Finding my own path

Ngan - Marietta, Georgia
Entered on January 15, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

The cultural background that I have comes from the accumulation of years that I lived as a Vietnamese-American citizen, with additional influences from my Chinese heritage. While I still hold on to my cultures’ roots, I also incorporate the history and background of America.

Through B-boying, I was able to immerse myself into a dance culture that taught me discipline, patience, and respect. Though injuries have damaged my body and dampened my spirit at times, I learned that with hard work and perseverance, even the most intimidating move can be learned. It sometimes saddens me when I think of the defamatory implication towards b-boy. When I call it b-boy, people have a propensity to not know what I am talking about. When I say breakdance, a light bulb lights up in people’s minds. What the majority of the public doesn’t understand is that the real term for the dance is b-boy, not breakdance. To call a b-boy a breakdancer would degrade the dancer because b-boy is about expression and style. A breakdancer is a term used by the media, who did not understand what b-boying was about. For me, starting out as a b-girl was difficult because my Vietnamese culture did not approve of the dance form that I chose. I was chastised, criticized, and censured for what I did. Every day, I would hear, “Vietnamese girls shouldn’t dance hip-hop, they should dance to something more graceful!” As much as I wanted to make my family happy, I cannot comply with their request because I know they make too many false assumptions towards b-boying. As a b-girl, I want to spread my knowledge of the dance style to others who are unaware of the b-boy world. I want to improve the b-boy image, so that cultures can merge together instead of rejecting each other. At a glance, the dance might be daunting for most people, but pretty soon, the scary façade will be replaced with a way of life that connects people from all around the world.

When I am not connecting with people through music, I try to connect with people’s culture through food. We live in a world where there are so many cultures to learn and experience from, so I try my hardest to experience the foods of every different culture. I am typically not the type of person who would say, “Let’s eat burgers again.” Instead, I am more of the, “I want to try something new today” type of person. My Chinese and Vietnamese background has shown me numerous amounts of recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation. If two countries can produce so many variations of flavor, imagine all the possibilities that the world can hold. Though I know I won’t be able to try out every recipe, I want to at least be able to try out as many flavors and dishes as I can. Trying out new food is like being able to travel around the world and experience a culture’s historical background. Personally, I feel like I am on a grand adventure. The only difference is that instead of seeking treasure and gold, I’d rather look for something more edible and tasty. Besides, all those treasures will one day perish, but at least food tastes good when it perishes inside me.

My hope is that the love for dancing and food will help me encourage others to try out new possibilities that they have not considered. By informing others of the positive aspects of food and dance, they will not pay attention to the elements that scare people away. Without fear clouding the way, people are able to see the never-ending opportunities that await them.