moreton bay figs

This Tree Grew Up Asian in Australia

Australia is wonderful because of its diversity. We come from all corners of the world to make this country a better place. It’s not all beer and skittles though. Some Australians have a tougher time than most. This Moreton Bay Fig Tree grew up Asian in Australia and didn’t have a typical childhood.

Ignored for most of her early years, this Moreton Bay Fig named Sally was a bit of a bitch. Sally attributed her mean-spirited nature to the treatment of her maternal grandfather, whom she wilfully offended and ignored. Preferring to do illicit drugs near the toilet sheds, Sally did not bother to learn Chinese and failed to connect with her grandfather who loved writing poetry and wearing sandals with socks. She could not see the “point of speaking Chinese, after all I’m a tree.” 

Her poor attitude continued as her grandfather developed signs of incontinence but she could not help out because she’s a Chinese Australian Tree. Sally finally attempted to reach out to her Grandfather as he fell ill. but her average annual growth is typically 60cm a year and ultimately, her Grandfather could not appreciate her efforts because he got sick and died.

Sally had a change of heart at her grandfather’s funeral, as she viewed him as a meal and was overcome with feelings of regret. “I’d denied my grandfather the commonest of kindnesses and now in his final act he was providing me with nutrient rich compost.” This experience changed her outlook and ultimately changes her as a Tree. Sally started learning Chinese and tried to make amends for her rudeness as she sucked at the husk of her grandfather’s decaying corpse. As she notes, Sally is not trying to discover her roots but merely be the change for a younger generation. An Asian Australian tree needs Sun, and water and fresh blood and bone to sustain it. By connecting to future generations and providing shade and care, Sally is guaranteeing a food source for years to come. It goes to show, it’s not that tough to grow up in Australia, it’s just about surrounding yourself with the right people.

sometimes my identity feels a little lost, or at least a little blurry to me – how I ground myself/find myself again

  • I listen to the composer who is the dearest to me
  • take a break, a breather, take the day to leave the city by myself
  • swim very far out in the ocean
  • brush my hair for a long time
  • any small, repetitive motion 
  • write a note to my mother - don’t send it
  • make something to eat and take it slowly, watch the entire process as if from a distance
  • lightly touch my skin with the tips of my fingers
  • watch Beginners
  • sort through photographs / pair them together
  • lie on my floor for a while
  • think about Moreton bay figs, and olive trees