Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Chinese Mormon

When I first joined the Church, my Asian family was quite skeptical.  "Are there even any Asians in that Church?"  It's a funny question given they all know very well of all the proselyting white missionaries roaming Taiwan.  I think maybe they just think these missionaries have little to no success and henceforth, that is why they're still around.  They don't understand that there's a Temple in Hong Kong and Taiwan and that the Asian Mormon population is growing!  

I am a Chinese Mormon.  I guess it's rare, most Asians are Buddhists or the kind of Christians who rock out to Church worship music (I know, I've been to a lot of these types of functions growing up).  Even though we Mormons consider ourselves Christians, most of the other Christian world does not.  Most of it stems from the fact that we believe there's a living prophet on this Earth today and that God and Jesus Christ are two separate beings.  I don't have any issue with what others believe, and I love the good that all religions do, but regardless of where we are - California, Washington, or Utah, I feel my minority presence at Church as one of two Asians (every single time!).  

I think this realization of my minority presence has made me more gung-ho about declaring my ethnicity and celebrating my culture.  I often have conversations with my BFF about this, we both grew up as immigrant children, going to Chinese/Korean school on the weekends, and eating rice every day.  American food was a delight to us, but also a rarity.  And then, I guess we both married non 100% Korean/Chinese men, whereas growing up, we kinda sorta thought we would end up with people our own ethnicity in the 100% category.  She married a French guy, at least I ended up with a hapa, right?  

And then, all of a sudden, in our 30's... there's this longing to represent.  To identify with my own culture more than I ever would have before.  I never wore Chinese outfits for Chinese New Year's growing up.  In fact, the only time I wore a Chinese outfit was to perform a Chinese dance for my Chinese school when I was seven.  Even though I wore a Chinese qi-pao for my wedding, that was just something I always envisioned as my mom also wore two dresses for her wedding.  

So imagine my own surprise when the thought crossed my mind that I should wear my qi-pao to Church the Sunday before Chinese New Years (Happy belated New Year! gong xi fa tsai!)  Well, luckily for me, my fat Chinese bum wouldn't fit into the dress without it almost ripping when I sat down, it saved me from a mortifying experience because let's face it, I'm Chinese.. but I'm not that Chinese.  I ended up pairing a glitter gold skirt with a chambray top, a gold skinny belt, and some red shoes (because you have to wear red... it's lucky!)  I did however, dress my cute kiddos in their "ninja" (martial arts) outfits and they got such a kick out of wearing soft pants to Church.  Even my husband joined the fun with his Asian tie (there are gold characters on top of the red).  

we tried to get my red shoes in the shot
love Dagny's eyes in this one...
 I even ventured out of my comfort zone this Chinese New Year's, and finally got around to learning how to make Taiwanese oily rice, a staple of every Thanksgiving and Christmas in our family (they make it in place of stuffing for turkey).  As my mom had told me a million times, it was actually REALLY simple and so delicious.  The white and Americanized folk at our friends' Chinese New Year annual soiree thought otherwise, but Andy's Chinese family ate it up, telling me it was amazing!  I still have to work on getting the top of the rice the right texture (Uncle Ike said I should just mix it up halfway through cooking) but it was spectacular and reminded me of my mom's cooking.  I'm glad I took the plunge and made it.  The prep work takes a lot of time, but the art of actual cooking it... such a piece of cake!

Our Uncle Ike's char-sao BBQ pork
Anyway, from this Chinese Mormon to you... Happy belated New Year!  May this year be prosperous, full of luck, wealth, and good fortune.  Yes... Chinese people do love money!


monkey see.. monkey do...
hong baos - always popular

look at Jordan's face.. he got $1 but was floored

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