Tag Archives: Asian

Stationery and Kawaii Madness!

October 16.2014

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

For stationery and kawaii enthusiasts, you’ll be glad to know that I made a wonderful discovery during my visit to Kingston, Ontario for the Thanksgiving long weekend holiday last week.

While visiting the artsy core of downtown Kingston, I accidentally came across an independently-owned stationery-and-kawaii-filled shop called, Midori. I would have passed right by it if I didn’t see the painted sign outside, which said stationery in elegant, cursive print. Thankfully, I noticed it enough to stop mid-step before heading toward the nearest Starbucks Coffee shop.

Once inside, I was transported into a wonderful, little room painted in pastels featuring a variety of kawaii products imported from China, Korea, and Japan that included stuffed, plush toys, jewellery, mugs, bento boxes, handbags, and loads of notebooks, paper stationery, postcards, and pens.

I chatted with Midori’s owner and proprietor, Tina Yan, who opened the store in October of last year (2013) and discovered that not only do we share the same birthday month, but that we’re equally enthusiastic about kawaii products!

Canadian-born with cultural roots from China, Tina, thought it was important to bring popular kawaii goods from Asian countries to provide Canadian customers with products solely created and distributed in South Asian countries—which suits me perfectly fine since I don’t see the possibility of travelling to South Asia any time soon. How else will I deal with my stationery and kawaii addiction?

Tina Yan, Owner of Midori Shop, in front of Midori rabbit logo design. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
Tina Yan, Owner of Midori Shop, in front of Midori rabbit logo design. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

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While chatting with Tina about the possibility of featuring her and her shop on my blog, she was kind enough to allow me to take a number of photographs in her store while I searched for items that I might purchase. Here are some of the wonderful kawaii items I found in her shop:

Notebooks, red-haired girls x2. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
Notebooks, red-haired girls x2. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

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Kawaii black cat plush toys. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
Kawaii black cat plush toys. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

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Kawaii cat notebook. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
Kawaii cat notebook. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

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Kawaii bento box made in Japan. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
Kawaii bento box made in Japan. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

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Kawaii linen bag, Girl on Bicycle, baby blue. $30.00 CAD. (The one I plan on buying when I return to the shop next month!) (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
Kawaii linen bag, Girl on Bicycle, baby blue. $30.00 CAD. (The one I plan on buying when I return to the shop next month!) (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

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I was so pleased with this little shop, I returned twice in one day and bought the following, cute products to use for my own, personal writing and snail mail:

My Fairy Tale World: Flowers & Beauty Girl notebooks x4, assorted. $1.15 CAD each. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
My Fairy Tale World: Flowers & Beauty Girl notebooks x4, assorted. $1.15 CAD each. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

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These pretty 4″x5.5″ notebooks from the My Fairy Tale World: Flowers & Beauty Girl line created by languo is simply exquisite. I was drawn to the art cover designs, which features a different girl in each portrait. Inside, the paper is brown, blank, and consists of 24 pages.

My only regret about the design is that there is no Asian girl with black hair on a cover. Surely, a Beauty Girl would also come from Asia, right?

While I’m excited about my purchase, these notebooks seem far too pretty for me to use right away. I have yet to decide what to write in them! In the meantime, they will sit at my desk on display.

Kawaii gel ink pens, assorted. From $1.50-$1.99 CAD each. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
Kawaii gel ink pens, assorted. From $1.50-$1.99 CAD each. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

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After testing a number of pens in stock at Midori, I decided on buying the light blue, gel-ink pen with the bear cap, 0.38mm fine point, with “love dolls every day” printed on its casing; the Fihfio floral print, gel-ink pen with a cap that says, “Your happy story;” and my favourite of the three, the BCO black, ink gel pen with the sad ghost cap, 0.4mm fine point. It runs quite smoothly with a dark imprint and is the current pen I use to write all my snail mail letters.

London postcard set. $3.75 CAD. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
London postcard set. $3.75 CAD. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

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These London photograph postcards came in a set of 18. The photographs are not only lovely renditions of London’s famous city, but the paper itself is slightly glossy with an embossed texture, which give them a far more realistic feel than other glossed postcards and reprints.

For 18 postcards of good photographs for the low price of $3.50 CAD per set, you simply can’t lose, which is why when I return I’ll be buying a few more packages!

“Got a Mail” pink kawaii agenda with cards and stickers. $7.45 CAD. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
“Got a Mail” pink kawaii agenda with cards and stickers. $7.45 CAD. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

The “Got a Mail” pink agenda is not only blank, but provides the user with both a monthly and weekly date format. While the user must fill in dates for himself/herself, numbers are listed at the top margin to provide for accuracy and a little help.

