Archives de catégorie : EN

Mango & Bullets

Ressources for antiracism. In English and German.

mangoes & bullets was created in 2015, funded by ENGAGEMENT GLOBAL on behalf of the BMZ, with funds from the State Office for Development Cooperation of the State of Berlin and with funds from the Church Development Service through Bread for the World – Evangelical Development Service. Other supporters in 2019 were the GLS Treuhand, Haleakala Foundation and the Bildungswerk Berlin of the Heinrich Böll Foundation on topics related to degrowth and carework. In 2022, development policy funds from ENGAGEMENT GLOBAL on behalf of the BMZ, from funds from the State Office for Development Cooperation of the State of Berlin, were used for development-related contributions.

Diaspora vietnamienne en Australie | Australian Vietnamese Diaspora

Cette série de vidéos est produite par une communauté vietnamienne d’Australie.

Les familles qui témoignent sont réfugiées. On y évoque la façon dont l’expérience d’une génération affecte la suivante.

Cet épisode décrit la situation classique des familles réfugiées vietnamiennes, qui ont fui le régime communiste. La grand-mère insiste sur l’importance de préserver les traditions, la culture, et notamment la langue. Plus loin, un de ses petits-fils reconnaît qu’avoir appris à parler et écrire, lire la langue lui aura permis de mieux apprécier la culture.

Un des garçons de la fratrie explique que son identité de Vietnamien fait partie de lui, que “c’est l’histoire, c’est de là d’où il vient”. Un autre insiste sur le fait d’honorer les ancêtres. Un peu plus loin, il conseille d’écouter les parents raconter leur histoire qui n’est pas seulement la leur mais aussi celle des enfants, celle de la famille.

Remarquons comment la mère rappelle son appartenance au Vietnam, par la tradition : Cháu Lạc Long Quân Âu Cơ, ce qui signifie qu’elle est la descendante du Dragon et de la Fée, selon la mythologie vietnamienne. Les différentes générations tentent de définir leur double identité, double appartenance au Vietnam et à l’Australie.


Au début de la vidéo, Lin Sun explique comment la relation qu’il avait avec ses parents a changé à mesure qu’il a grandit, qu’il est devenu père de famille lui-même. On évoque l’éducation stricte des parents, qui est décrite comme asiatique. La deuxième génération essaie de comprendre la perspective de la génération précédente.

Une musique plutôt dramatique dans le fond d’interviews entre les parents de la première génération et les enfants de la suivante. Nous sommes en Australie et les thématiques sont toujours les mêmes : identité, race, intégration, exil, transmission de la culture, trauma, etc. La vidéo part de la dance des lions, de l’art martial vietnamien, Vovinam, et le jeune Australien-Vietnamien explique en quoi leur pratique lui a permis d’apprécier son héritage culturel. Les témoignages racontent la difficulté pour les parents à travailler, à parler la langue, à réunir suffisamment d’argent pour mettre à leurs enfants de poursuivre des études. Elvis fait alors des études de médecine mais rêve de devenir acteur et veut inspirer sa génération et la suivante, montrer que même pour un Vietnamien, un descendant d’immigré, c’est possible de percer.

“Everything that they went through, it forms my identity too”. (7:06)

Tout ce qu’ils ont traversé, ça forge mon identité aussi, dit-il, en évoquant les difficultés de ses parents, leurs traumas. Une courte vidéo qui met l’accent sur les déterminismes sociaux autant que sur le libre-arbitre d’une génération qui veut définir son identité.

 

 

Mapping past and present memory [EN]

[Version française]

Mapping Memory is the project of a collective of Asian people in Berlin. The aim of this initiative is to bring to light the presence and memory of people of Asian origin in the city of Berlin by collecting testimonies, memories, experiences that come in the form of texts of different literary forms, various images that invite us to discover, through intimate and family histories, what Asian people who live and grew up in Berlin actually experience. These are voices of the second generation who question their place in German society and their way of integrating their family and cultural heritage into the everyday landscape.

There are several interesting things to notice, to consider the choices and what they might mean or tell.

