My daughter will never have a childhood like mine.
No games similar to mine, played in the middle of the street. No songs in my native tongue, sung with other kids. No riddles and rhymes passed on by my grandparents.
She will not be dancing the same dances during school performances, nor will there be lessons on local authors I grew up with.
Her childhood is a universe of difference from mine. But it is also good. Like other kids in Australia, her childhood will be filled with experiences from different parts of the world.
We are a very multicultural nation and our kids will enjoy the gifts of such a community. They will grow up familiarising themselves with more than just one culture. They will know their own family’s culture but more than that, they will learn other cultures because their school, their community has people from all over the world.
When I was growing up, I only knew about the Filipino culture, with a spattering of Spanish and American. I only got to know about foreign cultures through books and the movies we watched.
But my daughter will know about Greece and learn Greek language from her language class at school. She will know about India and Italy, Lebanon and China, Indonesia and Algeria, because she is surrounded everyday by kids from different backgrounds.
Harmony Day in schools, the annual celebration of the different cultures in Australia, provides a glimpse of other countries’ national costumes and food. My daughter wore a Malong and brought Puto to share with everyone who were there. She was ecstatic to find out that the Puto disappeared quite quickly, proud to have others enjoy the Filipino food she enjoys herself. She saw cultural dances from other countries and ate food that I never got the chance to eat until I was much older.
Like other kids in Australia, my daughter will grow up in an environment where being different from each other is normal. She will learn about other cultures’ beliefs, other people’s religions, and learn to respect their differences.
She will be a multicultural girl. They will all be multicultural children.