Interview with Hapa-Palooza Co-Founder, Anna Ling Kaye

Originally posted on: 2011/09/07

The sun has risen, it is 7am and I am getting ready to catch my flight to Vancouver. Like many, I am on my way to Hapa-Palooza, a ground-breaking 4-day festival celebrating mixed roots in Canada. It seems like only yesterday (July 16th to be exact) that I heard about Hapa-Palooza, yet I feel like I have been waiting a lifetime for it to arrive. I can hardly wait for what this festival has in store for myself and other mixies, but I have no doubt that it will carve out its own little piece of history in Canada’s rich and intricate multiracial story. So who comes up with such a great idea? I had the great fortune of interviewing one of those very people before I left – meet Anna Ling Kaye:

Photo courtesy of Anna Ling Kaye

1. What is your mix and how do you like to identify?
I am finding that the way I like to identify changes slightly, depending on who I am speaking to or where I am being asked the question. Lately, I’ve been identifying as Taiwanese and Jewish-American.

2. I’m always curious about the experience of fellow mixies in other cities and provinces. For those of us outside of Vancouver, BC, can you tell us a little bit about your experience as a mixed person on the West Coast?
It’s wonderful being mixed in Vancouver! As you can tell by our performer line-up and organizational team, we are surrounded by amazing artists and energetic, community-minded people who are of blended origins. So many young families in Vancouver are mixed too, so we’re surrounded by the next generation as well! I think this critical mass is what galvanized us to create the festival, and is part of why the City of Vancouver chose our festival to be part of its 125th anniversary celebrations.

 3. Biracial and mulatto (all controversy aside) are names that many people are used to hearing, but Hapa is a term that is relatively new in North America and especially outside of BC. While there are different interpretations of the term, what does it mean to you and consequently to the spirit of the festival?
I really like the whimsy of “hapa” and also how it reclaims the word “half” and creates a whole, as in 100% hapa. Similarly, we liked the sound of ‘palooza’ at the end of the festival’s name, because it embodies the spunkiness and playfulness of what we are creating.

Photo courtesy of Anna Ling Kaye

4. What is the message you’d like festival attendees to take home with them? Explore your origins! Honour your roots! We are all connected, and we are all beautiful.

5. Time will tell, but his event has the potential to grow. Would you consider making this a national event at some point? Absolutely! And after that, international!

 6. Is there something you’d like to say to fellow Canadian mixies?
Please get in touch and please spread the word! It’s our duty to the next generation of mixies to create more events and gatherings like this, and make hapa or mixed-ness a mainstream concept, not an anomaly. I think many of us have experienced a moment of identity crisis, and wondering what community it is that we truly belong to. Events like Hapa-palooza are created to provide context and forum for discussion for that next generation, so they don’t feel as isolated, and have a place to talk about how they’d like to identify, or what it is to be mixed.

For more on Hapa-Palooza, please visit the following sites:

If you are able to make it, make sure to come visit Mixed in Canada’s booth!

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