Firstly, unlike many works of memory on the diasporas, it is not a question of recounting history as such, that of previous generations. If, of course, the aspect of legacy and transmission is there, it is approached and presented in terms of its traces and effects on the present. This is a clear indication of the change in mentality of the new generations, who are not simply nostalgic about the past, but are seeking to interpret and appropriate it.

It is therefore not a question of mapping distant history, as some necessary and still too few initiatives can do (which offer other historical narratives of places, bringing to the fore the experience of social groups minoritized by the dominant and hegemonic vision of history), it is a question of mapping the “present” memory, in the sense that we are talking about the one experienced by the new generations. And the testimonies clearly show to what extent this memory of the children of immigrants is also always charged with traditions, cultural questioning and migratory paths of the parents to be valued, as the categorization shows.

The second aspect to focus on is the categorization chosen to navigate through these experiences: Denkmal/Memorials; Empowerment; Essen/Food; Generationen/Generations.

Places of memory are important places for people because of their cultural aspect. They are cemeteries, temples, special monuments that mark the memory. They are landmarks, points of return in which one invests. “To invest” refers here to the expenditure of a certain amount of energy to create and maintain a tie between the place and the memory, between the object and the symbol. This reminds us of the extent to which memory, culture and identity need material supports. This can, at the very least, be materialized by a restaurant, a plot of land or any place that recalls the elsewhere, the other-place that is not there but is invoked and performed in the present here. Several studies show how communities in diaspora seek to recreate a world that is both similar and different from the society they left behind. The famous Chinatown or Little Saigon testify to this. What is interesting in the experiences presented here is to see the diversity and subjectivity of the places of memory, the uses and meanings that can be given to them. Each relationship to a culture, a place is different and evolves over time. One can ask oneself for example how a trip to Vietnam (or any country of origin) with all that it brings as new experiences can then modify the memory and even the consciousness that one has of a place. I know that after living in Vietnam for several years, I pay much more attention to the tiny incursions of Vietnam in the French or Western public space in general. I notice the restaurants, the ways of being, the way the space is organized or not, by contrast.

The second category puts forward the concept of empowerment. It consists in highlighting the strength, the accomplishments of individuals as well as of communities that are often invisibilized, minoritized. Especially for Asian communities, which are represented through the model minority scheme, it is a question of presenting discourses that go against the image of docile, submissive, victimized people. It is a question of revalorizing people and cultures by demonstrating that common as well as singular experiences prove as much merit and value as the dominant models of success. By highlighting the struggles, the efforts, the sacrifices or the creativity of generations that integrate as best they can, we offer a new perspective that should inspire respect, pride, courage and hope. We understand all the more the interest of sharing these memories. The goal is to nourish a strength, a solidarity that can be lacking when we are isolated or when our voices are silenced.

The third category lists memories related to food, cooking. This is not surprising and a few words can be said about it too. Along with language, culinary savoir-faire is one of the few things that our parents or ancestors can take away and share on a daily basis. It is therefore, through what researchers call ordinary inculcation, a privileged vector in cultural transmission. At the individual and family level then, food is something that is concrete, easy to transmit and above all… delicious and symbolically rewarding. For many, cooking is also one of the few skills that is easy to value in the West, and this may explain why many families turn to the restaurant business. It is also a community space, a place of reunion, of exchange, a reference point for the communities. Finally, the kitchen is the privileged gateway for cultural exchanges, with all the delicate aspects that this can entail. Westerners are interested in Asia through food, which can have the advantage of familiarizing them with the taste, certain customs, and the sound of the language by including certain terms and names of dishes, for example. For this reason, it seems obvious that these places linked to food are anchor points for memory. Because we return to them regularly, because we see in them, as we have said, a miniature space of a culture to which we have little or no access; and because food is often associated with important figures (the mother, the grandmother), our memories of them are all the stronger.

