Hapa-palooza 2015: Celebrate mixed heritage and own your identity

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Canada, Media Archive on 2015-09-11 20:45Z by Steven

Hapa-palooza 2015: Celebrate mixed heritage and own your identity

Vancouver Observer
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Jordan Yerman

Mixed-race, outsider, or ‘half-breed’: you’re not alone at Hapa-palooza. Get in on Canada’s largest celebration of mixed heritage.

Tôi là người lai mỹ means “I’m an American half-breed”. Author and publisher Brandy Liên Worrall wrote it in her journal while sitting at an outdoor cafe during her first trip to Vietnam. She wrote in Vietnamese for the benefit of the locals who were reading over her shoulder. Worrall’s Vietnamese mother laughed at first, and then asked why her daughter didn’t just say she was Vietnamese. “Because, Mom,” replied Worrall, “I’m not just Vietnamese. I’m not just American. I’m gonna recognize that I’m người lai, and I’m going to own that word.”

“In that country, where I have origins,” says Worrall in a DTES cafe, “[being mixed-race] is still that stigmatized.” We’re sitting with Anna Ling Kaye, editor of Ricepaper Magazine and co-founder of Hapa-palooza, which returns for its fifth year on September 16. Kaye says, “In Taiwan, my extended family is certainly nonplussed by me. They’re complimentary: ‘Oh, you don’t need to perm your hair! You’re so curvy!’” Contrasting that was an encounter with a Chinese woman in Vancouver who told her, “You look how I feel!” The woman saw herself as presenting as Chinese, but feeling Canadian. “We don’t feel Hapa-palooza is only for people of mixed heritage. It’s for anyone who wants to talk about identity.”…

Read the entire article here.

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