hapa323“I found you in the trash along with all the rubbish. No one wanted you, so I took you in. You’re lucky that I gave you a home.”

This is what my mom said to me whenever she was angry at me. My mom is Vietnamese and my dad is half Chinese half Vietnamese.

The thing is, my whole life, no one has ever thought from just looking at me that I was either. I grew up in the US and there were many times when Latinos started speaking Spanish to me, thinking I was Latino too. I would also be mistaken for Filipino, or Hawaiian. When I was in Hawaii, I would be mistaken for a local. When I was working in Southeast Asia, everyone would think that I was local (Lao, Thai, Cambodian, all except for Vietnamese of course). Once, a Vietnamese lady was surprised at my fluent Vietnamese, she thought that I learned it working at a Vietnamese restaurant.

I grew up in refugee camps in Thailand and the Philippines before immigrating to the US at the age of nine. Nowadays I’m a documentary photographer. My desire to find my roots and a sense of belonging is a catalyst for my photography. You can check out my photography here.

2 thoughts on “Vietnamese, Chinese

  1. It’s just heart breaking to hear the words of your mother. I cannot believe a mother could be so inhuman & cruel. You sound like you’ve worked with this negativity & found some peace in your photography. Good for you. You are blessed to be able to turn this around & take the high road. Many others would have become so defeated & taken the low road in life. Keep looking for the good & positive things in life. God bless.

    • I can totally relate. My adopted mother would tell me that my birth mother had abandoned me because I was unwanted. That I was troublesome, will fill and ungrateful. That if I was grateful or tried to find out where I had come from then I’d be kidnapped and taken back to China where I’d grow up unhappy and in poverty on a commune
      Love the photography :)

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