The Home Promised
Being a twenty year-old, you’ll find yourself at a blossoming stage.
If you’re twenty years old, what would you want to be? If you already passed the age of 20, what were some memorable things you’ve done? What stories can you share with us?
Five youths in their twenties chose to spend one month in the city of Shaoxing, Taipei, filming a documentary called The Home Promised that asks Where and Why We Belong/
What inspired you to ask yourself such abstract questions, in your twenties?
Betty, who is pursuing her major in Asia studies and film at the University of Toronto, and also the director of this documentary, shares with us that she had the opportunity to study and visit Taiwan during the presidential election in 2012. Since then, she realized that in contrast to a flourishing city such as Taipei, you will also find an historic and forgotten city like Shaoxing. In this city, many stories are waiting to be uncovered, waiting to be told. Betty was so excited to dig into the stories behind a captivating history between of a group of refugees and the most prestigious university in Taiwan.
“I didn’t specifically choose Taiwan or Taipei, but in school there was a course on Taiwan called Global Taiwan, which explores on the topic of Taiwan’s history, position in the global world, sense of identity, and international relations.”
How do you define home? And status? Or Sense of identity?
Numerous second generation immigrants find themselves struggling on their sense of identity. There are some who can ride on this tide, but others find themselves silently suffocating.
Where is your real home? Where do you find your sense of identity?
All five crew members of this documentary are from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Their parents hoped for a better future for their family, uprooted themselves from their hometown, and immigrated to Canada.
Some of them won’t disagree to the fact that they hated it at the beginning and didn’t want to stay at all. Others would seek out friends who are on the same boat and share the same brokenness, hoping that through sharing, they can find support and comfort.
“In Shaoxing, or in my parents’ generation, having a roof over their heads is more real to them than having a “home”. But for me, there is something nostalgic about the meaning of “home”. Just like when I visited Shaoxing, I almost felt like I returned to my home in China. But I know when I return to my real home in China, it’s not like that anymore.” says co-producer Lisa.
Yang, who sits beside her, nodded to agree. “After we return from Taipei, I find myself being able to connect with my parents more. Also I somehow realize that if we had stayed in China, I wouldn’t appreciate Chinese culture as much as I do now”.
Photographer of this documentary-Jessie adds, “I’m an only child. To me, where my parents are, my home is too”.
Will you hug your parents?
All five of them were obviously caught off guard, looked at each other and smiled embarrassingly.
Director Betty shares that since she doesn’t see her father very often; whenever she sees him she would deliberately give him a hug. She knows she misses him being around. Other people shared that hugging is not their family norm.
This generation is indulging in a high technology environment and is very comfortable using technology and visual images to share their inner worlds. It seems like they are built that way, but in their blood, this encloseness and shyness typically found in Asian is still in there. All of them agree that communicating through texting with their parents is much easier, especially in deeper levels, than face to face.
Being in your twenties is like being in a world full of mystery and wonder where everything is blossoming. Being in your twenties is a time to spread your wings, to see the skies, and to sharpen your senses. This generation would not have the luxury to enjoy all these privileges and freedom to search for their dreams if it was not paid by a high price from our previous generation.
What was it like, when our parents were in their twenties? What were their dreams when they were blossoming?