Complex Red Sphere

Being a first generation Chinese-American immigrant, I always felt out of place, whether it be in school or in the streets of Brooklyn. The unfamiliar  tongue and the different culture in America separated me from my peers. Everyday felt like walking blindly through a jungle. Everyone judges the crisp, loud Cantonese as a sign of barbaric people, yet they fail to realize the beauty and meaning behind each and every word. They think we’re uncivilized because of actions such as fighting for the dim sum’s bill, yet they don’t know that it is a tradition to pay the bill as a sign of respect. The custom, traditions and history behind my family is one that is complex, such as the lantern hanging from the ceiling. My mother made the lantern with Lunar New Year scraps in order to remember the festivity of the New Year. The red envelope symbolizes luck and fortune.  This is only a small fraction of the complex customs behind Chinese Culture. The different points on the lantern represents the different customs behind the Chinese Tradition and the hardships we faced in America. The unique shape represents the uniqueness and the special meaning behind the long Chinese traditions, The countless red envelopes the lantern is made out of represents the lack of wealth behind my family, as we had to make it out of scraps instead of buying one. One might judge how such a mere household item is worthless, but to me and my family, it is invaluable, as it represents our heritage and our history. 

Year: 2004

– Chiu Yin Lee

Relationship:  Im/migrant who arrived as a child Im/migrant who arrived as a child