At the back of the agenda is a number of blank pages for notes and includes a few cards and stickers for decoration.

The front cover also allows the user to change its design with the cards included.

I can’t wait to start using this agenda/diary in the new year.

Kawaii Cooky Mini Mate Notebook: Travel Story. $1.50 CAD. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
Kawaii Cooky Mini Mate Notebook: Travel Story. $1.50 CAD. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

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While this notebook does not match the My Fairy Tale World series, I could not resist the adorable Cooky character with her squinted, smiling eyes and huge red hood.

She reminds me of an Asian version of the Little Red Riding Hood character. Just look at her sitting in her suitcase!

I snatched this notebook at the recommendation of Tina who also thinks Cooky is adorable.

The paper inside is white, lined, and contains 46 pages.

Because its titled, “Travel Story,” I plan on saving this little notebook for my travels.

Pacific Mall

After leaving Kingston, Ontario, I visited the Pacific Mall in Markham, a mall that specializes in Asian-imported goods and products. It was the first time I visited in over 10 years and was ecstatic to find a few more kawaii goodies.

This is what I brought home:

Red Pucca wallet. $7.50 CAD. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
Red Pucca wallet. $7.50 CAD. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

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The Pucca wallet is bright red in colour, which symbolizes good fortune and happiness in Chinese culture. The Kanji symbol means love. It also comes with a removable coin purse with Kanji print, five cardholders, one identification holder, and a long pocket for cash.

Kawaii origami strips x4: Molang bunny, blue and yellow teddy bear, Rilakkuma bear, blue and yellow mouse. $1.29-$1.49 CAD each. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
Kawaii origami strips x4: Molang bunny, blue and yellow teddy bear, Rilakkuma bear, blue and yellow mouse. $1.29-$1.49 CAD each. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

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At first I thought these cute kawaii strips were washi tape, but when I inquired about them I was told that the strips are meant for paper crafts like the creation of small origami stars.

Because I’m attracted to small figurines, paper crafts, and kawaii, I quickly bought four packages. While I won’t use every strip to make paper stars, I do plan on adding a little glue at the back to decorate a few of my snail mail envelopes.

Because I’m partial to cute bunnies, my favourite one is the one with the Molang bunny.

OMG Korean hair colour change doll, phone charm, green. $1.99 CAD. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
OMG Korean hair colour change doll, phone charm, green. $1.99 CAD. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

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This little kawaii doll drew me right in with her bright, curly, green hair. Instead of attaching her to my mobile phone, I put her on my key ring instead. I’ve named her Kiyoko, which means child of happy generations in Japanese. I trust we’ll be very happy together for “generations” to come.

Kawaii Pocket Bunny Oil-Control Sleek Mist from Tony Moly Beauty Store. $12.50 CAD. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
Kawaii Pocket Bunny Oil-Control Sleek Mist from Tony Moly Beauty Store. $12.50 CAD. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

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Aside for the cute kawaii bottle, this Pocket Bunny Sleek Mist helps to control the breakout of oily skin. Instead of powder to mattefy skin, this spritz can be used any time of the day. It smells good, too!

Kawaii Strawberry Lipgloss by Tony Moly. $12.50 CAD each. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.
Kawaii Strawberry Lipgloss by Tony Moly. $12.50 CAD each. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez, October 2014. All rights reserved.

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The Tony Moly Strawberry Lipgloss line is light and sheer and its price point high most likely because of its marketable packaging.

I really couldn’t care less about the actual lipgloss (though I had my eye on the deep pink and coral colours), but I absolutely adore the lipgloss strawberry doll caps.

It comes in coral, pink, light, pink, and a nude cream.

I pucker up every time I look at these!

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The trip was well worth it with a number of unexpected kawaii finds. I hope to be able to travel again next month and pick up some more stationery and kawaii goodies. Which ones would you buy?

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Do you like kawaii? What do you like most about it?

Of all the items featured above, which one(s) do you like the most?

What’s your favourite kawaii item that you own?

Where do you find or shop for your kawaii items? (Feel free to share links to websites.)

If you were a kawaii character, what character would you be?

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zara - selfie 1

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Asian Heritage Month Blog Event: Cherry Blossom Photo Contest

Asian Heritage Month Blog Event:

Cherry Blossom Photo Contest

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez

At least once a year, my husband and I, and our two children make a special effort in visiting Kariya Park in Mississauga. As former residents of Mississauga, it always feels like home to return not only to the city, but also to Kariya Park especially for the viewing of its cherry blossom trees.

