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Japan Korea Shanghai

Korea

In high school, I took a history class called China, Japan and Korea. Or maybe that was the title of our textbook. The salient details have escaped me. I had forgotten how close these countries are and how long their history of meddling in each other’s affairs. two korea’s In a recent interview by the Financial […]

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Hong Kong Shanghai War

Amah

Nian is a servant in my novel, The Dancing Girl and the Turtle. She’s new to the Song household, the lowest in rank among the servants. Song Anyi arrives at the family home – more dead than alive following a vicious rape – and Nian becomes her amah. I never had an amah although both my […]

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Politics

Politically Correct

Shortly after the US elections, Chinese-American writer Amy Tan posted this on her Facebook page: We are now determining different ways we can support what matters to the country, our world, and our planet. One of those decisions is to cut out of our lives those people who were friends who voted for Trump or […]

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Los Angeles Rape Self-harm

Shame Is a Useless Emotion

To keep me out of a gang or from getting pregnant by age 16, my parents sent me to an all-girls Catholic high school. The Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary founded Ramona Convent in 1889. The road from Ramona led via circuitous paths to where I am now: an author. shame The Dancing Girl and […]

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Family ghosts Shanghai

Old House

My father called it the Old House. Every week he would go there to visit his grandparents. My father described the Old House as a mixed-up design. It had a courtyard and a main hall like a proper Chinese house, but also two stories. The first time I visited Shanghai in 1984, Grandaunt Ta-An was still […]