“Know your enemy as well as yourself,” SunTzu the strategist says. Chinese thought begins with strategy.
The humble Asian-American Writers Workshop says, “Follow the lead of Chinese-American Maxine Hong Kingston. Her re-vision of Far Mulan caused a revolution and a re-thinking of and in AAwriting.” There is however a caveat: If her Far Mulan is real she has launched a revolution in the literary world.
If she has faked Mulan,
“I doubt that!” the woman who seems to be a feminized Russell Leong with the same jaw, and dimples the same lips but darker more swollen, not that Russell’s aren’t full, but hers are more full. She’s the AAlit expert from Hong Kong UCLA waves like a trophy over the Asian American Studies Dept. She’s become a white racist for
She defends THE WOMAN WARRIOR as a “very original autobiography” When she was new in
“What kind of case can he make?”
“There goes your ‘original autobiography’ argument. If she didn’t come to realize she got the tattoos from Yue Fei, she believes her victimized tattooed Mulan is real. Does
In the Summer of 1999 I presented the Arthur Waley translation of real BALLAD OF MULAN, as reprinted in the bi-lingual Singapore comic book MULAN JOINED THE ARMY published by C.C. Low’s Canfonian PTE LTD, and my own translation to demonstrate that the translation process doesn’t create new facts, at the NAROPA INSTITUTE’S Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics in Boulder, Colorado. I was greeted with nonplussed silence. One student asked a question that he confessed was asked because he was embarrassed for me not getting any questions. That
Later I was approached by a yin yang team of white faculty who glowered at me and said, I should be ashamed to be a man instructing whites on Chinese culture.
“You had no right to say those terrible things about Maxine Hong Kingston’s heroic book.” At the
“Only racists like
“Are you accusing the President of racism?”
“You’re the one who said he gave a medal.”
“Did he write an autobiography?” I asked stalling for time. Then Lin Yutang, the Mandarin pronunciation of Lum Yutong, the author of MY COUNTRY MY PEOPLE hit me. “He was a Christian, wasn’t he?” My shouting shocked her. “Wasn’t he?!” I wasn’t asking. I was telling the facts. Her face turned red. “WASN’T HE?!” She shriveled up into the fetal position. “He was a Christian! WASN’T HE?!”
She began to cry.
“Don’t cry! This is college! Answer me!”
Her answer was to run from the room.
I presented the real Mulan at The Thurber House in
Am I a misogynist for defending THE BALLAD OF MULAN as the first bald-faced expression a male-female equality in all the world’s poetry? From 550 AD:
The he rabbit tucks in his feet to sit.
The she rabbit dims her shiny eye.
Two rabbits hopping for the tall grass.
Who can tell which is the he, and which the she?
If Chinese-Americans and the Chinese from
She admits she pulled a fast one on her publishers, the public, four universities and the ultimate --President Clinton in an interview with Kay Bonetti, found on page 40 of the feminist-to-feminist CONVERSATIONS WITH MAXINE HONG
The woman who looks like the editor of UCLA’S AMERASIA JOURNAL, defends
The baring of CA ignorance of the still published, still translated, still recited, still gamed in Chinatown sixth century children’s chant, THE BALLAD OF MULAN as a badge of Americanism has struck fear of all Chinese children’s stories in all the Chinese-American writers writing today. “Don’t get on me for Maxine Hong Kingston,” a writer I used to be close to shouted, “I have a kid to support.” He supports that kid by his writing and teaching AALit. So he’s afraid of the Chinese children’s story for the sake of his kid. He admits the program he started, is racist. He blames his being a coward on his kid. Wow! What about the kids the BALLLAD was written for?
I’m in the Chinatown apartment of Japanese married to a Chinese, playing with their very active boy and talking about
“Are you so far removed that you can’t go downstairs to the bookstore and buy, or read the real stories? If you don’t like that store you can find another bookstore on Broadway. Where do these excuses that blind us to what’s around us, come from?”
