Wednesday, December 10, 2008

East Meets West

Ricky Nelson

When I was young (I heard that!), anything coming from the West was the epitome of civilization and coolness: fashion, music, cuisine, litterature, everything! Vietnamese girls wanted to have light skin and big round eyes, like the French (we didn't care too much for their big nose and hairy arms, but even those defects were better than being short and yellow, we thought). I had a huge crush on Ricky Nelson and a lot of contempt for local heart throbs like Hung Cuong. In other words, I was an Oriental Micheal Jackson, embarrassed by my own race and envious of the white race and yearning to be accepted in their midst.

Hung Cuong

I've learned since to accept and appreciate my Asian looks. I also found out very early in life that there was no welcome wagon waiting for me on the other side, no matter how completely westernized I have become. And now, it seems like the pendulum has swung the other way.

Nowadays, Japan is considered the source of cool technologies, developments and trends. Korea is the mecca for breakdancing, having won several times the International Battle of the Year in Germany. Oriental food is now served and appreciated all over the world. Ramen noodles, pho and Vietnamese sandwiches are the mainstay of students diet in North American colleges.

But the most striking aspect of this phenomenon, in my opinion, is the number of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai films that are being copied or remade by Hollywood. In the past, it was one or two exceptional films, such as the Seven Samurai, that are adapted in the West, once in a while. But nowadays, the list is endless: The Ring, Dark Waters, The Grudge; Mirrors, Shutter, etc...

And today, I learned that they are planning a remake of the classic film "47 Ronin", with Keanu Reeves as the lead. Keanu Frigging Neo Reeves!!


My point? Be yourself, it takes too much energy to be not-you. And if you don't like yourself, wait. You'll become trendy eventually.

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