Recalling and Reimagining Vietnam: A Conversation with Genaro Kỳ Lý Smith

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Biography, Interviews, Media Archive on 2021-09-14 18:10Z by Steven

Recalling and Reimagining Vietnam: A Conversation with Genaro Kỳ Lý Smith

World Literature Today
2019-08-12

Mary E. Adams, Associate Professor of English
University of Louisiana, Monroe

Genaro Kỳ Lý Smith was born in Nha Trang, Vietnam, and raised in California. His first book, The Land Baron’s Sun: The Story of Lý Loc and His Seven Wives, won the 2015 Indie Book Award for best poetry collection. His other works include The Land South of the Clouds and The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born. He earned an MFA from McNeese State University and has taught creative writing at Louisiana Tech University since 1999.

Mary E. Adams: Your first book, The Land Baron’s Sun: The Story of Lý Loc and His Seven Wives, focuses on your grandfather’s life, loves, and, ultimately, his years of hard labor in a reeducation camp. Why did you need to tell his story?

Genaro Kỳ Lý Smith: I learned by the age of thirty just how much of his life was kept from me, the hardships he had to go through. Lý Loc was once rich, powerful, and all of that was gone after the fall of Saigon. You’re looking at a man who owned so much land, who had seven houses, seven wives, twenty-seven children, who was a major commander for the South Vietnamese army. To have to write a letter to my mom in America begging for money is a lowly place to be. All of the sudden, out of your twenty-seven children, you have one in America who works at a sweatshop making dresses, blouses, and slacks for fifty cents per item stitched, and you’re asking her for money in order to eat, in order to be clothed. That’s the thing I had to deal with growing up, knowing he lived the rest of his life as a poor person…

Read the entire interview here.

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Raceless: In Search of Family, Identity, and the Truth About Where I Belong

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Monographs, United Kingdom, United States on 2021-03-06 22:31Z by Steven

Raceless: In Search of Family, Identity, and the Truth About Where I Belong

Harper Perennial (an imprint of Harper Collins)
2021-02-23
304 pages
5x8in
Trade Paperback ISBN: 9780063009486
E-book ISBN: 9780063009493
Audiobook ISBN: 9780063009509

Georgina Lawton

Raised in sleepy English suburbia, Georgina Lawton was no stranger to homogeneity. Her parents were white; her friends were white; there was no reason for her to think she was any different. But over time her brown skin and dark, kinky hair frequently made her a target of prejudice. In Georgina’s insistently color-blind household, with no acknowledgement of her difference or access to black culture, she lacked the coordinates to make sense of who she was.

It was only after her father’s death that Georgina began to unravel the truth about her parentage—and the racial identity that she had been denied. She fled from England and the turmoil of her home-life to live in black communities around the globe—the US, the UK, Nicaragua, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, and Morocco—and to explore her identity and what it meant to live in and navigate the world as a black woman. She spoke with psychologists, sociologists, experts in genetic testing, and other individuals whose experiences of racial identity have been fraught or questioned in the hopes of understanding how, exactly, we identify ourselves.

Raceless is an exploration of a fundamental question: what constitutes our sense of self? Drawing on her personal experiences and the stories of others, Lawton grapples with difficult questions about love, shame, grief, and prejudice, and reveals the nuanced and emotional journey of forming one’s identity.

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Cookeville Vietnam veteran meets Vietnamese-American son after 50 years, hosts family reunion

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United States on 2019-01-19 03:24Z by Steven

Cookeville Vietnam veteran meets Vietnamese-American son after 50 years, hosts family reunion

The Nashville Tennessean
2019-01-14

Yihyun Jeong, Veterans and Military Affairs Reporter


Hugh Nguyen as a boy in Vietnam, teased for being “Amerasian,” a child born during wartime from an Asian mother and an American solider. (Photo: Family handout)

His life was hell because he looked different than the other boys that played in the streets of Saigon.

His light skin, light hair and light eyes.The father he never knew.

These were all reasons that made Hugh Nguyen the target of bullies who mocked him for being an “Amerasian,” — though they used more deragatory terms — a child conceived in wartime by a Vietnamese mother and an American military father fighting abroad.