Haven’t you, a Chinese in China who’s had a Chinese childhood noticed that Fear has made all Chinese writing in America and Chinese-American writers afraid of all the stories of their childhood? You, the litterateurs of
The students from
“I disagree,” the Stupid from
“That means that the Chinese have their version of Queen Elizabeth II doing the naughty with Cromwell and for that matter a version of the dance of Elizabeth I over Shakespeare’s poetic codes and hidden meanings? Writers don’t mess with names and don’t change the facts of history.”
What would the Kingston fans make of Thomas Paine, the Anglo-American Frenchman who coined the ideas and the name “the United States of America” before there was a United States of America, had ideas that contributed to the French Revolution, and won a death sentence in England? Three nations in turmoil because of one man’s writing COMMON SENSE and THE RIGHTS OF MAN. Nations come and go, but history is history. He was the first to write that there was no divine right of monarchs, and it wasn’t natural for a man to be owned by a monarch, and invented 18th century republican democracy. If a monarch had no rights over a man, Mary Wollstonecraft wrote in her 1789, answer to RIGHTS OF MAN, THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN he also had no rights over a woman, and feminism was invented.
Kingston has a right to be a racist, if she wants to be a racist. I have a Chinese obligation to call a white racist a white racist. And you,
There is no “American version of Far Mulan,” as there is no Chinese version of George Washington. All American versions of Ebenezer Scrooge give credit to the original and the author.
It’s like jazz. You might have given “Goodnight, Irene” a sound that is yours, like Lead belly, but he acknowledges he was not the first to sing the song, he didn’t write it. He learned it from Anonymous, the Weavers made their “arrangement,” based on hearing Lead belly sing. Lead belly and the Weavers acknowledge they didn’t create the words or music we hear on record. That’s a nod to “Anonymous” the unknown author of the words and music.
“I’m a Christian and believe in the prince of peace, Jesus Christ. I’m only taking this course because it’s required,” a student pipes up.
“No, you’re not,” I say, “This is my class, my subject, my classroom.” And it was my class. Russell Leong, the editor of UCLA’s AMERASIA JOURNAL had gotten me Regent’s Professorship, teaching the children’s story and the Heroic Tradition. Unfortunately I had asked to teach with the woman with Russell’s feminine twin. I had intended to infect her with my knowledge, not the students’ plea for grades. “Get out, now!”
“Get out of my classroom. No Bible thumping, no saving children’s asses, no religion allowed. The rest of you Christians you either live with my hostility or get out. Now, please!”
Do you have classes like this in
They don’t know what a “myth” is. That’s the stupid prize from
Of course every artist has license to be racist if they want. “Artistic license” does not free one to be racist without being called a racist. “Artistic license” is not a God given license to lie; it is not a law but an artist’s conceit. All defenses, and justifications, for
Russell Leong had gotten me a Regent’s guest professorship to teach this course with a woman from
This true believer in her right of UCLA professorship to pronounce without proof that “texts naturally change” (they do not), that “myths change” (they do not), that the “tattoo was not the mark of a criminal” ( The phrase “the mark of a criminal” is an old Chinese phrase from the First Empire [ 221-207 BC ] )-Her defense of Kingston to prove her Americanism goes so far as to deny Confucius said, “Your unmarked skin and uncut hair are gifts from your parents.” If he said that (and he did) that would mean that Mulan’s parents would not mark the purity of the skin they had given her and protected while she was at home.
She basks in the glamour raining its confetti and light on her as a Chinese with no Chinese text behind her from real
I would hate to have gotten stuck in championship tic tack toe. I was stuck in Aiiieeeee! And the Big Aiiieeeeee! as the last words to be said about Asian American lit till the AA critics of AA lit, I was sure they would be along soon, made the case for the lit as lit in the first place, inevitably they would come upon the chaos of their own time and the emergence of AA lit in 1970 with Kai-yu Hsu and Helen Palubinska’s ASIAN-AMERICAN AUTHORS, and find that Kai-yu was not wholly convinced by my arguments to consider any publication by a CA, including autobiographies as “Chinese-American writing.” It’s not anything I’d want to write, but the fact is most of CA writing is the autobiographical form.
