Publication Date: April 2021
E-book ISBN: 978-1-988416-32-8 (released)
print ISBN: 978-1-988416-31-1
Series: Ricepaper Magazine Books Volume 3
The least visible is the most powerful.
The best friend is hiding in the enemy.
There is no end to consciousness.
Mercy and abundance belong together.
Truth and forgiveness belong together.
– Joy Kogawa, “Intent to forgive”
This anthology is a compilation of Ricepaper Magazine submissions—short stories, poetry, and nonfiction by writers of Asian descent from across the world. The theme which binds each piece is “belief,” a notion personal to each individual sharing a piece of themselves in their works.
The honorable Joy Kogawa shares her lifelong lessons scribbled in her diary, Carmen Chan shares the trauma experienced by the women in her family in the new world, Felix Wong shares a strange serendipitous experience of witnessing a wedding of strangers, and Garry Engkent describes how introducing the egg roll at his family’s restaurant causes a heated controversy in Thibeault Falls. The late Jim Wong-Chu reflects on what the first railway workers would have thought about the ritual of Christmas. Each author shares a conviction of truth shaping the reality of life in the Asian diaspora.
This is Volume #3 of Ricepaper Magazine Books, a collection of anthologies featuring Asian literary works.
Nastasha Alli – Moni Brar – Carmen Chan – Taeyin Cho-Glueck – Steven Chua – Ingrid Cui – Erica Dionara – Garry Engkent – Ken Lem, translated by Lei Jin – Daisy Kioko Moriyama – Joy Kogawa – Janika Oza – Kathy Pham – Cindy Phan – Emi Sasagawa – Karen-Luz Sison – Bianca Weeko Martin – Kevin Wong – Felix Wong – Jim Wong-Chu – Christine Wu – Kailin Yang – Peter KS Yu – Michelle Zhang
About The Editors
JF Garrard – Editor
JF is the founder of Dark Helix Press, host of The Artsy Raven podcast, Co-President of the Toronto branch of the Canadian Authors Association, Deputy Editor for Ricepaper Magazine and Assistant Editor for Amazing Stories Magazine. She is an editor and writer of speculative fiction (Futuristic Canada, Trump: Utopia or Dystopia, The Undead Sorceress, Ricepaper Issue 19.3), non-fiction (The Literary Elephant). Her latest published short stories includes the award winning “The Blue Son” in the Channillo Short Story Contest Winners anthology, “The Curse” in the Brave New Girls: Adventures of Gals and Gizmos anthology, “The Metamorphosis of Nova” in the Blood Is Thicker anthology by Iguana Books and “The Perfect Husband” in the We Shall Be Monsters Frankenstein anthology by Renaissance Press. jfgarrard.com
Allan Cho – Editor
Allan Cho is an academic librarian at the University of British Columbia and an instructor at the University of the Fraser Valley. Allan is actively engaged in a number of initiatives in the community and has served on the board of the Asian Canadian Writers’ Workshop Society (ACWW), Chinese Canadian Historical Society of British Columbia (CCHSBC) and Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society (VAHMS). He has written for the Georgia Straight, Diverse Magazine, and Ricepaper. His fiction has appeared in the anthologies, The Strangers and Eating Stories: A Chinese Canadian and Aboriginal Potluck.
Silvia Leung – Editor
Silvia Leung has written and edited a wide spectrum of pieces in the non-profit, private, and public sectors, from academic to creative, business to multimedia, technical to policy writing.
Dawn Chow – Editor
Dawn is unsure how to categorize her relationship with her craft, often marrying photography and poetry. She embodies a hyphenated identity between Hong Kong and Canada, and is currently a student, and an apprentice setter at her local climbing gym. You can find her creative work on IG (@sunrisechowie).
Katya Roxas – Cover Designer & Illustrator
Katya Roxas is a communicator and designer with over seven years of experience in multimedia design and communications. Born and raised in the Philippines with an insatiable love for illustrations, Katya began her career as a graphic designer working for advertising agencies and publishing houses. With the many transitions in her career and personal life, Katya has found constant solace by illustrating her journey and the string of mundane moments in between. Since moving to Vancouver, her works have been published across various digital and print platforms based in the Philippines, Canada, the United States, and the United Arab Emirates. View more of her work at heyakatya.com or on Instagram @katyaroxas.
