Vietnamese man behind the counter that smiles everyday and says hello, despite the fact that he has been on his feet for 18 hours - all the people I see everyday doing their jobs to build their future in their adopted country are my unsung heroes. My hope is that one day they will also have a voice at the voting booth and make that mark to vote for their Hero.

Image: Ophelia Chong / Crispito!

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