"TONG2HUA4": A one-act play

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Authors
To, Nicholas A.
Issue Date
2013
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Thesis
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en_US
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Abstract
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".
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iii, 128 p.
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