"TONG2HUA4": A one-act play

Thumbnail Image
To, Nicholas A.
Issue Date
Research Projects
Organizational Units
Journal Issue
Alternative Title
My background played a significant role in creating the concept of"TONG2HUA4". Tónghuà is the Mandarin Chinese ping yin (the system of Romanized spelling for transliterating Chinese for assimilation, a concept was not entirely foreign to me as I grew up in the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong, where I experienced a dynamic and ever-changing blend of people and culture. Living in an ex-British colony I suppose that I understood the concept of assimilation before I knew the actual word for it. As a result, I have spent a lot of time contemplating my own cultural and racial identity as a Eurasian. This has resulted in a great interest in assimilation, what it means at individual level and how this concept functions in society as a whole. Based on my background I feel that a majority of people in the United States have a warped view of China, what it is, how it functions. Even my peers at Kalamazoo College sometimes make comments that imply a view of China as the stereotypical "Orient." One purpose that I intend for this play is somewhat educational; providing a look at how people not unlike them have experienced China. I want people to understand China from a multicultural perspective and in doing so have my own background better understood. I came up with the title "TONG2HUA4" before I had any idea what I wanted the play to be specifically about. IWJ{t (Tonghua) was actually a vocabulary word that I learned in my Chinese class while studying abroad in Beijing, China. I remember the characters standing out to me because in my head I saw the characters for what they meant individually: together/similar and culture. Seeing the meaning within these characters and what I knew the word to mean in English got me thinking that if there was this difference in meaning, however slight, there must also be a difference in understanding of the concept as well as how it affects people. I turned to my friend later that day and said "I want to write a play called Tong two Hua four". She looked at me and asked: "don't you mean Tonghua?" "No. Tong two Hua four. It's in the middle, its Chinese in English. It's in between".
iii, 128 p.
U.S. copyright laws protect this material. Commercial use or distribution of this material is not permitted without prior written permission of the copyright holder. All rights reserved.
PubMed ID