Truth or Dare PHotography Contest
Writing and art by 14-19 year-olds in China and abroad
Living in China has been quite the adventure. I am fascinated by every aspect of the culture, whether its taking part in the exuberant festivals or learning the complex language. Its four years now and going strong. I am able to make conversations with my friends in Mandarin, seen some amazing parts of the country. Here is an experience that has left an indelible impression on my mind.
Hope you enjoy it.
1st July 2011
You were named after the Egyptian Goddess whose duty was to look after the sky. You were supposed to be the Goddess of Health. Yet you had the duty to look after us. The duty to be the Goddess of Marriage. You had the duty to keep the peace.
But now…Isis, that peace is gone, because Ama and Aba keep on fighting. Before they acted as if they were strangers, but now they are always at each other’s throats. Complaining about whose fault it was. Picking rows about their family in-laws. But things have died down now; they’ve become more dry.
I wish you were still here, Isis.
I’m writing to you because… I want to apologise for hurting you, without noticing. I’m sorry for calling you a hassle to deal with. But the problem was me, Isis. I was the one losing my patience. I was the one cursing you for the slightest mistakes that I created.
I’m so sorry…and I want you to know that. I know it will be a long time till I’ll receive your letter.
JJ Lim doesn’t remember her home country.
She moved to Beijing when she was six months old, she explains, and the few memories she has of her hometown of Kuala Lumpur are blurry at best. She suffers the kind of fractured national identity that plagues most third culture children—She’s Malaysian, but doesn’t really feel like it. She doesn’t sound like it either, speaking instead in a fluent mishmash of foreign accents she picked up from the international school where she attends as a senior. Talking to me about how different Beijing is from Malaysia, how distanced she feels from her past, and how inauthentic she sometimes fears her heritage is, she almost sounds apologetic...
full interview on the CLOSE-UP CHAT PAGE
Tina Sang has always had a craving
Growing up in a tiny city in northern Michigan, she was surrounded by people who had lived in the same place for generations. Her neighbours were content with the Podunk corner of the Podunk city they had been born in—indeed, most lived out their entire lives without ever even leaving the neighbourhood. At school, her friends didn’t dream of travelling to exotic countries; they dreamed of going to college somewhere close by and then sensibly settling down.
“It was the middle-of-nowhere town,” she says. “And they were going to be stuck there for their entire lives.”
full interview on the CLOSE-UP CHAT
He did not intend to stay in Preston for any longer after Christmas. It was indeed the notable dampness in the air that was bothering him all along – a lingering source of annoyance which he never seemed to get accustomed to. The plan of leaving was elaborately arranged and therefore was by no means a decision made on a sudden impulse, for he had organised all the matters in a rather artfully way for the past two weeks. However, just as he spent the very last morning at the station in a sense of pure relief, an incoming call disturbed the tranquility.
“Hello? Is this Mr. Rowsell?”
Playing into stereotypes is convenient, and when writing about people that share the same heritage, it’s easiest to group them together in the most obvious way. Stereotypes are understandable—they allow writers not to fully develop minor characters as the audience can already fill in the blanks. What’s not acceptable, however, is when every character with Asian heritage in the show is a villain that falls into a grossly overdone stereotype, such as in Marvel’s Daredevil.
find more on the CULTURE CRITIC PAGE
When I was little, I wanted to be like my father when I grew up.
My dad is a traveler, an adventurer. He is always quiet and calm in appearance, wearing a pair of thick glasses and devoting his attention to electronic devices. Yet no one knows his next destination. The plans he devises for traveling are always full of risk: once he drove the car twelve hours in one day in order to get to his next stop; he slept in the car when he got lost in a forest where there were wild wolves and bears; he climbed up to the Everest Base Camp alone and stayed overnight in the freezing cold. He devises each plan and carries out the expedition all by himself. I always want to join him, but the answer is always, “You are too young, and it is too dangerous.”
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