In a 2011 census by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there are at least 2.4 million Australian residents that are of Asian descent. This number does not include immigrants, laborers, office workers, students and tourists who are plying the streets Down Under. Based on the same data, the Chinese, Indian and Filipino ancestries dominate the Asian-Australian community.
You will see Asians everywhere in Australia. As a matter of fact, 37 percent of them are athletes and seen on national television. More so, 20 percent of doctors in the country are Asian.
Being Asian in Australia: My Experience
As an Asian in Australia, I don’t find the previously stated statistical data that helpful. In fact, I’m more eager to know information on how other Asians in the country are living their lives. Do they experience the same societal stereotypes as I do?
I will never forget my experience in a restaurant with a friend the first time I was in Sydney. The city is traditionally a melting pot of Asian culture. As such, I supposed that the people here are accustomed to interacting with people that are of Asian heritage. While at this restaurant, the waiter approached our table and tried to get our orders. After my Caucasian friend had given his order, the waiter pointed at me and asked my friend if I had something in mind. I interrupted the waiter and told that I want this and that. And yes, in fluent English. I don’t find it rude, but funny that he thought I don’t know their language.
Another amusing thing about being Asian is that they expect you to be good at nearly everything, especially in Math. To be honest, I’m not that bright. I also struggle with my Xs and Ys.
Back to my homeland, I did not stand out that much. A lot of people are far better looking, more successful, and more brilliant. But here in Australia, it seems that I’m the star. Aussies have this stereotype that Asians are well-educated, talented and professionals. Because of this typecast, Aussies see me as well-educated, talented and professional.
According to Stuart Hall, a cultural theorist, this type of positive racial discrimination is normal. Being Asian in Asia is nothing to be talked about. But once an Asian sets foot in a foreign, non-Asian land, his “Asian-ness” becomes noticeable. This includes the cultural stereotypes associated with the Asian race.