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[personal profile] oyceter
ETA: please read this before reading the carnival




I'm sorry this is so late. I wrote up a giant post, and my computer crashed and I lost it.



These are the posts I didn't write: golden lotuses and size 9 feet; mismatched eyelids and tape; broken palms and murdered husbands; lucky nose and skimpy ears.

These are the words I can't say; not because I don't have them, but because I have too many, because they overflow and I choke on them, unable to get them out.

But, oh, my sisters and friends write—not for me, but for themselves—and sometimes I find myself in their words, and sometimes I find who I need to be in them.

I've tried and tried to write entries for this carnival and for the first one, but there is too much, and I cannot. But I can respond somewhat to what others have written.

As noted in the call for submissions, the optional theme for this issue is "hyphenates and sourcelanders and diasporas and being a minority Asian in a majority Asian country and majority Asian countries and minority Asian countries and third culture kids and thoughts about being refugees, immigrants, expats, nth generation, FOBs*, about generational gaps and cultural expectations and growing up in one place and then another and speaking one language at home and one outside and and and..."

* I think of myself as a FOB in many ways and dislike any mockery of fobbishness. Also, if you aren't one, don't use it.

Also, white people, when you're reading, don't co-opt. Don't take these pieces and use them against us. We know about intra-POC and intra-Asian racism and bigotry; we know how frequently our words stripped from us to be used against each other. Forming identities among inter/intra/transnationalities is hard; it is harder still when it is never a purely personal process, when every move we make for ourselves is taken from us and used to tar and feather all of us.

Nationality, ethnicity, and identity

[personal profile] ciderpress: 野原ノ松ノ林ノ蔭ノ
It may have taken me over thirty years but I have lived enough, learnt enough, experienced enough to know that my experiences are not inauthentic, my identity is not defined by negative space, it is not so much that I, and others like me, are outcasts or overseas anythings, we are not guests, we are not isolated and alone; it is not so much a matter of whether I belong to a culture or a country or I feel like I have a "culture" but whether parts of the heritage of countries and cultures belong to me, too, whether they have a part to play in the billion little bits that stuck together to make me.


[personal profile] bossymarmalade: requisition me a beat
It took me a long, long time to understand that my Hindi words were different because they were adapted to a place that wasn't India, creolized for the West Indian experience. It took me longer to understand that they were hard for me to access because my parents spent their lifetimes being shamed for knowing them. It's taken me up until a couple of years ago to identify my Hindi words as part of my nation language, as much a valid language form as Trinidad-accented English or the way my Canadian tongue pronounces "salmon" or "toque".


Jha'Meia: Transplanting: What're Roots for?
You know what that means if you're Malaysian - it means that race doesn't matter, and that nationality comes first before the racial qualifier. In fact, some of us are all for dropping the racial qualifier entirely, because nationhood comes first before our skin colour.


[livejournal.com profile] ambientlight: An imperfect script
Don't get me wrong. My Chinese ethnicity is an important part of my identity. But like my Teochew ancestry, my Chinese ethnicity is one that stays in the background. When at home in Singapore, at least, I have the luxury of only thinking about it when I choose to: when a festival comes around, or when I have to speak to someone in Mandarin.


[personal profile] jolantru: Bright Kerchiefs
I am Chinese, a person whose heritage comes from various parts of China. I am also Singaporean, a member of a majority race in a multi-racial country. Yet, the strong codification that I am Chinese comes in when I am perceived as a minority in places like Perth, Western Australia or Scotland. No matter how excellent my command of English is, I am still deemed as a second-language speaker, because of how I appear to others.


[livejournal.com profile] karanguni: On Race, or Privilege, Or Just Being Human
How could I ever explain to my Spanish friend that I think that sometimes breaking my heart in exchange for not breaking my parents' is valid? That I would give up what I love for income? That I would avoid an argument against my values in favour of maintaining a relationship? And that those things complete me rather than break me, make me who I am instead of making me downtrodden, dis-entitled, discriminated, underprivileged?


