Neither Chinese Nor Indian

I am a Chindian. Yet my birth certificate and MyKad denotes that I am Indian by virtue of my father being Indian.

And I whole heartedly agree with YB Hannah Yeoh and her husband Ramachandran Ram on refusing to label their daughter, Shay Adora Ram as an Indian or Chinese.

That’s because she (and I) are a whole different category – we’re Chindians.

Image taken from http://bit.ly/lkFsBE

We're Reproducing in the Mass. Image taken from http://bit.ly/lkFsBE

And there should be enough of us around to have our own race on forms – Chindians. Or Sino – Indians.

Of course, we’re all Malaysians. And I agree that there is a difference between ethnicity and nationality. (The fact that the race tick box and race based discrimination should be abolished is a whole different story altogether).

Up till the point I was 18, I naively told people I was Indian when asked. Therein arose issues of why don’t I look like an Indian, why don’t I speak Tamil, why don’t I go to temples (my birth certificate states I’m Hindhu, following my father and attempts to get my MyKad changed to Buddhism has failed), and numerous racial identity issues fell on my ears.

It was only in college, hanging around more Chinese friends that I wisened up and embraced the Chinese blood in me when identifying myself as a Chindian. This immediately solved many identity issues and people understood me better once they knew of my heritage.

When filling up forms, I had to tick Indian as my birth certificate dictates so. However, I always loathe doing so as it deletes my Chinese heritage. I am proud of my ancestry and having to choose one or the other makes a mockery of my blood lineage.

Take for example Eurasians. They are not classified according to their father’s race. If they are a mix between an Asian and a European, they automatically get classified as Eurasian. None of this follow your father’s race nonsense.

In the US, the Census Bureau, since 2000, has allowed citizens to tick more than one race box. It is increasingly receiving this response as the younger generation acknowledge their ethnicity.

Speaking of which, bearing in mind that I think it’s ridiculous to choose between your parents race, I think it’s perfectly all right that Shay Adora Ram be classified a Chinese. Frankly, I never understood why a father’s race should be dominant over the mother. She already carries her father’s surname, so that shows acceptance of the father’s influence. Whatever race the parents agree the NRD Officer to label her as should be irrelevant since, in the words of Ramachandran Ram, “they’re both wrong labels.” There’s no justification in having to choose which is the more right option between two wrongs.

At the end of the day, Shay Adora Ram is Chindian and should reserve the right to be proud of her ancestry and be able to acknowledge her heritage in legal documents. The government has no right to delete the lineage of one race in legal matters.

Image Taken from http://bit.ly/lgyXMY

Kopi Campur Susu Dapat Capuccino! Image Taken from http://bit.ly/lgyXMY

Milk and black coffee separately gives Cass diarrhea but combined together is a staple in her morning routine. She believes that Chinese (milk) and Indians (black coffee) naturally blend well together and that inter racial marriages should be lauded. When not spilling her guts into a keyboard or spilling coffee over the table, she’s tweeting “I’m sorry but our government has serious racial issues to think about” 100 times.


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Posts by Cass Shan

Cass likes coffee. She equates politics to drinking coffee. Too much will keep you awake. You need to sweeten it yourself or else it will taste bitter. But it's also addictive if you drink it frequently.

Posted on 22 June 2011. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

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12 Responses to Neither Chinese Nor Indian

  1. Chinese plus Indian is equal to "Chindian" a nice blend of coffee and milk!

  2. chrissyme

    I'm a Malay and I love my chindian boyfriend. :)

  3. post man

    These type of arguments are always started by the chinese. They marry indian for dr. title, Ir. title and so on, for rich familiy connection of the indian and it stops there. When comes to naming the baby's race as tamil malu – why- not fair enough fo you

  4. ChinTams

    Who is the hottest chindian you have ever seen? Michelle Saram? Jacintha? UK Shyam? Stephen Thanabalan? Nicol David? Daryl David? Gurmit Singh? In Malaysia we say they should not be Chindians, they should be calling as ChinTams because most Chindians are not hot, they are not even Indians they are Tamils like 99.9% of Chinese marry Indian is actually
    Chinese marry Tamils or Singh or Pakistani (see Michelle Saram) and the list above are none Indians

  5. PunkRocker

    Neither ethnic nor race ever exist in this nusantara archipelago at the beginning. What's its origin? Check out:

    http://diskopi.wordpress.com/2011/06/16/ethnic-an…

  6. Hi! I 21 something and also I just simply find your web site by browser yahoo and bing regarding hersolution product and I must know if perhaps anybody have good knowledge about that solution and they need to share their expereince with me. Many thanks!

  7. tony

    Cass, if you are serious on being a Buddhist you can go and see a monk or nun to take refugee in Buddhism or under the Tripe Gems, and you will be given a card or certificate to prove that you are a Buddhist.

  8. Hi Idora,

    Yes, the old follow your father thing is outdated. As for the religion, I went to NRD and they said must get documents to prove I changed religion. But as Buddhism doesn't require a certificate unlike Christinanity, they couldn't provide me with documentation to prove I'm Buddhist. They can only provide a letter that states I go to XXX temple to pray. That, in NRD's view is not enough. So, I'm stuck as a Hindhu in official documents though I'm a Buddhist by choice.

  9. Aini Idora

    Hi Cass

    I love your article..and I agree..they should do away with the race (on myKid or MyKad) to follow the race of the father!

    A bit sexist if you ask me..and I'm amazed why you can't change the religion in your MyKad to Buddhism , as that is essentially your chosen religion , right? Why kena ikut jugak the religion of "the father" …Hmm..too many mind bolggling things happening in this country..

  10. Kim

    Cass, to term 'Chindian' as a race is incorrect. This is because 'Chinese' and 'Indian' itself are also not 'races' but nationalities. The Chinese have many races such as 'Han' 'Zhuang' 'Hui' etc. etc. So does the Indians. Ask your friends what their races are. If they say the are Chinese or Indian, then they are wrong.'Race' is basically an ethnic group. So they really have to dig their family tree to find out their roots/race. The problem we have here in Malaysia is that we are all dumped as either Chinese or Indian from day one of Independence by the Government authorities. All these can be changed if lawmakers (such as Hannah Yeoh) can initiate reforms in race classifications here.

    I stand corrected.

  11. Somebody

    ditto to Sam.

    And why do I always have to tell the government what my "agama" is?

    Can't I just choose Islam/bukan-Islam?

  12. sam

    It is all bcos of our very wrong administration.

    You see,this country is administer by the malay who has a different perspective outlook because of their emphasis on race with religion.If you are with their religion,then you are OK.

    Other races,they could not care less.