Being an Indian girl, growing up in an international school in Indonesia, I have always been aware that I was a visible minority, but I have never felt that I was being treated very differently than my white friends. It was only once I moved here and went to McGill University, that I became more aware of my “Asianess” and its implications. People found me exotic and were curious to know if I was Asian or Latino. Having grown up in Asia, I had never thought I’d be considered exotic and found this gaze unsettling.
Although I live in this culturally diverse city, I realize there are inherent inequalities based on my gender, the colour of my skin and the languages I speak. Why is it OK to exoticize Asian women but not treat them equally?
I’ve now spent more than half my life in Montreal and it is my new home. I feel like I am well integrated & that I belong here, but I continue to stay connected to my Asian heritage by being involved with Festival Acces Asie, who is devoted to promoting Asian arts & culture in Quebec.
People ask me where I’m from… my heart’s in Montreal, my mind in Indonesia (& other exotic travel destinations), and my soul in India (my roots, where my parents still reside).
Collaboration:JE SUIS MTL x JÉ T'AIME
June 26, 2021