Interview with Huan Hsu on His Memoir "The Porcelain Thief" | Speaking of China

10 Responses

  1. Autumn
    Autumn June 12, 2015 at 7:12 am | | Reply

    “ABCs [American Born Chinese] got the Chinese treatment at foreigner prices.” Oh, that is hilarious.

    Andy, my Chinese-American guy, went to Hong Kong with his mother and aunts. They met the one sister/aunt that got left behind when the family fled the Communists. I know there are AMAZING stories in his family, and yet it’s very difficult to pry them out of Andy’s mom and dad. So kudos to Huan for collecting the stories before they were gone.

    If Huan reads this, just one question. Many of the Americans — like the Ruby Ronin — who lived overseas and then returned to the U.S. describe reverse culture shock. I wondered if you experienced the same and if that’s why you are now living in Amsterdam.

    Can’t wait to read the book!

  2. Constance - Foreign Sanctuary
    Constance - Foreign Sanctuary June 12, 2015 at 8:39 am | | Reply

    I just love how his adventure starts with the idea to search for porcelain and he discovers much more. It is amazing how journeys like this become so much more than originally planned.

  3. marghini
    marghini June 12, 2015 at 12:33 pm | | Reply

    Great interview!

    The book sounds like a very interesting read, I love stories of journeys, especially when they involve getting back to your roots and investigating about relatives’ lives. I will definitely check out this book!

  4. tyuan
    tyuan June 12, 2015 at 8:53 pm | | Reply

    hi,jocelyn,your blog is interesting. i am from china.

  5. Sorrel
    Sorrel June 12, 2015 at 11:24 pm | | Reply

    There are so many untold stories that have been ‘forgotten’ to avoid ‘hurt feelings’.
    Well done to those who write them down/record them to give a deeper understanding of a difficult time.

    For each person, there is a different story, more real than ‘official’ histories.

  6. Nicki Chen
    Nicki Chen June 13, 2015 at 12:42 pm | | Reply

    Thank you, Jocelyn for this fascinating interview.

    And thank you, Huan. You said you were surprised at how angry you became while you were visiting China. That also surprised me until you explained it.

    My late husband was in a different position. He was not an ABC. He left China when he was ten years old. When we visited China for the first time in 1983, we went back to his hometown of Xiamen. Even though he was proud of being an American, he wasn’t concerned about being mistaken for a local Chinese. In fact, that’s what he wanted. One day, because of his clothing and haircut, a couple of men, speaking in the local dialect, referred to him as a Japanese and he jumped all over them.

    You mentioned that China can be very confrontational. I noticed that my husband jumped back into that attitude and enjoyed it immensely.

  7. Susan Blumberg-Kason
    Susan Blumberg-Kason June 13, 2015 at 8:06 pm | | Reply

    What a fabulous interview! I absolutely loved “The Porcelain Thief” and read it in a few days even though it’s a long book. It was so captivating and honest. Reading this interview felt like reading a postscript of the book. Thank you, Jocely and Huan, for making it happen!

  8. Huan
    Huan June 24, 2015 at 4:21 pm | | Reply

    Thanks for doing this, Jocelyn.

    Autumn–I actually went straight to Amsterdam from China to live with my Dutch then-girlfriend, now-wife. So coming here wasn’t a reaction to any culture shock experienced in the US. Though there was certainly a healthy dose of culture shock that came with moving to a heavily regulated country where many shops close at 6 pm and don’t open at all on Mondays. In fact, I find that I feel quite at home when I go back to the States for visits or work–being an American abroad makes it easier to embrace what you like about America while absolving yourself of what you can’t stand.

    1. Autumn
      Autumn June 24, 2015 at 11:22 pm | | Reply

      Thanks for responding! I love hearing the different reactions to travel and return.

      Amsterdam sounds like Nowhere, NH. I love that Nowhere shops (and the post office) open at 7 AM, but they all close early. If you’re arriving after 7 PM, you have to bring your own food or starve!

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