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Celine Dam

I 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 oppressors,

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.

ig  @celinedam_

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