Ayu Bowan, my name is Machiko
Raheem and in 15 years old.
I was born in Sri Lanka, to Sri Lankan
parents in the busy city of Colombo.
I am a Sri Lankan Muslim and I have
lived in Singapore for the majority of
my life. Though Islam is my religion my
parents have never forced me to follow
it, and so therefore neither my family
nor I are strict Muslims.
I have always been brought up in a
multi cultural world, in Singapore I
was in an international school which
held over 60 different nationalities.
My experience of Diaspora started
when I was a tiny 4 year old. All I
remember was being whisked away
from my home and put into a strange
new country called Singapore.
I remember leaving the huge country
where it took ages to get anywhere to a
country where you could drive from
one end to the other end in 45 minutes
Moving from Sri Lanka allowed me to
learn about cultures from all around
the world, for it seemed that there was
someone from every corner of the
Living in Singapore for the majority of my life
made the culture part of my own. Singapore
allowed me get to know people from so many
different countries, everyone was so proud of
their culture and celebrated it, which allowed
me to learn about them, and turn deaf ear on
the usual stereotypes that I had heard about.
Then after a long while in Singapore,
my family decided to move to another
corner of the world to New Zealand.
I had to leave everything I had gotten used
to and move to a whole new country, I
wasn’t sure if I would fit in with the
culture there. Unlike Singapore, which is a
cosmopolitan country, New Zealand does
not have the same amount of cultural
diversity. I was right, it was different, but
it was different in a good way.
Being in New Zealand changed me a
lot, I experienced Diaspora through
things such as what I thought about
life, and how open minded I became.
Photo Here TEXT:
The thing that challenged me the most
when I moved to New Zealand was the
difference in our cultural views. Things
that are usually frowned upon in my
culture was something that was usual in
the lifestyle and culture in New Zealand.
Things like house parties, alcohol and
boyfriends at young ages was relatively
Another thing that really challenged me was
the amount of self-confidence and
independence the kids in New Zealand had,
and I learnt from them. For example, I spent a
month alone, in the middle of nowhere, with 6
other girls. We did our own cooking, cleaning,
and what ever else there was to do. IT was a
month during which I learnt how to be self
confident in a good way, and independent too.
They are traits that seem to be an
important part of the culture in New
Zealand, and the culture in New
Zealand became a new piece of my
personal culture puzzle.
I learnt that it was important to be
unique, and New Zealand taught me
When I was finally settling into the
lifestyle of New Zealand, my parents
decide it was a good idea to come on a
“holiday” to Doha. I was quite excited
because it was my first time to a
country in the Middle East.
For the time I was here I experienced a
culture that wasn’t really something I
had seen before and I was intimidated
by it. I wasn’t sure how to act in a
country that followed strict Islamic
principles and values. I was afraid, and
wondered, would I offend anyone?
I thought the people were quite frank
and because I wasn’t used to it, I found
it a little rude.
After moving to Qatar, I realized that
being in the country allowed me to
really understand the culture that I live
in. Though I haven’t been here for too
long, my initial opinions about Qatar
no longer apply.
I now understand the culture and
people more than I did before. For me
what originally came across as
frankness now sounds normal, instead
The culture that I am now surrounded
by is interesting, not intimidating.
Experiencing what I have as I moved
around the world has made me the
person I am today in Qatar;
I am more understanding, confident,
independent, and more open minded
about other cultures.
Through Diaspora I have become a
person that has both fun around and
interest in other peoples cultures, I feel
like I have become a better person
through being surrounded by other
people, and the way they think about
Through my experiences I have
adopted cultures from all over the
world, but no matter where I am I will
always be Sri Lankan.
Photos From: CreativeCommons Search. Web. 14 Feb. 2011.
- light at the end of a tunnel- comedy_nose
- http://www.flickr.com/photos/emmajane/65585561/ (BOX)
- http://www.flickr.com/photos/koadla/4697179258/ (MOSQUE)
- http://www.flickr.com/photos/steveconover/848060835/ (NZ FLAG)
- http://www.flickr.com/photos/steveconover/848926462/ (SL FLAG)
- http://www.flickr.com/photos/thetruthabout/2725318889/ (NO
- http://www.flickr.com/photos/skippy/333187813/ (HANUKHA
- http://www.flickr.com/photos/pat_ossa/5028291920/ (GERAMN
- http://www.flickr.com/photos/global-jet/2256338278/ (CHINESE NEW
- http://www.flickr.com/photos/exquisitur/3606046654/ (DUCKLING
- http://www.flickr.com/photos/diongillard/248191178/ (FLAGS)
am/ (SRIGIRIYA ROCK)
- http://www.flickr.com/photos/renolauren/3400384503/ (SMILING
poE/s400/jordan+women+burqa.jpg (MUSLIM WOMEN)
- http://www.flickr.com/photos/spinkney/3141196542/ (SRI LANKA)
- http://www.flickr.com/photos/gingerblokey/2782470484/ (TEENAGE
- http://www.flickr.com/photos/21185968@N00/3428731883/ (UNIQUE