From a POV: What it means to be an Asian-Canadian

by | Apr 11, 2019 | Uncategorized

From a POV cast and crew
Photo by Frederick Manzano

By: Althea Alabat

“I would describe it as being born of two worlds, yet I belong to neither of them,” said Jaynen Prasad, speaking of his biracial Asian heritage.

“We were never taught to be expressive with our feelings,” said Alyssa Li, speaking about Asians and mental health.

“I’m out of the conversation most of the time,” said Bobby Valencia, speaking about not being able to speak his family’s native language.

All of the above were answers that arose from a conversation among 10 strangers of Asian heritage when asked about Asian culture, traits and identity.

From a POV was merely a concept in December of last year. It wasn’t even titled ‘From a POV’ at that time. It quickly became a passion project of mine when I couldn’t find anything like I envisioned online.

I remember seeing videos about Asian-Americans or of a group of specific Asians, but I never saw anything like a dialogue among the Asian-Canadian community. As a marketing student, I knew I always wanted to experiment with video content, but I never had the drive or resources to produce a video as important as this.

After two and a half months of planning the video details, recruiting the right candidates for the video, trying to book the right space, and getting everyone to come to the scheduled filming day, we finally filmed From a POV.

I had the cast discuss their experiences growing up Asian, how they’ve interacted with other people, stereotypes they’ve heard about Asians or their own ethnicities, Asian representation in the media, discrimination and racism, as well as mental health.

I wanted the tone of the video to be free-flowing and natural. I didn’t care to be politically correct and I didn’t ask the cast to hold back on sensitive topics. The one request I had was that for the next three hours, these 10 strangers (to each other) had to pretend to be best friends and from that request, they produced a conversation full of raw emotion and genuine experiences about growing up Asian.

The purpose of the video wasn’t to educate others on how an Asian-Canadian should be portrayed. The cast who shared their stories in front of the camera do not act as ‘model representatives’ for their ethnicities.

In fact, it doesn’t paint much of a diverse picture even among Asians.

It was about inciting a conversation among Asians—regardless of where in the world you live—and about understanding each other’s cultures, similarities and differences, as well as learning from each other’s experiences. Instead, these 10 strangers put faces to a dialogue from their ‘POV’ and I only hope that this conversation finds its place among the Asian-Canadian community.

Watch From A POV here

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