Ricepaper Magazine https://ricepapermagazine.ca Asian Canadian Arts and Culture Wed, 19 Sep 2018 06:23:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.6 Interview with Comedy Legend Margaret Cho https://ricepapermagazine.ca/2018/09/margaretcho/ https://ricepapermagazine.ca/2018/09/margaretcho/#respond Wed, 19 Sep 2018 01:38:25 +0000 https://ricepapermagazine.ca/?p=15255 Margaret Moran Cho is a Korean-American, Grammy and Emmy nominated comedian who was named one of Rolling Stone magazine’s 50 Best Stand-Up Comics of All Time and has received rave reviews for her stand-up comedy routines. She is also an … more »

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Margaret Moran Cho is a Korean-American, Grammy and Emmy nominated comedian who was named one of Rolling Stone magazine’s 50 Best Stand-Up Comics of All Time and has received rave reviews for her stand-up comedy routines. She is also an actress, fashion designer, author, and singer-songwriter. Born in San Francisco to immigrant parents who ran the influential Paperback Traffic bookstore, she has won many awards for her humanitarian efforts on behalf of women, Asian Americans, and the LGBT community.

Her highness was in Toronto as part of the Just For Laughs 42 Comedy Festival—where she’ll be performing September 21 & 22, 2018—and Ricepaper Magazine’s JF Garrard managed to catch up with her at this event. The Festival runs from September 20 to 29 and includes a lineup of other Asian comedians: Ken Jeong, Jo Koy and Bowen Yang (part of Las Culturitas duo).

JF Garrard (JFG): Thank you for taking the time to talk to us! What are you going to do in Toronto?

Margaret Cho (MC): I am excited about going to Toronto’s Koreatown because I’ve don’t think I’ve ever been. Part of my family immigrated to the United States, San Francisco and the other part to Toronto. So I know there are pockets of my family still in Toronto. But I don’t believe I’ve ever been to Koreatown specifically, so I’m looking forward to going!

JFG: A lot of Korean grocery stores such as H-Mart have opened downtown, so lots of Korean food in Toronto!

MC: Great! I love H-Mart and am excited to check things out!

JFG: We are living in exciting times with the #metoo movement, Crazy Rich Asians movie craze and talks about diversity in Hollywood. As a person who has been in the entertainment industry for so many years, do you see any real changes happening and have more doors been open to you?

MC: Yeah! I think it’s really exciting. I’m hoping that Sandra Oh will win the Emmy tonight [JFG note: Ms. Oh was nominated for an Emmy in the lead actress category, in either comedy or drama, for Killing Eve at the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards]. This would be a great thing. It’s the first time an Asian woman has been nominated for this award and it would be great to see her win, after all of her many years in the entertainment industry, it would be great to see her get this honour. Best supporting actress is different from lead, so this is very good. With Crazy Rich Asians, there’s a sense of shift looking at Asians in entertainment nowadays. It’s growing, I love it and I am excited for the future and very optimistic.

JFG: I was surprised to learn that your Fresh of the Bloat tour took you to Asia [Kuala Lumpur, HK, Taipei and Singapore]. Did you change your comedy routine in any way for this and did you find the audiences any different from North America?

MC: No, it’s exciting to go to Asia to perform, to go to a place where you are in the majority, to have an Asian audience. But it’s a different perspective too, as an Asian American. There’s a big shift as well, but it’s been really exciting. I’ve been touring Asia over the last few years and it’s definitely been a change for me and incredibly fun. I love that I got to do it and want to do it more and more.

JFG: Some of the topics you discuss such as rape, sexual orientation and violence against women are topics typically not spoken about within Asian families. Has anyone in your family or fans ever told you that you aren’t giving Asian people “face” and how do you respond to this negativity?

MC: I don’t really care, I don’t know. Because I’m older and to me, I am in the age of the generation that sort of always held us back. I am the older generation now. Before it was about rebelling against the older generation, but now all those people are dead. I’m really happy about what I get to talk about, what I get to do and it’s really important to make those subjects easier to be discussed in an informed and vital way. To me, that’s really valuable. I don’t listen to negativity; I’m not aware of it, I don’t try to seek it out and I just try to do my own thing.

JFG: There was an incident a while ago at Aroma Spa & Sports in which you were told to cover your tattoos at the spa. This was a clash of generations and cultures. Have you been back to the spa since, and in raising awareness about this, have there been changes in the community because this was made public?

MC: Yes, I have been back since and we tried to resolve the issue. I feel that the way Korean spas are run are similar to Japanese spas and people are treated differently if they have tattoos because the laws associate tattoos with organized crime. Obviously this is not the case in North America. Also nowadays, attitudes towards tattooing have changed. I think it’s definitely resolved, this particular situation with me and that spa. But at the same time, there is a sort of culture clash around tattoos, but again I feel that it’s a dying generation trying to uphold a fight around these outdated values.

JFG: When I went to Korea a few years ago [I’m Chinese and my husband’s background is British/Irish] there were many older men who tried to push me down the subway stairs a lot because they thought I was a Korean with an American. It was rough to deal with these men in their seventies and very strange.

MC: That’s so weird! It’s such a crazy culture from what you know and that kind of stuff is unacceptable. Yet over there it’s normalized and it’s wrong.

JFG: Just like you say, they are the majority. To be a minority is to be white or American born. It’s very different.

MC: Yes, it’s very interesting.

JFG: What advice do you have for Asian kids who want to enter the arts? Typically, it’s not encouraged among many parents, but kids have to stand up for themselves, among other things.

MC: You have to live your life for you. There are too many Asian kids living their lives for their families. They don’t have dreams for themselves and they let their families dream for them. This doesn’t necessarily result in your happiness and you have to figure out what you want to do with your life. But it’s very hard to rebel; people get really bogged down just doing what their parents want for them. Of course, there’s the tiger mom phenomenon and all that kind of stuff. For me, I just couldn’t be contained! I had to do my own thing! You’ve gotta do what’s right for you, not only for your family. Some people grow up in oppressive environments sometimes and it makes it hard to figure out what you want.

JFG: For myself, I only started writing in my thirties because I had no support [from family], so I’m a late bloomer myself. But like you say, sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do!

MC: Yeah! Sometimes it takes a while because you almost need to come out of the ways of thinking which you’ve been programmed your entire life! It’s tough!

JFG: Are there particular projects that you’re really excited about at the moment?