Not fully belonging to America or Vietnam, these kids were commonly dismissed as “children of the dust,” leftovers of an unpopular war. They were left discarded by both governments and left to be taunted by schoolmates who teased them for their features that resembled the face of the enemy.

Most never knew their fathers.


Roy Patterson, as an 18-year-old American soldier stationed at the base in Nha Trang during the Vietnam War. (Photo: Family handout)

“They disliked us tremendously,” Nguyen said in an interview with USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee. “We were treated like garbage. We were talked down to and looked down on.”…

Read the entire article here.

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What It’s Like Being an “Other”

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Campus Life, Media Archive, United States on 2018-06-22 16:40Z by Steven

What It’s Like Being an “Other”

College Magazine
2018-06-19

Mailinh McNicholas


Mailinh McNicholas

I’ve remained on the fringes of two different and separate Anchorage, Alaska communities. I have a Caucasian father and Vietnamese mother. My high school friends often talked about my ethnicity and attempted to place me into a defined racial category. Some of my peers pegged me as an Asian immigrant, some have asked if I am Native Alaskan, and others simply asked ‘What are you?’

Unfortunately, my hopes did not match my reality. A few months into my freshman year at GW [George Washington University] I found that my college peers also cast me as “the other.” Although I’m equal parts Asian and White, to my white friends I’m Asian and to my Asian friends, I’m white. My bi-cultural heritage once again left me excluded from being included in ether community…

Read the entire article here.

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Mixed Race in Asia: Past, Present and Future

Posted in Anthologies, Anthropology, Asian Diaspora, Books, History, Media Archive, Oceania, Social Science on 2017-07-21 18:58Z by Steven

Mixed Race in Asia: Past, Present and Future

Routledge
2017-06-15
250 pages
1 B/W Illus.
Hardback ISBN: 9781138282674
eBook ISBN: 9781315270579

Edited by:

Zarine L. Rocha, Managing Editor
Current Sociology and the Asian Journal of Social Science

Farida Fozdar, Associate Professor in Anthropology and Sociology
University of Western Australia

Mixed racial and ethnic identities are topics of increasing interest around the world, yet studies of mixed race in Asia are rare, despite its particular salience for Asian societies.

Mixed Race in Asia seeks to reorient the field to focus on Asia, looking specifically at mixed race in China, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and India. Through these varied case studies, this collection presents an insightful exploration of race, ethnicity, mixedness and belonging, both in the past and present. The thematic range of the chapters is broad, covering the complexity of lived mixed race experiences, the structural forces of particular colonial and post-colonial environments and political regimes, and historical influences on contemporary identities and cultural expressions of mixedness.

Adding significant richness and depth to existing theoretical frameworks, this enlightening volume develops markedly different understandings of, and recognizes nuances around, what it means to be mixed, practically, theoretically, linguistically and historically. It will appeal to undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as postdoctoral and other researchers interested in fields such as Race and Ethnicity, Sociology and Asian Studies.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction: Mixed Race in Asia / Zarine L. Rocha and Farida Fozdar
  • Section One: China and Vietnam
    • Chapter One: “A Class by Themselves”: Battles over Eurasian Schooling in Late-19th-Century Shanghai / Emma J. Teng
    • Chapter Two: Mixing Blood and Race: Representing Hunxue in Contemporary China / Cathryn Clayton
    • Chapter Three: Métis of Vietnam: An Historical Perspective on Mixed-Race Children from the French Colonial Period / Christina Firpo
  • Section Two: South Korea and Japan
    • Chapter Four: Developing bilingualism in a largely monolingual society: Southeast Asian marriage migrants and multicultural families in South Korea / Mi Yung Park
    • Chapter Five: Haafu Identity in Japan: half, mixed or double? / Alexandra Shaitan and Lisa J. McEntee-Atalianis
    • Chapter Six: Claiming Japaneseness: recognition, privilege and status in Japanese-Filipino ‘mixed’ ethnic identity constructions / Fiona-Katharina Seiger
  • Section Three: Malaysia and Singapore
    • Chapter Seven: Being “Mixed” in Malaysia: Perspectives on Ethnic Diversity / Caryn Lim
    • Chapter Eight: Chinese, Indians and the Grey Space in between: Acceptance of Malaysian Chindians in a plural society / Rona Chandran
    • Chapter Nine: ‘Our Chinese’: The Mixedness of Peranakan Chinese Identities in Kelantan, Malaysia / Pue Giok Hun
    • Chapter Ten: Eurasian as Multiracial: mixed race, gendered categories and identity in Singapore / Zarine L. Rocha
  • Section Four: India and Indonesia
    • Chapter Eleven: Is the Anglo-Indian ‘Identity Crisis’ a Myth? / Robyn Andrews
    • Chapter Twelve: When Hybridity Encounters Hindu Purity Fetish: Anglo-Indian Lived Experiences in an Indian Railway Town / Anjali Gera Roy
    • Chapter Thirteen: Sometimes white, sometimes Asian: Boundary-making among transnational mixed descent youth at an international school in Indonesia / Danau Tanu
    • Chapter Fourteen: Class, Race and Being Indo (Eurasian) in Colonial and Postcolonial Indonesia / Ros Hewett
  • Afterword / Paul Spickard
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Surviving Twice: Amerasian Children of the Vietnam War

