Postcolonial Southeast Asian Transnationalism in Shirley Geok-lin Lim’s Among the White Moon Faces and Sister Swing

  • Walter S. H. Lim


Li-Young Lee and Shirley Geok-lin Lim came to the United States from Southeast Asian countries that had not only experienced Western colonial rule but also supported anti-Chinese policies. When Li-Young Lee represents the political repression suffered by his father under Indonesia’s President Sukarno, he draws attention to a world that, transitioning from the throes of Dutch colonialism to the excitement of nationalism and liberation, had nevertheless been hostile toward his family because of race and cultural leanings. This firsthand experience, given powerful expression in The Winged Seed, is also afforded Shirley Geok-lin Lim but within the context of Malaysia, another Southeast Asian nation that, discarding the yoke of British colonial rule, found itself likewise discriminating against subjects of Chinese descent among its population. By portraying Indonesia’s and Malaysia’s discrimination against people of Chinese descent, both Li-Young Lee and Shirley Lim introduce a new thematic concern into literary expressions of the (Southeast Asian) Chinese diasporic experience—bringing into play a worldview generated out of the experience of Western colonialism, the significance of linguistic legacies (tied to language possession, for instance) directly traceable to the colonial experience, and the inflectional possibilities of a postcolonial perspective.


Cultural Capital Hate Crime Puerto Rican Woman Chinese Descent Cultural Hegemony 
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© Walter S. H. Lim 2013

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  • Walter S. H. Lim

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