American Born Chinese – 美國土生華人

May 16, 2007

Jin releases his all-Cantonese album “ABC”

Filed under: Asia America, Media — americanbornchinese @ 6:38 am

During the month of February, Jin Au-Yeung (歐陽靖), a popular Chinese-American hip-hop artist known for his freestyle rapping abilities, released his fourth album titled “ABC,” an acrynom that stands for “American Born Chinese.” This album was recorded almost entirely in Cantonese with the exception of a few English phrases and words thrown about randomly in his songs. The first and most popular single in his album is his song called “ABC” in which he raps about his personal experiences as a 竹升 (“jook-sing” – English meaning equivalent to “banana”) along with the issues of discrimination and what it means to be “truly Chinese.” Ultimately, throughout his entire album, he succeeds in establishing a personal connection to his own Chinese roots and his ethnic identity through his songs, which generally reflect the struggles of most ABCs (as well as many other overseas Chinese) regarding the struggles of society’s scrutiny upon them to the issue of assimilation in the U.S. and their removal from their own cultural background.

On his ABC website, Jin mentions on his biography a statement of which I wholeheartedly agree with:

“For many, being an ABC often means being subjected to a certain degree of scrutiny. On one hand, because of your bloodline and complexion you are viewed as a foreigner in your own place of birth. Meanwhile, because of your geographical origins your peers back in China claim you are not ‘truly Chinese.'”

From the nostalgic reminiscing of his visit to his city of origin, Hong Kong (“1997”), to the ramblings of his difficulties in reading and writing Chinese (“Speak Can’t Read”), Jin’s circumstances are often the mirrored results of what it means to be an individual of Chinese descent born on foreign soil, which in this case, is America. Listening to this album has allowed me to empathize with Jin’s situation, and fortunately, I am able to understand his songs because I grew up speaking in Cantonese with my parents and relatives as well (and because of the fact that he uses informal Cantonese to rap, which is apparently easier to understand than the latter).

Okay, so after all that mindless rambling that must’ve bored you to death, I’m sure you would want a visual/audio glimpse of what I’m talking about? Here’s Jin’s music video for his “ABC” single that I found on YouTube:

External Links

Jin’s ABC album (Amazon.com)
Jin’s Official ABC Website
Jin’s ABC Xanga
Jin’s Myspace Fan Page

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1 Comment »

  1. Very interesting, just linked it into our site.

    Comment by abclives — August 20, 2007 @ 10:18 pm


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