About this blog
People of Asian descent have settled on every inhabited continent. When talking about Asian diasporas we might first think of populations in developed Western countries, such as Vietnamese Australians, Japanese Americans, or British Indians, but there are diasporic Asians in other countries outside of Asia as well: Korean Argentines, for example, or Chinese South Africans. This is not to mention Asians in Asia but outside of their ethnic homeland, such as Filipinos in Hong Kong or Indonesians in Japan.
Plaid Bag Connection is an online space for exploring the connections between Asian groups outside of the ethnic homeland. What are the similarities and differences between groups settled in different contexts? Looking within national boundaries, Asians in the diaspora might think their place in local society is unique, but is it really? I believe that diasporic Asians all over the world have a lot to learn from each other, and that there are many commonalities that transcend borders.
I identify as an Asian American because I believe in panethnic racial solidarity and because I don’t fit easily into any ethnically specific labels. My parents are ethnic Chinese refugees from Vietnam, so I’m neither Chinese nor Vietnamese as these labels are generally understood in the US. I grew up in El Monte, California, a blue-collar suburb that straddles the constellation of Chinese/Vietnamese and Latino communities in the San Gabriel Valley east of Los Angeles.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Why Plaid Bag Connection?
- What do you mean by Asian?
- What gives you the authority to write about X?
- Is this a scholarly blog?
- Can I write a guest post?
- May I use your photos?
- May I cite your content?
- How can I contact you?
Why Plaid Bag Connection?
The plaid plastic tote bag, commonly associated with Chinatowns in the US, is a symbol of mobility. Mass-produced in China and used by migrants the world over to move their possessions from country to country, the plaid bag evokes personal or collective memories of the journey from humble origins to greener pastures.
What do you mean by Asian?
Coming from the United States and having some activist connections, I use a very broad and expansive definition of Asian like the one set by the US federal government: “A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam”. Non-US-Americans: note that in activist circles and in some government definitions Asians and Pacific Islanders are lumped together as Asian American/Pacific Islanders (hence the Twitter hashtag #aapi).
What gives you the authority to write about X?
Unless it’s something on which I’ve done substantial research, I don’t claim to have any more authority than anyone else on the topic. If you believe I’m wrong about something or have misrepresented your group in a post, please leave a comment or send me an e-mail.
Is this a scholarly blog?
No. I consider the Plaid Bag Connection to be tangential to my work. This blog draws on scholarship, but is meant to fill the gap between scholarly blogs, news blogs, popular culture blogs, and activist blogs.
Can I write a guest post?
Please! Pitch your ideas to me in an e-mail and I will get back to you.
May I use your photos?
Depends on which ones and what you want to do with them. Unless otherwise specified, all photos and images are my work and are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. For images attributed to others, please see the original author.
May I cite your content?
If by cite you mean quote in your own blog post, go ahead as long as you give me credit. If you want to use material on my blog for a school assignment, I’d say that under most circumstances that would be a bad idea and that you should go to your local library for material that has been fact-checked and peer-reviewed. (Not that that implies that I’m making stuff up!) For scholarly work, you know the conventions of your field better than I do, and so I will leave it up to you to make the call.
How can I contact you?
Through the handy-dandy contact form, of course.
Unless otherwise specified, all photos and images are my work and are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. For images attributed to others, please see the original author.
Page photo: A wall of plaid bags in Warsaw, Poland. Creative Commons credit: Natalia Osiatynska.