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Representing Chineseness

June 26, 2012

On the writing of As the Earth Turns Silver, Alison Wong states:

“I wrestled with the idea of Chineseness. What of my family background was Chinese? What were merely family characteristics and not specifically Chinese? How could I portray Chinese perspectives authentically? How could I create characters which were true to the Chinese sensibilitites of the time and yet which were individual and ‘real’, and not like the stereotypical images promulgated by so much of the media and savoured without discernment by the public? / I felt enormous pressure and expectations, and worried about criticism from the Chinese community and from historians and experts. What if I got things wrong, whether Chinese or historical? I soon realized that even the experts contradicted each other. There was no way I could please everyone. Anyway, who else could or would write this particular story and be better qualified?”[1]


[1]69 Alison Wong (2011) ‘Personal narrative; As the Earth Turns Silver’ pp.68-73 in Eds. Paola Voci and Jacqueline Leckie Localizing Asia in Aotearoa. Dunmore Publishing: Wellington

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