Hapa Girl: A Memoir by May-lee Chai

By May-lee Chai

Within the mid-1960s, Winberg Chai, a tender educational and the son of chinese language immigrants, married an Irish-American artist. In Hapa woman ("hapa" is Hawaiian for "mixed") their daughter tells the tale of this loving kinfolk as they moved from Southern California to long island to a South Dakota farm through the Eighties. of their new Midwestern domestic, the kin unearths itself the item of unwelcome realization, which rapidly escalates to violence. The Chais are without notice socially remoted and infrequently in a position to focus on the strain that arises from day-by-day incidents of racial animosity, together with random acts of cruelty. May-lee Chai's memoir leads to China, the place she arrives simply in time to witness a rebellion and demonstrations. the following she realizes that the agricultural americans' "fears of swap, of monetary uncertainty, of racial anxiousness, of the unknowable destiny in comparison to the recognized previous have been similar to China's. and that i discovered eventually that it had now not been my fault."

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Get Whitey! The Revolution is NOW! ” They looked nothing like the students back in Redlands. Every shade of the human race was represented. They wore their hair long or in thick Afros. They dressed in fringed vests, bellbottoms, T-shirts with various slogans hand-printed across the fronts and backs. They wore buttons proclaiming their political alliances: Black Power, Yellow Power, Puerto Rican Independence, Free Love. My father was amused to see several Chinese students, obviously American-raised by their dress and comportment, wearing Mao buttons and even a T-shirt proclaiming allegiance with the Red Guards.

He couldn’t stop himself. It was as though he were possessed. Once his mouth opened, he couldn’t stop denigrating the couch. “It’s our couch! ” Nai-nai exclaimed in alarm. She threw up both hands to keep her sons from moving it. She scurried over and sat on one end and gestured for Ye-ye to follow suit. ” Now my father felt even worse. ” He cast aside one edge of the sheet, revealing the stained, cigarette-burned brocade beneath. ” He poked at one cushion How to Charm a Mother-in-Law • 23 and stuffing popped up through a particularly threadbare section of the upholstery.

Far from being angry, she beamed. ” she exclaimed, pointing at my father’s nose. ” How to Charm a Mother-in-Law • 25 When my mother was finished, Nai-nai was so pleased that she made my grandfather put a brand-new sheet atop the pretty couch to keep it nice. She didn’t even want the old sheet touching it. My mother tried to persuade her to leave the sheet off. “I can always reupholster it again,” she said, but my grandmother wouldn’t hear of it. ” And Nai-nai tucked the sheet in gently around the armrests.

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