Why I Write Under a Pen Name

In my early twenties my mother told me that she had intended a different name for me. For all my life my given name — “Christopher Benjamin Patterson” — sounded nothing like the names of my family in Hawaii. Their names actually reflected our mixed up Hawaiian/ Polynesian/ Chinese/ Filipino heritage, with names like Kanakini, Kamela, Aihwa, Mari. SoContinue reading “Why I Write Under a Pen Name”

Hong Kong Domestic Workers in the Gallery

Six months ago I visited the Hong Kong contemporary art gallery, Para Site, when it hosted “Afterwork,” a collection of work about migrant domestic workers. The blog I wrote then was about the (mostly white) audience who patronized the gallery on its opening. I feel this was a mistake. The artists themselves had little control over how the expatriateContinue reading “Hong Kong Domestic Workers in the Gallery”

Art Spaces in Phnom Penh

Spoken Space We (you and I, let’s say) stroll along Street 308, an “up and coming” (read: gentrifying) area of Phnom Penh, speckled with packs of foreigners and tourists armed with open-carry bottles of wine and thin needles of hash, their bodies attached to tall resident walls like seaweed wavering to and fro against aContinue reading “Art Spaces in Phnom Penh”

“Research” in Myanmar

The traffic into Yangon is abysmal, and it doesn’t help that the taxi driver won’t stop trash-talking the city; the only solace from his ranting comes when hawkers come to sell fruit and music CDs. We pass pagodas, where women young and old clasp their hands, repeating prayers, their mouths moving quick like film. The men meditate like the maleContinue reading ““Research” in Myanmar”