Diaspora & Travel

15/10/15 Arts & Culture , Australia , Diaspora & Travel , Society & Politics # , , , , , , ,

What’s in a name?

What’s in a name?

By Rashida Murphy

 

When American genealogist Michael Derrick Hudson decided that he would publish his poetry under a pseudonym, on the surface, it wasn’t such a big deal. After all, writers have been using pseudonyms for centuries. Think the Bronte sisters, Mark Twain, Lewis Carroll and most recently, J.K Rowling’s reincarnation as Robert Galbraith. No, choosing a pseudonym in itself appears to be a personal, innocuous choice. What made Hudson’s choice interesting was that he chose Yi Fen Chou’s name, a woman who used to be his classmate in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Even more offensive to Asian writers was Hudson’s confession that he found it easier to publish his poetry under an assumed Asian name, because of editorial bias towards ‘ethnic-sounding’ names. Hudson claimed he submitted poetry under his own name and had it rejected, but his rate of acceptance escalated rapidly when using the Chinese pseudonym.

 

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09/10/15 Arts & Culture , Australia , Diaspora & Travel , Society & Politics # , , , , , , , ,

Reflections on the awkwardly knotted hyphen

Reflections on the awkwardly knotted hyphen

By Meeta Chatterjee-Padmanabhan

 

While rearranging book shelves at home, I came across old notebooks with Hindi and Tamil alphabets in my children’s handwriting. Each carefully formed letter triggered memories. I remember the smug satisfaction that my husband and I felt as we helped our girls connect with their heritage languages. The girls, on the other hand, barely suppressed their annoyance at not being able to join their friends leaping around with water guns in their hands and screaming with delight just outside our door. Many years later, reading Sticks and stones and such like, Sunil Badami’s phrase ‘the awkwardly knotted hyphen’ that inscribes the uneasy yoking of two distinct national cultures: ‘Indian-Australian, Australian-Indian depending on the day’ intrigued me. I have wondered, how awkwardly knotted can a hyphen be before it stops being a hyphen?
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04/08/15 Arts & Culture , Australia , Diaspora & Travel , Society & Politics # , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Same –sex and other Desires: Asian diversity in the face of Australian decadence

Same –sex and other Desires: Asian diversity in the face of Australian decadence

By Mridula Nath Chakraborty

 

Even as the country is in the grip of issues that seem to beset it from every angle, environmental concerns, racial discrimination, housing crisis, fluctuating dollar etc., the powers and parties that be are seeking to introduce yet another cog in the political machinery. Amidst the chilling winter in Australia this year, one issue seems to be giving many a heat-rash. As the ‘debate’ around same-sex marriage hots up and cries of religious alarm go up, there has been an unusual moment of ‘solidarity’ with Asia.

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21/07/15 Diaspora & Travel , Society & Politics # , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I Am Half Spanish

I Am Half Spanish

By Gary Paramanathan

My best friend and I have this running joke, I’ll say “I’m half Spanish” and she’ll ask “which half?” usually this rapport is met with slight amusement or dismay by the rest of our friends. I am not half Spanish, I’m entirely Sri Lankan (whatever that means?) So why this joke? It is our special little jab, we pull it out when we sense someone is in denial of his or her South Asianess.  By in denial, I mean trying to fabricate an identity that is a bit more mainstream, more appealing, and more special than the average South Asian. This kind of identity transition seems important especially in the dating world, where “mixed” is in and single origin is out. You only have to browse through any of the top dating apps to see South Asians, readily selecting “mixed” heritage.

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18/07/15 Arts & Culture , Australia , Diaspora & Travel , Meddling Maami , Society & Politics # , , , , , , ,

What level of talent do I need to have/achieve so I’m never pestered into finding a husband?

What level of talent do I need to have/achieve so I’m never pestered into finding a husband?

My dears! It was so so lovely to see you all at the great little bash we had to celebrate the launch of our wonderful Southern Crossings blogazine. Who cared that we were not allowed to reserve tables inside the pub? Who noticed the thunderous pouring rain in the courtyard amid the cacophonous warmth of southerners from the subcontinent and the island-continent? My dear nephews and nieces, you set the bar (ha ha, pun intended) really high with your revelling that night. Joy of joys, some of you even came and revealed your heart’s secrets and appealed to me for comfort, like old times. Now that I have had the time to think deeply and deliciously about your concerns, here’s some skerricks of advice from your loving Meddling Mammi.

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15/07/15 Arts & Culture , Australia , Diaspora & Travel , Society & Politics # , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

On not fitting into boxes: An exploration of borders and border-crossers

On not fitting into boxes: An exploration of borders and border-crossers

By Sukhmani Khorana

 

Born in Jammu, the winter capital of the northernmost state of India, I felt rather like the character of Lenny in Deepa Mehta’s film, Earth. For those who may not be familiar with the text, Lenny is a Parsi girl living in Pakistan at the time of partition whose life is thrown asunder as she plays neutral witness to the growing feuds among her erstwhile neighbourly Hindu, Muslim and Sikh friends and carers.

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16/06/15 Arts & Culture , Australia , Diaspora & Travel , Society & Politics # , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Making a Scene: A review of Kiran Nagarkar’s ‘Bedtime Story’

Making a Scene: A review of Kiran Nagarkar’s ‘Bedtime Story’

By Sumedha Iyer

 

As we took our seats in the theatre, the actors were on the stage chatting amongst themselves, rehearsing lines and practising their blocking for the evening’s performance. There was no cocoon of darkness for the audience to make themselves comfortable in as the show started – the lights stayed on even as the sutradhar/chorus A.A. Larry ordered the actors into their places. This departure from the usual theatregoing experience was intentional; the audience was to be involved in the ‘bedtime story’ to come.

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12/06/15 Arts & Culture , Australia , Diaspora & Travel , Society & Politics # , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Double–edged Sword

A Double–edged Sword

By Rashida Murphy

 

July 1985. Sahar Airport, Mumbai: In the urgent business of holding a baby in my arms while negotiating the curly line towards the exit, to where a Qantas 747 waits to take me to Perth, I forget to look around one last time. I miss the sight of Mumbai or Bombay as it was then, saying goodbye. It was never my hometown anyway. It was just where I lived. And I was on the threshold of a new life, as a desirable immigrant with double degrees and English language skills. Australia, about which I knew little except that it had large reserves of underground water and farms the size of small countries in Europe, waited.

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09/06/15 Arts & Culture , Australia , Diaspora & Travel , Society & Politics # , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Hipstamatic filter won’t fix your Nostalgia

A Hipstamatic filter won’t fix your Nostalgia

There is much written about diasporic nostalgia for a lost homeland in literature, literary theory, and even media and cultural studies scholarship. As a first generation migrant from India to Australia, I also once longed for the smell of hot samosas on a rainy day, but that is only part of the tale.

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02/06/15 Arts & Culture , Australia , Diaspora & Travel , Society & Politics # , , , , , , ,

’Why Do Indians Smell?’ The Case for the Self-Referential Racist Joke

’Why Do Indians Smell?’ The Case for the Self-Referential Racist Joke

By Sumedha Iyer

 

“Why do Indians smell? So blind people can hate them too.” My mother told me that joke when I was in my early teens. I was both offended and energised by it. This sucks, that smelly Indian person could be me! But it’s my mum too, and she’s telling the joke. Which is delicious. Like samosas and chutney. Wait, that’s a stereotype. Am I being racist? My head hurts.

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