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« The Glorious Mundane | Main | sonatine »
Tuesday
May252010

Home Song Stories

It's time to plan another trip to China. It's been 3 years since the last time I visited. Last time, that happened.

No more week long death rituals this time, for which I'm thankful. No more monasteries either, which is a bit of a shame. China is always one of those place I reluctantly go because I have to, to visit people I feel a vague connection to, eat, sleep, and shop because there's nothing else to do. It's always a good time to catch up on some reading, and to catch a glimpse of teen Asia that which I so despise through hours upon hours of Chinese channel [V].

My diaspora exists somewhere within the collective unconscious of expats who grew up to run away. My memories of 'home' are happy and few, and of a place that is no longer there. I have no allegiance with the murky cosmopolitanism clouding those cities I'm supposed to call my own. Most of my mothers friends who have not let go of their motherland think I'm some kind of haughty, rejecting my traditions and culture. They think they understand on some primitive way, treating me like a rebellious teenager, "Westernised". What they couldn't understand is that this could never be some cookie cutter rebellion. Away with everything Chinese and long live the Queen! The traditions I remember are my own. Making wontons with my mother and grandmother. The music, my mother's performances. The dances I led in primary school. All the things that belong to the "New China" movement while it was still in its infancy. I embrace all of these. The bubbling motion happening now within a certain sect of Chinese intellectuals creating new art forms is incredibly exciting to me.

What I absolutely despise is the mass whoring out of that particular brand of "Chinese Culture", the kind that's meaningless. The kind you wear to show off the past you do not part take in. Someone once said of me in a somewhat dissenting tone, that apart from speaking in Chinese with my mother I may as well be white. Well, what should I do to satisfy your objectification of Chinese? Does it have to be specifically regional, or would anything that could be generally considered exotic to you be enough? My grasp of the language is very much the defining streak of my Asian identity. It's my only key to all the nuances of the culture that does not make me nauseous.

I'm hoping that my upcoming trip would consist solely of meeting interesting, like minded people, and a minimal of having to look at that which I hate. I know it's an annoying tendency that I have, my absolute refusal of having anything I don't like in my world. But it makes my world better, and until something happens that would make me feel different I don't see why I should be the one to change.

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