More Than Skin Colors

Saw this great piece on Facebook today shared by Bicultural Mama and I was nodding and laughing my behind reading it and knew I MUST blog a more serious spin about the topic.

So here goes…

My son is a ‘product’ of mix marriage. His father – Mr. X is American and I am Indonesian.

A little history background, I’m ‘mixed’ too. Somewhere down the line from my father’s side of the family there was a hint of Dutch yet my father is Ambonese. My mother is Manadonese which means she has very light skins and sometimes people misjudged her as Chinese.

Their ‘products’ are three kids, two of them looks like white/half Caucasian and one of them well just have a dark skin. That dark skinned one would be me.

I remember my father told me the doctors didn’t even believe he is the father after my super ‘white’ brother was born. They had to put him under the UV lights right away because they thought he’s just too white! Go figure!

Here’s an old picture of my father holding my brother. No wonder people used to doubt he is the father! Psst, yes, that was me in my father’s truck.

Being the ‘different’ one in the family growing up most people got surprised that the three of us, my brothers and I are related. We used to get teased. We’ve heard it all.

My favorite ‘incident’ was when I was living in this rental ‘boarding house’ with my brother. He just started college in Jakarta and we rented two different rooms in a boarding house. One night, just recently after we moved in, I took him to Hardrock Café with my girlfriend. On our way home back to the house we had to walk in this small alley big enough for just a motorcycle to fit. The next day, we got a report from the housekeeper that one of the neighbors had called our landlord and reported “Hey, that new girl is bringing home a bule* last night!”. We didn’t get in trouble but it was hilarious!

Since I became a mother I has never been more uncomfortable than moving back here. Back in the States even when we were living in a small itty bitty town of Alabama, no one had said any weird comments about Lil’ A. If anything, people told me he’s adorable and most mistakenly thought he’s a girl – thus the abuse of the color blue by me!

My first encounter with unpleasant comments was when I first came home to introduce my then 10 months old baby to my big Indonesian family. At the time my parents were still living in East Borneo a town called Balikpapan. We then flew to Makassar, South Sulawesi to let my Grandmother met Lil’ A.

After we deplaned, we had to take a bus into the airport’s terminal. I was sitting right next to my mother, Lil’ A on my lap, my youngest brother, Danny was to my right. An older lady right in front of my mother smiled, obviously staring at Lil’ A.

Is that your grandson?” the lady said. My mother, the proud grandmother said yes and smiled broadly.  “Yes, that’s his mother” she placed her arm on my shoulder.

Oooh…is that the father?” pointing at my brother who yes, often mistakenly thought as Caucasian. Huh?

That ‘incident’ got all of us laughing but believe me I’ve been on the receiving end of some really annoying inappropriate questions from strangers. From asking if I’m the nanny to saying “He’s so cute, too bad his nose looks just like yours!” S’cuse me? Among other nuisance questionings.

I think Lil’ A looks more like me than anything but of course I am biased! Hopefully he won’t have too much of a hard time growing up in Jakarta being a mix product and NO I do not wish he would throw himself to these whole ‘mixed races bunch of artists’ trend in Jakarta. If that’s what he really wants then we’ll deal with that when he’s 18!

What’s the most annoying remarks people give you if you have a mixed race children? Do share the silliest comment people make about your children.


*Bule = Indonesian slang for caucasian



  1. September 22, 2011 / 8:44 pm

    Thanks for the mention and for sharing your story. I’ll be writing a future post about a topic along these lines and would love to connect to this post!

    • September 22, 2011 / 9:01 pm

      Thank you for sharing the link in the first place, Maria 🙂 I can’t wait to read your spin on this. 🙂

  2. September 23, 2011 / 5:26 am

    Sometimes I think people need to work on their filter a little harder. They are very quick to open up with the questions or comments and make things awkward. I’ve dealt with the same ignorance, not of color but of age, and it hurts.

    • September 23, 2011 / 11:22 am

      I’m with you on the filter things. Indonesians love small talks and sometimes what seems to be ‘normal’ to them doesn’t translate very well to the recipient’s end. Sorry to hear you had to deal with age ‘comment’, Kimberly!

  3. Rona
    September 25, 2011 / 3:18 am

    Maureen!! I love this posting. Lol. Gue pembaca bloglo sblm lo kawin duluuu bgt. And about the same time we both got married and moved to foreign land. Nice to actually found your blog again. Care to meet up in Jakarta next year? No pressure of course and I agree with these mixed races artists bussiness. Keep up the good work!

    • September 25, 2011 / 3:58 pm

      Rona…awww thanks for reading! Sure, we should definitely meet up next year. You are a family after all 😀

  4. September 25, 2011 / 4:31 am

    I never encounter people making remarks about my mixed race kids others than admiring remarks on how good looking they are (which make me so happy, lol ). However, sometimes people that I just meet would seem to be confused with which my kids are, like a few year ago when I picked up Matt at his friend, Mac’s, b’day party. Mac and his family are new in our school. After a little chit-chat with Mac’s dad, I told him that I need to pick Matt up. It was hilarious to see his confused look, he was talking to Matt and yet seemed to me that he tried to find an Asian Matt. Couldn’t blame him, he just knew me, it was a big party, lot of kids (no Asian kids though :-)), and my little Matt has blond hair, very light skin.

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