surprise identity

So I’m at a late supper with a couple of friends from college, K & A, and somewhere along in the conversation the idea of mixed ethnic origins comes up, as it sometimes does.

I asked K what if he and his wife have chosen a name for their new child arriving in Sept / Oct this year.  (S)he will have two names – an English first name and a Korean middle name.  “You can have two last names, too, if you want,” A says.  “Passports from each country will have that nation’s family name.” Well how do you know this?  I never knew that.

Later, we were talking about jobs, living in other countries (A wants to study in Germany after college here).  A family ancestor was the USA.  I suggested getting his Green Card, like me.  It was then that he confessed that he already has dual citizenship.  “What?  Where?  Seriously?”

So it was sometime around then that he confessed.  As it turns out, the only other white guy (i.e. “Caucasian Canadian”) in the group spills the beans about not actually being a white guy.  Yup, he’s half white Canadian and half Taiwanese.  He speaks Mandarin and grew up in Taiwan and Canada.  Taiwanese Mom & Canadian Dad.

I was 90% surprised.  Why?  I knew since I met him that he’d had an accent.  Not a regional dialect, not a 2nd-generation ethnic accent, but a first-hand mixed-origin accent, like 5~10%.  I could never pin it on any region outside the general area of Asia, never down to one country.

He’d kept it a secret all this time because, I gather, he likes to surprise people and also, I think, finds it a cause of disruption of normal interaction.  He only tells those he has known for a while.  He told K & C (Koreans) but never me!  So I said during supper that I’m actually the only white guy in the group – a minority.  A reminded me that I am mistaken – that I’m half Korean, too.

Right.  Almost forgot, being around all these white people.  Haha!

I feel honoured that I’m counted among this trusted friends.

(By the way – I’m not Caucasian.  I’m white.  Caucasians come from the Caucasus region in Eastern Europe / Western Asia.  Look it up.  And yes, I eat crackers.)