Dinja (34) You probably can know her from the four-part series ‘Ik kòm niet uit Sri Lanka by Omroephuman for 3Lab’. In addition, she is a voice-over and works as a radiomaker at NPO FunX.
What kind of upbringing did you have? There is also a term: “Tiger parents or Tiger mom”. Did you have a similar upbringing?
What kind of upbringing did you have? There is also a term: “Tiger parents or Tiger mom”. Did you have a similar upbringing? A democratic upbringing. I felt I could and should do anything I wanted. There were always clear rules, but I really liked that. Then as a child you also know where you stand. My parents support me in everything, without their love and support I would not have become the person I am now and come to where I am now.
Are there any taboos or things that you can’t discuss with your parents?
No, my parents are very open-minded and everything is negotiable in my home.
Do you feel close with your Asian roots or not? I feel more Dutch than Asian. Did you ever feel ashamed of you being Asian? No, never really. Did you ever had a role model when you grew up?
Yes my parents, but not a Sri Lankan person I could identify with. I think it’s a pity that these people are less visible in TV/media.
What do you think of the Asian representation in The Netherlands?
As far as I’m concerned, it’s really allowed to do a lot more. Especially in series, films and at various TV channels, I miss the diversity in media land. I myself work at NPO FunX and I think that this company is a reflection of today’s society, but other media companies could really take an example from this.
Do you feel like you’re the ‘The Asian Model Minority Myth’?
Not just me, we all need to stand up and create awareness. I would never want to put myself on a pedestal, but I would love to make a difference and contribute to a world where everyone is equal.
What made you who you are now?
Environmental factors include upbringing, family, friends and my own mindset. If I have a goal in mind, I go for it 100%. In addition, I like to work in a team and I like to get the best out of life together with others. So I’m happiest when I can share my happiness with my loved ones.
Have people also made comments about you being Chinese? How did you react to this, what did you feel?
I have Sri Lankan roots myself so I don’t know what it’s like to have Chinese roots, but I’ve been bullied and scolded. That hurts, because people don’t realize what they’re saying and disapprove of you on your appearance. It didn’t happen often, but you notice how people look at you and you sometimes feel a disapproving look. I have to say now that I live in Rotterdam, I have much less trouble with that. This city is so incredibly diverse, so I’m never confronted with disapproving looks or nasty comments.
What are stereotype Asians in your opinion and where does that come from? Do you see other Asians like those stereotypes?
That they regard almost every Asian as Chinese. I think that’s strange, since Asia is incredibly large. This is because people are already underinformed at school. If more attention is paid to Asia there alone, more awareness will be created. In addition, I think that the media can also do more about this. Both to the articles, items they make for TV and hire employees in front of and behind the scenes. This also creates more visibility.
What stereotypes and comments have you heard about your appearance?
Personally, I am often told if I am from Suriname. I think that’s actually a compliment.
What racist remarks and discrimination have you experienced?
Kut n*ger, zwarte, k*nker zwarte, zwarte piet. Not so much corona related. This happened especially when I was younger.
What is a funny trait or tell something that not everyone knows about you?
I don’t like Sri Lankan food, but I like a lot of other Asian dishes.
In Asian culture, it is normal as a woman to get married as soon as possible, have children, and become a housewife. Because when you have a husband, you have children, you have “made” it in life. How do you see it?
Success is different for everyone. Being happy with yourself and achieving your personal goals in life is much more important. For one it is marriage and children and for the other travel and not a child or partner. Being happy with who you are and being accepted as you are are the most important thing to me.
Where do you stand now and what are your plans for the future?
I think I’m at a tipping point in my life right now. By that I mean that I would like to take serious steps besides making a career. I hope that if it is granted to me, I can raise a child with my partner and pass on the life lessons I have learned. In addition, I hope to make the world in general a little better in any way. I think that every person deserves happiness and that is why I would like to work for charities and people who need it.
What do you want to give to the readers?
I am grateful that the talented Rui Jun Luong is creating awareness with the Guess Who Game.
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