Monday, July 26, 2010

Language barriers and social exclusion

Being a new cultural and linguistic environment where you may have some basic knowledge of the local language but can't fluently converse can be really alienating. It reminds me of previous experiences of migration, knowing no English when I reached NZ when I was 6, hearing people speak gibberish and having nobody to translate and explain what things mean, I had to adapt really quickly. But being an adult overseas in a country where the languages you know can be spoken but it is easier for people to still speak their native language with each other when you are around, it makes you feel a bit like a fly on the wall, part of the scenery and not knowing what's going on around you. People don't speak to you, they speak around you. Just part of the scenery, seen but not heard.

It makes me feel like a new migrant again, like a child trying to make sense of the world around them, again.

Thanks Germany and the White German Left.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Queer China "Comrade" China

A few of weeks ago, there was an international queer film festival held at the Schwarzerkanal (a squatted queer caravan park) in Berlin and I just happened to catch some films from Asia, one short clip filmed in Korea called "Lesbian fighter" which was so sweet but I can't find it on youtube to share :-(

The film that followed was called Queer China "Comrade" China which included many interviews and perspectives of queers in China, mostly from university-educated backgrounds. It was so amazing for me to be in Berlin and see a film in mandarin with English subtitles about queers in China. The film felt really validating because it is so rare for issues surrounding sexuality to be spoken about in public and I feel like this new emerging queer movement can really challenge some of the Confucian undertones of Chinese cultures in China and abroad. The film was really informative and contained really interesting historical and social analysis and paints a promising picture of queer activism in China.

I should explain, the title of the film includes "comrade" because in Chinese it is contemporary slang for 'homosexual' or 'fellow homosexual/queer' -“同志”. There was a discussion about terminology on this, the transliteration of "queer" is also used as well was "lala" for lesbians and 同性恋(tongxinglian) is the less slangy more western version of 'homosexual'.

Here is some clips from the movie: