Giving Voice(s) to Plurality: Translating Sinophone Southeast Asia
2: Wherever the Wind Goes: Translating Local and Diasporic Hoa Literature from the Fengti Poetic Club
Friday, March 25, 2022
11:30am – 1:00pm EST
Virtual Paper Presenter(s)
Sinophone literature from Vietnam and its diaspora is underrepresented in translational scholarship and publication. This gap is in part due to the limited amount of writings produced following the expulsion of the Hoa (Chinese in Vietnam) after the Second Indochina War. Online communications, however, have made possible the archiving of and revival in Hoa literature as diasporic networks reconnect with writers in Vietnam and around the world. This paper translates poems exploring themes of war, refuge, after-war lives, and identity compiled by the Fengti Poetic Club (風笛詩社). It also contextualizes these writings within the history and culture of the Hoa people.
The Fengti Poetic Club started in 1973 in Cholon, now Ho Chi Minh City’s Chinatown. The club was prolific in its writings during the first three years of operation, but its activities were interrupted until its first online publication in 2001. The club has now expanded to include numerous “flutists” from East Asia, Southeast Asia, Australia, North America, and Europe, many of which have connections with Vietnam. The writers in this club speak different varieties of Chinese including Teochew and Cantonese. Some may know Vietnamese and Mandarin, while others can speak the dominant languages of their new home countries. The paper will also examine how these writings attempt to share a common language that speaks to Hoa experiences, but highlights their different trajectories.