The vision we have of previous generations is a category which, like the others, is not exclusive but overlaps with others. The memory we have of a place is a memory that is partly inherited, narrated, negotiated, questioned by and with or against our parents, or grandparents. There is no need here to dwell on the meaning of this category, which is already reflected in the previous ones. We can simply say that such a project can be read as a form of tribute to those who preceded us.

Finally, a last comment can be made on the panethnic aspect of such a project. Panethnic here means that it is not limited to a single ethno-national community (Viet, Lao, Khmer, Chinese, etc.). There are several simple reasons for this, which are important to mention. The first is that some people have multiple ethno-cultural heritages themselves. The second is that people having grown up in a multicultural environment, it is easier and more natural to claim a “broad” identity than to defend stato-national identities. Secondly, the current political context invites solidarity between the different social groups, the different sub-communities. This is in addition to the fact that the identities chosen are also sometimes responses to the identities suffered. Thus the very broad Asian category, if it encloses and reduces the diversity it contains, can, when politicized and directed autonomously, also open and nourish this diversity.

Hoping that these few lines will have made you want to know more, the site is, I remind you, in German and English:
https://mappingmemory.de/en/open-call/

Memory work and Memory load (2) – [Research notes]

Having defined what the memory load was in broad terms, we can ask ourselves how it manifests itself in more detail.

There is an injunction to take care of memory work, an implicit norm that consists in valuing memory work in general and which pushes to take responsibility for the memory duty in particular for the people concerned. There is an implicit notion which states that knowing one’s origins is an important, necessary and good thing. Our societies value national, regional or local heritages and reinforce the idea that one must know their past, their history, know where they come from. On an individual level, the notion of identity pushes us to value our backgrounds and the backgrounds of our families to incorporate them into our personal identities. This is even more true for people with a so-called “immigrant background”.
My hypothesis concerning this concept of memory load consists in asserting the fact that for populations of immigrant origin, this memory load is more significant and results, perhaps particularly in France, from a double contradictory injunction: the need to know your family history as explained before, but also the difficulty and sometimes the impossibility, the refusal to value this heritage. This is specific to the second and subsequent generations who, unlike the first generations, are already more or less integrated into the host society. This raises the question of when and how the duty to remember begins, and who bears the burden? One could simplify by saying that the first generation does not bear the burden of the duty to remember but rather the duty to create the conditions for the integration of their children, and if there is a duty of transmission, one can ask to what extent it is different from the duty to remember of the younger generations.

The question of the memory load invites us to ask ourselves the question of who carries the load, and how this load is transmitted or relieved. Sometimes this burden is too heavy to carry and can be denied, rejected, abandoned, for a more or less long time. This memory load can also skip generations.

It seems obvious (but this is where we have to prove the obvious) that people of French origin born in France will not carry this memory load, since the work of remembrance is carried out by institutions, particularly schools.

We also need to distinguish the memory load from its racial components; the two overlap but are not entirely the same.

The memory load is the weight of the debt we owe to the generations before us. This debt is constituted by sacrifices, silences and taboos that were necessary for us to grow up in better conditions than them.

This debt, this memory load, we do not choose to pay it or not. We know, we have it in our blood, we want to pay it. At the same time, and this is the tension and the weight that weighs, this debt is impossible to pay.

In the same way, this memory load is infinite. Not that it can never be lightened, one can come to find peace and serenity by appropriating one’s history. But one can never entirely get rid of the weight of the voids, the lacks, the absences that are proper to all histories. One could even say that this burden becomes lighter as we become aware of its weight, as we accept that we do not have to carry it indefinitely.

It is perhaps always too late to start and always too late to finish a work of memory that has no limits other than those we give ourselves. We are always behind history which, by definition, is already past. We must accept the frustration of not knowing, of not being able to understand, of not being able to live these experiences that precede us and make us. There is something existential about wanting to witness one’s own creation, it is an indecipherable enigma. It is also always time to stop in this quest, in this investigation, when what we find does not do more than lose us.