Sophie Munk – Acquisitions Editor
Sophie is a graduate from McGill University, where she majored in international development and history. She is currently a coordinator at PCHC-MoM Society, one of ACWW’s partner organizations. She has a background in community based initiatives, research, and service. She is planning on pursuing a career focusing on the relationship between culture and health governance in an international context.
About The Authors
Nastasha Alli – Sticky Notes on a Map
Nastasha Alli was born and raised in the Philippines and came to Canada in 2007. For her writing at the intersection of food and diaspora communities, she won a Food Sustainability Media Award from the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Her work has been featured on CBC Radio and her recipe published in a “top cookbook of 2018” by the San Francisco Chronicle. She talks about Philippine food history, traditions and culture with guests from around the world on her Exploring Filipino Kitchens podcast.
Moni Brar – Fault Lines
Moni Brar is an uninvited settler who lives, writes and learns on unceded, unsurrendered territories of the Treaty 7 region and the Syilx of the Okanagan Nation. She is a Punjabi, Sikh Canadian writer exploring diasporan guilt, identity, cultural oppression, and intergenerational
trauma. She believes in the possibility of personal and collective healing through literature and art. Her work appears in PRISM international, Hart House Review, Existere, The Maynard, untethered, Hobart, and other publications. She is a member of the Alexandra Writers’ Centre Society, The League of Canadian Poets, and the editorial board of New Forum Magazine. She has worked in 13 countries and is grateful to call Canada home.
Carmen Chan – my exorcist is a white woman
“my exorcist is a white woman” is a series of collected thoughts on the toilsome and costly undoing of internalized racism, somatic imbalances, and identity dysmorphia. Carmen Chan comes from five generations of transient Chinese-Canadian migrants; she is researching, contemplating and writing about the inheritance of a diasporic experience.
Taeyin Cho-Glueck – Choose Your Own Adventure
Taeyin Kang ChoGlueck is a neo-colonized Korean-American. Their work has appeared in The Margins, Juked, Kelsey Street, and others. Taeyin is currently writing novels and the letter series, On Writing & Trying ( onwritingandtrying.substack.com ).
Steven Chua – TFW
Steven Chua is a journalist whose work has appeared in CBC Radio One, The Globe and Mail and The Canadian Press, among others. He is of Filipino and Chinese descent and was raised in the Lower Mainland. He currently works as a reporter for The Squamish Chief newspaper in Squamish, B.C.
Ingrid Cui – Noumenal
Ingrid Cui is a Chinese-Canadian who resides in Toronto. She studies International Relations and Philosophy at the University of Toronto and sits on the masthead of The Trinity Review (https://www.thetrinityreview.com/). Her work has been published in L’Éphémère Review, Half a Grapefruit Magazine, Ghost City Review, and Poetry Institute of Canada.
Erica Dionara – In English
Erica is a Toronto based creative who enjoys storytelling through various artistic mediums. Erica completed her studies in Creative Writing with Humber College as well as graduated from Centennial College’s Publishing program. If she isn’t cooped up in her room writing and drawing, she might be found hiking, gardening, or cooped up in another part of her house watching horror movies. Erica is currently completing her MA in Creative Writing while working as a content editor for The Peahce Project, an online platform intended to explore social trends and current events as they relate to the Asian diaspora.
Garry Engkent – Egg Roll
Garry Engkent was born in Guangdong province, China, in 1948 to Eng Fook Kun and Ko Lau May. With his mother, he immigrated in 1953 to join his father in North Bay, Ontario. Growing up, he worked at his family’s restaurants (Chicago, the Golden Dragon Tavern, and the Goodwill Coffee Shop), where he learned the cooking skills he later passed on to his children. He received his schooling at Queen Victoria Public School and at Chippewa Secondary School. He holds three degrees: Waterloo Lutheran University (B.A. 1970), the University of Windsor (M.A. 1972), and the University of Ottawa (Ph.D. 1980). He taught English literature and writing at the University of Alberta, the University of Guelph, the University of Toronto, Ryerson University, and Seneca College. He and his wife, Lucia, co-authored English textbooks: Groundwork, Fiction/Non-Fiction, and Essay Do’s and Don’ts. His short stories have appeared in magazines, such as The Asianadian and Ricepaper, and some have been reprinted in anthologies and textbooks, such as Many-Mouthed Birds and Pens of Many Colours. Most are semi-autobiographical, about his life as a Chinese immigrant, and include “Why My Mother Can’t Speak English,” “Chickens for Christmas,” “Visiting,” “The Bear and I,” “Egg Roll,” “Acceptance,” “The CNE Canary Cage,” and “Yellow Duckie .”
