In reply to Christiane’s blog entitled “Our mixed Heritage”, I posted a comment along these following lines:

Mixed Heritage or Metissage is the term I like. As often in nature, cross- breeding enhances the subject, when it strengthens the positive and minimizes the negatives.I for one, looking back at my ancestry, can claim French creole, and Chinese blood, and am very proud of it. Apart from the genetic aspect, I am also proud of my cultural metissage: my mother born of the union of a china man, and a half mulatto, half Chinese. My mother was raised in an environment close to the Vadamotoo family, the “madras baptises” we could say. My mother, who lived in a poverty stricken family since  her early childhood,   managed to get a good education with the help of her neighbors, the then wealthy “Madras” family who considered her as a sister. My mother later married the son of a well- to- do Chinaman, after much persuasion and numerous objections & refusals from my father’s parents. Considered as a mixed marriage by my father’s parents, their union was not at all acceptable. There were not only racial differences; in the late 40’s there were concerns of social ranking, community peer pressures, economical consideration and reputation. If it were not for the perseverance and tenacity of my parents, my brothers & sisters and I would probably never found this world. In the final analysis, my parents had a very successful married life. My mother brought into my father’s family some other values and qualities which have enriched the more Chinese values of the latter. She had to learn the Chinese dialect to converse with her mother- in- law.  Almost nearing her death , my grandma sought forgiveness from my mother for her inappropriate opposition to the latter’s marriage and told everyone around her that she had a most kind, and considerate daughter- in- law. Success is always the result of drive, determination and efforts.


A few days have passed since. Thinking back, I said to myself  that we are blessed in Mauritius to benefit from the proximities of the different cultures and customs and to have first hand experiences of them. Stephen Covey, who I believe would be visiting Mauritius soon, taught me a lesson whilst talking of his habit 6: Synergize is valuing the differences. In fact the Covey leadership center had made a film on Mauritius to demonstrate the cultural differences which, when properly channeled could bring in growth and harmony beyond imagination: 1+1 = 3 or more. I thus conclude that the cultural “half blood” or shall I dare say “double blood” is better than each of the single elements that made up the metissage. Vive le metissage!


#1 Greg on 02.23.07 at 10:27 pm

Is Mauritius still the poster child for cultural harmony and trust? Have you red The Speed of Trust by Stephen M. R. Covey? Dr. Covey’s son.

#2 christina on 02.24.07 at 9:18 am

Yes, I completely agree. I personally feel enriched by my mixed cultural heritage and ability to navigate in different cultural settings. Yet, I also feel that this is an attitude thing; people who are of mixed or double blood sometimes feel that they do not belong anywhere specially when people around them are constantly questioning their position or making assumptions based on their physical ‘ethnotype’. Depending on your strength of mind, this can surely affect you and cause anxiety and feelings of aliemation…

I personally feel lucky that I can face up to such questionings… yet I am also greatly amused by certain automatic assumptions which also lead into what I call ‘us vs. others’ statements… As an academic who likes observing people (including myself) under what one could term ‘anthropological/ethnographic lenses’, I feel priviledged to be able to make such direct observations on the field….

#3 joseph on 02.24.07 at 12:40 pm

Life is very much the maintenance of the tensions between the left and the right, the feminine and the masculine, the white and the black, the haves and the have not’s,:in short, the opposing forces. We are permanently in search of the equilibrium. Harmony could well be the objective we are looking for, and in practice, achieving harmony is a balancing act.There, my Chinese culture drives me to always find the just mean in whatever I do. Balancing the Yin and the Yang! My journey in the Indian culture through the reading of (alas too little) vedic literature led me to bring in “detachment” in life. What will be will be. This faith and trust in God is reinforced by my strong Catholic upbringing. To accept the eyes and the opinions of others, sometimes violently in opposition to mine and my deeds is not easy. Respect and acceptance of variety of the universe are gifts to enrich all of us. Seeking the positive in what I may judge negative in the deed of my neighbor is my focus and challenge. Likewise I have to see the possible negatives in my perceived positivity in me and others.
Metissage gives us the multi lenses we can see through the events of life.

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