“Brown Boys and Rice Queens: Spellbinding Performance in the Asias” by Eng-Beng Lim—White Man/ Native Boy

brown boys

Eng-Beng Lim. “Brown Boys and Rice Queens: Spellbinding Performance in the Asias”, NYU Press, 2014.

White Man/ Native Boy

Amos Lassen

The focus of “Brown Boys and Rice Queens” is the relationship between the white man and the native boy. Author Eng-Beng Lim says that this is the central trope to the understanding of what happened during the colonial and cultural encounters in the 20th and 21st centuries in Asia and the other places with large Asian populations. The native boy is our guide and it is through him that we see alternate readings of traditional ritual of the Balinese ritual and post-colonial Anglophone Theater in Singapore and in performance art in Asian America. Through these we see the formation of the native boy as a fetish and racial object as he is passed from the colonial empire to the post-colonial nation-state and then onto neoliberal colonization. Lim writes about the critical paradox of this relationship that has become entrenched in queer theory as it formulates critical interventions dealing with Asian performance.

We get a change in the lens through which we have viewed the queer postcolonial journey. We see things through a different perspective and the author uses wit and humor as his study provokes us.

We really become aware of the erotic, political and cultural layers of inter-racial gay relationships/intimacies and meetings between the Western white man and the Eastern boy figure. We get perspectives on race, sexuality and performance and this forms a wonderful from which future research can be done.

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