A Singaporean actress examines identity and perceptions, both in her home and in different countries, in a beautiful, thought-provoking, four-minute vlog that is sure to touch the hearts of millions of migrants (and others) around the world.
The video, conceptualized by actress Oon Shu An and Singaporean playwright Joel Tan, features Oon performing a monologue against a backdrop projecting scenic views of different nations.
Oon talks about national and ethnic identity and how she perceives herself is totally different from how people from other cultures perceive her.
She refers to her country, Singapore, as “the gateway to the world” that has grown increasingly crowded and expresses her desire to escape. Yet, when she travels to distant lands, like the United States, India and China, she realizes her identity is ever-changing depending on the culture and people of that place.
“But here, I am the Asian girl who speaks great English,” says Oon of the U.S., which lumps her as Asian stereotype. “Who must be good at math, who comes from a country where you can’t chew gum, probably grew up with a tiger mom. Who despite everything I tell them about who I am, I am not Singaporean or Chinese, but Asian. My entire history erased by a continent.”
About her experience in China, where her forefathers immigrated from, she says, “I'm reminded that for them I'm the girl whose family escaped a history of suffering. I could barely speak to find my way, let alone call this my motherland.”
At the end of the video, Oon arrives back home with an understanding that everyone has at least one thing in common: They are essentially all trying to build a home.
"We are all foreign," she declares. “So what decides who should stay or who should go?”
The question is especially relevant in light of the current world refugee crisis and the disappointing unwelcome migrants are receiving from what they hoped to be asylums.
The collaborative effort came after a meaningful conversation with her team about life in general and the current scenario of the world.
"The best we can try to do is present a point of view that we feel is authentic and hopefully, well-reasoned," Oon told Mashable.
The monologue had been viewed almost 248,000 and had 5,600 shares at the time of this writing. The overwhelmingly positive responses are a “relief” to Oon, who admitted she was worried about how people would react to it.
“Beautiful monologue here,” said Drake Lim on the Facebook post. “Only when you travel out of your homes and look outward to immerse in the cultures of others, then will one start to appreciate each and every individual's uniqueness and personality, and perhaps to understand and embrace where they come from.”
“This is beautiful. I'm a Singaporean in New Zealand married to a Kiwi whose roots go far back into somewhere in Europe or U.K. And my ancestors, from whom I know are mainly from China,” Dominique Hishon-Yong said. “We are all foreigners in a place trying to make it our own, why do we begin to call those who speak different, act different weird, uncultured and want them to ‘go home.’”