Lei Jin – Three Untitled Poems by Ken Lem
Lei Jin is a librarian currently working at Ryerson University Library. Lei worked as an editor/translator in China prior to leaving her home country to pursue post-graduate studies in Communications, and then in Library and Information Science in the United States. Lei’s translated works include Henry Miller’s “The Air- Conditioned Nightmare,” which was published in China in 1996 and then 2004.
Ken Lem – Three Untitled Poems by Ken Lem
Ken Lem (1910-1996) was a teenager when he came to Canada from China as a paper son in 1923, shortly before the Chinese Exclusion Act came into effect. He worked in a laundry for about one year then moved into the restaurant business, eventually becoming a co-owner of the Home Café in New Liskeard, Ont. Illness forced him to sell his share of the business. After he recovered, he moved his young family to North Bay, Ont. and never owned another business. These poems were likely written when he was convalescing. [Biography submitted by Val Ken Lem, youngest son of Ken Lem.]
Joy Kogawa – Intent to Forgive
Joy Kogawa was born in Vancouver in 1935 to Japanese-Canadian parents. During WWII, Joy (born Joy Nozomi Nakayama) and her family of birth were forced to move to Slocan, British Columbia, an injustice Kogawa addresses in her 1981 novel, Obasan, one of the handful of Canadian novels that have become essential reading for a nation. Interned with her Japanese-Canadian family during WW2, she has worked tirelessly to educate and help redress a dark moment in our history.
In 1986, Kogawa was made a Member of the Order of Canada; in 2006, she was made a Member of the Order of British Columbia. In 2010, the Japanese government honored Kogawa with the Order of the Rising Sun “for her contribution to the understanding and preservation of Japanese Canadian history.
Bianca Weeko Martin – What’s in a Name?
Bianca Weeko Martin is a designer with Filipino, Indonesian, and Chinese ancestry. She was educated at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture in Canada, where she has been based since immigrating with her family from Jakarta in 2000. Her roots in Southeast Asia have informed the bulk of her recent work, which addresses themes of memory, architectural representation, postcolonialism, and domestic space. Bianca Weeko is engaged equally in traditional and digital mediums, having split her professional practice between drawing, painting and writing for independent commissions and designing for the web, particularly for an interdisciplinary research organization based in Toronto, Ontario.
Daisy Moriyama – Can I stay a little longer?
I am a third-generation Japanese Canadian. My grandparents were raised in British Columbia before the war and were relocated to Toronto where they met. They continued to be closely involved with the Japanese Canadian community in Toronto. Although I do not know very much about this history, I am inspired by the bits of stories that have been passed down to me, and I like to fill in the gaps. I am currently working on a graduate program at Concordia University, where I am interested in questions around history and memory, and relationships to the past.
Janika Oza – Factory
Janika Oza is a writer based in Toronto. She is the winner of the 2020 Kenyon Review Short Fiction Contest, and her work has received support from VONA, Tin House, One Story, and the Millay Colony. She is published in The Best Small Fictions 2019 Anthology, The Cincinnati Review, Prairie Schooner, The Malahat Review, and elsewhere. Find her at www.janikaoza.com
Kathy Quyen Pham – All of Us
Kathy Pham is a Vietnamese Canadian writer currently based in Saigon. She has published fiction in Ricepaper, Cagibi, and NōD Magazine. She is a graduate of the University of Calgary’s creative writing and English program, and a Killam Fulbright alumni. She can be found on Twitter as @phamanteau. She focuses on mental health and identity in the context of the Vietnamese diaspora, but enjoys writing across the spectrum of literary and speculative fiction. She was previously an editor and design lead for NōD Magazine, and now works in technology. She can be found at kathypham.ca
Cindy Phan – Flesh, Not Blood
Cindy Phan writes about the everyday fantastic, in which the boundaries between the tragic and the absurd shift, merge, transform and misbehave. Her fiction has appeared in Ricepaper Magazine, The Astral Waters Review, The/tƐmz/Review and Augur Magazine. You can read more of her work on her website, besidealife.com, or find her on Twitter: @besidealife
Emi Sasagawa – Between Word and Mouth
Emi Sasagawa is a Brazilian-Japanese award-winning-journalist-turned-communicator who lives in Vancouver, B.C. Her work has been published by a range of publications, from The Washington Post to Room. She is currently working on a book-length manuscript inspired by her experiences coming out and moving to London, England, at the age of 19. Emi’s a graduate of The Writer’s Studio at SFU, and is presently completing an MFA in Creative Writing at UBC.