[livejournal.com profile] karanguni: on practicalities
'Ideology is different from the real world, mei, remember that,' he repeated, weirdly gentle in his own way. I thought to myself, the part of me that is Singaporean totally understands this, the part of me that is still me but that must not be Singaporean totally doesn't, but this makes me feel oddly at peace. 'Okay?'


[personal profile] pennyroyal: The space between
I am still not sure how to define myself. But I no longer think that I need to. I can exist without borders, and still belong: because we’ve all been there. I still wish I hadn’t. I wish no one had. But I’m trying to make the best of it, as we all are.


[personal profile] lily: I am a citizen of the world (or maybe this is just wishful thinking)
So I wonder where my home will be later, when I grow up and am no longer a frightened little girl. My mother says that I am a citizen of this world and that I should be happy not to be limited by the borders of a country. But I still hope that someday, there will be a country to love me back.


[personal profile] thedeadparrot: Hyphenation
What am I? it asked. Am I Asian? Or am I American? Am I both? Or am I neither?

I've been thinking about those questions a lot, and I like to think I've made peace with my answer. Asian-American is what I am, a reflection of the various parts of myself.


[livejournal.com profile] garlicbreath: Searching for Asian America in Asia
I joke that I'm in Asia looking for Asian America. Specifically, the six Asian American communities with enough visibility in the San Francisco Bay Area that me and the other Chinese boy name generator felt compelled to engineer pan-Asian diversity in a certain art and essay contest: Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese. I came looking for us here, in Hanoi, in Fukuoka, in Bombay, in Taipei, in Manila, in Seoul. Reconstructing in some odd way, the Asian American communities, however splintered, of San Jose, Fremont, Sunnyvale, San Francisco, Oakland.


I have so much to say in response to the above posts that I don't know where to start. I grew up between two countries, the US and Taiwan. Not belonging was easy. Like [personal profile] lily, I wanted a country that would love me back. When I was a few years younger, I thought the Internet would be that country, but as it turns out, large swathes of the Internet don't want me either.

I used to make fun of the "Azns" in California for their "bastardization" of some parts of my culture, little realizing that like the people [personal profile] bossymarmalade's post, I was policing other people's identities as a way to cement my own. Kicking down the ladder, as [livejournal.com profile] yeloson says. Yet, even then, I was (and am) jealous of those who have been here for several generations, for people whose families knew what it was like to be a hyphenated minority and taught them survival, for those who speak the same language as their parents and maybe even their grandparents. I inherited a toolbox I would not give up for the world, but I still miss the tools I don't have.

As for me, I am a hyphenate and a third-culture kid and majority and minority both. I will always love Taiwan, though I support the movement against me and mine. I realize all the privileges I get with that blue square of an American passport, but I refuse to identify as American. Not when I am missing from their histories and stories and songs, not when I must sift through to find only a nugget or two that is me. But Asian American I will claim, because in those voices, I hear my own.

To leave the personal (except we don't, because this too affects us), Fire Fly's post shows how we look to others, as well as how various governments and organizations are fighting back.

Fire Fly: International students being bashed in the streets – the sharp edge of the academic-industrial-complex
Dozens of attacks on students — some quite vicious and horrendous — have been reported in Melbourne, Sydney, and Newcastle in the past few weeks. A couple have been absolutely horrendous: a petrol bomb attack on a student’s home, and a brutal stabbing. Around the country, the number of attacks adds up to over 100.


The next two posts hit on what I think of as the heart of this optional theme, which is not just how we define ourselves—and that's already difficult enough, as seen just in the posts here—but how we don't work on that identity in a vacuum. Because it is all of us and how we affect each other and how we stand in relation to one another.

[personal profile] deepad: Definitions and Discussion
Some time ago I had a private discussion under filter where I voiced some of my frustrations as a sourcelander about the way the hyphenate experience was being treated. In the comments, a number of hyphenates, TCKs and diasporians said some extremely wise and complex things, that gave me a lot to think about regarding my own biases and bigotry as a sourcelander.


[personal profile] bravecows: What I ask myself
But here's a question that keeps coming up, again and again, and it's an interesting question because it's often so painful to think about, and because it's never the same answer. I'm not sure if there is an answer. The question is this: do we lose something? What do we lose?