(c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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Cherry blossom tree, Kariya Park. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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It was opened in July 1992 in honour of the city’s twin-sister city relationship with Kariya, Japan, located fifteen kilometres southwest of Nagoya, between Kyoto and Tokyo.

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(c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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The City of Kariya symbol can be viewed in various areas of the park that includes a wild goose (kari) and a figure eight (ya). The combination of the two symbols produces the city’s name, Kariya.

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We made our visit to the park this past weekend.

Steps to Kariya Park. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Blossoms on tree branch. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
My family on our annual trip to Kariya Park. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Pink sakura. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
My daughter looking at the geese on the pond, Kariya Park, May 2012. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
“Mando Matsuri” (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Me with the kids, Kariya Park, May 2012. (c) Photo Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Symbol at Kariya Park. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
(c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Pond at Kariya Park, May 2012. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez.

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In honour of Hanami and the beautiful sakura during Asian Heritage Month, I will be hosting a Cherry Blossom Photo Contest at The Bibliotaphe’s Closet!

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The best photo entry will win their choice of one of the following books from The Book Depository (you can click on the photos to be led to Goodreads for details about the book):

Cherry Blossom Contest Rules:

  • This giveaway is open to any country that The Book Depository (TBD) will deliver to for free. To check if TBD delivers to your country, check here.

  • You must have a valid email and mailing address to qualify. No P.O. Box addresses accepted.

  • You must be 15 years old and up to enter.

  • You must follow my blog by GFC, Networked Blogs, or Facebook to qualify.

  • A maximum of five (5) photo entries will be accepted from one person.

  • All photos must be originals with copyright belonging to the entrant and not a photo that was taken from online, the Internet, or the Web.

  • The photo composition must include cherry blossoms, or depict an Asian theme, and not be tampered or photo-edited in any way.

  • A winner will be chosen based on: best photo quality, aesthetic, creativity, and/or Asian theme.

  • To enter, please send your photo(s) to Zara Alexis of The Bibliotaphe’s Closet by email.

  • Subject line should read: CHERRY BLOSSOM PHOTO CONTEST

Your entry must include the following information:

  • full name
  • full mailing address
  • how your follow me (GFC, Networked Blogs, or Facebook—or all!)
  • The name(s) or user ID(s) you follow me by
  • name/title for photo(s)
  • total number of photo(s) submitted – MAX. 5
  • book of choice from the list provided above if you win

  • By submitting a photo(s) to the contest, the entrant agrees to allow The Bibliotaphe’s Closet to post the photo(s) online on its blog. Copyright will remain with the photographer and proper credit will be acknowledged.

  • Winner must respond to notification within 48 hours to claim prize and confirm mailing address before order can be placed.
  • If winner fails to claim prize, a new winner will be chosen.
  • If not enough photo entries are submitted due to lack of interest, nor quality photos entered to deem a photo contest winner, contest will either be postponed or closed at the discretion of The Bibliotaphe’s Closet.

  • Contest ends June 30, 2012 at 11:59 p.m. EST

Good luck and have fun!

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All Things Asian Event Post: 04.16.2012 – Filipino Literature

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez

All Things Asian: April 2-16

Zara’s All Things Asian Event Post:

Filipino Literature

The blogs: That Hapa Chick; Live, Laugh, I Love Books; and My Words Ate Me are hosting the All Things Asian Event featuring guest posts about anything and everything about the Asian culture!

My guest post blogging interview has been featured on Julia’s blog: ThatHapaChick  on April 13! Please visit ThatHapaChick to read my interview!

Each and every day, a guest post will be featured until April 16, 2012, so be sure to drop by and visit the hosting blogs! Just click on the All Things Asian button above that links to the host blog.

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As for me, I couldn’t pass up the chance to post a few articles as part of the All Things Asian Event on my own blog, alongside this important event because quite simply put: I’m Asian! And I’m especially honoured and driven to share the beauty of Asia with my readers to foster awareness, community, and inclusivity—all things that are especially important to me.

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Though I love great literary fiction in of itself, I’ve noticed my book-buying and book-borrowing trends show that I tend to gravitate a lot more to books with cultural themes. Of those cultural themes, I most enjoy stories about China, Japan, and India, which seem to be the places and the cultures, which intrigue me the most.

Unfortunately, in comparison to Asian books published in North America, there doesn’t seem to be a large amount of books of fiction published about the Philippines especially in Canada. They do, however, exist.

