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    For C.E. Chinese New Year

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    CoraOrmseth

    Posts : 39
    Join date : 2009-09-01

    For C.E. Chinese New Year

    Post  CoraOrmseth on Tue Feb 02, 2010 12:32 pm

    Cultural Identity Crisis by Derek Ha

    It seems to defy every Asian stereotype, but Chinese-American children actually learn earlier and better that money is not the solution to all of our problems.

    We would know, because we tend to end up with quite a bit of it every Chinese New Year when our parents and grandparents stuff Washingtons, Lincolns, Hamiltons, and (if we’re lucky) Jacksons into those flamboyant red-and-gold envelopes to give to the younger generations.

    It’s every child’s dream come true – getting money for no apparent reason, then follow that (in most cases) with a large meal to celebrate the day. Heck, it’s every human being’s dream come true!

    Still, as I sit at the dinner table on Chinese New Year with my cash tucked safely inside my pocket, eating dishes that seem strangely foreign to my taste buds, listening to relatives chat in a language I used to understand better, I cannot help but feel just a little bit lost, empty, regretful, out of place – a small twinge of an emotion that I can barely even name, but a twinge nonetheless. Not even receiving money can assuage the feeling that I lack cultural identity, something that so many around me can lay claim to so easily.

    My mother and father, having spent nearly half a century in their country of birth, call themselves Chinese. They speak Chinese fluently in two different dialects, read Chinese newspapers every single day, volunteer for the Chinese PTA, cook Chinese food, watch Chinese soap operas, listen to Chinese music, and even type out their e-mails using Chinese characters.

    Those coming from families that have called this country home for generation after generation can proudly proclaim themselves to be American. They use all the American slang properly, understand Americans’ unique sense of humor, embrace American culture and ideals, and have known the national anthem by heart since early childhood.

    And me? I have spent roughly half my life in China, half in America.

    I cannot tell you when Chinese New Year is, only say that it usually falls somewhere between late January and mid-February. I know a few important Chinese phrases here and there (“Where is the restroom?” or “How much does this cost?”), just don’t talk to me about anything even slightly complex or intellectual. I like eating at Chinese restaurants, but their menus had better include English translations. I enjoy picking up cheap merchandise in China, but my clumsily fumbling with the unfamiliar currency instantly tells the salespeople, “I’m not really from around here. I’m not really one of you.”

    I am a citizen of the United States, yet during the Beijing Olympics last year, I found myself rooting for athletes hailing from China or Taiwan over those who were American. I am grateful every time Winter Break rolls around, but my family has not bothered to put up a Christmas tree for more than five years. I don’t mind a trip to In-N-Out every now and then, but truth be told, I would often rather eat leftover Dim Sum or fried rice.

    I cannot call myself Chinese or American without feeling like a fraud, a phony, a tainted sample, for my cultural identity is borrowed from disconnected fragments of Chinese traditions and American influences, of Chinese ethics and American values. I am forever cursed with not being able to define myself using nationality, with not truly belonging, with being confused.

    I guess I better enjoy those red envelopes while I can.

    hanarudolph

    Posts : 152
    Join date : 2009-09-01

    Re: For C.E. Chinese New Year

    Post  hanarudolph on Thu Feb 04, 2010 12:17 pm

    It seems to defy every Asian stereotype, but Chinese-American children actually learn earlier and better [earlier and better... than what?] that money is not the solution to all of our problems.

    We would know, because we tend to end up with quite a bit of it every Chinese New Year when our parents and grandparents stuff Washingtons, Lincolns, Hamiltons, and (if we’re lucky) Jacksons into those flamboyant red-and-gold envelopes to give to the younger generations.

    It’s every child’s dream come true – [double dash] getting money for no apparent reason, then follow that [then followed by] (in most cases) with a large meal to celebrate the day. Heck, it’s every human being’s dream come true!

    Still, as I sit at the dinner table on Chinese New Year with my cash tucked safely inside my pocket, eating dishes that seem strangely foreign to my taste buds, listening to relatives chat in a language I used to understand better, I cannot help but feel just a little bit lost, empty, regretful, out of place – [double dash] a small twinge of an emotion that I can barely even name, but a twinge nonetheless. Not even receiving money can assuage the feeling that I lack cultural identity, something that so many around me can lay claim to so easily.

    My mother and father, having spent nearly half a century in their country of birth, call themselves Chinese. They speak Chinese fluently in two different dialects, read Chinese newspapers every single day, volunteer for the Chinese PTA, cook Chinese food, watch Chinese soap operas, listen to Chinese music, and even type out their e-mails using Chinese characters.

