Cultural Curiosity by Josephine M.T. Khu
Thirteen Stories about the Search for Chinese Roots

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Synopsis

This anthology of autobiographical essays reveals the human side of the Chinese diaspora. Written by ethnic Chinese who were born or raised outside of China, these moving pieces, full of the poignant details of everyday life, describe the experience of growing up as a visible minority and the subsequent journey each author made to China. The authors—whose diverse backgrounds in countries such as New Zealand, Denmark, Sri Lanka, England, Indonesia, and the United States mirror the complex global scope of the Chinese diaspora—describe in particular how their journey to the country of their ancestors transformed their sense of what it means to be Chinese. The collection as a whole provides important insights into what ethnic identity has come to mean in our transnational era.

Among the pieces is Brad Wong's discussion of his visit to his grandfather's poverty-stricken village in China's southern Guangdong province. He describes working with a few of the peasants tilling vegetables and compares life in the village with his middle-class upbringing in a San Francisco suburb. In another essay, Milan Lin-Rodrigo tells of her life in Sri Lanka and of the trip she made to China as an adult. She describes the difficult and sometimes humorous cultural differences she experienced when she met her Chinese half-sister and her father's first wife.

Josephine Khu's lively afterword provides background information on the Chinese diaspora and gives a theoretical framework for understanding the issues raised in the essays. This intimate and rich anthology will be compelling reading for all who are seeking answers to the increasingly complex issue of ethnic and personal identity.
 

About Josephine M.T. Khu

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Josephine M. T. Khu is a Visiting Scholar at the Centre of Asian Studies at Hong Kong University.
 
Published July 2, 2001 by University of California Press. 318 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Travel. Non-fiction

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