"The Vietnam War had a huge impact on my family"

Asian American activists attended the opening of Miss Saigon in Wisconsin to hand out essays

Madison 365 reports that 20 Asian American activists and supporters attended the opening night of Miss Saigon at the Overture Center in Wisconsin to hand out essays.

Titled ‘What’s Wrong with ‘Miss Saigon’?’, the essay was written by Asian American Studies professor Timothy Yu. It explains why that the musical perpetuates Asian stereotypes and “distorts their history and glamorizes their traumas.”

Overture has been supportive of Yu’s efforts to raise awareness about the issue.

Initially, activists pushed for the essay to be printed in the programs of the show, which will run for one week at the Overture Center. However, officials from the theatre said the show’s producers did not allow it.

“Overture wanted to let people see this note,” Yu said. “I think Madison theatergoers can handle a little debate. A lot of people are engaged in this.”

Last week, the theatre cancelled a panel discussion as it was felt that questions posed by moderator Leslie Bow were “inflammatory.”

On opening night a number of students from the University of Wisconsin attended the hand-out.

“As someone who’s Southeast Asian, I think it’s extremely important to advocate for a community that I identify with,” said Solinna Chong, a graduate student in the UW School of Social Work. “The Vietnam War had a huge impact on my family because my parents were children during that time. It’s important knowledge for the public to be able to hear a different perspective about it.”