I was born in Australia but I grew up speaking Russian. That was my first language.
My family is mixed, with Russian, Mongolian and Chinese.
As a kid, I used to be jealous that my cousins were all Russian because they fit in because they were white. I love Australia, but growing up, looking even just a little bit Asian, I used to be picked on. My family grew up in schools with a majority of Anglo-Aussie kids, and so we were called “slanty eyes”, things like that, and that wasn’t even during a time of conflict.
As a kid, I was actually really ashamed of being Asian. As an adult, now, I’m proud of my culture, but as a child, you just want to fit in, you don’t want to be different, you don’t want to be picked on.
I used to really play up the Russian side, because I thought that would make me more accepted. And now this is happening.
Watch: Sky News Ukraine. Post continues below.
I was surprised when I heard Russia had invaded Ukraine because I didn’t think Putin would do it. I didn’t think he would actually invade.
I’ve been in shock and disbelief. It’s incredibly heartbreaking. It’s also shameful. It’s like a shame to be associated with that.
There’s so much support for Ukraine right now and hatred for Russia.
It makes me worried and saddened. Like almost everyone in the world, I think the invasion is a tragedy and it shouldn’t be happening, but I just hope people would understand that the everyday Russian doesn’t want this war either.
Obviously there will be anti-Russian rhetoric.
I know they need to put sanctions on Putin and the oligarchs, but when they start throwing out other ideas, things like preventing Russian students coming into the country, I find it concerning. I’m just worried about hate being spread in the community.