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In Global China, gendered and generic norms are not so much "manners," the markers of class, as they are replicas, the cheap imitations that replace culture (both traditional values and aesthetic refinement) with convention.6 In Kwan's novel, this displacement of culture with convention is most apparent with Kitty Pong, the character whose true genealogical origins are uncertain because she is always performing a knockoff version of Chineseness.
(Kitty is likely from Mainland China, but she pretends to be Taiwanese and later attempts to assimilate into Singaporean high society.) Global China novels such as Kwan's present programmatic Chineseness from the seemingly authoritative perspective of an economically successful yet morally suspect diasporan.
Because this model derives worldliness from cultural authenticity, its dominant genre is autobiographical fiction the literary mediation of personal truth and anthropological fact.
In post-1949 Chinese Anglophone literary works, personal histories are typically organized around mother-daughter relationships, thus accentuating the genealogical line between diasporic individuals and national origins.
By this I mean that the self-help novel is not only a branch of autobiographical fiction but that it is altogether constituted by and squarely "about" the merely derivative and crudely imitative.After a bit of back and forth, he declares that the Calthorpe hotel has no rooms left. Finally, the receptionist decrees that the three women and their three children must vacate the premises immediately. But the story ends an hour later when the family returns.Felicity Leong, daughter of Singaporean heiress Shang Su Yi, has bought the hotel.The reader we meet, Phoebe Chen Aiping, attempts to remedy her attenuated relation to Chinese roots by seeking guidance from self-help books.Through Phoebe, we will see how the self-help genre negotiates genealogical dilution and gender normativity to facilitate the production of a Global China that is founded more on conventionality than on ancestry.