Growing Up Asian in Australia

Unfortunately, Growing Up Asian in Australia (edited by Alice Pung, who I have also met through work, and who is also lovely) will forever be associated in my mind with terrible shame. For the first time in my life I have received an overdue fine from the library! Pathetic excuse, I know, but my emails stopped working for a few weeks and I never saw my warning emails... Anyway, the very understanding librarian 'accidentally' waived my fine so I still haven't actually paid an overdue fine... so my record is technically clear...

In my defence, Growing Up Asian in Australia did take me a long time to read, because it's so crammed with stories, memories, reflections, some hilarious, some poignant, some angry, some deeply sad, from Asian-Australians of all varieties: Vietnamese, Chinese, Indian, Korean, Japanese and more, some by professional writers and some from contributors who have never written a piece for publication before.

There is an amazing array of experience here, but common themes do emerge. Without wanting to stray into stereotype, the weight of parental expectations and sacrifice looms large; the sometimes uneasy balance between belonging to both cultures, or neither; the knowledge of looking 'different', which is not shared by all immigrants. This book was a fascinating and rewarding read, and worth my fine.

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