This was Lynda’s solo performance piece about the differing values and perspectives of Chinese immigration into New Zealand. Are these any different from other immigrants? What makes it so? This excerpt was chosen for A COUNTRY OF TWO HALVES because it represents two voices from different generations’ experiences. Your mothers, fathers, and older whanau were your age once. What’s changed? Did they misbehave? Were they the same people you see now? The time we are brought up in will always define us in some way – do your parents and caregivers treat you the same way they were treated or do they realise that you’re now part of a very different world in which we live?
Lynda Chanwai-Earle is a fourth-generation Chinese New Zealander. Born in London in 1965 she spent her early childhood in Papua New Guinea before completing her education in New Zealand. She studied creative writing with Albert Wendt and graduated from the University of Auckland with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1990 and a Diploma in Drama, 1994. Lynda also graduated with a Masters of Arts in Creative Writing at Victoria University’s International Institute of Modern Letters in 2006. ‘Ka-Shue (Letters Home)’ toured to Ireland in 1997 and Hawaii in 2004. Semi-autobiographical, ‘Ka-Shue’ was the first authentically New Zealand–Chinese play for mainstream audiences. Her play ‘Monkey’ premiered at the 2004 NZ International Festival of the Arts and toured as part of Capital E National Theatre for Children’s programme. Lynda represented New Zealand at the inaugural Hong Kong Literary Festival in 2001, the 2002 Philippines Asia–Pacific Poetry Conference, was Trans-Tasman writer at the 2003 Queensland Poetry Festival and attended the Shanghai Literary Festival in 2005 as guest writer. Lynda currently lives in Wellington, New Zealand.