Welcome.

This is my echo chamber, the repository of my experiences, fantasies, and all things in between. Feel free to peruse my content and pass your uninhibited judgment upon it.

You may be wondering at this point: what the hell is soondooboo?

Soondooboo encapsulates my experience as one from two worlds, an attempt to bridge the gap between one and the other. It is an anglicization of the korean soup 순두부찌개, a hearty soup served in porcelain that contains curdled and silky tofu with a host of seafood and mushrooms and vegetables. The redness is a contribution from 고추장 and 고추가루, red chili paste and red chili peppers, respectively. If you look this dish up on Wikipedia, you will see a bastardized spelling of it—sundubu, which distorts the elegance of the dish with the subtle profusion of its ingredients and condenses the phonetic sounds into economical and pandering letters. I insist upon my spelling, as it more accurately reflects the fluffiness of the tofu, which is the cornerstone of the dish.

People when reading my surname, Son, aloud often attach an unnecessary accent to with with a silent d, as if by doing they pay proper tribute to my country of origin and that faiiling to do so would be a slight against my identity. What they fail to understand is that Son is already an anglicization of my surname 손. Some people with my surname anglicize it differently by adding an h, which eludes the hell out of me; there is no whooshing sound in the pronunciation of my name in korean, no exhalation. It is short and stinted: to the point, like virtually every other korean surname.

The process of rewriting the surname to fit the language of the host country is part of many processes in a long journey to belong, to become a part of the fabric of its cultural identity. And with that process comes a series of struggles to reconcile the inherent tension between cultural ideals. Shall I bow or nod? One hand or two in handing or receiving objects? Bitch or moan or both? This cognitive dissonance extends to nearly every facet of my life such that when we see myself in the mirror I see a duality: the person they see and the person I see. Sometimes my visage fuses into one; other times they are distinct.

 

 

Advertisements