because i think the artist's actually chinese

Representation in Avatar the last airbender

lltran submitted to Writing with Color:

hi, so i saw that many people have asked about mixing asian cultures in their fantasy works and you guys answered several times (i think twice?) about how avatar is a good example of how mixing asian cultures was done well. i reblogged you post and added comments but i doubt anyone would see it so i am going to submit what i wrote here. please excuse my bad grammar and organization. 

i love avatar but i really do not think that avatar did this well either. i actually have a huge problem with this aspect of the show. i used to love how the artists blended the Asian cultures so seamlessly together. but the more i thought about it, the more unhappy i am with that fact. one reason why many of the cultures that they used are able to blend together so well is because of Chinese occupation. and when the cultures are blended like this it erases that history of these countries oppression by china (or other oppressive powers). for example, i am Vietnamese. i saw Vietnamese influences in the show (subtle things that most people would not associate with anything other than china, but is actually Vietnamese). my culture is lost in this show, it is lost among the Chinese culture, the culture that was forced onto my people and heavily influences us to this day(the topic of being Vietnamese vs Chinese is very big in the Vietnamese community, most Vietnamese people will get mad if they are mistaken for Chinese since this erases our very long struggle against the Chinese).

Other countries which did not have contact with china, like Thailand has had influences on avatar as well. but their culture is also lost because all that many viewers know of Asia is japan, china, and japan. because the creators do not state their Thai influences and because most people are not familiar with non-east Asian cultures, once again a culture gets erased. you hardly ever see avatar fan talk about Thailand or Vietnam or Loas, etc when they talk about avatar. so no, avatar is not a good example of how to merge Asian cultures together in a respectable way. i actually don’t think i know any good examples for this…i try to avoid books that have this premise since most are not done well and as far as tv goes…well there are hardly any shows with Asians at all so…but yeah just keep in mind the history of colonization in these countries and perhaps get someone from that culture to read your draft over to see whether or not it is insulting.

Also, PLEASE give credit where it is due. The creators of avatar, have not, as far as I know, stated how they were influenced by south east Asia. They only referenced East Asian and Inuit cultures and so many fans also only refer to these cultures. But really, the resemblance between the fire nation and Thailand is undeniable.

I also have a problem with people making up ‘Asian’ clothing that do not exist. This was done really well in avatar, but I sometimes feel like this treads too far into problematic territory. Like those people who make ‘Asian/oriental’ fashion or something. Idk. I don’t actually know if this is a legitimate worry or not since I can’t really word it, so take this how you want.

I also do not really like the idea of mixing Asian cultures because it kind off make me feel like the non-Asian audience will not see the subtleties and see it all as ‘Asia’, since there are so many similar cultural elements (the countries are close to each other geographically after all and so cultural sharing does happen). I personally would not create an ‘Asian’ inspired world without doing VERY extensive research first. This is my opinion though so don’t let that deter you because I am sure some of y’all are super creative and will come up with ways to do this that does not make Asia seem like a monolith.

Perhaps you can pick from a  limited amount of countries and focus on those only, that would make it easier to do research. Or maybe you can do the opposite and pick small elements from many countries to create something entirely new. I think the main point would be have fair representation and to create something unique.

Like its not bad to make everything East Asian, but I think its not great to make almost cultural aspect East Asian and then throw in some south/southeast/northern Asian element. I feel like that is very othering since so many people in the west think that Asia is 3 countries and do not even acknowledge the rest of the continent. Overall you should try to make the representations equal since everyone deserves representation. <- I also don’t know if this argument is good or not, just my thoughts

mod note: so I actually didn’t have a problem with Avatar, but this is a good post on why the cultural mishmash doesn’t work for some viewers and the pitfalls it has, especially with underrepresented cultures.

—mod Jess

[伊周Femina magazine] Q&A with Z.Tao

p/s: there will be full trans of this article soon but i wanna put this section here because i really like what he said, but please still read the full article (๑ᴖ◡ᴖ๑)


Q: The Reluctantly MV describes the story of an artist, is the life in the MV the life style you want?

A: No, my dream life is to have people that love me around, i can spend time with my family. Driving to the beach to watch the stars, enjoy the beach atmosphere at night.