The critics capable of giving a literary definition of Asian-American lit just haven’t appeared. Nor have AAmagazines or newspapers, with critics appeared between the writers and the public. Without critics and magazines AAwriters have no public. Without a relationship of AA writers, AA critics in between, and an AA public, there is no AA lit. The AAWriters are servants of white culture. They serve, they entertain and do what they are told.
We were young and arrogant but still oh so right in the two Aiiieeeee!s but we didn’t make the
difference between the “Chinese-American” and the “Chinaman” real enough.
The difference should be obvious to you the Chinese writers of
On C-Span now! -somebody’s panel of Vietnam war writers. The writer of a famous book that was the basis of one of the definitive and famous films on the Vietnam war wanders into talking about a Viet vet of the war who had learned English as a Viet Cong, read American writers Melville, Walt Whitman, Jack London and Ernest Hemingway when Kennedy was President on into the war. And went from camp to camp lecturing on Melville through Hemingway throughout the war.
“What authors of Viet literature did you teach your soldiers?” the former guerilla asked. The white telling the story didn’t answer question. That was the story I heard him tell.
He says that he was in units where Walt Whitman was never mentioned. The other authors, vets all, on the panel guffaw in recognition.
As Charlie Chan says Contradiction please, the Viet had asked about white knowledge of Viet lit to balance the Viet knowledge of American lit.
Oblivious to what he’d revealed about himself he wonders out loud and on camera about why Jack London was a great American writer to the Viet. Perhaps because of
Off camera, in real time (or not recorded earlier) a “Chinaman” muses: Perhaps because of London’s palpable dislike for the yellows of Asia and his rabid hatred of the Japanese in stories found in Jack London’s adventures in the sailor’s Orient MOONFACE and other stories. One of his other stories is THE CHINAGO (a marriage “Chinaman” and “Nigger”)
Little Chinese darlings you and I similarly speak a deceptively common language. For romantic rather than real reasons I want to say Mom! We are one again! But our languages of literature and experience are different one from the other. We Chinamen can tell the stories we brought with us from
From the start the “Chinese-American autobiography” was dedicated to being accepted into whiteness, with white Christian ghostwriters. Read, Leong Gor Yun,
The autobiography from Chinese state of sin to Christian triumph became a sacrificial form of initiation for Chinese-Americans. “Autobiography” The words are on every book. “Autobiography.” “Autobiographical novel.” “Memoir.” “Otto and Auto.” “Hallucinations” “Me and Me Stoned on Pot.”
The Literature that has come to be called “Asian-American” begins as the Christian ghost-taught Mission school boy in
I emphasize Christian, because the Chinese are not naturally Christian. Christianity was imposed on the Chinese by force of arms during the 19th Century. The circumstances of the Christian oppression, opium, and ghostwriters define and enforce the Chinese form as submissive to whites.
The form of the Christian Chinese autobiography is:
From the Yung Wing autobiography in 1910, to the autobiography of Hu Shih, known for giving up his Chiang Kai shek Generalissimo given post to modernize the teaching of Chinese lit for citizenship in a Christian country, the US, a job at the New York Public Library and tea with Pearl Buck, and Lin Yutang at the Russian Tea Room. Yes, the writer Lin Yutang, another naturalized
Yung Wing was echoed again by Leong Gor Yun’s Christian autobiography, CHINATOWN INSIDE OUT, of 1925. It was suspect because of the pronunciation of Leong Gor Yun in American accented English, is a homonym for “Two men” in Cantonese. The book might not be ghosted, but the words were too exactly like “Two Men” a sound effect to be an accident. The clincher is the preface thanking a second hand in writing 2 Men’s book. This Christian book contains the only mention of the Chinatown Hand Laundry
The line of “CHINESE-AMERICAN (CHRISTIAN)” autobiographical writers continues through Pardee Lowe’s FATHER AND GLORIOUS DESCENDENT, (1943) Jade Snow Wong’s FIFTH CHINESE DAUGHTER (1950), and Maxine Hong