Let’s Talk Story: What’s in a name?

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Brought to you by Sara Hayden of the Silk Knots Project.

What’s in a name? A whole lot of difference. Colorado State University’s Jaysun Usher, a fourth year student studying Sociology, and a second year student find there’s a discrepancy between how they’re seen on paper and in the real world. Continue reading “Let’s Talk Story: What’s in a name?”

Let’s Talk Story

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The students made me a poster. I love it very much. ❤

When explaining my pursuit of Asian American stories in the Mountain West in a recent interview, I was asked, “What will happen if you don’t find a story?” And I had to smile, because at the end of the day all we are left with is the narrative out of which we make sense of our lives and the world, and that’s a story in itself.

Thursday affirmed this for me. It  was the type of day that made me feel so incredibly lucky to be human and have other wonderful humans with whom to share that experience. That afternoon I had the privilege to put on an event called “Let’s Talk Story” at Colorado State University Continue reading “Let’s Talk Story”

I Have Dual Ethnicity and Double Vision, Superman is Chinese, and Other Revelations

Dropping a note to say I’m alive. And, “Hi!”

The last few weeks I’ve been absent from the internet but present in the world, trekking from Colorado to Wyoming, Washington to Oregon. Except for when I was reading exceptional things. Here are a few… Continue reading “I Have Dual Ethnicity and Double Vision, Superman is Chinese, and Other Revelations”

Encouraging words

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Busaba Yip Douglas poses for a portrait on Friday Jan. 15, 2016 after making an offering of orchids at the Wo Hing Museum, where she serves as the Cultural Director in Maui, Hawaii. While the upstairs temple is part of the museum and not generally in use, it remains a place to honor ancestors and Taoist deities. Photo | Sara Hayden

Last week I met a woman who traveled from Thailand to Canada and the U.S. where she pursued her education 25 years ago. She had no intention to stay, but did. It was overseas that she ended up connecting with her Chinese roots.

Now a cultural director at the Wo Hing Museum in Maui’s historic town of Lahaina, Busaba Yip Douglas offered this: “I don’t need Ancestry.com. If we have a good relationship with your ancestors, we don’t have to search for them. They will come to us at the right time, and with the right people.”

Sara Hayden

 

Regular Blend: Trials, triumph and trivia about growing up in a multicultural community

See here: Regular Blend: Trials, triumph and trivia about growing up in a multicultural community.

This is a story from Cupertino, Calif., a slice of school life. I worked on it for my master’s thesis when I was studying journalism at Stanford and held on to it and didn’t really share it outside of school — I’m not totally sure why. Because I’m embarking on a journey to share more tales from Asian America, I’ll kick it out the door now.

The students featured in here have likely advanced, graduated from middle school or high school or college. Their parents may have retired, switched jobs, something else. I wonder what the community is like now?

In any case, the stories here were recorded in the spring of 2014. The Atlantic published an article called “The Silicon Valley Suicides” by Hanna Rosin last month, and because Cupertino is next door to Palo Alto, where her article is centered, I think it’s relevant to take another look at the various experiences of students in an area exceptional for its multicultural makeup and academic experience.

Sara Hayden

Aliens in America by Sandra Tsing Loh

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Delivered in three outrageously funny monologues, Sandra Tsing Loh’s “Aliens in America” makes the alien feel familiar. Image courtesy: Amazon

One audio story told in three monologues, Sandra Tsing Loh’s “Aliens in America” pulls into focus a childhood with her Chinese father and German mother in Southern California.

“I guess a man looks better in a Buick than he ought,” Loh recalls of the fateful day when her parents first met. “Especially when it’s surrounded by Southern California in the ’50s, a palm-fringed, swimming pool-dotted utopia lit by a sun so bright you actually start to hallucinate.”

Thus starts a relationship between a German woman who survived WWII bombings and a Chinese man who’d been orphaned in Shanghai. Having survived tough circumstances and given them up for cheerier ones in the U.S. is where their similarities end. Their odd union eventually leads to two daughters, including Loh and her sister Kaitlin, and innumerable family clashes. Continue reading “Aliens in America by Sandra Tsing Loh”

Re Jane by Patricia Park

re_janePatricia Park’s debut novel “Re Jane” recounts the post-grad life of its title heroine as she balances her Korean and American identities. | Image courtesy: Navdheep Singh Dhillon, who happens to have a really great list of recent novels by people of color.

For Jane Re, it ain’t easy being 20-something. Fresh out of college, the job market sucks and she’s peppered with criticism at home by the uncle who’s raised her in Queens. What’s a girl to do?

Get the heck out of Flushing, for starters, then find a job as a nanny, inappropriately fall for her employer, recognize the inappropriateness of it all, run far, far away, and work through something of an identity crisis.

Patricia Park’s debut novel “Re Jane” takes the reader on a relatable journey, and not just because it takes inspiration from “Jane Eyre.” While the arc of her coming of age feels familiar, Jane is different. Continue reading “Re Jane by Patricia Park”