35, Graphic Designer & Lecturer

I'm Eurasian – a mix of Portuguese, Irish, German and Chinese. My grandparents and parents were born in Singapore.

What’s your family’s cultural background?

My descendants come from Malacca Portuguese, the Portuguese settlement in Malacca, and they were fishermen that came and did trade. We also have our own language called Kristan which is a mix of Portuguese and Malay. It’s a dying language that mostly only our grandparents know, but I think this younger generation in Singapore is trying to revive it. We kind of resonate a lot with the more Portuguese side of my culture. My paternal grandfather was German and my grandma was Chinese. My mom's side is Irish-Portuguese.

"A lot of what we are comes from what our parents are—what their mix is—and then we become even more mixed. And then we get lost in that, you know. What is our identity?"

What’s your relationship with the Singaporean identity?

When we fill out forms, we have the CMIO system. I naturally fall under ‘Others’ right, so that part makes me feel a little bit displaced. Because if Eurasian was a recognised term, why is it not an option? It kind of erases certain mixed-cultures. Singapore's a huge melting pot. But I do resonate with a Singaporean identity because I grew up here. It is a country that makes us feel at home. In terms of identity, we try to gather a lot of information and history from each other. And that's how we shape what our identity is – through the people we hang out with, the people we get to learn from, and just reading up more about our own history.

Tell us about your chosen objects

The top is like a tunic, it’s something that my sister gave me from her travels. The one thing that Eurasians like is comfort. Through the Portuguese settlement that was in Malacca, a lot of them also wore Baju Kebaya and sarongs because they were comfortable as well. And they did derive from Malay heritage. The material is very soft, very airy. The sarong itself is just a wrap-around. 

The outfit put together doesn't look like baju kurung, but it is more representative of comfort. The bag resonates a lot with me as well because Portuguese men used to be fishermen in the settlement. The weaving and the material has that orang laut kind of vibe. Just very natural raw materials.

"Eurasians, we get confused with what our identity is and what it means. But at the same time, it gives a very interesting opportunity or space to explore different cultures that make us, us."