“Where do I belong?”

“If I convert my citizenship, am I betraying my homeland?”

“How should I respond to stereotypes about my culture or home country?”

For many immigrants, these are pertinent questions which have no easy answers.

As part of Our Grandfather Story’s “Can Ask Meh” series, seven immigrants were asked for their responses to sharp and raw questions which people would want to ask but are afraid to.

Titled “From Immigrants to Citizens: Can You Call Two Countries Home?”, the video profiled two siblings from Tanzania who migrated to Singapore as children, a couple from Myanmar who came here to study and work, two youths from China who spent a good part of their childhood in Singapore, and a Korean language teacher.

In the 19-minute video, interviewees delved into a range of questions from the stereotypical comments they faced to how they felt about their country of origin. Whether amused or outraged, they felt that having to respond to repeated and sometimes hurtful generalisations was difficult.

Defining their identity proved more tricky. Some of them felt foreign to their birth country, yet treated as outsiders in their adopted land. While the interviewees sometimes struggled with straddling two cultures and countries, they were still thankful for the unique experiences that came from their background.

In two weeks, the video had garnered 64,000 views. Comments posted by viewers showed that many empathised with the immigrants’ situations and cheered them on. Those with similar experiences felt that what the interviewees shared resonated with them. Others called for more understanding and kindness. As one viewer wrote, “there’s only one race that really matters to me and it’s the human race”.

Catch the video here, and while you are at it, try picturing yourself in their shoes.

Last updated on 22 November 2019