Laura Luo’s story

“My story is simple and ordinary. A mother trying to pass my culture down to my child.”

Laura Luo talks about her relationship with Sichuanese and Mandarin.

Laura Luo’s story, 2022. Illustration by Anna Gan, courtesy of the artist

I have been living in New Zealand for the last 20 years. I am from Sichuan, China and I am struggling with my daughter’s Chinese as she is of mixed heritage.

My story is simple and ordinary. A mother trying to pass my culture down to my child. I’ve had to give up my dialect and only use Mandarin and English in our household. Sometimes it upsets me because I am really fond of my own dialect, but I have to make an easy choice for my daughter.

Every dialect comes with different cultures. I was planning to take her to Sichuan to experience the culture setting but Covid-19 changed everything.

I want to continue my own language and culture with my child, therefore I am closely connected with the Chinese community in Hamilton. I want her to experience the best of the two worlds.

Laura Luo

Illustrator’s process and reflections

Laura’s story resonated with me. I feel my parents’ desire to continue their culture and share their memories in my generation, so they’re not alone, and their own families aren’t forgotten.

I chose to draw an illustration more realistic – Laura shared that she often read bed time stories to her daughter in Chinese, so that imagery is what I went with.

Anna Gan