#Augvocacy2019 (Extended): The Importance of Asian Representation in Books

#Augvocacy2019 (Extended): The Importance of Asian Representation in Books

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that the media industries are dominated by white people. Persons of color are often overlooked.

Some say that POCs don’t sell, while others claim that there were no POCs at that specific era (for certain historical fiction). As expected, white become the standard. They would make the effort to choose anyone other than POCs since it’s what everyone else is doing.

Sadly, this includes the publishing industries. They often choose to publish books with Asian rep by white authors, rather than Asian persons who write their own stories. This resulted in many readers, including me, who started to think that being white is better and ultimately, being ashamed and rejected their own culture, since our favorite fictional characters at that time were one.

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#Augvocacy2019 (Extended): Blossoming Into My Japanese Heritage as an Asian American

#Augvocacy2019 (Extended): Blossoming Into My Japanese Heritage as an Asian American

I grew up white and only became Asian American in my 30s.

Odd statement to make, but an honest one. My mom was from Hiroshima Japan and at the age of 12 had lost her family, home, friends, to the atomic bombing on August 6, 1945. She met my dad, a white, American serving in the US Air Force stationed near Tokyo. They married at US embassy in Tokyo in 1959 and then came to the United States.

My mother faced a lot of prejudice and racial slurs when she arrived. She hadn’t expected that, after all it was 14 years later, and she had lost all that she loved in the war. She decided not to mention Hiroshima and kept a low profile. She worked on her English language skills, and within 5 years became a US Citizen. She “Americanized “(her word) our home. We didn’t have Japanese decorations, and she didn’t own any kimonos. She delighted in sharing her favorite Japanese fairy tales like Urashima Taro, in English.

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#Augvocacy2019 (Extended): South Asian Identity & Arranged Marriage in Romance

#Augvocacy2019 (Extended): South Asian Identity & Arranged Marriage in Romance

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a South Asian mother in possession of an unmarried 20-something daughter, must be in want of a son-in-law.

Marriage is an essential part of life, many a South Asian mother would say. Therefore, the goal of an unmarried 20-something daughter is to find a quality match. A quality match has at least the following traits: a similar background, a good job, and a good family.

The process of finding a quality match through an arranged marriage has been the topic of romance media, which centers the experience of South Asian people for decades. It’s been seen in Bollywood, Pakistani dramas, and films which bring together South Asian cultures and Western culture, but now it’s also being seen in OwnVoices romance novels.

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#Augvocacy2019 (Extended): Let’s Make YA Richer – 3 Chinese Myths That Can Spice Up the YA Fantasy Genre

#Augvocacy2019 (Extended): Let’s Make YA Richer – 3 Chinese Myths That Can Spice Up the YA Fantasy Genre

After reading Joan He’s Descendant of the Crane, the urge to read another Chinese-inspired story has been incredibly strong for me.

There are a few that have caught my eye (many other bookworms have been recommending Spin the Dawn, which I’m super stoked to try out), but I’ve just been thinking: There are so many amazing Chinese stories out there. So today, I’m here on Shut Up, Shealea to share some of my favorite Chinese myths with you guys! If you’re an author, I’m giving you guys some seriously badass ideas here. If you’re not, well, I’d love to know if you’d read some YA novels inspired by these myths too!

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#Augvocacy2019 (Extended): #OwnVoices Books & Cross-Cultural Immersion

#Augvocacy2019 (Extended): #OwnVoices Books & Cross-Cultural Immersion

It started with a reading challenge. It was 2017: I randomly saw the #AsianLit Bingo and participated without knowing that this challenge would definitely change my reading game. I was a mindless reader before that: riding bandwagons, scouring lists to get the new big title in the market, stuffing myself with mainstream reads. This was a time when I am not truly that exposed to diverse literature. It was the first time that I took a good look at the word “asian” as a determining factor of what I need to read next.

The book suggestion list compiled for the challenge was a gold-mine. Suddenly there’s these endless stories that seem unique but familiar at the same time. I remember being excited to picture rich new worlds, meet new characters – not the cookie-cutter plots and personalities that have too often plagued and filled my head because of the materials I’ve consumed in the past.

And you know what? It was glorious.

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#Augvocacy2019 (Extended): Is the representation good?

#Augvocacy2019 (Extended): Is the representation good?

When I started reading books seriously, which was during ninth grade, I never bothered what I read about or whose story I was reading. I just wanted to read. Nevertheless, I remember staying away from ‘local’ books, i.e, contemporary romances by Indian authors, because they were too romantic, or too Bollywood-style for my taste.

What I wanted was a good story. I loved reading books like The Book Thief, Gone With The Wind, Thirteen Reasons Why or All The Bright Places because they were immersive and because I found myself reading books about people and places I’ve never met or heard about. Because they were ‘new’. The idea of diversity in books never struck me. I didn’t crave to see myself in books like many others did because I was happy I had a great time reading what I did.

Until I finally read She Wore Red Trainers by Na’ima B. Robert, a contemporary romance about two Muslim teens set in South London.

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#Augvocacy2019 (Extended): When Racial Harmony Is A Myth (And I Have Had Enough)

#Augvocacy2019 (Extended): When Racial Harmony Is A Myth (And I Have Had Enough)

When I started thinking about what I wanted to write for Shealea’s new series, talking about Singapore’s approach to Indian characters in media was one of the first things I thought about.

Growing up in Singapore — a multi-racial country that proudly proclaims racial harmony, that says racial tensions do not exist — one thing that has struck me over the years is that, despite all these proclamations, whenever there were Indian characters on TV — and there were not many of these, and they were almost always side characters — they were largely caricatures and stereotypes. As a child, this was something I didn’t notice. But as I grew older, and now as I look back on it, I feel sad that I never got to see myself represented on TV. Not on the local media, and not on the Western media that slowly started being shown as well.

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