As we were united in remembrance, they were united in their sacrifice - men and women of all faiths and of none. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and people of other minority faiths have served in the British Armed Forces across two World Wars, facing down the hatred of Nazism and helping keep Britain safe in its direst hours of need.
We had been in Hong Kong for five days, marvelling at their mild December. Through osmosis, I'd learnt even more about the culture than I already knew. But there were still parts of my history that I hadn't really considered until I was here, having dinner with long lost everyones and watching everyday life play out for the people who shared my DNA.
Names do make us think, form perceptions and yes, I am ashamed to admit but know it is universal, judge. Randy may be a perfectly common-place name among Americans, but unless it's just the people I know and I don't think it is, I have yet to meet anyone who wouldn't have to hide a smirk if they were introduced to a Randy from Swansea or Sheffield.
Personally I have found that I couldn't even place myself in cultural groups around me. When my hair was short, afro-diasporic people gave me the nod of solidarity, when my hair was long south-Asian diasporic peoples spoke to me in their diversity of languages, yet I remained neither here nor there.
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I am not pledging allegiance to the French flag, my country of origin, or to the British flag, my host country. I am pledging allegiance to my family, my friends, my teachers, my colleagues, my partner, to all the people from the various backgrounds that constructed "me" into "me," the diverse and heterogeneous voices of my life.