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Nhi T. Lieu: Authenticity is not ever reachable

By Anvi Hoang

Lieu_American coverAH: Did you have Vietnamese audience in mind while you were writing this book? Who were they?

NTL: My parents [laughed]. I wrote the book for an academic audience and I hope that the new generation of students at the universities would learn about the experiences of their own community, and people who are part of this community – some of them are actively participating in these cultural forms not really understanding the context of how they emerged, not really understanding what it means to feel nostalgia toward the homeland. A lot of these students have no connection to Vietnam except through forms of popular culture. They’ll go to the áo dài pageant, they’ll watch Paris By Night, and listen to the music, but not really understand the context of how, for example, the music from Khanh Ly emerged, or why the diaspora has nostalgic longings for the homeland.

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