The memory load is both a desire to know, a libido sciendi, as well as a need to find a place in a common history. The memory load manifests itself and takes on meaning only in a particular social and political context where memory is precisely lacking. It is in this way a shout that claims its right to exist and that demands the means to achieve it, to maintain itself as part of a whole. This shout is a shout of rage, of anger but also a shout of alert. It puts the others in front of the danger of forgetting, in front of the complexity of the common history. It is a cry that calls for help to carry the weight of a complex and diverse history.

The memory load is the space occupied by the questions, the issues related to one’s history. It is the energy spent to do a job that is not taken in charge by society, sometimes even against it.

Vietnamese descendants and the question or race [EN]/[FR]

This year’s health crisis led to major social outbursts. Anti-Asian racism widely surfaced and tackled the image of a silent and docile minority. George Floyd’s death crystallized Black Lives Matter movements all around the world and urged communities (Asian included) to address their own racism and pushed forward the debate concerning racial dynamics. In that particular context, this paper aims to study how young Vietnamese descendants invoke and interpret familial and national history to question their own community’s political positions, specifically regarding the question of race and migration to convey a message of trans-generational, trans-national and trans-ethnic convergence. After 1975, Vietnamese Refugees constituted one of the biggest migration movements, and the Diasporic communities they constitute are now one of the biggest and more sparse in the world. Some left when Indochina ended, others fled the regime and the communist party sent workers in allies socialist countries. These intricate trajectories lead to divergent, if not opposite, narratives and fracture lines among them. It would be too easy to simplify the dynamics and say that these fracture lines between liberal, anti-racist and racist conservatives overlap with the opposition of communism (originating from the North of Vietnam) and anti-communist (from the South of Vietnam who fled the regime), older against younger generations.

And yet, at the same time, this is exactly the crux of the second generation’s difficulty: that it has inherited not experience, but its shadows. The uncanny, in Freud’s formulation, is the sensation of something that is both very alien and deeply familiar, something that only the unconscious knows. If so, then the second generation has grown up with the uncanny. And sometimes, it needs to be said, wrestling with shadows can be more frightening, or more confusing, than struggling with solid realities.

Hoffman
2005, p. 66

the shadows thrown by experiences may not be the experiences themselves, but they have the shape and possibly even the texture of those experiences, and they seem capable of passing across boundaries, of seeping from one person to nother.

Stephen Frosh
Those who come after – Postmemory, Aknowledgement and Forgiveness

Faced with suffering that we cannot fully understand, we either shut ourselves off from it (denial and forgetting of troubling occurrences being prevalent in everyday life), or we keep worrying away at it until it begins to make some sense.

Stephen Frosh
Those who come after – Postmemory, Aknowledgement and Forgiveness p.4

Sometimes what haunts us is a hurt we have suffered, or one we have caused others; sometimes it comes from elsewhere, as in the example of a previous generation; very often it is some kind of unmourned loss.

The urgency of the problem of how to learn from the relatively recent past in order not to repeat its devastating effects, a problem that revolves around the ethics of memory and history, has combined with an awareness that later generations of victims and perpetrators – the ‘post-’ generations – may find themselves inhibited in relation to moving forwards precisely because they are not truly ‘post-’ at all.

The postgeneration has a different experience of events than the ‘original’ one, for what is being remembered is not the event but the feeling or sensation.

‘Postmemory’ describes the relationship that the ‘generation after’ bears to the personal, collective and cultural trauma of those who came before – to experiences they ‘remember’ only by means of the stories, images and behaviors among which they grew up. But these experiences were transmitted to them so deeply and affectively as to seem to constitute memories in their own right. Postmemory’s connection to the past is thus actually mediated not by recall but by imaginative investment, projection and creation. To grow up with overwhelming inherited memories, to be dominated by narratives that preceded one’s birth or one’s consciousness, is to risk having one’s life stories displaced, even evacuated, by our ancestors. It is to be shaped, however indirectly, by traumatic fragments of events that still defy narrative reconstruction and exceed comprehension. These events happened in the past, but their effects continue into the present.

Marianne Hirsch (2012) – The Generation of Postmemory: Writing and Visual Culture
After the Holocaust.

