I come from a Taiwanese family and when I was a teenager, my family decided to immigrate to Australia. I was excited when we arrived as everything was new: new country, new neighbours, new houses, new friends… and new schools.
I started attending a high school near home hoping to make more new friends but things do not always go as we wish. “Go back to your country!” some students shouted at me and other Asian students. “Leave Australia!” I was shocked when I heard it.
When I was on the way home after school a student threw a roll of newspaper at me from the other side of the street. “Go back to your country!” he shouted. Another student walked towards me and spat at me.
I was so upset, and the only thing I could do was to quickly go home. I thought this country and people did not welcome me.
These experiences stayed in my mind for a long time, and I refused to make any Australian friends and wished to go back to my hometown. Then, when I got older, I met Jesus and heard, “Forgive as the Lord forgave you”. I started to look at things from a different angle; why did I keep getting angry about something that high school students had done?
I knew that teenagers often do silly things and the Lord said, “Love each other as I have loved you”. I knew that should not reject the whole population because of a few people and, when I tried opening my heart, I was surprised to find that people around me loved and cared about me.
I am now working in an environment where I am the only Asian in the office and no longer encounter the racist incidents I experienced 13 years ago.
I thank God for going through this with me; and know that God loves me and wants me to love others. If I love people, people would love me back, regardless of race.
Sandy Huang is a member of the Brisbane Taiwanese Uniting Church Congregation.