Here are a few novels of fiction about the Pilipinas:

 

Dream Jungle

Author: Jessica Hagedorn

Published by Viking (imprint of Penguin Books), 2003

Page Count: 325 pages

ISBN: 0-670-88458-8

DREAM JUNGLE by Jessica Hagedorn

From the book jacket:

Two seemingly unrelated events occur in the Philippines—the discovery of the Taobo, an ancient lost tribe living in a remote mountainous area, and the arrival of an American, celebrity-studded film-crew, there to make an epic Vietnam War movie. But the “lost tribe” just might be a clever hoax masterminded by a brooding wealthy iconoclast—and the Hollywood movies seems doomed as the cast and crew continue to self-destruct in a cloud of drugs and their own egos.

To read more about Jessica Hagedorn, click on the photo below to link to her official website.

Jessica Hagedorn, author of DREAM JUNGLE

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When the Elephants Dance

Author: Tess Uriza Holthe

Published by Crown Publishers, 2002

Page Count: 367 pages

ISBN: 0-609-60952-1

WHEN THE ELEPHANTS DANCE by Tess Uriza Holthe

From the book jacket:

Through the eyes of three narrators, thirteen-year-old Alejandro Karangalan, his spirited older sister Isabelle, and Domingo, a passionate guerrilla commander, we see how ordinary people must learn to live in the midst of extraordinary uncertainty, how they must find hope for survival where none seems to exist. They find this hope in the dramatic history of the Philippine Islands and the passion and bravery of its people.

Crowded together in the cellar, the Karangalans and their friends and neighbours tell magical stories to one another based on Filipino myth and legend to fuel their courage, pass the time, and teach important lessons. The group is held spellbound by these stories, which feature a dazzling array of ghosts, witches, supernatural creatures, and courageous Filipinos who changed the course of history with their actions. These profoundly moving stories transport the listeners from the chaos of the war [World War II] around them and give them new resolve to fight on.

To read more about Tess Uriza Holthe, click on the photo below to link to her official website.

Tess Uriza Holthe, author of WHEN THE ELEPHANTS DANCE

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The Umbrella Country

Author: Bino A. Realuyo

Published by Random House, 1999

Page count: 320 pages

ISBN: 978-0345428882

THE UMBRELLA COUNTRY by Bino A. Realuyo

Book description from Amazon:

On the tumultuous streets of Manila, where the earth is as brown as a tamarind leaf and the pungent smells of vinegar and mashed peppers fill the air, where seasons shift between scorching sun and torrential rain, eleven-year-old Gringo strives to make sense of his family and a world that is growing increasingly harsher before his young eyes.

There is Gringo’s older brother, Pipo, wise beyond his years, a flamboyant, defiant youth and the three-time winner of the sequined Miss Unibers contest; Daddy Groovie, whiling away his days with other hang-about men, out of work and wilting like a guava, clinging to the hope of someday joining his sister in Nuyork; Gringo’s mother, Estrella, moving through their ramshackle home, holding her emotions tight as a fist, which she often clenches in anger after curfew covers the neighborhood in a burst of dark; and Ninang Rola, wise godmother of words, who confides in Gringo a shocking secret from the past–and sets the stage for the profound events to come, in which no one will remain untouched by the jagged pieces of a shattered dream.

As Gringo learns; shame is passed down through generations, but so is the life-changing power of blood ties and enduring love.

 

To read more about Bino A. Realuyo, click on the photo below to link to his official website.

Bino A. Realuyo, author of THE UMBRELLA COUNTRY

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Illustrado

Author: Miguel Syjuco

Published by Hamish Hamilton Canada, 2011

Page count: 324 pages

ISBN: 978-0670063956

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WINNER OF THE MAN ASIAN LITERARY PRIZE

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ILLUSTRADO by Miguel Syjuco

From Chapters-Indigo webpage:

Miguel Syjuco’s debut novel, Ilustrado, opens with Crispin Salvador, lion of Philippine letters, dead in the Hudson River. His young student, Miguel, sets out to investigate the author’s fatal departure from his encroaching obscurity and the suspicious disappearance of an unfinished manuscript—a work that had been planned to not just return the once—great author to fame, but to expose the corruption behind rich families who have ruled the Philippines for generations.

To understand the death, Miguel scours the life, charting Salvador’s trajectory via his poetry, stories, interviews, novels, polemics, and memoirs. The literary fragments become patterns become stories become epic: a family saga of four generations tracing 150 years of a country’s history forged under the Spanish, Americans, and Filipinos themselves. In the end, the story twists, belonging to young Miguel as much as his lost mentor, and readers are treated to an unhindered view of a tropical Third World society caught between reckless decay and hopeful progress. In this astonishingly inventive and bold novel, Syjuco explores fatherhood, regret, revolution, and the mysteries of lives lived and abandoned.

