Asian and colonial pride and shame

Rena Brown,
United Kingdom

I’m a quarter Dutch burger born to a British father. My mother is half Scottish Highlander and half Dutch burger. The latter comes from various Europeans having children with the local Sri Lankan girls. The next Europeans preferred to have children with the mixed race girls because of their lighter skin and so on. I am a small part French, Dutch and Portuguese as well as the Sri Lankan. My mother’s mitochondrial DNA could not be identified. This brings home how much I am still connected to my Sri Lankan side. My mitochondrial DNA is from there and that of all my children as it only passes from mother to child.

The link to Asia is still recent as my grandmother was born in Malaysia and my mother in Singapore (where she was born a prisoner of war). With this intriguing history I was drawn to Asia and spent two years living in Hong Kong and learning the Cantonese language to satisfy my thirst, having met many Hong Kong students at university.

I don’t think a colonial past is something to be proud of, but I can be proud of my Sri Lankan DNA which forever links me too Asia even if only by a tiny bit.


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