Language

[personal profile] glass_icarus: on language and appropriation: a story told backward
I speak, I write, I read English as if it were my first language because I love languages, yes. What the ESL test and the American school system don't recognize: I do so also because I lost my mother tongue when I was three.


[personal profile] glass_icarus: I have no words for this
My name is 張玉涵, and for the last seventeen years, I didn't remember it.


[personal profile] delfinnium: My Grandmother's Tongue
I never sat and watched my grandmother bake in her sunlit kitchen. I never curled up against my grandfather's feet and listened to stories of my people.

My grandparents were in different countries, and spoke words I didn't understand. Their dialects were foreign to my tongue, and mine alien to theirs.


These remind me of Lori Panachone.

You wouldn't know it, but English is also my second language. My mother says I cried and cried in preschool because I didn't understand anyone, and I still remember ESL classes in kindergarten. You wouldn't know it, I say, because I read Chinese five times slower than I read English, with probably half the comprehension. I need a dictionary to get all the nuances of manhua, and let's not even mention novels or newspapers. I open my mouth in Taiwan and people ask, "Oh, you live in America?" And I was lucky; I spent eight years in a bilingual school in a Mandarin-speaking country.

You wouldn't know unless I told you, but I use my middle name because an American teacher told my mother it was too difficult to remember all the Chinese names, and if I didn't have an English name, she would name me after herself. This is when I started school in Taiwan.

I have two additional languages now, but neither of them make up for all the arguments I've had with my parents due to simple miscommunication, for being a foreigner in the country I grew up in and being told "But you don't sound..." when I tell people here where I grew up, for the gap between me and the cousins who grew up in Taiwan, for always missing something when talking to my aunties, for learning my history and my poetry and my stories best not when they were taught to me in Mandarin, but when I took college classes on them in English.

And even having that does not make up for my mother not teaching my sister and I Cantonese, for hearing all her parents' stories second-hand because my grandmother spoke little Mandarin and littler English, for never being able to learn fast enough to hear them because they died years ago. Other people had relationships with their grandparents; I had conversations through translators or in fragments of sentences.

Gender and sex

Atlasien on Racialicious: Geishas and Whores
I've enraged a few of them simply by dropping the "geishas are prostitutes" bomb. They tell me they know about Japan more than I do. I'm a lowly mixed-race Japanese-American. I don't even speak Japanese. I'm pluralizing "geisha" wrong. I obviously have no respect for the traditions of my ancestors.


shuflies: Just a thought... and Category Mistake (read the first before the second)
It just blows my mind that anyone can jump to a conclusion like that about the intimate relationships of strangers based on statements a couple of people have made, including one as asinine as "it's obviously rooted in some racist stereotype of the 'exotic' or 'submissive' - I don't even want to know what."


I keep saying that I have so much to say here, but no words. And I do, about my own interracial relationship, about being obsessed with Japan, but also about my mother and Taiwan and feminism and how everything is writ on the body, how I am medium in the US but XL in Taiwan, how I'm not a delicate China doll, how I can never say so much of this because I know, oh I know, how feminism is used to talk about my cultures.

Story and remyth

[personal profile] thedeadparrot: Chopsticks
I hold my chopsticks wrong.


[personal profile] jolantru: Leaving for Nanyang
The smell of brine fills her nose as she walks onto the creaky jetty. Ahead of her, in the form of a large nondescript trawler, is her key to the new place. Nanyang. It sounds so distant, so unfamiliar. Yet, she has heard stories from people who heard from other people, stories of wealth and opportunities.


And once more, I have nothing to say, except how much I love the Remyth Project.


Many thanks to everyone for posting and submitting, and especially to [personal profile] ciderpress for starting the Asian Women Blog Carnival. Please contact her if you would like to host a future issue!

Date: 2009-06-09 10:34 pm (UTC)
yeloson: (Default)
From: [personal profile] yeloson
I hear you so much on finding pieces of yourself in other people's words! It'll be awhile for me to read through this, but - yes.

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