Panel: Non-Western Perspectives at CoyoteCon

CoyoteCon is an online convention running through May. One of the panels was on Non-Western Perspectives, with participants WSNB contributor Joyce Chng , Carole McDonnell and Rudy Ch. Garcia.

[Deena] 7:08 pm: Maybe, then, you could talk about what it means to read and write from a non-western perspective?

[Deena] 7:08 pm: What does this topic say to you, I mean. That would give us some guidelines for questions.

[Carole McDonnell] 7:09 pm: For me, the main thing is how provincial many Americans tend to be

[Carole McDonnell] 7:09 pm: We only see our own news, our own films…so we often don’t realize there are so many things we assume

[JoyceChng] 7:09 pm: I am Chinese, part of the diaspora. So, I grew up with a whole cosmology and legends different from Western ones.

[JoyceChng] 7:10 pm: Likewise, I live in Singapore, a land with many races – I grew up with Malay, Indian and Eurasian stories.

[JoyceChng] 7:11 pm: So, when it comes to writing stories, I have many perspectives to choose from. I write, mostly, from a Chinese (hyphenate) viewpoint.

[Carole McDonnell] 7:12 pm: I grew up in Jamaica which is western in the way many cultures who were formerly part of the British empire are western

[JoyceChng] 7:12 pm: Yet, Singapore being a British colony, I ended up with an Anglo-Saxon education.

[Deena] 7:12 pm: Rudy, how about you? Your perspective is at least partially “western”. I think we need to define western. In this case predominantly US, with the UK, western Europe, and Canada thrown in.

[Carole McDonnell] 7:13 pm: Yes, because western-ness is pervasive…

[JoyceChng] 7:14 pm: Very pervasive. *nodding*

[Deena] 7:14 pm: Rudy’s having a little tech trouble.

[Carole McDonnell] 7:15 pm: and often one has to really sort through one’s sense of shame, “being educated” etc to acknowledge and honor something everyone else in one’s culture is ashamed of

[JoyceChng] 7:16 pm: I have to agree with Carole there. I constantly have to wrestle with my Anglo-Saxon education (I also studied in Australia) and my own cultural/ethnic background.

[Deena] 7:16 pm: Okay, so you both write from a kind of hybrid point of view, the western half of which creeps into the rest, and sometimes the non-western half, simplified, feels shame at not being western. Is that close?

[JoyceChng] 7:16 pm: I ended up confused, seeking.

[Carole McDonnell] 7:17 pm: And then there are issues of who is one writing to? Am I writing to be ambassadorial or to my “own” people?

[JoyceChng] 7:17 pm: @deena Close.

[Carole McDonnell] 7:17 pm: or just to figure out who I am? Or to write a good story?

Read the rest of the transcript.


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