Fa Mulan played by the girl who did not ask to be a daughter
Fa Zhou & his high expectations played by every Asian father ever
Fa Li played by the woman in the airport carrying more than her own baggage
Grandmother Fa played by the woman weeping in her Toyota Camry for not knowing how to speak English
Li Shang played by the boy with straight As because anything else meant you brought dishonor on your whole family
Mushu played by the friend who is labeled “crouching tiger, hidden dragon” for having eyes as slanted as an asymptote
Cri-Kee played by the friend who throws a handful of fortune cookies in your Chinese takeout
The Emperor played by anyone who has ever been told to “Go back to China”
The hoard of Huns played by the air of assimilation suffocating the China doll to become as porcelain as the men plagued with yellow fever
ii. Opening Credits
brought to you by Disney & dead ancestors
brought to you by the Great Stone Dragon, a facade to fragile masculinity
brought to you by Opium Wars and psychedelic fantasies
brought to you by The Chinese Exclusion Act passed by the people who capitalized on products Made in China
iii. Song: I’ll Make a Man Out of You
this is the part where people realize that Asians—especially men—are not represented in the media unless you watch Mean Girls, where we’re only binaries. You got the Asian Nerds and the Cool Asians but there’s no in-between.
this is the part where the racist says we all look the same, and that we are nothing unless we are as Swift as the coursing river (Be a man) With all the force of a great typhoon (Be a man) With all the strength of a raging fire (Be a man) Mysterious as the dark side of the moon
yes, yes, we really are men, (regardless of the size of our bamboo sticks).
iv. Scene: Mulan Saves China
What happens when you live in a country where there is a one-child policy? Fa Mulan translates to flower: I am an orchid, I am a lily, I am a magnolia.
I am the seed who bloomed in a society that smothered me in the same dirt used to bury their first-born daughters.
the Huns are no match for my divine femininity.
v. closing credits
whisper the name of the last boy you envied who was loved by society while you were rejected. whisper it as you cut your hair in the middle of the night, wishing to be the son your father always wanted. whisper it & watch the heir(ess) fall.
-- Patricia Damocles is a sophomore at Lewis University double majoring in English and Secondary Education. Besides finding comfort in reading and writing poetry, she enjoys the company of her three cats. This is her first national publication.