MC: I’m just excited that I still get to do comedy, doing shows and I’m really active in that. To me, it’s a really amazing thing to be able to do and I still really love it.

JFG: Do you have a routine for writing comedy? Jerry Seinfeld, for example, practices punch lines over and over again; Ali Wong does jokes over thirty times before she knows that it’s good.

MC: About that, I think it takes a while, it takes time. Sometimes it’s pretty instantaneous. There’s no real way of understanding it, but you come back to it (the punch line) in a different way, it’s hard to know.

JFG: Given you have accomplished so much already, are there still things left in your bucket list?

MC: I guess the most important thing is to continue to have a drive and do good work and do better. I just want to keep on going. l want to have a really long career. People that I admire such as Joan Rivers, who I thought was so great, could keep on doing it forever to the very end and to me that’s really inspiring!

JFG: Thank you for spending some time with me. I’m a huge fan so it was very exciting to be able to talk to you.

MC: Wonderful! Thank you.

You can catch Margaret Cho in Toronto as part of the Just For Laughs 42 Comedy Festival on September 21 or 22, 2018 at the Winter Garden Theatre. She is also doing a behind the scenes chat at Second City on September 22, 2018.

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[PODCAST] TalkRice – Crazy Rich Asians – Ep. 2, Pt 1/2 – Female View https://ricepapermagazine.ca/2018/09/podcast-talkrice-crazy-rich-asians-female-view/ https://ricepapermagazine.ca/2018/09/podcast-talkrice-crazy-rich-asians-female-view/#respond Sat, 15 Sep 2018 01:48:26 +0000 https://ricepapermagazine.ca/?p=15249

[Photo: Warner Bros.] Awkwafina as Peik Lin in Crazy Rich Asians

Crazy Rich Asians has been a force at the box office adding proof that times have changed and many major media markets in the West want diversity. But the … more »

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[Photo: Warner Bros.] Awkwafina as Peik Lin in Crazy Rich Asians

Crazy Rich Asians has been a force at the box office adding proof that times have changed and many major media markets in the West want diversity. But the film is no masterpiece and our friends Bessie, Justine, and Celia definitely provide thoughts on that. Have a listen and stay tuned for the final piece of our 4 part special! All parts to the Crazy Rich Asians podcast are here.

Footnotes & Followups
Cinematheque
The Rio
Vancity Theatre
Ang Lee
Wong Kar-Wai
Rom Com (Romantic Comedy)
Joy Luck Club
Flower Drum Song
Oops. The title of the second book in Kevin Kwan’s series is not “Crazy Rich Girlfriend”, it’s “China Rich Girlfriend”. I think the response to either title would have been the same.
Benjamin Law
Ronny Chieng International Student
Music by Lee Rosevere – Thank you!


Gavin Hee is an occasional contributor to Ricepaper. He aims to connect people throughout the world interested in relatable, meaningful content by Asians. He was born and raised in North Vancouver and spent his formative twenties in Seoul where his concept of globalism transformed. He is particularly fond of pan-Asian themed stories of inter-cultural exchange and he is the founder of weshareinterests.com, a site he thinks you might enjoy since you are reading this. He encourages marginalized voices to build their own world so they are not stuck in someone else’s. Click on his name in the tags below to see all posts. 

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TIFF 2018 Dispatch: Southeast Asian Films https://ricepapermagazine.ca/2018/09/tiff-2018-dispatch-southeast-asian-films/ https://ricepapermagazine.ca/2018/09/tiff-2018-dispatch-southeast-asian-films/#respond Wed, 12 Sep 2018 01:19:30 +0000 https://ricepapermagazine.ca/?p=15242

Graves Without a Name (Panh Rithy, Cambodia/France 2018)

Graves Without a Name (Panh Rithy, Cambodia/France 2018)

Graves Without a Name (Panh Rithy, Cambodia/France 2018)
Panh Rithy’s latest documentary in his stable of Cambodia-centric films ranks as one of his saddest … more »

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Graves Without a Name (Panh Rithy, Cambodia/France 2018)

Graves Without a Name (Panh Rithy, Cambodia/France 2018)

Graves Without a Name (Panh Rithy, Cambodia/France 2018)
Panh Rithy’s latest documentary in his stable of Cambodia-centric films ranks as one of his saddest titles within his lifetime’s duty to document critical aspects of the Khmer Rouge’s genocidal reign during the late 1970s. Crafted as a philosophical essay film that doubles as an elegant dirge for the memory of stolen lives, the story is narrated by an unnamed man on a mission to locate the graves of his immediate and extended family members who disappeared during the campaign of terror. Interviews with survivors are interspersed with sequences of psychics engaging in various rituals to pinpoint where the remains of the family could lie. Panh’s discreet appearances as a mourner in a beautiful prologue and in other bridging scenes where ceremonial prayers are performed at the presumed resting places makes it clear the narrator in fact represents himself—but also others like him whose loved ones never came home.

Manta Ray (Phuttiphong Aroonpheng, Thailand/China/France 2018)

Manta Ray (Phuttiphong Aroonpheng, Thailand/China/France 2018)
On an unnamed Thai coastal village, a fisherman rescues a Rohingya man from certain death and helps him recover. The unassertive foreigner does not say a word and takes cues from his surroundings, until the fisherman suddenly disappears and the man starts adopting his saviour’s daily rituals. Phuttiphong Aroonphengs’s debut feature unfolds plainly, but a spell of stylistic frills escorts this unexplained turn of events to unleash a bewitching last act. The result is an aural and atmospheric trip that evokes the sound and jungle aesthetics of Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Syndromes and a Century (2006) and Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010). Until their recent mass expulsion from Myanmar, the Rohingya have been regularly fleeing for neighbouring Asian states over the decades. The Manta ray, a threatened species native to equatorial waters, is a metaphor for this persecuted community, who receive a dedication in the opening titles.

The Third Wife (Ash Mayfair, Vietnam 2018)

The Third Wife (Ash Mayfair, Vietnam 2018)
A doe-eyed teenage girl gifted as the third wife to a landowner receives a crash course in pecking order politics after being schooled that bearing a son will win her status and favour. But when she learns by chance that the first wife’s lovestruck son is banging the second wife, any latent ambition to checkmate her rivals is foiled by her sudden desire for the second wife, whom she wants to bang too. Vietnamese director Ash Mayfair sets out to craft a story about female identity and sexuality in late 19th century rural Vietnam, but inadvertently cheapens her effort to the level of Orientalist fantasy by fixating on skin and flesh at the expense of the emotional conflicts tormenting her heroine. Inspired by events and characters in her family’s history, Mayfair’s debut feature has the distinction of boasting a female-dominated cast and crew—a rarity anywhere, let alone in Vietnam.

