Essays

I hurriedly wrote an Op-ed for the newspaper I work for. “Please, Mr. Zemmour, leave our first names alone.” By this “us” I meant all people who happen, like me, to have first names which point to their (non-French) origins. I even alluded to the fact that I had proudly given my daughters, who are Eurasian, Vietnamese first names. I was insulted on Twitter and on Facebook.
I was doing the High Holidays not only as an act of ritual, but also as a result of a deep yearning for something to feel familiar. Amidst an incredibly abrupt change of scenery—moving across the world to a new country, getting food poisoning during my first week, and most recently, contracting dengue fever. All of this, of course, occurring all at once on my first visit to Vietnam in over a decade.

More Than My Ethnicity

I grew up wanting to run away from my physical identity and only wanting to be seen through the lenses of my character, my points of view, and my accomplishments. Why should being born to certain kind of people be at the forefront of everything I do?
I think Hollywood has and still most of the time employs their friends from “the old boys’ club,” people who look alike and think alike and have similar views about women. This will only change when Hollywood actually values true inclusion, especially when so many studies and articles show doing right by marginalized groups equals a ton more loot at the box office.
Two years ago this time I was preparing to assume the editorship of this blog, diaCRITICS, from Viet Thanh Nguyen, and having many thoughts about diaspora and the vantage points—both fluid and fixed—it can afford us, which I wrote about in this editorial essay that marked the beginning of...
Most debut novels are projects of confession, pleas for understanding, manifestations of an author’s attempt to rescue herself. My own debut novel, If I Had Two Lives, was for me the beginning of a wish⎯a harsh whisper after years of silence, a blindfolded dive into the many tunnels of the subconscious to emerge with something resembling a clear thought, a spark of feelings.