The Decolonial Parent

a continuous work in progress

photo of purple and yellow fireworks in night sky

Learning from my own lessons

Speaking personally, the hardest thing to reconcile growing up mixed was the way my European (and religiously Christian) parent dismissed a lot of my Asian parent’s cultural observances with religious logic. Whilst faith and festivals are often intertwined, it’s still possible to celebrate the festivals and what they teach us about our history and culture. I don’t have to be Daoist to observe Qing Ming, or Muslim to observe Hari Raya Aidil Fitri. They are both part of my Malaysian-Chinese culture, and hold important lessons about the nature of belonging, discipline, and joy.

I was lucky to grow up in the UK with both Lunar New Year and Ramadan celebrated fully, so my mum could still share these festivals with us outside our home. But I learned a lot about how I don’t wanna raise my own children by growing up in an environment that heavily privileged one parent’s culture at the cost of everything else.

Although my coparent and I are versions of diaspora, we experience this very differently. We have different family histories of migration and sense of place, and therefore we connect ourselves to our cultures in vastly contrasting ways. American holidays are his holidays and, as such, they will be our holidays too. I look forward to engaging with the living narrative of US holidays in a way that I’ve never been able to with Chinese holidays.

And Halloween. I love that this gives me Halloween.


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