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My Kind of Hero


Written by Christine Chanty | Illustrated by Zara Shrestha | Translated by Mayuko McMillin

[ English / 英語 ] 

“Scroll, scroll, scroll – stop, stop! Oooh, she looks cool.” I inspected my daughter’s choice, comparing it to a mental checklist: blue denim shorts, hot pink singlet, lemon-yellow trench coat…

“Do we have all of this stuff?” I asked.

“Hmmm,” she pondered, eyes fixed ahead, brow furrowed like her namesake, a character from our favourite movie: My Neighbour Totoro.

“You know Mei, it’s more creative to make up a costume from what we have,” I said. “It’s easy to go and buy something.”

My scrolling hit a dead end: No more search results.

“That’s it? That’s all the Asian girl superheroes?” Mei asked, incredulousness increasing her volume.

“There are other girl superheroes – Batgirl, Supergirl, Spider-Woman…”

I struggled to name a female superhero without a male predecessor.

“But I’m Asian! Anyone can do those,” she mumbled, trudging off for quiet time. 

Ideas bounced around the house for weeks. I gave gentle suggestions – as we folded dumplings for dinner, “Dumpling Girl? You love food!”

As Mei practised hula-hooping, “You could be a super hooper!” I accepted her dagger eyes for this one.

One day, she exploded. “Mum, you’re making it worse! You don’t even know what a superhero is.”

I felt the jab of her rejection. She was right – having immigrated to Australia from Laos as a young adult, I missed the uprising of superhero culture. I could recognise the classics, but anything ‘Marvel’ was lost on me. I took a deep breath.

“Well, why don’t you show me what a superhero is then?”


* * *


“Scroll, scroll, scroll… There. Everyone at school’s talking about it,” she said.

It was a new TV series. The main character was a young Pakistani girl, hands on hips, eyes staring confidently into the distance. “Oh yes”, I thought, and hit play. Mei watched with laser focus, laughing raucously when the protagonist made a fool of herself. “That’s something I would do!” she said.

I loved the character too – a second-generation immigrant with a strong sense of identity, clashing against her family’s traditional values. I cringed as I recognised myself in her mother, a main antagonist. But looking at Mei, I felt proud, knowing that she would keep me in check.

“Mum, look! It’s coming!”

I snapped back for an apparently crucial scene.

“This feels a bit more like you,” said the mother, revealing something from a cardboard box.

As Ms. Marvel leaped through the air in her brand new costume, dupatta1 flying in the wind, Mei gasped.

“See, her costume looks just like what her mum wears! It’s so unique and cool!”

“That’s a kameez – a traditional dress worn in South and Central Asia. You know, I’ve got some dresses like that too… only for special occasions. Want to see?”


* * *

“Ooh, shiny!” Mei squealed as we entered our walk-in wardrobe, a golden sinh2 and matching phaa biang3 catching her eye.

“I think we could do something creative with this… Something a bit more like you,” I said, matching the glint in her eyes.


* * *


“Ta-daaa!” Mei spun out of the wardrobe, decked out in Lao dress: a silk skirt of blue and gold, matching blouse, and her superhero flourish – the phaa biang as a long, shimmering cape. She held her hands on her hips, eyes up at me with a familiar confidence.

“My hero!” I applauded, as she ran over for a hug.

“No mum, I’m dressed like you!” she said, looking me in the eyes. “You’re my hero.”


  1. Dupatta: A shawl traditionally worn by women in the Indian subcontinent to cover the head and shoulders.
  2. Sinh: A handmade traditional skirt, often made of silk, that is worn by Lao women.
  3. Phaa biang: A shawl-like garment, or breast cloth worn in mainland Southeast Asia.

. . .


Japanese / 日本語 ]




「それ、全部持ってるかな?」 私は尋ねた。

「うーん」 娘は考え込んだ。真っすぐ前を見て、眉間にしわを寄せていた。娘の名前の由来となった、私たちの大好きな映画である『となりのトトロ』のキャラクターのように。

「メイ、持っているものからコスチュームを考えるほうがクリエイティブなのよ」 と私は言った。



「それだけ?アジアの女の子のスーパーヒーローはそれで全部?」 信じられないと、声を大きくしながらメイが聞いた。

「他にも女の子のスーパーヒーローがいるじゃない。バットガール、スーパーガール、スパイダーウーマンとか・・・」 オリジナルが男性のスーパーヒーローしか思いつかなかった。

「でも私はアジア人だもん!それは誰だってできるでしょ。」 メイはブツブツ言いながら、一人になれる場所へと重い足取りで立ち去った。




「スーパーフーパ#もいいじゃない!」 こればかりは、彼女の刺すような視線も、仕方がない。



私は強い拒絶を感じた。メイは当たっていた。10代後半にラオスからオーストラリアに移住していたので、スーパーヒーローの文化に触れる機会を逃してしまった。有名なものは認識できても、「マーベル」 とつくものは、さっぱりだったのだ。私は深呼吸した。



* * *


「スクロール、スクロール、スクロール・・・これだ。学校でみんなが話しているよ。」 メイは言った。






「こっちの方が、あなたらしい気がするわ。」 母親はそう言いながら、段ボール箱から何かを取り出した。





* * *


「わー、キラキラしてる!」 ウォークインクローゼットに入り、金色のシン*とおそろいのパービアン*が目に留まると、メイはキャーキャー騒いだ。

「これを使って何かクリエイティブなことができると思うの・・・ もっとあなたらしい何かが。」  私はそう言うと、メイと一緒に目を輝かせた。


* * *



「私のヒーロー!」 私が拍手すると、メイはハグをするために駆け寄ってきた。



  1. ドゥパッタ: インド亜大陸の女性が身に着ける、頭と肩を覆う伝統的なショール
  2. シン: ラオス人の女性が身に着ける、主にシルク製の、手作りの伝統的なスカート
  3. パービアン: 東南アジア大陸部で着られている、ショールのような布、または胸に巻く布

    Christine Chanty

    Christine is a second-generation Asian female millennial searching writer. She’s not always sure what she’s searching for, but usually it’s truth. She loves to do this by reading, writing, watching films - heck, participating in art in all forms. A litany of “career” attempts cycled back to her calling of creative writing, where she hopes to cut through barriers and share in that surprisingly elusive, but comforting, space called empathy. She also loves karaoke. I mean, really.

    See more of Christine's work

    Zara Shrestha

    Zara is a graphic designer and illustrator. She enjoys collaborating with local brands and participating in small projects that help the community, particularly the women of colour in Naarm (Melbourne) as she is mixed and multicultural herself. Working full time at a homewares supplier plus freelancing and Muay Thai on the side, Zara keeps herself busy but has a diverse skillset and is passionate about finding balance.

    view more of Zara's work

    Mayuko McMillin

    Mayuko has been working as a Japanese translator for over 15 years and is still loving her job! She is also passionate about food and wine. After having four kids, she made the decision to go back to university to study something that has been her lifelong interest – nutrition. Her life is crazy busy but she loves every bit of it.

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    Get a limited edition print of My Kind of Hero delivered to your door. Written by Christine Chanty, illustrated by Zara Shrestha and translated by Mayuko McMillin, this is a story about a mother and daughter proudly sharing their culture.

    Designed to be enjoyed by readers of all ages, you can expect a heart-warming story about heroes of all types.

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