Folklore: A Mother’s Love (Joko Anwar, Indonesia 2018)

Folklore: A Mother’s Love (Joko Anwar, Indonesia 2018)
After being evicted from their Jakarta home, a mother and her young son (Marissa Anita and Muzakki Ramdhan) camp out in an empty mansion where they work as cleaners, only to find its attic filled with distressed young children and unaware they have trespassed on the lair of the wewe gombel, a female ghost who kidnaps children whose parents have neglected or abandoned them. Genre specialist Joko Anwar returns to his familiar haunts with a poignant interpretation of this legend, having directed horror and supernatural features such as The Forbidden Door (2009), Satan’s Slaves (2017) and HBO Asia’s fantasy series Halfworlds (2015-2016), which also introduces demons from Indonesian folklore. Traditionally portrayed as a frightful hag with an extremely saggy bosom, the wewe gombel (shortened to wewe in the episode) has an enduring quality in local popular imagination as it cautions parents and children not to take their relationships for granted. [Premieres 7 Oct 2018 as Episode 1 on HBO Asia]

Folklore: Pob (Pen-ek Ratanaruang, Thailand 2018)

Folklore: Pob (Pen-ek Ratanaruang, Thailand 2018)
No catalogue of supernatural folklore from Asia would be complete without a Thai entry. Although Pen-ek Ratanaruang’s contribution is conceived as a mischievous comedy, its ghost still packs a terrifying presence. A forensic photographer and blogger (Nuttapon Sawasdee) documenting the death of a disembowelled American man meets his killer at the crime scene: a pob, an intestine-devouring apparition who not only confesses to how he committed the act, but also asks for the details to be published online. Pen-ek’s interesting strategy to scrub the distance between mortal and metaphysical realms gives his story a more self-conscious and intellectual edge. Played by Parama Wutthikornditsakul and Thomas Burton Van Blarcom, the ghost and foreigner gleefully ventriloquize popular Thai and American sentiments, but chiefly how Thais and foreigners view each other. Pob are entrenched in Thai popular culture and occasionally make the news, where they are blamed for unexplained deaths in rural locales. [Premieres 28 Oct 2018 as Episode 4 on HBO Asia]

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TIFF 2018 Dispatch: Shoplifters (Kore-eda Hirokazu, Japan 2018) https://ricepapermagazine.ca/2018/09/tiff-2018-dispatch-shoplifters-kore-eda-hirokazu-japan-2018/ https://ricepapermagazine.ca/2018/09/tiff-2018-dispatch-shoplifters-kore-eda-hirokazu-japan-2018/#respond Sat, 08 Sep 2018 22:07:44 +0000 https://ricepapermagazine.ca/?p=15214 When a British newspaper interviewing Kore-eda Hirokazu in 2015 asked how he felt about his signature family dramas often being compared to those of the late Ozu Yasujiro, the respected Japanese director countered that he thought his films were more … more »

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When a British newspaper interviewing Kore-eda Hirokazu in 2015 asked how he felt about his signature family dramas often being compared to those of the late Ozu Yasujiro, the respected Japanese director countered that he thought his films were more like English director Ken Loach’s. Although Kore-eda has explored the condition of childhood poverty in his breakout hit Nobody Knows (2004) and has listed Loach’s Kes (1969) as one of his favourite films, until 2015 it would have been difficult to find anyone who would readily connect his family-centric works to the films of someone as politically outspoken as Loach. It’s likely both men share similar political sympathies, but little about their filmmaking approaches or stylistics betrays affinity. After all, Loach has used his brand of social realist cinema to regularly point to what he sees as Britain’s social ills: among them, the Tory establishment’s complicity in social inequality, and the state’s historical and contemporary crimes against humanity.

In light of Kore-eda’s fanboy confession, a thematic link to Loach’s worldview of examining poverty is better appreciated in his latest film Shoplifters. The story concerns the Shibatas, a Tokyo family whose expedient members engage in fraud, deception and petty thievery to boost their paltry incomes. But the film isn’t structured to implicate the underlying socio-economic system the way Loach’s films often are. Instead, Kore-eda brings into relief his penchant for exploring domestic circumstances in all their curious forms. It’s a practice he has harnessed from embellishing the most scandalous familial affairs to have made the news in Japan in order to craft tender, contemplative stories. When the Shibatas decide to save a young girl from her abusive household by kidnapping her, they are confident (as is the film by its ending) that she would be better off under their care. Here, Kore-eda’s contention is that negotiated kinship is as intimate and powerful—if not more so—than those bound by blood ties or institutional formalities. In fact, the closest inspiration for Shoplifters is its elder sibling Nobody Knows, about a mother who gradually abandons her four minor children, all half siblings to one another, leaving them to work it out themselves.

Since winning the Cannes Film Festival’s top prize this past May (Japanese cinema’s first in 21 years), Shoplifters has enjoyed a record box office reception in Japan, but has also caused some quarters to recoil. In daring to sympathize with characters committed to crime, Japan is thus cast in a humiliating light, so one dissenting argument goes. But Kore-eda has rebutted these criticisms by blaming Japan’s social security system for failing its citizens to the point that some resort to shoplifting and other crimes—but adding the caveat that such inadequacies shouldn’t justify crime. Unlike Kore-eda’s previous family dramas which tend to be upbeat and unfold elegantly despite a motif of broken families, Shoplifters on first glance has a much darker and heavier narrative to better reflect the gravity of the subject, while also packing rare and profound political bite. Its ensemble cast assembles Kore-eda regulars Lily Franky and Kiki Kirin in key roles, while Ando Sakura and Matsuoka Mayu make charming Kore-eda debuts alongside Jyo Kairi and Sasaki Miyu as the children.

