When I was a baby, I knew nothing about Khmer heritage.I am now trying to fill these gaps
This first-person article is the experience of Montreal poet, editor and educator Greg Santos.For more information on CBC’s first-person story, see common problem.
When I was in elementary school, I never understood why my teacher would confuse me with the two South Asian boys in my class. My name is Gregory. I am not from India. My parents are Canadian-very well, European immigrants immigrated to Canada from Spain and Portugal. I like to go regularly to the St-Hubert restaurant chain for outings, tasting the chicken, fries, gravy and su sucre of the rotisserie. But I also speak Spanish with my grandparents. The comfort foods I grew up with included sausages, paella, and a soup called soup. Warm green with Cream puffs, Egg c.
I am a Montrealer with Iberian traditions. Is it true that in my life, even if I watch a part, I don’t think I am Asian.
I know that my birth family is Cambodian. They escaped the Khmer Rouge genocide and moved to Montreal where I was born.
As the story progressed, my parents always wanted children, but no children. A family acquaintance who dealt with immigrants and refugees knew my biological mother, a teenager who could not raise me. My biological mother unswervingly sought me for a loving family. I was adopted as a baby and grew up in a caring and supportive environment. I always feel cherished.
However, I don’t always know how to become an interracial adoptee. Although I am happy to discuss with others publicly, I was promoted to “color blind”. My family will tell me that no matter what my skin color is, I will be loved and appreciated. Although this played a role in my family bubble, my Asian style seems to be obvious to everyone else in the world.
The recent surge in anti-Asian discrimination brought back painful memories: Someone bullied me in high school and called it Sulu. Star Trek The character, is constantly being asked in the playground why I don’t look like my parents. Under the doctor’s appointment, a child in the waiting room tilted his eyes and sang to me, but his parents did nothing.
I have always been an art style person, but for some reason, people think I am a genius in mathematics or science.One Halloween, I dressed up as a cowboy “Wild Bill” Hickok, wearing a fake beard and goatee, but everyone asked if I should be David Suzuki or Mr. Miyagi Karate Kid.
When I told people that I came from Montreal, it was not enough to explain.where am I Really From?
For many years, I have not recognized my Khmer ancestry. How can I? I did not grow up to learn language or culture. Sometimes, being considered Asian is a negative trait, but I try to downplay or conceal this feeling.
But when I had two children of my own and watched them try to raise questions about Their Race, I realized that it was time to dig deeper into my roots to help them understand the diversity and beauty of their heritage.
Since then, I have made contact with Khmer members in the community and diaspora writers a priority. Together with my wife and children, I am learning how to celebrate Khmer New Year and explore Cambodian cuisine. I hope to fill some gaps in my childhood. But there will always be a gap, it doesn’t matter.
I felt that I was going to return to adoption and took firm steps to restore my Cambodian customs. It took me many years to reconcile my appearance in Asia with my growth, and this may always be a work in progress. With a growing understanding of intersectionality, I am learning to embrace the full heritage of my Canadian, Portuguese, Spanish and Khmer traditions.
For the universe, I say thank you.Thank you Obrigado. Thank you.Ou Kun.
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