-Identity... unknown-

The Hong Kong Arts Centre is showing a play/multimedia installation called 'Transformation Double', which is about boundaries of different aspects of your identity and how they are transformed. What really interested me, however, is the fact that the director is a Chinese Francophile - in the interview, he asks, "What factors determine whether someone is Chinese or French?". The question is what cultural background you belong to.

I devoted one whole miserable year questioning the divergence of my perceived and real cultural identity. As a child in Korea I was taught to be patriotic and nationalistic as a matter of fact, not to question why. I felt that I had become a deviant, a bat-like existence, unacceptable completely in either culture, and this depressed me as I questioned whether I would find peers who would understand my anxiety about this. This was part of the reason why I decided to relocate to Hong Kong - to a 'third space' - since as an 'expat', there would be no pressure to find a conformed group to join.

At some point during the following spring, however, I decided that this was not the answer, either. I wanted to be part of the 'mainstream' in my own way. I came to the conclusion that I am happier to participate in whatever society I am in, rather than be an outsider. My way of becoming involved has been to focus on volunteering, but of course, this is not a complete answer to all the doubts and questions I have of myself. It has helped me to some extent, though, as I don't feel so much of a misfit.

I realise that the 'question' in itself has moved on for me. Nowadays, I ask myself what sort of person I am - e.g. am I good, kind and understanding? (Obviously not). For surely this is the question that we need to all answer in the end, transcending all other aspects of ourselves.

4:13 AM |