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A Thousand Toilet Ladies(December 2012)

In this podcast Wai Ho reads A Thousand Toilet Ladies.

Wai's story placed second in the Asian Short Story competition 2012.

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Wai Ho delivers a vivid portrait of cultural identity, family dynamics, and navigating gender stereotypes. The performance features vignettes from Wai Ho's life, showcasing instances of misunderstanding, bigotry, and the tension between traditional expectations and personal identity.

The story begins in a women's restroom, where Wai Ho's gender nonconformity leads to an awkward encounter, setting the stage for furhter exploration of gender perception. Wai Ho shares their experiences with their mother's stereotypical beliefs, contrasting these with the realities of a multicultural society and New Zealand's more liberal values.

A significant moment occurs when Wai Ho challenges their mother's traditional views on romantic partners. The performance also includes a conversation with Aunty Ida, a family friend, highlighting the experiences of Chinese immigrants in the 1970s and the gap between expectations and reality.

The narrative delves into the pressure second-generation children face to excel academically, illustrated by family scenes that reveal high parental expectations and the concept of success. A confrontation between Wai Ho's father and brother further explores the struggle to balance cultural heritage with a new cultural identity.

Additionally, Wai Ho shares personal experiences, including a desire to connect with someone they meet at an eatery, adding a touch of lightness and potential connection to the narrative.

The performance concludes with Wai Ho's resolution and acceptance of their gender identity, symbolizing a celebration of self-acceptance amid societal and familial challenges.

This summary is created using Generative AI. Although it is based on the recording's transcription, it may contain errors or omissions. Click here to learn more about how this summary was created.


Record date:1st December 2012
Location:Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand
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Archive:The master recording is archived at the Alexander Turnbull Library (OHDL-004077).