Posted in Asian Diaspora, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Videos on 2017-06-29 20:12Z by Steven

Surviving Twice: Amerasian Children of the Vietnam War

C-SPAN: Created by Cable
2005-09-11

Trin Yarborough talked about her book, Surviving Twice: Amerasian Children of the Vietnam War, published by Potomac Books. She talked about the lives of orphans who weren born to American soldiers during the Vietnam War. Randy Tuan, who was one of many orphans adopted to work on a farm, spoke about his life and music. Following their presentation, Mr. Tuan and Ms. Yarborough responded to questions and comments from members of the audience.

The book told the stories of five Vietnamese Amerasians born during the Vietnam War to American soldiers and Vietnamese mothers. Not among the few thousand Amerasian children brought to the U. S. before the war’s end who grew up as Americans, speaking English and attending American schools, this group faced many more formidable obstacles, both in Vietnam and in their new home. She wrote that an estimated 100,000 children were born during the Vietnam War to American soldiers and Vietnamese mothers. She also wrote that many of these children faced difficult lives as a result of racial prejudice or an inability to identify completely with the Vietnamese culture. The book looked at the effects of the Amerasian Homecoming Act, a Congressional program enacted in 1987 that brought 28,000 Vietnamese Americans to the United States before the program was stopped in 1994 because of problems with fraud.

Watch the video (01:12:12) here.

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Surviving Twice: Amerasian Children of the Vietnam War

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2017-06-29 19:39Z by Steven

Surviving Twice: Amerasian Children of the Vietnam War

Potomac Books (an imprint of University of Nebraska Press)
April 2005
336 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-57488-864-5
Papberback ISBN: 978-1-57488-865-2

Trin Yarborough

Surviving Twice is the story of five Vietnamese Amerasians born during the Vietnam War to American soldiers and Vietnamese mothers. Unfortunately, they were not among the few thousand Amerasian children who came to the United States before the war’s end and grew up as Americans, speaking English and attending American schools. Instead, this group of Amerasians faced much more formidable obstacles, both in Vietnam and in their new home. Surviving Twice raises significant questions about how mixed-race children born of wars and occupations are treated and the ways in which the shifting laws, policies, social attitudes, and bureaucratic red tape of two nations affect them their entire lives.

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Youth and Empire: Trans-Colonial Childhoods in British and French Asia

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs on 2017-05-14 19:04Z by Steven

Youth and Empire: Trans-Colonial Childhoods in British and French Asia

Stanford University Press
December 2015
416 pages
Cloth ISBN: 9780804795173

David M. Pomfret, Professor of History
University of Hong Kong

This is the first study of its kind to provide such a broadly comparative and in-depth analysis of children and empire. Youth and Empire brings to light new research and new interpretations on two relatively neglected fields of study: the history of imperialism in East and South East Asia and, more pointedly, the influence of childhood—and children’s voices—on modern empires.

