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H.M.A. Leow

H.M.A. Leow

Rooted in postcolonial Southeast Asia, H.M.A. Leow writes from the crossings of cultures and stories. She has a scholarly background in multi-ethnic US American history and literature, with a career bridging the newsroom and the classroom. Her art and research center on gender, ethnicity, and narrative, but her interests are curious and catholic.

Revolutionary Writing in Carlos Bulosan’s America

Bulosan’s fiction reflects an awareness of the inequality between the Philippines and the US and connects that relationship to his own class experience.
Students attending a lesson in lecture hall

Heritage Bilinguals and the Second-Language Classroom

So-called heritage learners are forcing educators to rethink and reframe their approaches to teaching second languages in the classroom.
A prisoner under escort at the South Western Front during the Irish Civil War, 1922

Lessons for American Zionism from the “Free Ireland” Cause

In the early twentieth century, American Zionists were inspired by what they saw as parallels with the political objectives of Irish nationalists.
Sui Sin Far

Sui Sin Far, the Chinese Canadian-American Sentimentalist

The short story collection Mrs. Spring Fragrance should be read in the context of nineteenth-century sentimentalism, which was shaped by Christian morality.
The cover of Dictee by Theresa Hak-Kyung Cha

A “Genre-Bending” Poetic Journey through Modern Korean History

Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Dictée is an experiment in both lyric and epic modernism that uses form to invoke the tragedy of the wartime partition of Korea.

The British Empire’s Bid to Stamp Out “Chinese Slavery”

The mui tsai custom, which the British saw as a Chinese practice, relied on connections made across the multiracial landscape of colonial Malaya.
Singapore Hokkien Street food stalls, 1971

Separated by a Common Language in Singapore

Singapore English is famous for its sentences that end with the particle lah. But what does it mean when people use the particle one instead?
Korean style assorted savory pancakes

K-cuisine in Malaysia: Are Locals Biting?

By neglecting local tastes and the culinary presence of Korean migrants, state-sponsored initiatives to globalize Korean food may fall short in Malaysia.
A security officer keeps watch at the entrance of Tom Liquor store at the intersection of Florence and Normandy in South Los Angeles, 201

What Convenience Stores Say About “Urban War Zones”

The Korean-owned corner shop in a Black neighborhood serves as shorthand for racial conflict, obscuring Los Angeles’s intersectional histories.
Sun Yat Sen

Remembering Sun Yat Sen Abroad

Museums around the world honor the history of the revolutionary, but as Singapore’s Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall shows, those memories aren’t easy to read.
A drawing of a microphone

Performing Memory in Refugee Rap

Hip-hop and other performative arts offer Southeast Asian American immigrants a way to construct richer narratives about the refugee experience.
Georgette Chen, Self Portrait, c. 1946

The Genius of Georgette Chen

Little known outside of Singapore and Malaysia, Georgette Chen was an iconic artist of the Nanyang Style.
The covers of Bamboo Among the Oaks: Contemporary Writing by Hmong Americans and How do I Begin?: A Hmong American Literary Anthology

Searching for Home in Hmong American Writing

Two significant poetry anthologies deterritorialize home, showing that for Hmong Americans, home can be a process of moving and running despite living in a place.
The cover of the album A Grain of Sand

Charting the Music of a Movement

Galvanized by an act of racial violence, the band A Grain of Sand brought a new version of Asian American activism and identity to the folk music scene.
José Garcia Villa

José Garcia Villa, an American Poet Ahead of His Time

While Villa’s otherness created an opening for his work in the US, American critics ultimately held both his modernism and his nationality against him.
Several entries in the Miss Teen Vietnam pageant attend the closing night awards gala for the 8th annual Asian World Film Festival at Saban Theatre on November 18, 2022 in Beverly Hills, California.

What Does It Take to Be Crowned Miss Vietnam USA?

Beauty pageants, a familiar part of post-war diasporic Vietnamese culture, help participants and viewers forge new identities amid forces of globalization.

Shortcomings Shows the Loneliness of Refusing to “See” Race

Adrian Tomine’s graphic novel forces the reader to surveil the world through the eyes of its protagonist, Japanese American theater manager Ben Tanaka.
A doctor in the Philippines checks a patient’s blood pressure assisted by Filipina Nurse C.P. De Batan, 1963

Who’s Afraid of the Filipina Coed?

Cultural depictions of the "transpacific Filipina" reflected anxieties about the changing education and social roles of women in the Cold War Philippines.
Visitors at the Richmond night market near Vancouver

Traveling Through Time and Space in the Richmond Night Market

A night market in suburban Vancouver originated with Chinese immigrants, but its structure and management have raised questions over its supposed authenticity.
The covers of two books, Not Out of Hate by Ma Ma Lay and Irrawaddy Tango by Wendy Law-Yone.

Burmese Women Novelists Speak Out

The novels of Ma Ma Lay and Wendy Law-Yone challenge the limits placed on the voices of Burmese women in the twentieth century.
Malay-language film poster for the 1940 film Roekihati, produced by Tan's Film.

The Lost World of Pre-War Malay Cinema

Using the few surviving copies of the 1940s magazine Film Melayu, historian Timothy Barnard chronicles the discourse surrounding the Golden Age of Malay film.
John Cho

Why #StarringJohnCho Is Not Enough for Asian American Cinema

Filling more movie roles with Asian American actors may be the wrong goal if such visibility promotes stereotypes or buys into Hollywood's fantasies of power.
Mano Po and Crying Ladies

The Changing Face of Chinese Filipinos

In addition to economic changes in the region, recent box office hits also reflect the impact of the mass naturalization of Chinese Filipino citizens in the 1970s.
The cover of "First They Killed My Father" by Loung Ung

Should Readers Trust “Inaccuracy” in Memoirs about Genocide?

To what extent do errors undermine life writing? The question is an urgent one when that writing is testimony to the genocidal actions of the Khmer Rouge.
Enchilada, Mexican food in a local market

Yelp and the Quest for Authentic Cuisines

How do affluent urban diners judge the “authenticity” of an eatery? By relying on certain stereotypes, if their Yelp reviews are anything to go by.