One Big Hapa Family – Uncle Suey Animation (Transcript)

White lettering on black reads CLIP 2: Uncle Suey animation sequence from the feature length documentary – One Big Hapa Family. Sequence animation by Kunal Sen. Directed by Jeff Chiba Stearns.

Archival photo shows Uncle Suey as a young man wearing a tweed suit jacket and white collared shirt on the right and his brother-in-law, on the left, wearing a fedora, plaid coat and scarf. Picture fades to colour video of the two men, now seniors, standing in a field in front of an orchard.

Narrator: “My uncle Suey Koga came up to visit my grandpa that same day. He’s 86 and was born and raised in Kelowna. He also remembers everything since he was four years old.”

Uncle Suey holds an archival photo of a sign showing an apple dangling from two chains that reads “City of Kelowna welcomes you. Population 5500. Coast JAPS you are not wanted. Get Out.”

Image changes to sepia coloured cartoon of the story Uncle Suey tells the narrator, showing a school, a classroom with children and teacher.

Uncle Suey: "It was actually in grade two, I attended Okanagan Mission school, and Anne McClymont was my teacher, and she couldn’t pronounce "Suemori" very well, you see. So she said... she asked me if she could cut it short to "Sue". So at that age I thought that was okay. Sue sounded okay, but as I grew older, a lot of the kids started to make fun of that name, Sue. So I figured, "That’s going to have to change."

Cartoon shows older boy walking down a city street past Tom’s Bakery to Canton Chop Suey.

Uncle Suy: “So one day I saw something, read something about chop suey, you see. So I figured, "Suey, that sounds pretty good." So it was "Suey" ever since then.”

Cartoon shows a boy standing in front of the blackboard in the classroom. He’s holding an open children’s book with a poem and cartoon images. The words and images float off the pages around him and turn into chalk drawings of laughing characters pointing at him.

Uncle Suey: “I still remember there was one poem that... It was in one of our early schoolbooks too, and it said:
Little Indian, Sioux or Crow,
Little Frosty Eskimo.
Little Turk or Japanese,
oh, don’t you wish that you were me?
Oh, don’t you wish that you were me?
Such a life is very fine, but is not so nice as mine.
You have eaten ostrich eggs,
and turned the turtles off their legs,
and it just went on and on like that, and that was something that we took at school in the early grades, and it was supposed to be written by an English boy.”

Video of Uncle Suey as a senior in the orchard, smiling.

Uncle Suey: “I could just imagine the Department of Education today, what they would do with that.”

Cartoon shows Uncle Suey as a boy, walking with a boy with blond hair on a dirt path over a hill towards the boy’s house. There is a picket fence and a two-storey house with a porch. An angry man with blond hair and moustache comes running out of the house.

Uncle Suey: “One day, Bobby, he was one of my friends, he said, "Come on home with me." So I went with him, and we got as far as his, uh, they had a gate there, and as soon as we started to go through there, his father came running out there and he yells at Bobby, "What the hell did you bring that Jap kid home for?" And so, needless to say, I was gone.”

Uncle Suey in the orchard points over his shoulder and the video fades to black.

White letters on black: Watch the full 85 minute film by purchasing One Big Hapa Family DVD’s or renting them online at:

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