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The new lows : representing Asian-Australians on television

Law, Benjamin Yuk Nung (2009) The new lows : representing Asian-Australians on television. PhD by Creative Works, Queensland University of Technology.

Abstract

This project utilises creative practice as research, and involves writing and discussing four sample episodes of a proposed six-part dramatic, black-comedy1 television mini-series titled The New Lows. Combined, the creative project and accompanying exegesis seeks to illuminate and interrogate some of the inherent concerns, pitfalls and politics encountered in writing original Asian-Australian characters for television. Moreover, this thesis seeks to develop and deliberate on characters that would expand, shift and extend concepts of stereotyping and authenticity as they are used in creative writing for television. The protagonists of The New Lows are the contemporary and dysfunctional Asian-Australian Lo family: the Hong Kong immigrants John and Dorothy, and their Australian-born children Wendy, Simon and Tommy. Collectively, they struggle to manage the family business: a decaying suburban Chinese restaurant called Sunny Days, which is stumbling towards imminent commercial death. At the same time, each of the characters must negotiate their own personal catastrophes, which they hide from fellow family members out of shame and fear. Although there is a narrative arc to the series, I have also endeavoured to write each episode as a selfcontained story. Written alongside the creative works is an exegetical component. Through the paradigm of Asian-Australian studies, the exegesis examines the writing process and narrative content of The New Lows, alongside previous representations of Asians on Australian and international television and screen. Concepts discussed include stereotype, ethnicity, otherness, hybridity and authenticity. However, the exegesis also seeks to question the dominant cultural paradigms through which these issues are predominantly discussed. These investigations are particularly relevant, since The New Lows draws upon a suite of characters commonly considered to be stereotypical in Asian-Australian representations.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 29272
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD by Creative Works)
Supervisor: Portmann, Geoffrey, May, Harvey, & Williams, Carol
Keywords: Asian-Australians on television, screenplay
Divisions: Current > Schools > Creative Writing & Literary Studies
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 14 Dec 2009 11:13
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2011 05:54

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