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[PODCAST] TalkRice – Crazy Rich Asians – Episode 1, Part 2/2 – Male View https://ricepapermagazine.ca/2018/09/podcast-talkrice-crazy-rich-asians-episode-1-part-2-2-male-view/ https://ricepapermagazine.ca/2018/09/podcast-talkrice-crazy-rich-asians-episode-1-part-2-2-male-view/#respond Sat, 08 Sep 2018 19:26:46 +0000 https://ricepapermagazine.ca/?p=15220

NEW YORK, NY – AUGUST 15: (L-R) Awkwafina, Jimmy O. Yang, Constance Wu, Kevin Kwan, Henry Golding, Ken Jeong and Michelle Yeoh attend SiriusXM’s Entertainment Weekly Radio Spotlight With The Cast Of ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ on August 15, 2018 in

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NEW YORK, NY – AUGUST 15: (L-R) Awkwafina, Jimmy O. Yang, Constance Wu, Kevin Kwan, Henry Golding, Ken Jeong and Michelle Yeoh attend SiriusXM’s Entertainment Weekly Radio Spotlight With The Cast Of ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ on August 15, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

Our session with the guys closes talking about the non-Chinese in Crazy Rich Asians before touching on the complexity of stereotypes in media and why a person should not think a certain type of name should match a certain type of face. All parts to the Crazy Rich Asians podcast are here.

Footnotes & Followups
Kris Aquino
Nico Santos
Heart Evangelista
MAMM – Mighty Asian Movie Making Marathon
VAFF – Vancouver Asian Film Festival
VIFF – Vancouver International Film Festival
Youth Collaborative for Chinatown – Hot & Noisy Mahjong Social
Music courtesy of PODSUMMIT. Thank you for your existence!


Gavin Hee is an occasional contributor to Ricepaper. He aims to connect people throughout the world interested in relatable, meaningful content by Asians. He was born and raised in North Vancouver and spent his formative twenties in Seoul where his concept of globalism transformed. He is particularly fond of pan-Asian themed stories of inter-cultural exchange and he is the founder of weshareinterests.com, a site he thinks you might enjoy since you are reading this. He encourages marginalized voices to build their own world so they are not stuck in someone else’s. Click on his name in the tags below to see all posts. 

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Excerpt from “The Seven Muses of Harry Salcedo” by Vincent Ternida https://ricepapermagazine.ca/2018/09/excerpt-from-the-seven-muses-of-harry-salcedo-by-vincent-ternida/ https://ricepapermagazine.ca/2018/09/excerpt-from-the-seven-muses-of-harry-salcedo-by-vincent-ternida/#respond Thu, 06 Sep 2018 22:40:18 +0000 https://ricepapermagazine.ca/?p=15115 The starchy taste of the Glico curry wasn’t too new for me. I didn’t mind the texture of the halibut, but if I were to do it differently, it wouldn’t hurt to go for a bigger piece.

In between bites, more »

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The starchy taste of the Glico curry wasn’t too new for me. I didn’t mind the texture of the halibut, but if I were to do it differently, it wouldn’t hurt to go for a bigger piece.

In between bites, Tamara started off the dreaded Vancouver conversation.

“I like dinner parties, it’s nice and intimate and gets people comfortable whereas everyone in the city just engages in small talk.”

“I know!” Filbinder interjected. “I don’t do small talk, I do big talk, Harry would know.”

I resisted the urge to eyeroll.

“I don’t know,” Shelley Anne said. “I grew up here and one thing’s for sure is people are a little guarded. Maybe it’s because everyone’s coming from the interior or across the ocean and just trying to be nice.”

“I’d say,” Tamara said. “But in all seriousness, if we can’t get past the obvious like how great the weather is or if it rains the whole time and talk about things that matter, how can we as a city grow up?”

Awkward silence.

“So Shelley Anne, what do you do?” asked Filbinder, already comfortable with the crowd.

“I’m a waitress at the moment and I’m hoping to do my MFA soon.”

“Mark, you seem quiet,” Filbinder continued.

“I’m doing alright,” Mark said. The tall, serious-looking man sat back and listened to everyone. “Just donated blood.”

“Oh how generous!” Tamara interjected.

“Not everyone can though,” Shelley Anne said. “My boyfriend’s hemophiliac.”

Three words, all dagger-shaped. Blurted out in passing, real casual, words that would never really hurt anyone. My oxytocin shield shattered. My serotonin levels depleted. The rice tasted like plaster of paris and the curry masticated into sticky dried-up glue. Tunnel vision descended, there was ringing in my ears, and a mild jolt of norephedrine with mixed messages. I felt nailed onto the chair wishing that if I could go back in time, I would tell myself to treat Guy Maddin the respect he deserved. That way, Shelley Anne Locke would have never entered my life.

I grew up here and one thing’s for sure is people are a little guarded. Maybe it’s because everyone’s coming from the interior or across the ocean and just trying to be nice.

Almost on cue, Killarney hopped onto my lap.

“Meow,” Killarney said.

“Kitty!” Shelley Anne said. “You didn’t tell me you owned a cat!”

“It’s mine but Harry thinks it’s his,” Filbinder said.

The rest of the afternoon flew by, Killarney entertained everyone. We ate dessert and they had drinks. And it was time to leave. Filbinder left to browse luggage for his trip. Tamara drove Mark home, which left Shelley Anne and me at the dinner table. Killarney was still on Shelley Anne’s lap as I cleaned up. Though she was a few centimeters away, the real distance was measured in light years.

“Coffee?” I asked.

“Just coffee, right?” Shelley Anne said.

“Yeah.”

“Anything more would be inappropriate.”

“Yeah, I know.”

More silence.

“Today was nice, you’re a sweet guy.”

“I’m glad you liked it.”

“I did. I’m happy.”

Shelley Anne followed me to the kitchen. I broke out my pour over kit and got some of my precious Bows and Arrows stash. She studied my collection of unused coffee makers.

“You must really like coffee.”

“Yeah.”

“We can always go out for a movie, you know, just as friends.”

“That’d be nice.”

I handed her a cup.

“I got some cream in the fridge.”

“I take mine black. No sugar.”

“Only way to drink it.”

“Yeah.”

We clinked our cups, and shortly after she left.

But in all seriousness, if we can’t get past the obvious like how great the weather is or if it rains the whole time and talk about things that matter, how can we as a city grow up?

Empty dishes and dirty pots and pans. Then came a sudden crash of serotonin. In my case, my personal fantasy got crushed underneath the heel of reality. It really wasn’t much. I stared at the dripping faucet slowly ebbing away at the caked sauce on the plate. It would probably take 10,000 years for the drops to wash away that grime, most likely the same time for my feelings to ever reach Shelley Anne.

