the moral obligation of my human existence

Hello #ACAM350! In continuing the discussion about identity, though I don’t really call myself an Asian Canadian, I am… Let me explain. I was born in Canada then packed on a plane at 3 months old to be raised in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is not China. I have a Canadian passport. I also have a Hong Kong passport. Technically, yes, I’m a Chinese-Canadian, but:  Canadian identity  <<  Hong Kong identity. Complicated, as identity tends to be.

I feel like identity is something that’s fluid, as with all the facets that make up one identity, and that’s why it’s so hard to pinpoint. Anyway, that’s a little intro to me. Moving on!

While reading Voices Rising, I was intrigued by Tanaka’s idea of a moral obligation to community and that “the end of all art should be to bring about an understanding of the community’s being in the world”, while pitting it against the idea of “the artist in Western society” (Li 20). The two opposing concepts of individuality versus community is one that highlights the fundamental differences in Western societies and East Asian societies (cue epic music).

Confucian philosophy and ideologies shape community orient East Asian societies––a way of thinking that resurfaces as “moral obligation to community” in Tanaka’s argument. The difference between his proclamations and the “artist in Western society” then, becomes more than a simple opposition of perspective, but one rooted in the distinction of the differences in cultural perspectives. The argument to “develop a community consciousness” is invariably tied to the idea of an East Asian identity and culture, whether that is Japanese/Korean/Chinese (20).

Going back to the idea of an Asian Canadian identity, how do we reconcile the clashes in ideologies and cultures that make up who we are? What about the idea of “reconstructing” identities, where we unlearn cultural teachings and biases to create a new meaning for being Asian Canadian? I don’t know where I’m going with this but maybe I will at the end of this course (: