I am a BBC – British Born Chinese. My parents emigrated here in the sixties and started a successful business and new life. I’ve grown up with a combination of a neo-Confucian Chinese upbringing whilst being educated at an all-girls school where I was taught to be independent and have the confidence to voice my opinions. One could say that I had the best of both worlds.
I went against the expectations of my parents and did not become a lawyer or accountant. Instead, I travelled and worked overseas during my twenties, before settling into married life and having three beautiful children. We live in a lovely area of Hertfordshire where I work part-time for the NHS. I spend most Saturdays with hat, scarf and wellies, holding a thermos of coffee watching our lad play rugby…never thought I’d end up being labelled a “Rugby Mum” but there you go!
After spending some years fund-raising at a Chinese Community Centre, I soon realised that the bulk of the Chinese here are Conservative voters. For me, being a centre ground Tory stems from the fact that values such as hard work, family, education and entrepreneurship are common ground for both Conservatives and most Chinese.
The anti-immigrant rhetoric that some Brexiteer voters took during the EU Referendum made me feel that my neighbourhood had been hijacked by “petty nationalism.” I am as patriotic, passionate and proud of being British as any other Brit, yet it was during the run up to the 23rd June that suddenly, for the first time in my life, I experienced very nasty, misogynistic and racist behaviour from someone who believed that my ethnicity disqualified me from having an opinion on British politics. Apparently, I am not “British” enough and not as patriotic as those who can trace their ancestry back to 1066 to be allowed a say (according to him, anyway).
I am not so naïve as to think that racism and bigotry did not exist until the EU Referendum nor do I think that all Brexiteers are racist. However, the persistent abuse I encountered highlighted to me that some folk truly believe they have superiority over me due to my ethnicity. They believe that their voices on matters such as the future of our country are more legitimate and should be heard louder than mine. I disagree, and will not be quiet. So, expect to hear more of my thoughts in articles on The Country Squire.