Façade of Perfection

A Gesture Life by Chang-rae Lee

The meanings behind gestures usually differ from the meanings of gestures. Franklin Hata comes from a culture where gestures and “face” weigh a lot in summing one’s life. With a Korean heritage and Japanese upbringing, Hata struggles between intent and propriety. Chang-rae Lee paints a perplexed character where the world in his head differs from the one he habitats. Doc Hata acts against his intuition, and in his later years reflects upon these “proper” actions. Hata’s persistence in choosing propriety led him to a life with a deep sense of hollowness. Although his reflective questioning cannot redeem certain actions, it draws the reader in and forces them to measure what complicity means and shows its effects.

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The Orange Pain

As an American in Vietnam, there exists a quiet symbiotic relationship to the people, its culture and the land. Discovering the Vietnamese society still suffers from the aftermath of the American-Vietnam War tears my heart into opposing directions.

It is easy to witness the war’s heavy footprints. A major reason is the Agent Orange herbicide mainly sprayed in Central Vietnam. This herbicide contains dioxin at deadly levels affecting anyone with constant exposure to it.

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