Killarney hopped on the kitchen counter and meowed. He was clawing for his meal. I snapped out of the cortisol trance and reached for a Friskies can. Feeding Killarney proved to be quite a pleasing distraction at that moment. I watched the moustachioed tuxedo cat polish off the wet food.

I took a Leonard Cohen single from my shelf and played it on my vinyl player. Angie left it one day and didn’t bother to pick it up. Listening to it over the years gave me a sense of clarity and melancholy. You touched her perfect body with your mind, Lenny sang.

The once-chatty Keurig was watching and judging me. Months after picking her up from my parents, the voice I longed for hadn’t returned. Silence filled the vacuum.

I perched Killarney onto my shoulder. My oxytocin and serotonin levels started to balance. Or was that the subtle work of Toxoplasma Gondii? Once Filbinder decided to move out, he’d take Killarney to his mother’s place. Killarney would eventually forget me and given an indoor cat’s lifespan, I’d prefer him to think of someone more suitable for his cat charms than a broke, heartbroken chump like myself.

“Meow.”


Vincent Ternida’s debut novel, The Seven Muses of Harry Salcedo, launches at the LiterASIAN 2018 festival in Vancouver. View the full list of events here! Other guest speakers are Evelyn Lau, Kevin Chong, Cheuk Kwan, Jovanni Sy, Carrianne Leung, Alice Poon, Katherine Luo, Michael Kaan, Michelle Kim, and last but not least, Madeleine Thien. Interview conducted by Ricepaper and LiterASIAN.

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TIFF 2018 Dispatch: A Crazy ‘Poor’ Asian Selection https://ricepapermagazine.ca/2018/09/tiff-2018-dispatch-a-crazy-poor-asian-selection/ https://ricepapermagazine.ca/2018/09/tiff-2018-dispatch-a-crazy-poor-asian-selection/#respond Tue, 04 Sep 2018 08:14:36 +0000 https://ricepapermagazine.ca/?p=15177

Running 6-16 September 2018, the Toronto International Film Festival’s 43rd edition offers a stunningly diminished number of Asian feature films—the fewest in at least the last several years. Although market vagaries and audience metrics may have conspired toward this … more »

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Running 6-16 September 2018, the Toronto International Film Festival’s 43rd edition offers a stunningly diminished number of Asian feature films—the fewest in at least the last several years. Although market vagaries and audience metrics may have conspired toward this gradual decline, it’s hard to shake off the feeling that Toronto is sleepwalking through its overall curatorial responsibilities for Asia. In a year when the festival is riding the trendy tailwinds of equal opportunity politics (by increasing the visibility of female filmmakers and adding Technicolor to its apparently monochromatic press corps), it is galling that its Asian numbers are at a historical low and the least representative of the eastern subcontinent.

Indeed, Chinese-language films feature preponderantly this year. With one exception, this is effectively a Mainland Chinese slate whose assembled filmmakers are mostly card-carrying stars of the global film festival circuit or celebrity names in China. Unfortunately, this is a myopic view of the colossal variety of Mainland Chinese filmmaking that Western film festivals don’t see the need to correct. On the other hand, China’s bigger presence has come at the expense of other regions in Asia. Japanese and South Korean films form the residuals at second and third place. As for Southeast Asia, let’s just say their cinemas are now like rare bird sightings at the festival. In a surprising turn of events, not a single film from the Philippines was deemed worthy of an appearance, thus leaving just Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam as the region’s flag bearers at one film apiece.

Several titles will be arriving with great buzz after being feted at the Cannes Film Festival in May, where Asian films enjoyed their best reception in years. Among them are Shoplifters, Kore-eda Hirokazu’s Palme d’Or winning family drama which comes with rare and profound political bite; Burning, Lee Chang-dong’s chilling Korean adaptation of a Murakami Haruki short story which earned it boundless acclaim; Ash is Purest White, the latest gangster flick from lapsed-arthouse poster boy Jia Zhangke, who now prefers making edgy genre pics; and Long Day’s Journey into Night, Bi Gan’s partial 3D romancer which also attracted rapturous plaudits. One interesting outlier is The Sweet Requiem, a story about a Tibetan exile in India by documentarian couple Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam, and which is a follow up to their Dreaming Lhasa (2005).

Side events this year include a masterclass by Chinese actor, writer and director Jiang Wen, and a 25th anniversary screening of Wayne Wang’s The Joy Luck Club (1993)—a timely appearance, given its profuse citation in the flush of publicity surrounding Crazy Rich Asians (2018). In its fourth year, the festival’s Primetime program, dedicated to the global resurgence of television, showcases its first Asian selection: two episodes from HBO Asia’s 6-part anthology called Folklore. Led by creator and showrunner Eric Khoo, the series presents stories about Southeast and East Asian supernatural and horror traditions. Only Joko Anwar’s A Mother’s Love (Indonesia) and Pen-ek Ratanaruang’s Pob (Thailand) will screen; the remaining episodes are by Saito Takumi (Japan), Ho Yuhang (Malaysia), Eric Khoo (Singapore) and Lee Sang-woo (South Korea). In a year when Asian cinema has also been unusually shut out from the festival’s Midnight Madness program, this pair will have to do.

This year’s Asian and Asian-interest feature films are:

Cambodia
Graves Without a Name (Panh Rithy, Cambodia/France 2018) – TIFF Docs

China/Taiwan
Ash is Purest White (Jia Zhangke, China/France 2018) – Masters
Baby (Liu Jie, China 2018) – Special Presentations
Cities of Last Things (Ho Wi Ding, Taiwan/China/France/USA 2018) – Platform
The Crossing (Bai Xue, China 2018) – Discovery
An Elephant Sitting Still (Hu Bo, China 2018) – Discovery
Hidden Man (Jiang Wen, China 2018) – Galas
Jinpa (Pema Tseden, China 2018) – Contemporary World Cinema
Legend of the Demon Cat [Director’s Cut] (Chen Kaige, China/Japan 2018) – Special Presentations
Long Day’s Journey into Night (Bi Gan, China/France 2018) – Wavelengths
Shadow (Zhang Yimou, China 2018) – Galas

France
Dead Souls (Wang Bing, France/Switzerland 2018) – Wavelengths

India
The Sweet Requiem (Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam, India/USA 2018) – Contemporary World Cinema