    Those coming from families that have called this country home for generation after generation can proudly proclaim themselves to be American. They use all the American slang properly, understand Americans’ unique sense of humor, embrace American culture and ideals, and have known the national anthem by heart since early childhood.

    And me? I have spent roughly half my life in China, half in America.

    I cannot tell you when Chinese New Year is, only say that it usually falls somewhere between late January and mid-February. I know a few important Chinese phrases here and there (“Where is the restroom?” or “How much does this cost?”), just don’t talk to me about anything even slightly complex or intellectual. I like eating at Chinese restaurants, but their menus had better include English translations. I enjoy picking up cheap merchandise in China, but my clumsily [clumsy] fumbling with the unfamiliar currency instantly tells the salespeople, “I’m not really from around here. I’m not really one of you.”

    I am a citizen of the United States, yet during the Beijing Olympics last year, I found myself rooting for athletes hailing from China or Taiwan over those who were American. I am grateful every time Winter Break rolls around, but my family has not bothered to put up a Christmas tree for more than five years. I don’t mind a trip to In-N-Out every now and then, but truth be told, I would often rather eat leftover Dim Sum [don't capitalize] or fried rice.

    I cannot call myself Chinese or American without feeling like a fraud, a phony, a tainted sample, for my cultural identity is borrowed from disconnected fragments of Chinese traditions and American influences, of Chinese ethics and American values. I am forever cursed with not being able to define myself using nationality, with not truly belonging, with being confused.

    I guess I better enjoy those red envelopes while I can. [This isn't so much a copy-editing suggestion, but I don't really get the ending? The article was REALLY good, I really enjoyed reading... but the ending doesn't seem to work... in my personal opinion. Smile But again, the rest of it was really well written!]

    derekha

    Posts : 54
    Join date : 2009-08-31

    Re: For C.E. Chinese New Year

    Post  derekha on Sat Feb 06, 2010 8:43 pm

    It seems to defy every Asian stereotype, but Chinese-American children actually learn earlier and better than others that money is not the solution to all of our problems.

    We would know, because we tend to end up with quite a bit of it every Chinese New Year when our parents and grandparents stuff Washingtons, Lincolns, Hamiltons, and (if we’re lucky) Jacksons into those flamboyant red-and-gold envelopes to give to the younger generations.

    It’s every child’s dream come true –- getting money for no apparent reason, then followed by (in most cases) a large meal to celebrate the day. Heck, it’s every human being’s dream come true!

    Still, as I sit at the dinner table on Chinese New Year with my cash tucked safely inside my pocket, eating dishes that seem strangely foreign to my taste buds, listening to relatives chat in a language I used to understand better, I cannot help but feel just a little bit lost, empty, regretful, out of place –- a small twinge of an emotion that I can barely even name, but a twinge nonetheless. Not even receiving money can assuage the feeling that I lack cultural identity, something that so many around me can lay claim to so easily.

    My mother and father, having spent nearly half a century in their country of birth, call themselves Chinese. They speak Chinese fluently in two different dialects, read Chinese newspapers every single day, volunteer for the Chinese PTA, cook Chinese food, watch Chinese soap operas, listen to Chinese music, and even type out their e-mails using Chinese characters.

    Those coming from families that have called this country home for generation after generation can proudly proclaim themselves to be American. They use all the American slang properly, understand Americans’ unique sense of humor, embrace American culture and ideals, and have known the national anthem by heart since early childhood.

    And me? I have spent roughly half my life in China, half in America.

    I cannot tell you when Chinese New Year is, only say that it usually falls somewhere between late January and mid-February. I know a few important Chinese phrases here and there (“Where is the restroom?” or “How much does this cost?”), just don’t talk to me about anything even slightly complex or intellectual. I like eating at Chinese restaurants, but their menus had better include English translations. I enjoy picking up cheap merchandise in China, but my clumsy fumbling with the unfamiliar currency instantly tells the salespeople, “I’m not really from around here. I’m not really one of you.”

    I am a citizen of the United States, yet during the Beijing Olympics last year, I found myself rooting for athletes hailing from China or Taiwan over those who were American. I am grateful every time Winter Break rolls around, but my family has not bothered to put up a Christmas tree for more than five years. I don’t mind a trip to In-N-Out every now and then, but truth be told, I would often rather eat leftover dim sum or fried rice.

    I cannot call myself Chinese or American without feeling like a fraud, a phony, a tainted sample, for my cultural identity is borrowed from disconnected fragments of Chinese traditions and American influences, of Chinese ethics and American values. I am forever cursed with not being able to define myself using nationality, with not truly belonging, with being confused.

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