ISSUE ONEI cannot make my mooncake in your muffin tin.
My skin tone isn’t the right shade of citizen here.
I have done all I can,
My soap swapped for bleach,
My name changed to assimilate with
My speech fluent in a language
my parents don’t understand.
I long to swap my cheongsam
for your All Blacks jersey,
then my heritage can be held
in uncultured hands
that cut it apart
and sell it as a costume.
I ask if acceptance will always
be a corrupt trade.
If by the end of it I will fit into a country
I call mine but does not call me its own.
I feel lost at night
As I look up to the moon,
That arose in the East and settled in the West
And ask why I had to follow the same path.
Tēna kotou katoa, my name is Celine Dam and I'm a Vietnamese-Chinese writer/actor from Aotearoa (NZ). Much of my work narrates my experiences as an Asian woman navigating my cultural identity, and the role it plays in how I create art. Through both writing and acting, I hope to elevate the presence of Asian-produced art in the world by sharing my culture, my roots, and my language.