Japan
Asako I & II (Hamaguchi Ryusuke, Japan/France 2018) – Contemporary World Cinema
Complicity (Chikaura Kei, Japan/China 2018) – Discovery
Killing (Tsukamoto Shinya, Japan 2018) – Masters
Shoplifters (Kore-eda Hirokazu, Japan 2018) – Special Presentations
Vision (Kawase Naomi, Japan/France 2018) – Special Presentations

South Korea
Burning (Lee Chang-dong, South Korea 2018) – Special Presentations
Hotel by the River (Hong Sang-soo, South Korea 2018) – Masters
Our Body (Han Ka-ram, South Korea 2018) – Discovery

Thailand
Manta Ray (Phuttiphong Aroonpheng, Thailand/China/France 2018) – Discovery

USA
The Joy Luck Club (Wayne Wang, USA/China 1993) – Special Events

Vietnam
The Third Wife (Ash Mayfair, Vietnam 2018) – Discovery

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Exhibition illuminates the life and legacy of Chinese Canadian artist, Anna Wong https://ricepapermagazine.ca/2018/09/exhibition-illuminates-the-life-and-legacy-of-chinese-canadian-artist-anna-wong/ https://ricepapermagazine.ca/2018/09/exhibition-illuminates-the-life-and-legacy-of-chinese-canadian-artist-anna-wong/#respond Mon, 03 Sep 2018 06:10:06 +0000 https://ricepapermagazine.ca/?p=15187
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The Burnaby Art Gallery’s exhibition of Anna Wong: A Traveller on Two Roads is a refreshing approach to the Asian Canadian narrative. As the first major retrospective of Canadian artist and master printmaker, Anna Wong (1930-2013), it is long overdue recognition for the Vancouver Chinatown native who, despite a dedicated art practice and an international career spanning seven decades, was little known beyond her intimate circle of family, friends and colleagues. However, the most striking revelation of the impressive collection of over seventy original works by the artist is the introspective and personable nature of a woman who was deeply in love with the creative process and life in general.

The range of works, which includes paintings, hand-pulled prints and large-scale textile pieces, reflects Wong’s prolific output and evolution as an artist. In her youth, Wong worked at her family’s tailoring business in Chinatown, Vancouver. After studying Chinese brush painting in Hong Kong and graduating from the Vancouver School of Art, Wong studied and taught at the Pratt Graphics Center in New York City for close to two decades before she returned permanently to the Canadian West Coast.

“As with many artists who leave [the country] – even though Wong came back often – they don’t get the recognition they should,” explained co-curators Ellen van Eijnsbergen and Jennifer Cane.

This exhibition is the result of a concerted effort by the Burnaby Art Gallery to re-evaluate the representation of Canadian artists in its permanent collection, especially of women and those of traditionally marginalized backgrounds.

Remarkably, while many artists of colour and particularly women assumed anti-institutional stances or engaged in identity politics in response to feelings of exclusion or systemic discrimination in Canadian society during her time, Wong chose a more independent path.

“What made Wong unique was her artistic explorations of abstraction and careful study of Chinese culture from a Chinese-Canadian perspective,” said van Eijnsbergen and Cane.

Wong’s skilful combination of traditional Chinese calligraphy and modern abstraction is demonstrated in such stunning pieces as Morphallaxis XXIX (1965), which received an honourable mention at the prestigious Burnaby Art Society National Print Show (1961-1977). As one of the earliest pieces to be acquired for the Burnaby Art Gallery’s collection, Morphallaxis XXIX is featured proudly along with a diverse selection of works gathered with the assistance of family and friends of the artist for the exhibition.

“Whether Wong was creating work in the city or in her isolated West Coast studio, she was always working with images in stark contrast from her present surroundings: establishing an ‘elsewhere’ through tableaus of fern and maple leaves while living in Manhattan, or through scenes of the Great Wall and Mount Gongga while making art in Vancouver. These works represent two parallel journeys of the self, and in this exhibition, we have attempted to accompany her on these travels,” said van Eijnsbergen and Cane.

Anna Wong at work in her Pratt studio, New York, 1971, photographer unknown

In 1978, Wong joined a tour organized by the Vancouver Chinese Cultural Centre to visit post-Cultural Revolution China. It would be the first of numerous trips, including a visit to the family’s ancestral village in Taishan (Toishan), as well as to more iconic sites, such as the Great Wall, the Imperial Ming Tombs and the Buddhist cave temples of Tung Huang (Dunhuang). Seeing China through the eyes of the Canadian-born Wong presents the viewer with an interesting combination of curious nostalgia and breathless adventure.

One might surmise that Wong’s incredible expression was compensation for her otherwise limited ability to vocalize her thoughts. At the age of 20, Anna was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. While the cancer was treated and went into remission, the medical procedures left her with damaged vocal cords and made speaking difficult. Despite this, Wong diligently applied herself to her chosen profession, which often exposed her to irritating toxic chemicals.

“My signed hand-pulled prints will speak for itself [sic],” Wong is quoted as saying on a family PowerPoint shared by her brother, Maurice Wong.

However, Wong’s thirst for knowledge and generosity of spirit is likely to be attributed to her parents who were instrumental in the academic and cultural education of their ten children. The family of Modernize Tailors, which was a fixture in Chinatown Vancouver dating back to 1913, went on to make significant contributions in various fields, including business, social services, architecture, health, education and culture in Canada and beyond.

The importance of family is featured significantly throughout Wong’s work, from her incorporation of textiles to the utilization of family photos and keepsakes in especially her later work. When Wong was twenty-one years old, she became the matriarch of the family while her parents took a year-and-a-half journey around the world. While taking care of her younger siblings, she developed her interest in teaching art to young children.

“She taught me to be comfortable with who you are and [that] anything is possible; she encouraged us all to live a meaningful positive life, be your own boss…be focused and think towards your goals at whatever chosen path(s) you choose,” said nephew Peter Wong.

Many young relatives of the Wong family benefited either directly or indirectly from the strong integrity and creative spirit of their “cool artist Aunt Anna”. The opening of Wong’s exhibition on Thursday, August 30 was therefore well attended by members and friends of the extended family from all over the world. The stories and shared affection for Anna Wong made the occasion feel much like a celebration of life, as many were aware that Wong never sought or required external validation in her definition of success.

