The Electric Image Express podcast

Kenneth Pai on Taipei People, Chinese/Taiwanese identity, and Asian American literature

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In Episode 35, I’m joined by legendary Taiwanese writer Kenneth Pai (白先勇). Professor Pai’s works pioneered the modern Chinese experience: including as waishengren (外省人) living in Taiwan (Taipei People, Crystal Boys) and as immigrants to America. (Pleasantville, Death in Chicago)

In our conversation, we talk about:

  • Professor Pai’s colorful background: born in China to a general father, migrant to Taiwan, and later America. (4:28)
  • How he would represent Taiwanese today and the generational divide (10:53)
  • Where a young Professor Pai and his peers found inspiration (Translating Western works and Chinese poetry and merging traditions) (17:44)
  • Why Professor Pai left Taiwan to America (26:25)
  • Pai’s observations on the evolution of Chinese and Taiwanese identity (28:14)
  • His opinions on Asian American literature and his part in shaping it (40:00)
  • And why his works adapt so well to the stage and screen, as well as his favorite filmmakers (49:00)

My further thoughts on Taipei People and Chinese Identity [https://sameseanniulook.medium.com/taipei-people-and-chinese-identity-540741f093b7]

Where you can watch his work: [https://www.netflix.com/title/80233859](A Touch of Green) [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=goi6t_HCzwg&ab_channel=%E6%9D%8E%E6%98%8E%E6%BA%90](Last Night of Taipan Chin) [https://www.library.ucsb.edu/news/ucsb-library-digitizes-works-renowned-chinese-author-kenneth-pai](Digitized works in the UCSB Library)

Notes DONATE so we can improve the show at [https://ko-fi.com/electricimageexpress] Resources to report AsAm violence and learn more about how to help: [https://anti-asianviolenceresources.carrd.co/} E-mail us at [email protected] Follow us on IG/Twitter @electricimageexpress/@the_electric_image_express

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