I'm interested in internationalism. It's the new multiculturalism. How we deal with each other isn't sufficient any more. It's about time we examine how we interact with the rest of the world we live in.
With theatre, we all agree to suspend our disbelief about so many things, but not about race. It's totally OK to have one actor playing five roles - people are willing to believe that. But they won't believe it if there's a black or an Asian kid who has white parents. What does that say about us?
Chinese culture in general is not very religious. Confucianism is more a code of ethics than a religion, and ancestor worship is a way for parents to control you even after they're dead.
I felt pretty good growing up. I didn't feel a lot of prejudice or racism. But I do remember, if there was going to be a movie or a television show with Asian characters, I would go out of my way to avoid them, because they portrayed all Asians as either ridiculously good or ridiculously bad; you know, the whole Charlie Chan-Fu Manchu thing.
As Asian-Americans, the charge that is often lobbed against us is sort of the least original: the idea that somehow we're perpetual foreigners, that we can't be trusted, and that even my father, who was patriotic to the point that it was kind of a joke among his children, would be accused of being disloyal to America.
There was all this talk when Obama got elected about how we were living in a postracial world. But we're not. Until we get to the point where James Earl Jones can play, say, George Washington, race matters. You wouldn't put a white actor in blackface to play Othello. You shouldn't have a white actor in what amounts to yellowface to play Asian.
My father has always been interested in discarding the past. He's never much liked China or the whole idea behind China or Chinese ways of thinking. He's always been much more attracted to American ways of thinking. He feels Americans are more open - they tell you what they think - and he's very much that way himself.