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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Speaker proud of heritage

    As a self-described “”triple minority,”” being Asian, a bisexual and someone who suffered through Tourette’s Syndrome, award-winning singer/song writer Magdalen Hsu-Li said what she has learned through it all is to take the negative things people say and turn them into something good.

    “”Take that energy and put it back into the world as something that helps and empowers others,”” she said last night in Gallagher Theater as part of the celebration of Asian Heritage Month.

    The Arizona Pride Alliance worked in collaboration with the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership and the Asian Pacific American Student Affairs to bring Hsu-Li to speak for Pride Alliance’s biggest event of the year, said Oprah Jrenal Revish, co-director of the Pride Alliance.

    “”It’s the story of her life and her experiences and how it works into a larger scale of everybody’s experience,”” said Revish.

    Hsu-Li spoke about her experiences dealing with racism growing up in the South as a Chinese woman, as well as being teased through school for having Tourette’s Syndrome. She also spoke about coming out as bisexual and the prejudices and stereotyping she has experienced because of this.

    Hsu-Li started her lecture with two of the songs she has written about her experiences. The event was a mix of personal experiences, inspirational speaking, and six of her songs.

    She said her Tourette’s started as a constant sniffing and became a facial tic with uncontrollable grimaces. Hsu-Li said after being so upset by the teasing she became suicidal. By sheer power of will, she overcame her Tourette’s. She said, in a moment, she realized she really could make a difference in her own life.

    At the same time the Hsu-Li was being teased for having Tourette’s, she said other kids were also teasing her for being Asian with racial slurs and other name-calling.

    “”I started to hate myself for being Asian,”” she said.

    Hsu-Li said she did not even realize she was different until the first time someone called her by a racial slur.

    Hsu-Li spoke about overcoming her hatred for herself as she overcame her Tourette’s. She began painting and drawing and went to college to study art. She then discovered her love for music and graduated from the Berklee College of Music where she started the first Asian American club.

    “”I thought redefinition of identity was a really good topic for this month,”” Revish said. “”All stories need to be told and her story was really good.””

    Hsu-Li encouraged everyone to find their “”true selves”” and figure out how to help others with their own special gift.

    “”I do think it’s important to remember that you can redefine yourself at any tine in your life,”” Hsu-Li said. “”How do you know what you’re going to do for the rest of your life? You may redefine yourself many times.””

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