Irin (19) was born and raised in Thailand and came in 2019 to The Netherlands for her studies at Art academy Minerva in Groningen. Her parents are both Thai, and she identifies with being Thai.
What kind of upbringing did you have? There is also a term: “Tiger parents or Tiger mom”. Did you have a similar upbringing?
Luckily my parents are pretty chill so I don’t have any of these.
Are there any taboos or things that you can’t discuss with your parents?
I can discuss anything with my parents but I don’t do it all the time because I feel awkward sharing my personal story with them. Such as my school life, or if I’m stressed about something (maybe assignments). I won’t show my expression to them or tell them how my day is going.
Do you feel close with your Asian roots or not? Did you also research your roots, background, ethnicity, history or not? Why did you, and why didn’t you?
No, because I don’t really care about it.
Did you ever feel ashamed of you being Asian? Your identity, appearance, name? In what kind of way, could you explain why, or why not?
Maybe my name, because my last name is very long and no one in The Netherlands can pronounce it. Such as the teachers in my school.
Did you ever have a role model when you grew up? Who is your role model now and why? Do you think that role models are important? Do you think it’s important to have role models who look like you?
Yes, my role model is a graphic designer I know from Instagram. His instagram is @moonsickgang and he’s a role model for me because his works are unique and I like his style very much. In my opinion, having a role model for myself is important because it’s like setting goals for myself.
I think it depends on a person’s perspective whether role models are important and it doesn’t matter if they look like me or not.
What do you think of the Asian representation in The Netherlands?
In my opinion, it’s very different from my country but I already expected this so I’m pretty chill. I don’t feel well represented but I know I can’t really change anything and I don’t have any passion to do it so I just focus on my own things: my studies, friends and family.
Do you feel like you’re the ‘The Asian Model Minority Myth’?
No, I don’t, because I’m not smart and I don’t think I have any traits related to that.
What made you who you are now?
My friends and the environment I live in
Have people also made comments about you being Chinese?
Yes, I feel a bit offended but I just ignored them.
What are stereotype Asians in your opinion and where does that come from?
I have no opinion on this.
Do you know any Thai stereotype, and do you feel like you’re that stereotype?
Maybe skinny, black hair, tan skin, and I don’t think I feel like I’m that stereotype.
What stereotypes and comments have you heard about your appearance?
Some people said I look Chinese or Korean but I don’t really care. It’s sometimes fun to hear what people think I look like but if someone says I look hideous I would just say “damn” to myself and continue my life.
What racist remarks and discrimination have you experienced?
I was walking in the city center some day before December 2019 and two white dudes shouted ching chong to me. I felt offended and annoyed but I cannot do anything about it because I’m way shorter than them and I don’t want to waste my time. However, I didn’t experience anything during this quarantine because I always stay home.
What is a funny trait or what is something that not everyone knows about you?
I do handpoke tattoo and illustration check out my Instagram @xickofthis
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?
I don’t see marriage as being that important but I think it depends on each family and how they see it.
In my family, as long as I know what I’m doing and I’m happy with it my parents won’t bother and marriage is not a big thing. Maybe marriage is just to show other people that I’m officially going to make a family with my partner but my parents don’t really think it matters if there’s marriage.
Where do you stand now and what are your plans for the future?
My plan is to have fun with my study and continue making my illustrations and I hope a lot of people will like them haha.
I hope I can make my illustration more productive and I want to make products from them such as t-shirts.
What do you want to give to the readers?
I hope everyone is safe and I hope I can make my portfolio nice enough.
Where can we follow you?