Two transcripts from the interviews conducted for Banana will be shown every week. Come see what other Bananas have to say!

Bernie Ho
Colleen Ho

Age: 56
Occupation: was Bookkeeper
Place of Origin: Hong Kong
Year of Arrival in USA: 1966
City, State: St. Louis, Missouri

1. What is your favorite Chinese dish?
Fried Stuffed Crab Claw -- yum yum!!!!!

2. What is your favorite American dish?
Grilled T-bone steak or prime ribs -- yum yum too!!!!!

3. Name one of your favorite musicians

4. What song are you most likely to sing if you went to karaoke?
"So those were the days my friend, we thought they never end" by the Beatles

5. What's your favorite part of town?
In New York: The rustles and bustles of the busy Manhattan and all the department stores in Manhattan -- reminds me much of the busy Hong Kong I came from.

In Ohio: The quietness and the tranquility of Canfield, the freshness of air and the huge open space around my home, the massive and awesome sight of trees and birds at all seasons, and the concerts of insects and rain at nights.

6. How often do you visit your country of birth?
When both of my parents were still living, I visited my homeland with my family as frequently as I could afford, average once every 2 years. I made 4 trips in 15 months when my father was sick. Since my father passed on, I was home in 3 occasions, average 5 years apart. My mom was living mostly in the States.

7. Why did you immigrate to the States?
For education.

8. Why did you choose to stay?
America is a country of freedom and great opportunities for anyone who is willing to work hard. Compared to my homeland, it is definitely a simpler society and a haven to raise a family. My husband and I can expect our children to be brought up as moral citizens with superb educational qualifications to meet their immense chances for success at whatever they like to do.

9. What were the first years in the States like for you? What was the most difficult part of adjusting to the States?
My first few years in the States were great. I enjoyed the simplicity of the American life and her people, the respect I felt as a "scholar", the vastness of land, and the great opportunities for jobs.

The most difficult part of adjusting to the States was food. I did not mind non-Chinese food, but I was amazed that an advanced and developed country like the United States would regard food as an insignificant part of their daily encounter. Americans not only "rush" through meal times, they didn't emphasize the significance of the whole family eating together. I find the "standard" American food of hamburgers, hot dogs and french fries quite disturbing -- with no nutritional value or balance in mind.

10. What possession means the most to you (or gives you the most comfort) personally and culturally? Why?
My family -- my husband, my 3 children, and my youngest sister. I believe they are God's greatest Gifts to me. They give me reasons to enjoy life to the fullest. I feel pampered by their love, honored by their accomplishments, proud of their independence and contributions to society. I am happy when they are happy, worried when they are worried, and sad when they troubled. Culturally, I have influenced them to live within and take advantage of the best of the east and the west cultures.

11. Do you feel you have integrated into the American life?
Yes, I think I have integrated into the American life shortly after I landed in America. I was young, very adaptable and flexible. But I still feel my Chinese culture, in general, is superior to that of the American's because China is enriched by its 5000+ years of culture and history.

12. What part of your heritage would you most wish to pass onto your children?
I want to pass onto my children the best of the two cultures that they and I have experienced.

From my Chinese heritage: food is life, knowledge is power, family is strength, and savings is the key to financial independence.

From the American culture: enjoy life, be optimistic, work hard and play hard in making their dreams come true.

Age: 30
Occupation: Visual Artist
City, State: Brooklyn, NY

1. What is your favorite Chinese dish?
Wonton noodle soup with fat noodles and beef tendons

2. What is your favorite American dish?
Hmm, spaghetti I guess

3. Names one of your favorite musicians?
John Coltrane

4. Have you been to karaoke? If so, what song are you most likely to sing?
(laughs) Yes, once. I think I'd be most likely to sing Guns n' Roses' "Sweet child of mine" or maybe Sheryl Crow's version of it.

5. What do you like the most about being Chinese American?
What do I like most...I like having a culture that's visible and one which has such a rich tradition. I think it's special and seeing how the two cultures (Chinese and American) interact makes me more open to other cultures as well.

6. Is there anything you dislike about Chinese American or anything you dislike about Chinese Americans?

7. What does being Chinese American mean to you?
See Video

8. How well do you feel you maintain the balance between the two cultures?
I think the differences and the balance of the two are more about the individual.

9. Which culture do you identify with more? Chinese, American, or other?

10. What characteristics do you feel most define Chinese American culture and why?
Excel and excellence.

11. What possession means the most to you (or gives you the most comfort) personally and culturally?
My animals and my mother's ring which is an heirloom.

12. Is there anything else you'd like to add about the Chinese American experience?
No, I think that's it.

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