To read more about Miguel Syjuco, click on the photo below.

Miguel Syjuco, author of ILLUSTRADO, winner of The Man Asian Literary Prize.

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I am exceptionally proud of my fellow Filipino writers and loudly applaud their publishing success. A special congratulations to Miguel Syjuco for winning the Man Asian Literary Prize for his novel Illustrado!

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Have you ever read a book about the cultural themes of the Philippines?

How do you think books about the Filipino experience differ from other Asian-themed fiction?

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Thanks for joining me at The Bibliotaphe’s Closet in feature posts about the Philippines during the All Things Asian Event! 

It was a re-learning process for me and a kind reminder of the beauty of my heritage. I was glad to be able share a little bit about the Philippines with those who may or may not be keenly familiar with it and am proud to be part of a distinct cultural history, community, and people.

Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!

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Zara Alexis

It Isn’t May, But I’m Still Proud to Be an Asian: 03.26.2012

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez

It isn’t May, but I’m still proud to be an Asian…

The month of May is Asian Heritage Month in Canada, which is a time to acknowledge and celebrate the history of Asian Canadians. Except right now, it’s still March—and I’m still very much proud to be an Asian.

This small reminder happened when my family and I went to visit IKEA this past weekend. While we browsed through the showroom and finally reached the children’s section just before the restaurant and the Market Place, we passed by a bin of plush dolls.

What made me stop while I would have otherwise just passed by was the final arrival of a doll that represented an Asian likeness.

As an Asian woman growing up in the early 70’s as a daughter born to recently landed, hard-working immigrants from the Philippines and a daughter born as a native to Canadian soil—I was born a product of a dichotomy—the east and the west.

The Philippines flag

And though I don’t speak of it often, I did grow up during a time when racism and discrimination towards Asians and what “used to be” ethnic minorities were vocal and ran rampant.

Being “Filipino” was unrecognized. My identity and culture was “lumped” into the abyss of Asian geography, a silent map that blinked its slanted eyes in wounded awareness.

I was ridiculed as a child and verbally abused in school, taunted with threats that shouted, “Move back to your country, you f—ing chink!” I couldn’t stand taking the bus to school and I hated recess.

Me. Age 4.

When I complained to the teacher on duty and told her what the kids in the yard were calling me, she asked in a condescending tone, “Well, you are Chinese, aren’t you?”

 She was wrong on many counts:

1)     I am not Chinese. I am a Filipina.

2)     There isn’t anything wrong with being Chinese.

3)     Why in the world did she condone such brutality in the schoolyard?

4)     Why was she an active participant in racism and discrimination against a four-year-old child and a teacher?

Her answer was not only devastating to me, but instilled my first experience of distrust in adults, teachers, and those in authoritative positions. I had always believed teachers were intelligent and fair creatures. That day, I was taught otherwise. It was the beginning of a life-long lesson that drove me to justice advocacy in all forms especially for the marginalized.

It also instilled in me at a young age, a self-questioning seed of my identity that transpired into an unnamed fear, a self-hatred, a parallel racism. And one I have had years to work against.

I hated my flat nose. I envied blonde hair. I was embarrassed by the smell of the food my parents cooked, afraid the fish scent would travel with me when I left the room. And in toy stores, there were no dolls that looked like me. Barbie was a far cry from what I looked at in the mirror as a child.

And so, it’s taken years to eventually unravel the psychological damage done by those who were not ready to understand or accept someone who they deemed catastrophically different from them based on an old ignorance.

The joy I felt, though late, when I saw this Asian doll while shopping at IKEA, re-surfaced an old anger, a confusion that a four-year-old Filipina girl had no vocabulary to articulate. And it wasn’t because I couldn’t speak English. I could. I do. (I even studied it all the way into university and hold a degree!)

Okay, so it’s not a rights activist protest or camp out (yes, I’ve been part of those, too). But it’s a beginning. A reaffirmation that those who have scorned me and others like me based on ethnicity alone, have been pushed aside to understand that we are not only visible—we are at the very least, acknowledged.

I am still a product of a cultural dichotomy. But, I’m also Canadian. Native born. English-speaking. And as part of an interracial marriage, my children, too, are part of a growing cultural complexity.

The doll was bought and claimed by my two-year-old daughter. I can, with its help, reaffirm to her, who she is, and why she’s beautiful…

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M. and her Asian doll.
M. named her doll after herself without my coercion.

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Zara Alexis