Asleep at Sea by Jane Tam
Hong Kong is my mother's hometown. She spent about two decades in that city before moving to America with my father. That city was always a mystery to me since I grew up seeing it on television, from rental VHS tapes of Hong Kong television series, in my Brooklyn living room. I would only hear stories about the street food, the markets, the islands, my relatives, and what the city meant to my parents through stories.
Traveling to Hong Kong is unlike any other vacation, as I know it involves revisiting old relatives and meeting new ones. It meant feeling it were a second home because it is where most of my heritage is from. Though my appearance as a Chinese person blends in with the population, identifying with the culture is a difficult and almost impossible task with my American upbringing.
Differences will always arise however the reality of sharing a recognizable physicality brought me to glide seamlessly through the Hong Kong landscape. The Western stereotype of the “exotic” was one I wanted to delete for myself, and portray the city as familiar.
Asleep at Sea weaves the emotional disconnect of my hybrid identity.