Tuesday, February 16, 2010

asia america where have you gone?

As i read laurence yep and amy tan to my kids i realize that these are the pioneers of asian american literature.

if you know me, you know for the most part, i hate asian american literature. just like an asian, it tries SO hard. but maybe what i didn't like wasn't the actual literature (despite my professed hatred of all things amy tan, i've read almost all her books), but i hated the box it placed me into.

to backtrack, i never identified myself as Asian or Korean. I was American. I hated the term white-washed as well since hello i was born and raised in america..of course i'm american... if my parents wanted me to be korean, they should and would have stayed there.

anyway,fast forward to high school.. as Miss Chin (ironical cruel twist of fate gave her many), a student teacher, led The Joy Luck Club discussions. "What does X show about Asian American identity?" "How does Joy Luck Club show what all asians in america are like?" okay, maybe not so extreme, but it was definitely annoying.. i'm Korean American if anything, I never grew up believing in ghosts, and my parents didn't pressure me academically. Asian American is not a box.

But, admittedly, they opened up discussion. When I teach Asian American short stories to middle school kids who are if anything, American Asians, it moves me that I am able to bring something they can relate to. As my teaching manual tells me to "accustom your students to a different culture, discuss Asia-related topics, compare and contrast the Asian perspective to their own perspective", I not only find it ironic but a refreshing challenge to teach Asian American literature to international Asian americans.... and THEN i realize.. WOW how crazy it is that they took the leap to write literature. what asian parent would like that?
even NOW you don't see asian american writers.. and when you do, it's always some mumbo jumbo-y stuff on art, dragons, weird twisted love..okay, oops.. off track.

that is all to say though, for once in my life, i'm interested. especially as i prepare to study again, i want to take my comparative literature background and re-explore American literature, and how in this current day and age, the idea of AMERICAN encompasses more of the secondary cultures aspect than ever before..

and i want to write.

maybe it'll be titled "my crazy grandmother."

heeheee: a few weeks ago in 7th grade reading class

"My mom's coming to visit in March!"
"Oh! Is your crazy grandmother coming too?"
"Gordon! You can't call her that - I may call her that but she's MY grandmother. Make sure you never call her the crazy grandmother.. especially in front of my mom!"

oh Gordon.

gordon is another kettle of fish altogether.

cute little Sid-the-sloth-from Ice age doppelganger with a hint of asberger's and a big heart? makes me want to laugh and give up and laugh some more ..in despairing helplessness always remedied by when he pats my back and tells me "Miss Kim, it's all right!" (No Gordon it's not - you need to turn in your work late tomorrow)

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