Stateless On Campus

Born overseas but moved to the Land of Oz at six,

Confused and bewildered but over time found my feet,

Language barrier was a problem, cultural clashes were inevitable,

The resourcefulness of children underrated, to go with the flow seems second-nature,

Fast-forward ten years, ya boy well and truly made himself at home,

Sadly at the expense of the identity forged in the South East Asian nation he came from,

Learned some valuable lessons along the way, the good and the bad,

That folks are generally welcoming but others preferred you’d stayed in your own land,

‘I come from The Land Down Under’ but not all were offering vegemite sandwiches,

Even fellow transplanted compatriots weren’t above hazing and pettiness,

Such was the case in high school, a setting that was equal parts jail and something kinda tribal,

Your place within the hierarchy seemingly beyond control, affecting how you’ll win and influence people.

Can’t forget those days, a mixture of highs and lows,

Idyllic beyond school gates, it was a stable life at home,

Befriended mostly denizens born and bred, fairer-skinned and speaking with perfect Aussie accents,

Some on the strine side if not borderline bogan but such is life in Sydney’s wild wild west,

Wasn’t well-received by aforementioned fellow transplanted folks,

Up in arms over why I ain’t riding with my own,

The dude did try but was met with the stink-eye,

Tenuous grasp of the mother tongue had y’all branding him ‘acting white’,

While others griped I was too traditional, too similar to those from the motherland,

Better to move on now than tear my hair out to the last strand,

Am a hip hop head now but back then was a punk, alternative and heavy metal fan,

Perfect genres to voice out anger but deemed counter-cultural said the kababayans,

Can only bang against bricks for so long before that skull be cracking,

Friends and allies don’t come easy but thankfully found some that were willing,

But just ‘cuz you’re accepted don’t mean that you belong,

To others born and bred this outsider was a disturbance to them all,  

Wearing that bullshit on their sleeves, you know exactly what I mean,

‘Cat and dog eater’, ‘skin tone same as poop’, ‘Flip’ and ‘Gook’, jokes ‘bout small appendages, too,

Should’ve cracked the fuckers with minds stuck in an era before ‘73,

Would’ve meant suspension if not expulsion, at the time I’d sooner hang than self-destruct for their amusement,

Can’t lie, though, a generous serving of punches would’ve been well-deserved,

Smack ‘em til their faces broken, maybe a few limbs and ribs, too, for good measure,

Dunked on by both sides over identity politics, how the fuck did it come to this?

Seems the universe saw it fit to assign me the role of the picked-on-kid,

Stateless on campus, marooned on Point Nemo,

Ain’t nobody worth trusting so the struggle was mine alone,

Friends came and went, had to fend for myself sooner or later,

Such was the case by high school graduation, frowning in that picture for a reason.

But fuck it, it’s in the past where it belongs, no point crying ‘bout it now,

Gotta move on to level up, it’s been done and dusted about,

Might as well forgive and let go, but for the target it’s hard to forget,

Great insults last a long time, should there be a reunion these eyes will serve to remind them.

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