THIS IS FOR MẸ: I Speak in Silence

In this first cross-posting of this is for mẹ, founder and diaCRITICS contributing editor, Jess Boyd, plays with the words that play with her, discussing the power and pull of what is suppressed and expressed. She reflects on language and the ways in which it comforts and betrays us. The accompanying art work that is interwoven into the words is part of a photo series by Alines Deschamps, entitled Nam – น้ำ. The experimental photo series was captured using analog photography in Bangkok’s jungle.

this is for mẹ is a digital magazine for Vietnamese and API identified people to discuss mothers, motherhood, motherlands, mother-tongues and family.

I Speak in Silence

I speak multiple languages in silence.


That of the daughter,

the lover,

the friend,

the subjugated, the passive, the strong,

the inappropriate, the inspiring.



Out loud,



My mouth is a playground for ill pronounced tones and emotions

that I don’t do justice;


By day, they lay on my tongue and weigh down my mouth.

By night, they come alive and grate against my teeth,

cut my tongue and seep out of my pores.




Jess Boyd is a Vietnamese-Jewish Londoner who moved to Seattle to invest in, and work with, the Vietnamese American community. Before that, she worked at the National Football League as Head of Gender and Community Development creating workshops and trainings on domestic violence advocacy and male allyship. She founded this is for mẹ, a digital magazine for the Vietnamese and Southeast Asian diaspora to discuss mothers, motherhood, motherlands, mother-tongues and family, and also provides culturally competent birth support to Southeast Asian birthing parents in her spare time. When she’s not doing the above, you’ll find her cultivating her Muay Thai skills so that she can teach the next generation of API womxn about self defense and how to embody their physical strength.

Aline Deschamps is a Franco – Thai photographer. She had her first exhibition in high school, Regards sur l’enfance, at the Paris City Council (13th district), for UNICEF. In 2011 she organized one of JR’s INSIDE OUT in Chiang Mai with Thai monks, she then spent one year in South America where she captured the practices of shamanism (Salas – Peru) and the daily life of street kids (Cochabamba – Bolivia). 

Aline developed an early interest for street photography and urban arts. From working at Juddy Roller to Galerie Itinerrance,  she has captured some of the biggest names in the street art scene. She was the official photographer of Djerbahood an open-sky museum project in Tunisia, photos from which have been published internationally and in an eponymous book. In 2015  the Djerbahood book edited by Beaux-livres of Albin Michel received the prize Bernier awarded by the Académie des Beaux-Arts of France.

Aline is now a freelance photographer and a cultural project manager. She created the 3K Project with Hossein Farmani (Lucie Foundation) in which they both curated a photo contest and exhibition as an answer to the Muslim ban (2017). Her photo projects now mainly focus on identity (interrogating the vision of manhood, refugees, mixed people). She currently lives between Paris and Bangkok.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here