All posts filed under: Pop Culture

Letter to My Daughter for International Womens Day

Dear Nakanya Dao, It’s van mae ying hang saht. International Women’s Day. I named you after a dragon princess because you breathed fire since being in my womb. There’s a reason why Laos celebrates its women and America shrugs it as another day. Our pain still lingers in the skies. Our freedom is still floating between the Mekong and the Mississippi. They say we’ll feel human again when we are free, but you must know the heavy stories we carry in our tong ma lai bags. These stories disintegrate between the blood-soaked pages of your school’s alternative history books. Before I felt American as a naturalized citizen, I was a Resident Alien. Holding onto a fragile green card through my teen years. Before I felt home on the prairie, I was a 2-year-old displaced refugee, in a faded pink petal dress gifted by the Filipinos at the Bataan camp. Before I felt human, I was born on the frigid floor of a crumbling Viengxai cave. Before I could feel, I was in your grandmother’s pa jia sling. Sinking …

Notes From An Imagined Future: CTRL+ALT In New York

“How do you imagine your future?” That was the question over 10,000 people were asked over the weekend of November 11-12 in New York as part of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center’s pop up museum entitled “Ctrl+Alt: A Culture Lab on Imagined Futures.” Visitors met with over 40 local and visiting artists, including Lao American artists Saymoukda Douangphouxay Vongsay and Bryan Thao Worra as they transformed the old Pearl River Mart in New York’s Soho district into a dynamic space for expression and the exchange of ideas. The artists transformed two floors of the old store into an interactive gallery of diverse views on possible futures. As the curators noted “even those who have long been pushed to the margins are the center of someone’s universe.” Saymoukda Douangphouxay Vongsay presented excerpts from her forthcoming play, Kung Fu Zombies vs. Shaman Warrior. Her play will explore trauma, healing, and mental health through the lens of speculative theater. She gave a surreal reading clad in all white, augmented by an evocative animation created by New York-based artist Matty Huynh. Following …