Friday, June 18, 2010


“But mom! I don’t want to put on that white dress! Why can’t I wear my purple one? It’s so much brighter and prettier!” She whined.

“Angie, you must wear white to a Chinese funeral.” Her mother said firmly.

“I’m not going to keep this Feng Shui bracelet or wear that dull and lifeless white dress! I wish you’d left all this Chinese business back in China. We’re in New York City now, mom. You can just go to Uncle Lee’s funeral with dad and Jerry.” She said, turning her nose up defiantly.


I’m Angela Kwan and I work as a journalist with the New York Herald in Manhattan. When I was younger, I tried my hardest to disassociate myself with anything Chinese. Of course, that was hard to do considering my poker-straight ebony hair, sky-rocketing cheekbones and most notably, Asian eyes. Every Chinese New Year, my family would have such lavish celebrations that they could rival Christmas! I was forced into learning to read and write Mandarin and as much as they promised it would grow on me eventually, green tea and stinky beancurd repulsed me. With time, I accepted my ethnicity. But somehow, I never did make it to a Chinese funeral donning a completely white outfit. I’ve heard stories of how I fetched my felt-pens and paints to cover my pristine white ballet uniform in splashes of colour. Another time, I invited all my friends over and we stood up the whole night filling in every corner of the walls in crayon- all because I couldn’t stand the pallid white.

It’s the day before my wedding ceremony. American weddings are known world over for their brides traditionally dressed in (yes, you guessed it) white. But my wedding gown is every colour of the spectrum except the dreaded white. As much as I wanted to fit in like a jigsaw piece as a teenager, there’ll always be one part of me back home, in China, timeless.


“I’m feeling kind of hungry…” She said trailing off.

“Chinese takeout from Uncle Lee’s?” He asked, knowing fully well what was coming next.

“You got it.” She chuckled.

When it comes down to it, blood is thicker than water.

And dark soy sauce is even thicker than blood.