Memory studies and care studies [Research notes]

[Version en français]

In previous notes, I mentioned the idea that the work of memory could be analyzed through the prism of gender, in particular because the work of memory could be close to a work of care. After short definitions of the terms, let’s see what are the first hypotheses that allow us to conceive the links between memory work and care work.

Continuer la lecture de Memory studies and care studies [Research notes]

Depicting heroic lifes of the Vietnamese Diaspora, interview with Clement Baloup

On Thursday, December 3, 2020, I had the pleasure to discuss with Clément Baloup, cartoonist, illustrator, graphic novelist and author of a series of graphic novels dedicated to the stories of the Vietnamese diasporas. As a PhD student interested in memory dynamics within families of Vietnamese origin, I take this opportunity to interview him about his personal experience, but I am especially interested in his work as a researcher. The author, who has just published his fifth book in that series, shares his work process, his encounters with the protagonists of the stories but also with his readership. The discussion is therefore structured around the idea of telling good stories that are inspired and documented by the lives of those who have made and are still making history. His latest album – which you must absolutely get to complete your collection – “Les Engagés de Nouvelle-Calédonie”, is published in French by La Boîte à Bulles. Continuer la lecture de Depicting heroic lifes of the Vietnamese Diaspora, interview with Clement Baloup

Looking Like the Enemy: Race and the Legacy of the Vietnam War (notes) – EN

November 11, 2020 — A group of experts explores the reverberations of the American-Vietnam War across the two countries’ cultures from the war’s outset to the present day. Speakers include Roger Harris, Karen L. Ishizuka, Lynn Novick, and Viet Thanh Nguyen. The conversation was moderated by Michelle Yun Mapplethorpe, artistic director of the Asia Society Triennial and director of the Asia Society Museum in New York. (1 hr., 3 min.)

Continuer la lecture de Looking Like the Enemy: Race and the Legacy of the Vietnam War (notes) – EN

Ce que retourner en Thaïlande m’a appris. (Lien)

Blog d’un américain d’origine thaïlandaise, en anglais.

www.halfy.co

So much of what makes me who I am today stems from the decision to move to Thailand.

Despite living here for 11 years, meeting hundreds of people all across Thailand, I still don’t feel like I fit in.

I have a staunch belief that every “halfie” should spend an extended period of time in both of the countries that their parents are from in order to truly understand themselves and the opportunities that are available being mixed.

 

 

No Crying at The Dinner Table

La cinéaste Carol Nguyen interroge sa famille pour dresser un portrait sur l’amour, le deuil et le trauma intergénérationnel. [Ce film contient des scènes sensibles.]

Filmmaker Carol Nguyen interviews her family to craft a portrait of love, grief, and intergenerational trauma. [This film contains sensitive content.]

Cliquez sur l’image pour accéder à la vidéo.

Click on the picture to access the video

 

The pain is not over – Mixed-race children from the Vietnamese war (translation)

Mixed-race Vietnamese people who have an American father, born in the Vietnam War before 1975 are estimated to be more than 25,000 people. Nearly half a century has passed, most of them have found their biological father, settled in the US but hundreds of other them are still languishing to find theirs, looking forward to reuniting.
This investigation divided into four articles (from the newspaper Thanh Nien, December 2019) shows us what is the reality of these mixed-race children of the war, and their struggle to find their biological fathers.
Author : Quang Viên
Translation : Le Hoangan Julien
Proofreading, Editing : Gabrielle Trúc Cohen

Continuer la lecture de The pain is not over – Mixed-race children from the Vietnamese war (translation)

Les Rivières

http://lesrivieres.maihua.fr/

Les Rivières est une quête intime et universelle sur ma lignée de femmes.
C’est le véhicule par lequel mon âme peut voyager vers la vôtre.
J’ai réalisé cette archéologie familiale en 6 ans. Ce projet indépendant et artisanal a été totalement crowdfundé par une communauté bienveillante et soutenante. Aussi, je vous remercie du fond du coeur pour votre soutien, qui me permet de continuer à créer pour vous.