Karen-Luz Sison – To Heal, To Be Healing
Karen-Luz is a Filipina-Canadian writer, editor, and content creator based in Toronto. She has had her work published in Ricepaper Magazine, The Globe and Mail, and Living Hyphen Magazine. Her creative work explores themes of faith, spirituality, and cultural identity. Karen-Luz has a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from Carleton University. Having listened to the stories of people from all sorts of backgrounds—politicians and protestors, scientists and poets, to name a few—during her time in journalism, she believes in the power of storytelling as a means of creating community and generating change and healing.
Currently, she works as a communications and social media professional in the nonprofit world, where she enjoys helping nonprofit groups tell the stories behind work that they do and get the support that they need to keep going. Outside of her professional life, she loves to walk her dog, explore new food places, learn about the world through podcasts, and obsess over hip hop dance videos.
Felix Wong – King Dick
Felix Wong has lived half his life in Vancouver and half in Hong Kong. His stories have appeared in The Sun, Ricepaper, and emerge 18: The Writer’s Studio Anthology. He is an MFA candidate at the University of Guelph, and is currently working on a book about Chinese ancestor worship customs and his investigation into his aunt’s death in the 1991 Lauda Air Flight 004 plane crash.
Kevin Wong – Hong Kong Hearts
Kevin Wong, author of Hong Kong Hearts, was born and raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia: the same hometown as Sidney Crosby and Sarah McLachlan. He has always loved writing and creating art, and even as a child he was constantly drawing, painting, writing stories, and telling tales to his friends and family. He won several local awards because of the writing and artwork that he created from elementary school to high school. Although he is Canadian, he is also Chinese (as his father and mother are both Chinese – from Hong Kong and Macau respectively). As such, he possesses a unique blend of heritages and cultures, and a special balance of Eastern and Western sensibilities and beliefs. He holds a Bachelor of Computer Science (BCSc) Degree and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) Degree from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He is also a Registered Nurse (RN).
Jim Wong-Chu – of christmas
Jim was a poet, author, editor, and historian who was an instrumental community organizer establishing organizations that contributed to multicultural arts and culture in Canada and mentoring a generation of Asian Canadian writers, many of whom are now prominent in the literary world. As one of the earliest writers of Asian descent to have been published, Jim dedicated his life to promoting Asian Canadian artists and writers by co-founding the Asian Canadian Writers’ Workshop Society, Ricepaper Magazine, LiterASIAN Writers Festival, and the Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society.
Christine Wu – Bilingual Dreams
Christine Wu (she/her) is a Chinese-Canadian poet whose work has appeared in various publications including Contemporary Verse 2, Descant, The Malahat Review, Qwerty, and The Temz Review. Originally from the West Coast, she now makes her home in K’jipuktuk (Halifax, NS) with her partner and their little grey cat.
Kailin Yang – If Photographs Could Feed You
Kailin Yang is a Chinese Canadian writer studying towards a BFA in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia. In her writing, she is interested in exploring intimacy and liminal identities.
Peter KS Yu – Personal Taxonomy
Peter KS Yu is a Korean-Canadian writer and teacher. He is second generation Canadian and lives in Toronto with his husband and son. Peter came to writing later in life, having first trained as an architect and then as an elementary teacher. Common themes of his writing include identity, childhood, culture, family, connection, and nature. His work has been published in Ricepaper Magazine and Plenitude Magazine. To connect with Peter, visit peterksyu.ca.
Changming Yuan – At Qingming Festival: A Memorial Poem for Yuan Hongqi
Yuan Changming started to learn the English alphabet at age nineteen and published monographs on translation before leaving China. With a Canadian PhD in English, Yuan currently edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Yuan at poetrypacific.blogspot.ca in Vancouver. Credits include ten Pushcart nominations, eight chapbooks and poetry awards as well as publications in Best of the Best Canadian Poetry (2008-17) and BestNewPoemsOnline, among 1,789 other literary outlets across 46 countries.
Michelle Zhang – Lucky Moose, the Closest Place to Home
Loving daughter of first-generation immigrants, cooler sister to Vancouver-based musician, devout student of American literature, Michelle Zhang is a Vancouver-based writer with questions of art, artist identity, and post-modern culture constantly on her mind. She is currently pursuing a law degree and working on her first translation project.