A Little bit of this ... A Little bit of that.
I checked it out and was compelled and entertained for the 2 hours. With several colleagues acting in the play, I was very pleased with thier performances. There is definitely no shortage of acting talent, but the piece and the story itself left me a bit wanting.
Cultural Identity stories are a dime a dozen. There are a great many deal of them and while I applaud those artists for being able to tell their stories, myself, as an active audience member and a member of the cultural community, whining and complaining about it just doesn't sit right with me.
And such is the discovery Jen makes when she enters university to discover, *gasp* she's Chinese. She literally stumbles into and through Aikido classes to discover her 3rd generation Chinese Canadian heritage. This turns her into a 'you don't understand me or my culture because you're insensitive and ignorant' person. That was what I took issue with.
Granted, I myself used to be one of those people wanting to let people know and understand where I'm coming from. But Cultural doesn't necessarily equate to Ethnic. I've learned through several years of observation now, that each culture, ethnic or otherwise, all have their pitfalls and stereotypes needing to be debunked by Hollywood and mass media.
Hence you get the hyphenated media as the Asian-Canadian, West Indian Caribbean community, Italian-Canadian, Natives and Aboriginal, etc. Everyone wants a piece of the mainstream pie to be heard, and to be able to educate about the richness and specialness of their heritage. But getting angry about how others regularly perceive you isn't the answer.
Talking with friends, I expressed my concerns and while good intentioned, some perhaps have missed the point entirely. Personally, while I think it's important to have these stories, much of them leaves no room for self-empowerment. As if we should judge ourselves by how others see and percieve us. As if our ethnicities are all there is to us as a people and as individuals.
Thankfully, in a place like Toronto, the perception is broader than most places. The undercurrent of the blending and fusion of different cultures is what makes the city unique on a global level. And when it comes to ethnic cultural identity with a 'what you see is not necessarily what you get' mentality, Toronto and perhaps even Canada as a whole, may just be one of those progressive countries that stands themselves from the rest of the world in this respect.
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