So, as I wandered through Chinatown on Friday, I got to thinking: Am I actually British? It says so on my passport, one of my parents is from the UK and I was born in a British colony. By all rights, I should be as British as the Queen.

However, I just don’t feel British. If asked, I would first answer that I was Scottish, and later on would clarify that that in fact comes via Hong Kong. If somebody starts waxing lyrical about the Union, I sort of zone out and let my mind wander. If I’m told that I’m supposed to care about something FOR BRITAIN, I begin to actively dislike it (probably more to do with a general problem with being told what to do, in truth). Case in point, The Olympics. “It’s going to be great for Britain!” we’re told. Yet, in true British fashion, we hear nothing but the problems, the corruption, the sheer greed and opportunistic nature of those involved either directly on the periphery. A convoluted and expensive ticket system? Check. Landlords raising rents to ridiculous amounts during the Olympic season? Check. Taxi companies planning fare hikes. Triple check.

But it’s BRITISH, dammit, and we’re supposed to support it come rain or shine (It’s the UK: Rain.) I suppose what bugs me the most is that when people refer to ‘Britishness’, whether within or outwith the UK, they really mean Englishness. And even then, south-eastern Englishness. Why the hell should a country with such diversity in regional accents, behaviours and attitudes be lumped together into one stereotype that is thrust upon us on all sides? It’s dull. Dull and inaccurate.

Probably taken to extremes in my case: I was raised mostly in Scotland, but with many Asian values and attitudes (Frankly, the two cultures complement each other quite well). On the one hand, the British have been characterised as control freaks only interested in Scotland for dumping their nuclear waste and extracting oil. On the other hand, the British are the drunken invaders only interested in using Hong Kong to maintain their ‘world power’ status and siphoning off as much Asian finance as possible before the Commies take over. Really, ‘Britishness’ has never been given much of a fair shake in my perception.

Having said that, though, it’s clear I’ve got my own cultural identity: I don’t NEED to have one defined for me. I’m happy being Scotchinese! Perhaps it’s time we retired the idea of ‘Britishness’, at least internally: I mean, I know that every nation will have its stereotypes of every other nation on earth. But why bother to have the stereotype internally when it applies only to one part of the country?

Something to think about!