Monthly Archives: October, 2019
The “minor” characters interest me because they were, in fact, present within history and were witnesses and participants, and yet few historians have bothered to inquire into what these folks saw, felt, and understood about the world. It takes a heck more research and labor to locate the history of these so-called “minor” characters.
In depicting the resettlement hardships of Vietnamese refugees in America during the late 20th century, playwright Quí Nguyễn creates a full portrait of the Vietnamese refugee during their first few years in America. He offers us a way to see that one can look back at a past filled with vulnerability, naivety, and failures, and laugh at it all even while crying, and still be pleased with all that has passed.
"Perhaps it would be clear what the impulse of “naming” could do in ways that simply writing out the words cannot. We can’t name the horror. We can trace it. We can color in the lines."
Our conversations are limited to my third-grade level comprehension so I can tell you to eat your dinner and drink your milk or to change your clothes, but we cannot discuss the difference between inductive and deductive reasoning. We don't talk about where you go after death because I don't know the word for heaven or how to explain reincarnation.
It is only the failure of the American imagination and perception—a failure and inability to recognize and make space for the full imaginative agency of Vietnamese visions—that has perpetuated the notion of a dearth or naivety of art of the Vietnamese diaspora.
I never considered poetry as career and forever reject the corporate model to poetry. I never approached making art like that; I sought to be more like my dream: to remain a student to poetry and to be myself.
The frightening monoculture of China looms over Taiwan like hurricane clouds. But we have our own history, our own culture, our own ethnic makeup—many Taiwanese have Japanese and Aborigine blood—and our own way of making beef noodle soup. It’s not just niúròumiàn, 牛肉麵 — it’s Táiwān niúròumiàn, 台灣牛肉麵.
Embracing my diasporic existence means I get to be empowered within that complex “in-between” space.