Asian Enough

Wednesday, February 7, 2018 - 9:02am

What does it mean to be Asian enough?

 

Black hair.

Off-white skin.

It is in my name.

The home where I was raised.

    No shoes indoors.

    Bags of rice in the cupboard

    And on the counter

    And in the cooker.

I don’t speak mother/father’s language

But I do speak her culture.

    Respect your elders.

    Everything in moderation.

In America, Asian culture has been stir fried, pickled, and packed into a take out box.

So it is digestible

Just a taste

To help you feel

Cultured.

 

My grandmother left Thailand to clean American hotel rooms and save money to bring my mother to America.

My great-grandfather pulled sugar cane back when it was still Kingdom of Hawai’i.

Saving pennies.

Cutting coupons.

Turning off the lights.

Never wasting food.

When my mother emigrated from Thailand, at age 12, she learned English from her peers.

My grandfather enlisted in the army to prove his loyalty to the country he called home.

She/He paid her/his way through college.

And became a doctor.

And sent my father to law school.

My mother/father always wanted to be a musician.

But it takes a few generations for those kinds of dreams

To become reality.

 

When I walk into the audition room

Am I Asian enough?

Definition lies somewhere in between.

Perception is theirs.

Identity is mine.