Q: There’s this scene in the MV where you wore Versus clothes and ran around in London, so netizens mocked you by saying you came to the show late bc of filming MV, you don’t want to talk about this anymore, do you?

A: Actually it’s the traffic reason, not because of filming MV, i think there’s this quote that is very true “you can’t find the truths just by searching on weibo”. First time attending fashion show, my team and i are very excited, we intended to go earlier. We feel very sorry about the bad traffic and we sincerely apologize for coming late.

Q: Seems like Korean artists have high standards for body shape. After receiving training in Korea, do you have strict control to your body shape too?

A: I think Chinese artists are amazing too, but i don’t want to work out too much, i have to dance, it’s hard to dance if i’m too muscular.

Q: What kind of exercise you do to keep fit?

A: Running and doing gym if i have time, or else i will just control my eating. Before sleeping, i will do some push-ups and some exercise when i wake up.

Q: So do you have 6-pack abs now?

A: 8-pack.

Q: What is your most satisfied feature?

A: Nose, because it’s high.

Q: Can you be considered as a narcissist?

A: I used to be, but not anymore. Artists need to care about their image anyway, you have to check if you look OK before filming. I don’t take selfie often anymore, maybe because i grew up….oh, i know, because it’s no use to post selfie, i’m not the type to use appearance to catch attention!

Q: Do you think you’re handsome?

A: Just…. not ugly!

Q: When the show “Charming Daddy” airs, netizens will start making meme pics of you, does it give you pressure on expressing in the future?

A: No way, everyone can be turned into meme, it’ll be so tired to care too much about this, i’m not with it.

Q: Was your confidence dropped because of those attacks?

A: How can it be? I said it, it’s just whatever.

Q: Did you see your meme pics on the internet? Do you secretly use them?

A: I saw when i searched pics, some are very useful, thank you all for caring about me a lot.

Q: Do you think your expression is really too over? Are you going to change it?

A: Actually there’re also people saying my expression is not over, everyone has their own point of view, i can’t satisfy them all, i can only be myself.

Q: A lot of people want to know the brand of your eyeliner?

A: I have no idea. I know some said i have nothing but eyeliner, but i do eyeliner because almost makeup artist told me they want to do makeup like this for my eyes. I respect their job, i won’t interfere their work. In private life i don’t really like makeup, boys looking simple is ok!

Q: But there’re pics of you with red lips at “I’m the Sovereign” press con?

A: I didn’t apply red lipstick at the press con, i heard about this through the staff, it’s just the photoshopped pics by the boring people and it became a misunderstanding.

Q: People say eyeliner is not masculine, what do you want to say?

A: Nothing to say, what does me doing eyeliner have anything to do with them?

Q: If you can change something about you, what is it?

A: I never thought of changing.

Q: Do you still contact with EXO members? There used to be a gif of you bullying Baekhyun.

A: I have been saying this a lot of times, but i still want to say it again, i’m sure we all have naughty and fun time with our friends, but they just uploaded half of the gif then twisted it. I don’t have any disagreement with EXO members.

Q: In overseas, a lot of bad boys can be popular too, do you admire it?

A: No.

Q: You want to be a good man?

A: Yes, a good man.

A note about Tzuyu

I woke up to JYP and tzuyu’s apology videos.

The only word to describe what I feel right now is incensed. I hate this.

I hate that the Chinese government in their brainwashing has caused a company to kneel before them.

I hate that a sixteen-year-old girl had to choose between leaving her career or forfeiting her own country (imagine the pain she must be feeling in denying her own national identity)

No, actually. I think I grieve for that one, because this is what would happen to anyone, even me from Hong Kong, if issues like this came up while working in the mainland.

I hate that Tzuyu’s career will be forever tainted by this matter.

I hate that all Taiwanese, Macau, and Hong Kong kpop artists in the future have to watch their words after this incident.

I hate that the mainland Chinese thought they could do something like this, as if this was right or even humane.

I will give credit to JYP for trying to allow Tzuyu to maintain her national identity by waiting, and waiting, and waiting for it all to die down; but the sanctions imposed in the end were too great. I hope above all that people in Taiwan will understand what Tzuyu did, and how that does not mean she doesn’t love her country. The last thing she needs is both China and Taiwan to forsake her.