#Augvocacy2019: Finding Yourself & Embracing Your Identity When Growing up in a Different Country

#Augvocacy2019: Finding Yourself & Embracing Your Identity When Growing up in a Different Country

Hi there! I’m Tracy, a book blogger over at Truffle’s Literary Wonders and I am Mauritian (Chinese Mauritian/Sino Mauritian – Mauritian).

I come from a tiny little country in the middle of nowhere made up of various cultures but mostly stemming from China, India, Africa, and Europe. So, it’s a bit of a cocktail of cultures. Short story is, this little island was colonised by the French and then the English (after both the Portuguese and the Dutch ate all the Dodos — yes that’s where they come from — and decided to leave) and so they brought many slaves and workers from Africa, and many people from Asia came down to work there.

So, there are a lot of cultures there, and I happen to be mixed Chinese, where my father’s side is Mauritian Chinese and my mother’s side is mixed European and African. But I basically look like a mixed Asian because nobody can ever tell where I’m from. However, I now live in Australia.

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#Augvocacy2019: Identity on the Margins – Finding Your Own Voice

#Augvocacy2019: Identity on the Margins – Finding Your Own Voice

One of the first questions that strangers usually ask me when they meet me is, “Where are you from?” If I’m feeling cheeky or contrary, I shoot back, “Where do you think?”

I’ve gotten answers ranging from Colombia, Mexico, Lebanon, India (close), Pakistan (closer) and sometimes, when I’ve spoken Hindi in front of them and they’re Hindustani themselves, Fiji(-ian Indian… jackpot!) And if they know my last name (Khan) then they probably know my religion as well: Muslim. It’s something that comes up surprisingly little in conversations outside of my home. Although it’s an integral part of myself, it’s not written on my skin. Moreover, there’s no visible identifier because I don’t wear the hijab. However, it comes up in discussion when I talk about my dietary restrictions, holiday plans and the reason I avoid alcohol.

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#Augvocacy2019: Growing up British-Chinese & Finding Representation in Mixed-Race Characters

#Augvocacy2019: Growing up British-Chinese & Finding Representation in Mixed-Race Characters

To introduce myself, I’m Debbie and I’m biracial (or mixed-race/ethnicity) — Chinese and British. With two immigrant parents (kind of) — my mum being from Hong Kong and my Dad from Scotland (hence the kind of). Over the last few months I’ve seen influencers on various platforms talk about their Eastern Asian heritage and how it’s influenced their upbringing. However, it has mostly been from completely Asian influences (as in full Chinese/Korean/etc rather than mixed), so I was inspired to do the same but from the perspective of someone who’s mixed-race. In addition, I want to detail my past relationship with my heritage — why I ultimately love it — and also media representation of mixed-race characters.

As a disclaimer, I live in London and have done so all my life — meaning that I’ve been raised in a diverse culture, so racism isn’t quite so prevalent compared to other cities/areas. This means that, for obvious reasons, my experiences will differ a lot from other people; however, I’m sure there’ll be a lot of crossover which I’m going to touch on.

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#Augvocacy2019: Filipino Colorism & Colonial Mentality in Children’s Literature

#Augvocacy2019: Filipino Colorism & Colonial Mentality in Children’s Literature

Last February, I’ve been invited to do a live question-and-answer online session for writers and industry professionals. I received great questions, but the one that really made me think is the one who asked me about my thoughts about the lack of children’s literature tackling Philippine post-colonial themes.

For one, the asker’s observation was true — there really are very, very few children’s books that tackle this topic. For another, it’s actually a topic that I believe should be discussed. Not just by kids, not just by Filipinos, not just by Asians… But by everyone.

Colorism as a result of post-colonialism may seem difficult to understand if you’re looking in from outside the Filipino culture. But I believe otherwise. Because when you really think about it, it’s more a question of “are you willing to understand?” instead of “do you understand?”

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Spotlight: K.S. Villoso on her Filipino-led fantasy, The Wolf of Oren-yaro

Spotlight: K.S. Villoso on her Filipino-led fantasy, The Wolf of Oren-yaro

I generally love boosting and promoting authors on my platform, but if I’m being perfectly honest, I tend to go extra hard for Filipino authors! As a Filipino myself (please don’t ever use Filipina to refer to me), I am well aware of the plight our skilled authors experience both within our local publishing industry and in the larger international publishing industry. Far too few Filipino authors receive local recognition and support, much less at an international level. And I think it’s about time for that to change!

With that said, I am extremely honored to have an upcoming Filipino debut author on my blog today. It was a huge, huge pleasure on my part to interview K.S. Villoso, the genius behind The Wolf of Oren-yaro, which is a thrilling epic fantasy that’s led by a Filipino main character. Without further ado, let’s get to it!

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Spotlight Mini-Series: Fonda Lee on the daily, part 5 (ft. Asian soups & second book stress)

Spotlight Mini-Series: Fonda Lee on the daily, part 5 (ft. Asian soups & second book stress)

We’re down to the last part of this mini-series! Just to recap, as part of the Jade War blog tour, I interviewed Fonda Lee, the award-winning author of Jade City and the more recently released Jade War, through a Skype video call. Our hour-long interview resulted in a 21-page transcript, which sparked the idea for this daily mini-series!

Unlike the previous parts of this mini-series, which consisted of randomly selected questions from the blog tour hosts, Part 5 is a more formal interview with questions prepared by yours truly. Here, we will learn more about the writing process behind Jade War — with a couple of silly questions thrown in!

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Spotlight Mini-Series: Fonda Lee on the daily, part 4 (ft. dragon fetuses & nonexistent writing playlists)

Spotlight Mini-Series: Fonda Lee on the daily, part 4 (ft. dragon fetuses & nonexistent writing playlists)

Let’s end the day right with another session of Fonda Lee on the daily! As part of the Jade War blog tour, I interviewed Fonda Lee, the award-winning author of Jade City and the more recently released Jade War, through a Skype video call. Since our conversation lasted for an hour or so (which resulted in a 21-page transcript), I’ve decided to create a mini-series of author interviews!

This is the second to the last part of the interview, and honestly, I’m a little bit sad about the idea of this mini-series reaching its end. Fonda is such a huge inspiration to me, and she’s just a really enchanting and delightful person overall.

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