In her own words: “To be curious and to strive for the work of a pro – to do one thing well – this is my personal goal…Teaching art has certain parallels, both seem to be a process of search and discovery, to continue to grow, to learn to expand our awareness of ourselves and the universe. My work tries to elucidate ‘moments in time’ when one grasps intuitively the complexity and paradox of existence and nature. To push beyond the obvious, to investigate and attempt to understand that realm beyond the apparent is an adventure I find exciting and rewarding.”

Anna Wong, Morphallaxis XXIX, 1965, etching on paper, A/P, 35.4 x 25.4 cm, City of Burnaby Permanent Art Collection, BAG AN 1980.124

With a message that speaks not only to generations of Chinese Canadians but to anyone with an inquisitive mind, it is a life and work worth celebrating indeed.

Anna Wong: Traveller on Two Roads will be displayed at the gallery from August 30 to November 3, 2018, before travelling across Canada in 2019 and 2020. The exhibition is accompanied by a full-colour, hardcover publication in two bilingual editions — English/French and Traditional/Simplified Chinese


Bessie Chow is a freelance writer and amateur philosopher. She is passionate about diversity and inclusion, arts and culture and challenging assumptions. She is currently working on a personal project exploring the history of Chinese Canadians.

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[PODCAST] TalkRice – Crazy Rich Asians – Episode 1, Part 1/2 – Male View https://ricepapermagazine.ca/2018/09/podcast-talkrice-crazy-rich-asians-episode-1-part-1-2-a-male-view/ https://ricepapermagazine.ca/2018/09/podcast-talkrice-crazy-rich-asians-episode-1-part-1-2-a-male-view/#respond Mon, 03 Sep 2018 04:37:28 +0000 https://ricepapermagazine.ca/?p=15174

[Image: Getty] Back (L-R) – Henry Golding, Sonoya Mizuno, Gemma Chan, Michelle Yeoh, Awkwafina, Constance Wu, Chris Pang, Nico Santos, Ronny Chieng, Kevin Kwan
Front (L-R) – Jimmy O. Yang, Kevin Tsujihara, Jon. M. Chu, Ken Jeong

TalkRice talks Crazy more »

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[Image: Getty] Back (L-R) – Henry Golding, Sonoya Mizuno, Gemma Chan, Michelle Yeoh, Awkwafina, Constance Wu, Chris Pang, Nico Santos, Ronny Chieng, Kevin Kwan
Front (L-R) – Jimmy O. Yang, Kevin Tsujihara, Jon. M. Chu, Ken Jeong

TalkRice talks Crazy Rich Asians on a quiet – maybe too quiet – Sunday afternoon from our office at the Sun Wah Centre in Vancouver’s Chinatown. Hear about our new place and a few other things before Gavin, Joko, Ki-Hwan, and Vincent discuss the film and how it impacted each of them coming from Canadian, Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, global backgrounds. This first episode has been split into 2 parts. The second part is here. This is also a two episode program: Episode 1 covers a sample of male views; Episode 2 comes at it from a female perspective (on its way!). All parts can be found by clicking on the tag below “Crazy Rich Asians Podcast”.

Footnotes & Followups
The Seven Muses of Harry Salcedo
Sun Wah Centre
Artscape
Jim Wong-Chu
Soccernomics
LiterASIAN
Madeleine Thien
Sun Fresh Bakery House – Fresh rice noodle, dim sum, cakes (Next to Maxim’s)
Pacific Canada Heritage Centre (PCHC)
Phnom Penh
Centre A
Website: We Share Interests – Goonj! Being Brown in Chinatown
Kina Grannis
Awkwafina and Ballin’ on a Budget or the World According to Awkwafina Just run searches. You’ll find good.
Searching and John Cho
Justin Lin & Better Luck Tomorrow
Music courtesy of PODSUMMIT. Thank you for your existence!

Chinatown Riots photo where Sikh man (far right) is often cropped out. [Image Credit – National Archives of Canada]


Gavin Hee is an occasional contributor to Ricepaper. He aims to connect people throughout the world interested in relatable, meaningful content by Asians. He was born and raised in North Vancouver and spent his formative twenties in Seoul where his concept of globalism transformed. He is particularly fond of pan-Asian themed stories of inter-cultural exchange and he is the founder of weshareinterests.com, a site he thinks you might enjoy since you are reading this. He encourages marginalized voices to build their own world so they are not stuck in someone else’s. Click on his name in the tags below to see all posts. 

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Silenced No More: Voices of Comfort Women book introduction and excerpt https://ricepapermagazine.ca/2018/08/silenced-no-more-voices-of-comfort-women-book-introduction-and-excerpt/ https://ricepapermagazine.ca/2018/08/silenced-no-more-voices-of-comfort-women-book-introduction-and-excerpt/#respond Fri, 24 Aug 2018 02:22:13 +0000 https://ricepapermagazine.ca/?p=15150

Remember the “Comfort Women”

I was 15 and living in Vancouver when I first learned about the ‘comfort women’, a terrible euphemism for tens of thousands of young women sexually enslaved by the Japanese military. My mother had read about … more »

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Remember the “Comfort Women”

I was 15 and living in Vancouver when I first learned about the ‘comfort women’, a terrible euphemism for tens of thousands of young women sexually enslaved by the Japanese military. My mother had read about it in a Korean newspaper and shared it with me. I was shocked when I couldn’t find any details about their experiences in my Euro-centric history books, like it had never happened.

Years later, I learned from activists and historians in Asia that tens of thousands of women and girls as young as eleven years old were forced into the horrific machinery of rape stations and attacked by up to sixty Japanese soldiers a day. There were more than a thousand of these rape stations in China alone, mostly located at the frontlines of the war. These minors and women were subjected to sexual torture as well as starvation, physical maiming, racial abuse and at times, even death.

The Japanese government and military sanctioned and helped organize the trafficking of women from areas the Japanese considered “racially inferior” for systemic rape, from 1931 until 1945. They called these women “comfort women” because their role was to boost morale and “comfort” the troops.

In 1999, RicePaper allowed me to write about this issue that deeply affects the Asian community – it was one that the mainstream media was not interested yet in covering at the time. Many elder Koreans and Chinese remained bitter towards the Japanese for failing to sincerely apologize for war crimes like the “comfort women” military sex slavery and the massacre of civilians during the Rape of Nanking.

In 2000, after I interviewed 80-year-old survivor Kim Soon-Duk at a press conference in Washington, D.C., her testimony of unspeakable suffering left a deep impression on me. As a teenager, Kim was deceived into thinking she would work in a hospital. But she was forcibly taken to Shanghai to be a sex slave for several years. She asked me to tell the world about what had happened to her.

