In my travels around the web – I was working really hard today, honest – I found this site.
The Migrant Project seems like a very interesting one. This is a little something from their manifesto:
The Migrant Project is a unique, interdisciplinary arts project, developed by a collective of Australian artists from a variety of cultural and artistic backgrounds, discovering and reassembling the untold stories of Australia’s past and present.
Each time I see things like the Bonegilla Exhibition and the Migrant Project, one half of me is inspired, and the other half exhausted. My desire to document my family story and, indeed, to find out more about my family story is re-invigorated. On the other hand, the time evidently put into these projects and the sheer talent that surpasses my own wears me down.
The Migrant Project poses this very interesting question:
This blog started out telling snippets of my family story. It’s morphed into all kinds of things – a little about books, a little about law, a little about race/ism, a little (probably more than I intended) about me.
In many ways, I have found it impossible to separate my Viet refugee past from my current life.
The nature of blogging itself does not assist me to keep separate stories of my past, from stories of my present. I began to worry, as I realised that people were actually reading my blog, of revealing too much about people who had not agreed to have anything at all revealed about them, to an unknown audience. It began to be safer to tell stories of my present, in which only (or predominantly) I – who had explicitly agreed to having things revealed about me and who was (mostly) in control of the revelations – figured.
I am a hybrid – not only of my Viet-ness and my Australian-ness, but also of the different identities of Oanh the daughter, sibling, aunt, partner, lawyer, reader, feminist, etc. I live a digital, and a non-digital, life. You, too, are a hybrid.
I have documented, and will probably continue to document, the transgressions between the me who aligns with my family and cultural expectations of me, and the me whom I think of as more truly myself. It is the cultural straddling I (and others) do, and suspect will always do, that intrigues me. I do it mostly unthinkingly. Have I forged a hybrid sense of self, or has it just arisen?
I am moving to the UK – a kind of confused reverse Australian migration. I will soon be struggling for a sense of home, and definitely for a sense of belonging. That won’t be anything I have not done in the past, but it will be interesting to do, equipped as I am now, with the verbiage of theory. I will soon have no family and very few friend reference points for my identity. I will be behaving amongst people who will have no pre-conceptions about how to expect me to behave in any given situation (except my partner, of course, who has years of pre-conceptions, now). It is why travelling is so exciting to people, I think, this opportunity to re-create.
For my parents, my moving is not quite travelling. I wonder if they view this move as akin to their migration to Australia. It is not, of course, as I reassure them of at least 12-monthly visits home. That in itself, and the immediacy and simplicity of communication unknown when they left Viet Nam (and complicated by other factors too), makes what I am doing now, conceptually very different to what they were doing then.
This is my goodbye post. Not because I am leaving blogging forever, but, because, circumstances being as they currently are, I will need to have a blog hiatus of at least two months, maybe more. Moving across the world is time-consuming. I will probably still be reading and commenting but suspect that, too, will be sporadic. A break will be a good opportunity to think about the direction and purpose of this blog, and to return, hopefully, with a clearer idea of what I want from my blogging or an epiphany that such clarity is not possible, nor even desirable, for me.