Wednesday, October 16, 2013

You're Bleached, Too Bleached

What flag?

Who am I?

I touch my chubby cheeks  
Rub it real hard!
Hopefully it'll darken
I don't need a lot
Just a slight tint and I'm golden

Yesteday, I went to work with my aunt
She's an assistant at a Japanese bank
There's a girl in a kimono on the screen of the money machine
What could be better than Kimono and cash?

Original Drawing - Fall 2012
Inspire by little me!
We go up in a box
Don't look down or you'll get nauseous
Finally, I see another human being
She is tan, just like others around me
She looks normal

"Good morning!" I yell
Sometimes people can't see me because of my size
"I didn't know that Koyashi-san's grandchild is visiting,"
My aunt laughs real hard
"Mr. Koyashi doesn't have grandchildren."

They say I'm bleached
They say I'm not Indonesian
Better yet, they say I'm Japanese
Too pale to be anak Nusantara

"No Indonesian is white like you
No Indonesian has red lips like yours
Actually, you look exactly like the Japanese flag
The red dot is your lips 
And the white space is your cubby face"

ME                                                     DAD                                                MOM
"Mommy, mommy! What am I?"

"A person"
"What country do I belong to?"
"No dear, she's Chinese Indonesian,"
"I'm Chinese?
How do you know that?"
"If you're saying she's Chinese Indonesian
I'm saying she's Arabic Indonesian"
"Just because she has your nose and eyes
Doesn't mean she doesn't have my genes"

Common denominator
Common denominator


I am Indonesian
Rub harder
I am Indonesian
It's turning red

White red tan
White red tan

It hurts 
But it's worth it
As long as I am Indonesian
As long as I belong

La Mama Happy Ending
Photo courtesy of Josh Rice

This poem/prose was created for a writing workshop lead by Catherine Filloux as part of a Sarah Lawrence - La Mama class. My new friends, including Catherine, laughed while I read it, particularly in the "Japanese flag" part. I was afraid that this one girl, who is half Japanese and Caucasian American, would not respond well to the piece. Though it was nerve wrecking to read it aloud, I left the session with a clearer idea of my voice and a best friend, the girl I was most frightened of.

*Author owns rights to the first and second photos only

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