In the shoes of others

I do get like, uncertain eyes, and I'll get that for sure throughout my whole life

- A: I'm 40 years old right now and I was born in this country (UK) and clearly, I'm Chinese. But you know, it's still a very thing that when you walk into a shop even though that I'm very accustomed to the culture here, that I do get like, uncertain eyes, and I'll get that for sure throughout my whole life, though I do feel it's a lot different than it was maybe like 20/30 years ago. With the internet, the visibility and exposure of all different countries has made it a lot easier, so when I hear younger people with a similar background, being Chinese and a lot younger, I do see the little differences that we did have when I was growing up, but it's nice to hear how younger people are much more free and much more accepting from other cultures, for sure.

- How do you feel when you get these weird looks?

- A: I grew up in a kind of poor area of Edinburgh and there were very few Chinese families or Chinese people around. And I always thought that you can go two ways about it, really. I mean, for instance, if you grew up in a family with lots of abuse, you can kind of carry on that kind of way of upbringing and abuse other people as well. Or you can be totally against that and flip to the other side where you'll be actually helping people, supporting people coming out of that, or understanding them, in other words. So I was very much like that. I didn't use any hate, or anything like that. I just saw that people needed to be educated more than anything else. And that's it's always just education. And I feel like, it's a lot different than 10 years ago where people didn't see many Chinese people around. Fear was one of the thing that they will lash out on, and that's where discrimination comes from, I guess.

- I guess... and it must be a bit easier here than in other places, Edinburgh is so multicultural, you would speak to people from sooo many countries here.

- A: Edinburgh is one of those fortunate places in that sense, same with London!

- Okay. Is there anything else you would like to add to basically help people understand, you know...

- B: Just stop and think about it, you know? Like, what if you're that person? Being looked at and then... you know, how would you feel? Just to be more empathetic...

- Yes! Like the title of my project; put yourself in the shoes of others!

- B: Yes!

- A: I'm not very religious, but I would say kind of spiritually minded, and looking at things like Buddhism. If you understand that everybody is suffering, we can appreciate that, and then we can maybe stop pointing the finger at things, you know... because we understand that everybody can suffer. So why spend our time picking on people? Why spend our time searching for differences? We're not actually elevating ourselves. But yeah, understanding that everybody's suffering, I think it'd be a great help. I know how "suffering" sounds very depressing, it sounds really sad, but if we can understand that everybody is, then we can be a bit easier on everything and don't give people such a hard time. I think especially since I'm Chinese and born in this country, it does make me think both ways, you know...

- B: We all feel and think the same way, it's just the way we grew up, that's where culture comes in, but deep down, we just want to be happy. We just want to live life and explore and you know, experience. We probably watch the same TV shows, we would go home walking the same way, we have family and friends, we eat the same stuff, etc...

- A: It's a difficult one, your question « What would you like people to understand about you? »... if we were just all maybe a bit more appreciative and respectful without kind of judging eyes, that would make that question a lot simpler.

- B: Yes, and like why being so emotional about something that's just in your mind, you know? It's all in your head. Because basically those people are not important to you. So why are you putting so much energy into discrimination, you know?

- There's a quote from Buddha, as you were mentioning Buddhism before, it goes like « holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned ».

- B: That's a good quote! So yes, let it go!

- A: He even says that everything that we feel right now, even happiness or sadness, anger, all those kinds of things, these are just temporary sensations. You know, how many times have you felt so hungry for the day and then when you have a tiny little bit of food in your system, you'd be like « I'm actually okay ». And it's the same with every kind of sensation, happiness, anger, all that stuff. You just need to take a little bit of time to just to step out a bit.

- Things can be easy to pass sometimes...

- A: Yeah, because we're so automated with our feelings and how we should feel and think... it's kind of overly complicated, these things...

#uncertaineyes #weirdlooks #discrimination #chinese #understand #people #feel #grewup #suffeer #suffering #anger #edinburgh #buddhism #sensation #othercultures #differences #multicultural #culture #understanding #temporary

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These are the contributions to a social project to promote empathy and fight discrimination.

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