Welcome to the World Wide Web Home page of Road to East Asia
Gregory Lee, University of Hong Kong: I was very interested to see the interview with Oliver Kramer on the Misty Poets. Kramer and your readers may also be interested to know that several chapters of my book Troubadours, Trumpeters, Troubled Makers: Lyricism, Nationalism, and Hybridity in China and Its Others, published by Duke University Press in 1996, are devoted to Duoduo's poetry, and the whole book discusses the culture of contemporary poetry in China and its reception in the West. Road to East Asia is a great idea. Hope you keep it up.
Martin Bensch, Sweden: Great page! I have just started reading Bei Dao, and this page inspired me to read on. Keep up the good work.
Geremie Barme, sinologist of Australian National University: Hope your journal takes something of a more skeptical view of the literary luminary of China. Have you seen The Gate of Heavenly Peace?This film should give you some food for thought. I think it adds a few much-needed complicating factors to the discussion of Chinese culture.
Anonymous reader (cites human rights violations worldwide that he or she deems equally outrageous or more deplorable than the 1989 killings in Beijing): Let us not confuse the issues. This is not at all to justify what happened in Tiananmen Square, but just to help see things in perspective.
Brian Castro, Australian novelist, Victoria: I have enjoyed reading your journal very much. A degree of idealism has manifested itself in the latest essays on the Tiananmen Tragedy. As an old sceptic, I wonder if the students had sacrificed a knowledge of foreign policy between China and the West for opinions on human rights and freedoms. I would have preferred more realpolitik over rhetoric. Perhaps historicising China's progress towards modernization would be a more fruitful path to understanding the numerous revolutions China has sustained. These can only be fully appreciated in hindsight.
Huguette Fontaine, translator, Toronto:I wish I could read all the works discussed by the writers. Freedom is an unremitting quest for those young Chinese "Misty poets" [in Jessica Martin's article "Poetic Voices from Today's China"] and will guide them on the road of creativity. Perhaps their art originates from this quest and their quest takes root in their art.
Huang Guanyun, Berkeley, California: I have been thinking lately to some degree about this question of culture. Once someone had suggested that this entire generation of Asian Americans, with its hyphenated heritage, is a generation of people in exile, dislocated and accursed by the cultural memory of a century of turmoil and upheavals. It has struggled to stay alive in the chasm between two cultures and the midst of radical changes between generations of its culture; yet for those discontinuities, it is constantly being stifled by the feeling of loss and disillusionment. In the end, it could only adhere itself to one culture or the other; it must be constantly searching for its home, roots, and origin.
I suppose we are both part of this generation of people; our attempts to unravel our personal life history all in one way or the other reflect this greater experience. And this quest for identity, perhaps as we'll come to discover, is a task we must all take on as individuals.
Visitors: since Jan. 24, 1996