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Being an egg: How one Australian has embraced Chinese culture

Claire Cai

Wed Jun 13 2012

Clarissa Belanti

CLARISSA Belanti loves Chinese culture – so much so, she feels she’s “yellow on the inside”. Claire Cai gets to know the Aussie who’s fluent in Mandarin and even has her sights set on a Chinese hubby.

Ever heard of someone who’s an “egg”? Well that’s what RMIT student Clarissa Belanti’s been called, for being “white” on the outside, but “yellow” on the inside.

“Rather than the name ‘banana’, used for ABCs (Australian Born Chinese), my Chinese friends all call me an ‘egg’!” she says.

And what a fitting term, given Clarissa’s great interest in all things Asian – especially Chinese culture. The International Studies student is proficient in Mandarin, having studied it throughout high school. She’s also been on exchange to China at the Beijing Language and Culture University for seven months last year.

In May, Clarissa won first prize in the the eleventh China Bridge Competition for Foreign University Students (2012 Melbourne Region Preliminaries). Now, she’ll be representing Australia in the international level of the competition, being held at Changsha, China in July. Immediately after her victory, Clarissa shared the news with her Chinese friends in Mandarin on microblogging site, Weibo – a site she’s signed up to under her Chinese name, Bai Li Sha.


In the long term, Clarissa has dreams of being a singer and hopes to major in Music Performance at the Beijing Central Conservatory of Music. In the meantime, people in Australia have had a taste of her talent, when she performed impressive renditions of Chinese songs at an exchange student event with fellow Australian RMIT student Jack accompanying her on the erhu, a Chinese classical instrument.

But Clarissa’s interest in China extends beyond the music and culture alone.

“I miss China and I want to go back someday,” she shares.

“I’d (also) like to marry a Chinese guy in the future!”

Given Clarissa’s track record, anything’s possible.