Too Asian for the West and too Western for Asia

May 14, 2018 | 4 min read
University MC was created to gain a sense of community and supportive atmosphere at University. We hope that by partnering up with Niesh, we can reach out to more people and help this community grow.


“Love? Let’s talk about love. Is it anything and everything you hoped for? Or does the feeling haunt you? I know the feeling haunt you.” – All the Stars


This is the time of year when you may be starting to notice people and people are probably starting to notice you.
Love is magical, exhilarating and in university, it is everywhere. Don’t they say that you are probably sitting in the same room as the person that you will marry on your first day?
But for some of us, love is forbidden and whilst Romeo and Juliet make that seem exciting, that stops being true when it becomes your reality – it is in many ways my reality. Something I only realised last year when I fell in love with somebody that was unacceptable to my parents.
I was crushed.


I have lived in New Zealand for coming up to 17 years.
My parents are the best human beings on this planet and have sacrificed mountains for my siblings and me. I love them with all my heart. They are also Asian, conservative and religious.
For years I was too, so of course, I assumed I would marry someone that they would approve of and that this part of my life would be easy. I could not have been more wrong.

I Fell in Love

You see, I grew up and changed.
You see, I fell in love with an amazing person that did not match the <1% of the population that my parents would approve of.
You see, I was faced with a heartwrenching choice, my happiness or my parents.


As is the irony of life, the decision was made for this person and me, and I parted ways.
But now the reality of my choices haunts me, always at the back of my mind.
When I meet someone new, I think a million times, are they worth my mother’s broken heart?
When someone asks me out, I think a million times, are they worth my father’s disappointment?
When I am about to fall for someone, I think a million times, are they worth the ostracisation from my community?

Western Partners

The truth is I might have ended it with the person I met last year regardless of our circumstances, why?
Because of the reality, the complication that is my parents and community.
How could I ask someone I love to enter a household where they are not accepted?
Where the culture is so different? Where a foreign language they won’t understand is spoken almost constantly?
Even if they were willing, how could I ask them to deal with all of this, to fight so hard for me when it could be simple with someone else.
I don’t know if I can.

I Wish

I wish it was easy.
I wish I had parents who I could bring anyone home to knowing they would love and accept them.
I wish I didn’t have to fight so hard. Isn’t love hard enough without all of this?
But that is not my reality, so now I am left as I am often am as a child of an immigrant, lost.
Too eastern for the west.
Too western for the east.
In limbo – not quite anywhere.

Our Duty is to Our Hearts

I shared this story because it is not just my story. It is the echoes of so many of us that have to choose between being ourselves and conforming in a world that tells us we are wrong.
The wrong gender.
The wrong sexuality.
The wrong race.
The wrong religion.
But you know what I have realised, literally as I type these words?
Those that love us will come around, what is meant to be will be and ultimately, in the words of Mulan, our duty is to our hearts.

Too Asian for the West and too Western for Asia from Failure was written by Y.M. from University Confessions. Mental health has always been a problem with the student demographic, which shouldn’t be ignored. Together with University Confessions, we hope to make a positive difference.