It cost Kim Soon-Duk and the other women their lives, their futures, their health, their sanity, most survivors couldn’t marry nor bear children due to the damage inflicted on their reproductive system. It cost them everything.

Many elderly women like Kim from Korea, China, the Philippines, Taiwan, and the Netherlands, broke more than fifty years of silence to testify of their sexual enslavement by the Imperial Japanese military. Only a handful are alive today.

I felt compelled to document the voices of survivors in different countries for the next 10 years. All of the women I have spoken with have called on the Japanese government to apologize in a way that would bring healing and dignity. The nation of Japan continues to offer ambiguous regrets that are not sincere official government apologies and has, in the past, spent large sums of money to cover up its involvement in military sex slavery.

I moved to China in 2004 to research further and this led to investigating modern day “comfort women”— sex slavery victims in Asia today. My experience in understanding what happened to the women and girls in the 1930s and 1940s allowed me to see that history was repeating itself. The grave injustice that was never dealt with at the end of World War II has enabled another cycle of sex trafficking to flourish.

I’ve been a journalist, writer and film producer based in Hong Kong and Beijing since 2004. For me sharing my ‘Silenced No More’ book excerpt with RicePaper is a full circle moment since I first wrote about the issue in 1999. I want to raise more awareness about historical military sex slavery and sex trafficking today. – Sylvia Yu Friedman

**The book’s first edition was published under my pen name, S.J. Friedman. A year ago, I decided to use my name, Sylvia Yu Friedman, on the e-book.


Excerpt from the book, ‘Silenced No More: Voices of Comfort Women’:

Silenced No More: Voices of Comfort Women, published by Freedom Press

Another survivor, Lee Young-Soo, is known as the fashionable grandma and has been described as very smart, a natural politician, warm, and childlike. We met at the home for survivors in Seoul in 2004. Her mother protected her after she returned home after the war. By 2007, Lee had morphed into a type of superstar spokeswoman, touring the United States and speaking before politicians about the resolutions that call on the Japanese government to issue an unequivocal apology and compensation to military sex slaves.

Lee was born in 1928 in Daegu, South Korea. Her impoverished family of nine, including her grandparents, lived in a cramped home. She only had one year of formal education, but her ability to grasp complex information and communicate it in an eloquent way is an innate talent. At the age of fifteen, she was drafted into the “Voluntary Corps.” In the fall of 1944, when she turned sixteen, she was lured away into military sex slavery with her friend Kim Pun-San. On the way to a Taiwanese rape station, she was beaten and tortured.

“It was my first ride on a train, and I vomited. I called for my mother because I was sick. The Japanese soldier came, pulled on my ponytail, and banged my head on the floor. He did this to the other girls too,” she recalled. “And to this day, I still hear a noise ringing in my head. I told the older girls I missed my parents and wanted to go home. I longed to see my mother. That’s what I said. And the Japanese soldiers hit me again because he said I was using Korean. The older women advised me to use actions rather than words.”

Before they were ordered on to the boat, Lee knelt down and desperately prayed to God for help. “As I was praying a Japanese soldier came and kicked me. He followed us all the time. When he kicked me as I was praying and weeping, if my friend hadn’t caught me, I would’ve fallen over into the water,” she said.

On the boat ride to Taiwan, Lee was raped for the first time, and the attacks continued until she could no longer walk properly once she had to disembark from the ship. Lee almost died after a bombing of the underground shelter she and the other women and comfort station proprietor took refuge in. She lost consciousness after she was struck in the head. They were soon moved to another bomb shelter where she was forced to serve soldiers. She caught a venereal disease and was given injections of Serum 606.

Despite the harsh conditions, Lee made it home to her family. She lived with her mother for the rest of her life. Her mother died when Lee was forty-eight years old.

Lee has managed to eke out a living through sales work. She hikes at 6 a.m. every day and maintains a wide circle of friends in different parts of the world. An avid shopper, Lee’s wardrobe is now filled with expensive and beautiful clothing.
When asked if her han (Korean word for indescribable sorrow) has been eased at all, Lee says, “I meet a lot of young people but I can’t ask young people to relieve my han. The Japanese government has to resolve my han. If I have han or nurture it, it ruins my health. So in some ways I don’t want to resolve my han for the younger generation. It is a fighting strength. Some han is released by talking to people or going to protests and seeing many younger people,” she said. “When I speak with young people like you, my han is released a little. I believe it’ll be healed by the younger generation to continue the fight for justice and by the legacy we leave. I don’t think it’ll be released while I’m alive. There has been a hint of relief through the Korean government as they are trying, to some degree, to resolve the redress issue with the Japanese government. But the Japanese government has not done anything to relieve the pain.”

It is clear to see that these elderly women, who have survived, want nothing more than an apology before they die. The survivors are like pine trees in Korea, known as the sonamu. The sonamu is unusually tough and its leaves remain rich green throughout all seasons, through harsh winds, sun and blustery monsoons, sprouting up in impossibly craggy landscapes, and because of its resilience it carries great significance as a national symbol of the Korean people who have endured attacks from invading forces over the centuries. Ever unchanging, the pine’s roots wind deep into the earth and give it strength. The survivors’ strong will to live is like these pine trees. They are dignified, immensely strong, and stately.

The reality is that they may never receive the long-awaited apology from the Japanese government that they want to hear. As they have shared their painful stories with the world and each other, they have also raised global awareness on the horrors of sex trafficking and sexual violence against women and children in war zones, and they have shown the world that these crimes against them must not be tolerated or ignored.

The women’s rights and human rights movement that was birthed out of the struggle for justice for Japanese military sex slaves has had enormous international impact. The peak of this came through the activists’ hard work in promoting the non-binding resolutions that were passed in several countries, including the United States, which called on the nation of Japan to issue a clear apology and take on moral and legal responsibility for its direct involvement in planning and implementing the military sex slavery system.

There must be an awakening to the plight of the suffering through our own sufferings. Before we can see and feel another’s wounds, perhaps we have to be faced with the reality of our own poverty. These women have experienced so much pain. We are at risk of forgetting this is a human rights issue with great political implications in East Asia. There is a need for reconciliation between Japan and her neighbors. We are also at risk of turning a blind eye to the modern day sex trafficking and slavery. We are at risk of ignoring them and callously moving on with our lives.

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