Entering the Chinese-American Soap Opera
At first, I feel deprived, hungry for the spectacle of those extravagant Latin
cachetadas savory as empanadas, but then I find a similar formula applies:
lust and love impossibly intertwined, similarly convoluted plots. Yet these soap
opera characters are plain-spoken,
honest to a fault. A greater challenge involves following how they switch from
Chinese to English, and back:
English primarily for the office, but not always; Chinese, it seems, for close
friends, elders. For lovers, sometimes.
I begin to enjoy the sound of the foreign syllables heaping upon themselves, small
gems gathered in a pile.
Setting: what appears to be a tiki bar (hibiscus behind her ear, tight coral necklace,
But back to plot. He is attractive, deliberate when he chooses to speak to our
Yes. Went sailing. Didn't feel the need to tell anyone. She turns her back to
him and stares at an ocean
viewers can only hear. In previous scenes, workers have rushed around her
in dizzying orbits, a girlfriend has thrown up in the company bathroom, afraid she
will never measure up.
Now, all that's left is for her to walk away, unsteady, but sober, towards a blur
of hotel lights. I want to take her by the hand and sit her down at a café table,
brush the hair from her eyes.
I want to say something inadequate in a language I cannot speak.