Post by koreanhalfie on Oct 3, 2010 4:57:18 GMT -5
For most of my life I associated as British as I was born in Manchester and lived there until 23. I occasionally spent my summer vacations at my mum's family house in Pusan. But ever since I was transferred to Lisbon, I feel like an outsider, not only I realized I'm more British than I thought but I so also became aware of my eurasian identity. It never really occured to me I was any different considering how diverse mainstream British society is.
Despite feeling less foreign here thanks to the sizeable Asian and Brit communities, I sometimes still go through short panic attacks when I'm alone in a crowd of locals, in public transportation for example. I never was socially-anxious so I cannot ascertain which one between my expatriation or Asian identity is behind it? Any suggestions are welcome.
It might not be possible to identify with your situation fully, but curiously, I often feel LESS panicky in situations where I am completely different than locals - I think it is because I feel less pressure to be local or non-local. Even if people expect me to conform, I can get away with it because I am not local.
I spent a few months in Japan, and did not expect people that people would expect me to conform. I spent about 5 months in Malaysia, and after about a month or so, I found that I could communicate to most people I wanted to, and it was not a major issue. Travelling through Brazil I felt a bit anxious, but mostly because I did not understand much Portuguese. I never felt people were making me feel alienated (but that might have changed after learning more Portuguese and interacted more and more with local people).
Of course, that could change after living there for 10 years - I might expect people to see me more as part of the community, or at least some segment of the local community. Growing up in the USA I often felt alienated from both whites and Asian-Americans - I tended to gravitate more to new immigrants and foreign students. It's almost as if I shared a sense of alienation from the mainstream society and from Asian-Americans as well.
After living in HK for over 15 years, I still feel that most HKers are not very welcoming to those they perceive as outsiders. I can understand Cantonese and Mandarin and read Chinese, but it is a struggle to get people to treat me as a normal person.
Yeah, I sometimes feel like that too...I don't seem to look like anyone else...I often wish I just belonged as one or the other (probably my chinese side over my european). I only really realised I was that different to other people this year, due to my involvment with the internet, which actually made me feel pretty asian. I actually used to be at home in both Australia and Singapore, but now I feel more alienated from both
The most I ever felt like an outsider was during my brief time in a Singaporean public school. I was not a methodist, I don't speak a word of Mandarin, and was not the most social person to begin with. The education system was completely different plus I was the new guy. When I transferred to an international school I fit right in straight away and gained immediate insider status. I don't think in any of these cases it had to do with race- mostly language, culture, and how welcoming to outsiders/transient the group I would be integrating myself into happened to be.
I'm a distant cousin of Singaporean pop sensation Dìck Lee. Bruce would have been a lot cooler but I'll take it.
Curiously, one of the times where I felt more like an "insider" was when I went on a Study Tour to Japan. The 67 participants were from some 35 different countries and the only language that everyone had in common was Japanese (although about half of them could speak English, and some spoke Chinese, French, Spanish, Portuguese, etc.). I had a really fun time and felt that I could get along easily with everyone - I guess it might be because I never felt any need to conform to anything and could just be myself. People did find it curious why I seemed to talk more to the Chinese-speaking people (from many different countries) more than the other guy from the USA.
Post by helloagain on Mar 31, 2011 14:51:42 GMT -5
I'd soak in some of the culture, imho. Make a few friends, eat some tapas, take a pottery class, etc. Once the people are your friends and neighbors, you'll know whether it's the environment or ethnicity. Hopefully getting to know people will take care of both.
Last Edit: Mar 31, 2011 14:52:24 GMT -5 by helloagain
Does it matter why? Perhaps your anxiety/panic attacks are unrelated to your being "different"? I would try meditation/relaxation, and helloagain's advice. It may be worthwhile to seek a professional opinion if that fails