Monday, 31 August 2015

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Navigating the Danish Society as a Cross-Cultural Family...


The Chinese parents here tend to be on either extreme: they either pack only Chinese fried rice for their child's lunch pack every day, because they do not know how to pack Danish rye bread; or they do not pack Chinese fried rice at all, because they and their children are embarrassed of their Chinese lunch pack. Thus, they go the other extreme and do not pack any Chinese food in the name of integration into the Danish society.

Why should the Chinese and their children in Denmark be embarrassed of their heritage?

I think this is a big mistake.

We have to be proud of our heritage. Without giving our children their roots, how can we expect them to be confident in facing the Danish society?

Give them roots - so that they know who they are and secure in being who they are.
From there, give them wings - so that they are free to explore the world and embrace other cultures.

The trick is to be discrete. I pack the Chinese fried rice in small portion as one of the items in the lunch box that contains also Danish rye bread. In this way, we are saying to the Danes, we are integrating into the society - see my child eats Danish food. But we also eat Chinese food, and this is reflected in my child's lunch box.

We have to be rooted and be proud of our heritage. This is how Singapore as a multi-ethnic nation has survived and retained its Chinese-ness, Indian-ness and Malay-ness that gives it its roots. And this is how I am going to learn to navigate the mine fields of being a cross-cultural family in Denmark.

So far, this method worked. We got praise from his teachers :-)

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