I grew up Chinese in apartheid era South Africa. The Chinese had arrived in several waves: In the late 19th Century to work on the railways, gold mines, and sugar cane fields. Most were repatriated. My grandparents arrived after fleeing the communist takeover and to escape the second World War.
The Chinese made up a very small part of the population and as a result were marginalized as being neither Black or White. In fact, it was only in 1984 that the Chinese were excluded from the provisions of the infamous Group Areas Act which dictated where each population group could live and work. I like to say that my Grandparents were considered more Black than White, but that my generation was more White than Black. As a child, I was not permitted to attend the White public schools. My parents opted to enroll me in a private school rather than the local Chinese school, which was not well attended and had educational standards that they deemed inadequate for me.
It was in this unique milieu that I grew up, both in school and in larger social interactions, and it is these experiences which form the basis of my memoirs and memoir based fiction.
Readers, mark your calendars:
- Join the LIC Reading Series on March 8 at 7:30 p.m. at LIC Bar for readings by John Leguizamo, Mira Jacob, and Tracy O’Neill. Reserve your seat now through Astoria Bookshop.
- Join Boundless Tales on March 10 at 7:00 p.m. at the Astoria Bookshop for readings by George Held, Leona Godin, Andres Castro, and Steven T. Licardi, hosted by Audrey Dimola.
- Join LAB on March 11 at 6:30 p.m. at Queens Council on the Arts for “Celebrating Queens Women Artists”, a performance featuring Shafina Ahmed, Anne Born, Audrey Dimola, Valerie Hager, Jennifer Harmon, Allison Jackson, Valerie G. Keane, Lucy Torres, Aida Zilelian, Jeanne Marie Boes, and MOTHER TONGUE (Marissa Dooley and May Madarang), hosted by Joan Becht Willette
- Join the Risk of Discovery Reading Series on March 15 at 7:30 p.m. at Astoria Coffee for a writing workshop followed by a poetry open mic and show led by Micah Zevin and featuring Aida Zilelian, Gabriel Don, and Kevin Marquez.
- Join Heightening Stories for The Diversity Writing Project workshop starting April 2. Register by March 26.
- Join Issue #7 contributor Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons of No, YOU Tell It! for Telling Your True-Life Tale: Creative Nonfiction Writing Workshop. Session I begins March 30, and space is limited. Email email@example.com for more information or to register.
- Want to give your writing a kick in the pants? Heightening Stories presents the Jumpstart Your Writing online workshop starting April 3. Register by March 30.
- Delve deep into your personal writing as Heightening Stories presents the Personal Prose
workshop, starting April 6. Enrollment is open until March 30.
- The Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning is calling for artists to apply for a free one-month residency. For more information, and to apply, check out the JCAL website. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
- Join Issue #7 contributor Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons of No, YOU Tell It! for Telling Your True-Life Tale: Creative Nonfiction Writing Workshop. Session II begins April 3, and space is limited. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to register.