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Bánh Mì Is the Epitome of Me

This poem explores the concept of in-betweenness. The beloved street food was invented during the 50s in Saigon (now Hồ Chí Minh city) during the French occupation within Vietnam. After the war, it became popularized in the North Americas through refugees.

Macaronic language is employed in this piece, to articulate the mixture of languages that can be present within works of text. My primary artistic intentions are to create metaphors for the multilingual nature of second-generation Vietnamese-Canadians, and to portray the feeling of in-betweenness that arises from code-switching. 

By fusing text with visual media in my poem, I aim to comment on how language can be invoked to illustrate identity. Further, by introducing bánh mì into my work, I explore how identity is shaped and questioned when cultures collide. Throughout my artistic practice, I persistently ponder the validity of my identity, while yearning to belong in a place called home.

 

bánh mì is the epitome of me
a pain de mie, 
is not a bánh mì.
neither a bánh mì,
is a pain de mie.
simply a result of pain
from the fall
of sài gòn.
it gives a part of mì,
and takes the rest of mie.
the one thing i know for sure,
is that there is both 
rice and wheat.
i don’t really understand how to be
me a lot of the time,
you see?
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Bánh Mì Is the Epitome of Me
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