I started the film with an idea of what I thought “being Asian American” meant, but as the film progressed, my ideas dissolved. It doesn’t seem like there is an answer that will satisfy everyone’s definition of the label.
Chan is Missing starts out as a literal search for Chan, but takes you through Jo's experience of searching for a business partner and friend. Jo struggles with another business partner who he feels does not understand Chan's situation. Through his adventures, Jo faces immigrant issues that he himself battles.
The questions surrounding identities don’t seem to have a straight answer. Instead, it seems to require personalization. For Jo, his Asian American identity was linked to his sentiments of a Chinatown in the midst of the metropolitan San Francisco and his ability to relate to other immigrants. Steve felt that Jo should just “fuck this identity stuff.” Steve felt more removed from such labels and wanted to focus on actually finding Chan due to his financial investments. Both Jo and Steve have evolved their definition of themselves and of Chan (different from each other’s perspective). Each one had evolved ideas that tailored their different lifestyles, history, and emotions. It seems that each person can only answer for themselves (thus creating multiple answers of who is Chan from different people). Perhaps it is this ever developing idea of Asian American as people move and form new relationships that leave identity questions open ended.