"Given the current debates about representation in literature, I find myself reflecting on how I have always preferred books to be windows rather than mirrors. I was a voracious reader from a young age but growing up I didn’t particularly yearn for stories about what it meant to be Vietnamese – especially in Australia – because I was already drowning in the experience of it."
"A cartoonist has gotta cartoon, though, so I redirected my energy into these spontaneous diary comics to document and process this next normal. Five months later, they've become essential in maintaining my sanity during these continued insane times."
"Coconut Children" is a coming-of-age story about a cohort forever uneasy with itself and others. A generation that was taken from Vietnam before it could lay roots, and then transplanted to a land where the soil was rich but alien, never quite nourishing.
As a settler, and someone whose familial and ancestral history is also tied to histories of displacement, understanding and living on Indigenous land is a political commitment that is just as important as understanding my fractured relationship to my family’s homeland of Vietnam.
To move to another suburb, for another school, because the pre-school teacher said there were too many Asians at this one, that you’d develop an Asian accent, that a new environment was the only way to cleanse the tongue.
diaCRITICS is a blog that showcases voices and stories from writers, artists and culture-makers of the Vietnamese and Southeast Asian diaspora on and from all shores. We publish poetry, fiction, essays, reviews, visual art, and more. Our founding editor and publisher is Viet Thanh Nguyen. diaCRITICS is a project of the Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network (DVAN).