Chan is Missing presents us with the fragmented identities of Asian Americans. But unlike Honk if You Love Buddha’s exposure of a wide range of strong Asian American personalities, as the identity of Chan is complicated the personalities of the other characters seem to weaken, or at the very least become confused. The example that Feng uses and also that some of my classmates mention is the character, Steve, whose strong personality and identity seem to lessen as the film goes on. Once again, I am confused as to who qualifies as Asian American, what exactly do Asian American’s have in common, and do they have enough in common to be grouped together in one encompassing term?
I also found our class list very interesting. The question of authenticity versus exploitation came up in discussion, and was also touched up on in Maira’s essay, “Indo-Chic: Late Capitalist Orientalism and Imperial Culture”, with the talk of henna tattoos. I feel like this debate will continue on throughout the semester both in this class and also my video production class. There always seems to be a desire for representation within marginalized groups, but the question is: Is there any form of representation that is adequate? As Maira, interviewed the various desi women regarding their Mehndi night, she seemed to notice an ambivalence. While some girls were proud to see parts of their culture being represented, others were somewhat offended that their culture’s tradition was being misused. Looking at the list the class put together, I could relate to this sense of ambivalence. As we have learned the past couple of weeks in class there is no unified Asian American identity, so is mere representation enough? Is there any Asian American-related item within the mass media that adequately represents a large and extremely diverse group of people?