By utilizing a diverse range of unpublished source materials drawn from three different continents, David M. Pomfret examines the emergence of children and childhood as a central historical force in the global history of empire in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This book is unusual in its scope, extending across the two empires of Britain and France and to points of intense impact in “tropical” places where indigenous, immigrant, and foreign cultures mixed: Hong Kong, Singapore, Saigon, and Hanoi. It thereby shows how childhood was crucial to definitions of race, and thus European authority, in these parts of the world. By examining the various contradictory and overlapping meanings of childhood in colonial Asia, Pomfret is able to provide new and often surprising readings of a set of problems that continue to trouble our contemporary world.

Contents

  • List of Illustrations
  • Introduction
  • 1. Childhood and the Reordering of Empire
  • 2. Tropical Childhoods: Health, Hygiene and Nature
  • 3. Cultural Contagions: Children in the Colonial Home
  • 4. Magic Islands: Children on Display in Colonialisms’ Cultures
  • 5. Trouble in Fairyland: Cultures of Childhood in Interwar Asia
  • 6. Intimate Heights: Children, Nature and Colonial Urban Planning
  • 7. Sick Traffic: ‘Child Slavery’ and Imperial Networks
  • 8. Class Reactions: Education and Colonial ‘Comings of Age’
  • 9. Raising Eurasia: Childhood, Youth and the Mixed Race Question
  • 10. Conclusion
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Interview with Genarao Kỳ Lý Smith on “The Land Baron’s Sun”

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Biography, Interviews, Media Archive on 2017-03-19 01:47Z by Steven

Interview with Genarao Kỳ Lý Smith on “The Land Baron’s Sun”

Interminable Rambling
2015-12-10

Matthew Teutsch, Instructor
Department of English
Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama

Last post, I wrote about Genarao Kỳ Lý Smith’s The Land Baron’s Sun. Today, I am sharing a recent interview I conducted with Smith. In the video above, Smith talks more about his grandfather and reads two poems from The Land Baron’s Sun.

In the acknowledgements of The Land Baron’s Sun, you write about Darrell Bourque telling you that your grandfather’s “story needs to be heard” because it is an important story to everyone. What makes Lý Loc’s story so significant?

Lý Loc came from a privileged life: inherited land from his father who was only known as the land baron (to this day, my mother does not know his name), had seven wives, twenty-seven children, seven houses (1 per wife), mistresses to go with each wife; he was a major commander for the South Vietnamese Army.  When the Fall of Saigon occurred, he lost everything to the point of writing my mother a few years later asking for money, food, medicine, and clothes.  It is a tragic story that needs to be told.  The idea of someone who had it all to living as a pauper is and has always been an intriguing story.  Also, had I not known about his seven wives or his privileged lifestyle, his story would have died with my mother.  The goal therefore was to resurrect his life, the lives of his wives and their children.  The purpose of writing the book was to leave his legacy.  I simply did not want him to die…

Read the entire interview here.

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The Land South of the Clouds

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Media Archive, Novels, United States on 2017-03-09 01:48Z by Steven

The Land South of the Clouds

University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press
2016-10-25
350 pages
Softcover ISBN: 9781935754800

Genaro Kỳ Lý Smith, Professor of Creative Writing
Louisiana Tech University

It is the summer of 1979–the year of Apocalypse Now, long lines at the gas pumps, and American hostages in Iran–and 10-year-old Long Vanh is burdened with the secret his mother, Vu-An, entrusted him to keep: not to tell anyone of her desire to return to Vietnam to be with her father who is serving hard labor in a reeducation camp.

As a con lai–half Vietnamese, half black–Long Vanh struggles to see his place in “Asia Minor,” an enclave of Los Angeles comprised of veterans and their foreign war wives. He sees his inability to speak or read his mother’s native language, or even maneuver chopsticks perfectly, as flaws, and hopes that if he can compensate for them, his mother will stay in America to keep the family intact.

The Land South of the Clouds serves as the companion piece to The Land Baron’s Sun: The Story of Lý Loc and His Seven Wives. It is the story of immigrant families meshing into the fabric of American culture, their memories of the old country weighing on their conscience, and the repercussions they feel even from thousand of miles away on another continent, in another world, another life.

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