Paper Son This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

April 5, 2013
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I am a paper son.
I journeyed the great waters
to come here, America.
Where freedom reigns and
dreams meet reality.

But not for the Chinese.

Not for the Thai.

Not for the Vietnamese.

Not for the Korean.

Chinese Exlusion Act of 1882.
A death sentence for us. We who
have traveled great lengths.
We who have risked lives, health, and future
are forced to remain in our countries
that are threatened by the Japanese
who march onward toward our homes.

But I—I who has a brother in New York—can
break free of this injustice. He must be my father
for my plan to work. At 15, I cannot afford to “slip up”
as Americans would say.

I have come in search of freedom, and I will get it.
I, Yee Bing Quai, am a paper son. I have lied about
my family. I have lied about my origins.
But for a chance for a better life, I will keep lying.
A am a paper son.

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