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LUC The Hague - Me, Asian?!: Asians in Popular Culture

Wednesday 28 November 2018
Doors open at 18:45; Start event at 19:00.
Me, Asian?! - Event Series
Anna van Buerenplein
Anna van Buerenplein 301
2595 DG The Hague

Asians in Popular Culture

In this third event of the Me Asian?! series, we will explore Asian representation in popular culture in relation to politics and identity. Popular culture (especially cinema) is one of the most important cultural agents today. It is a combination of narrative, image and sound that supplies what millions of spectators are expecting: entertainment, moving stories, information, and so on. However, popular culture is not simply entertainment but also a represent an intervention that influences people’s self-identifications, political consciousness, and their relations with “the Other”. This event will bring together writers, scholars, filmmakers, and film critics, who will explore - together with the audience - the bond between popular culture, politics and identity. It will particularly focus on the representations of Asians in films.


19:00 – 19:10     Welcome by Prof. Judi Mesman, Dean of Leiden University College

19:10 – 19:40     Screening of documentary film Behind the Backdrop (2017) (25 minutes)   

19:40 – 20:00    Discussion moderated by Gustaaf Peek

20:00 – 21:00    Panel Discussion with audience participation, led by  Gustaaf Peek, with:

Pan Hui-Hui  (managing director Cinemasia)

Thomas Mes (lecturer Japanese film and film critic)

Floor Hofman (documentary filmmaker)

21:00-22:00      Reception with food and drinks

About the invited speakers

Ms Floor Hofman, Documentary filmmaker

Director Floor Hofman: “The stories I tell can be small and personal or aiming to tackle a bigger, mostly social cultural subject. They can be told in different ways: Photography, film, drawings, graphic design, or audio. I aim to shine a light on that which seems ordinary and is therefore overlooked.  I avoid remaining general. The complexity of the reality is meaningful and worth to try to understand. That’s why I isolate the intimate, unimaginable and unruly details out of the lives of the people I interview. I observe from a distance, but with a warm heart.”

Dr. Thomas Mes, Lecturer at Leiden University and Japanese film critic

Thomas Mes was born in Rotterdam, Holland, in 1974. As a film critic he has contributed to publications that include Film Comment, Sight and Sound, Rue Morgue, De Filmkrant, Kateigaho and many others. He has provided liner notes and audio commentaries for numerous DVD releases of Japanese films around the world. He also has a background in animation as a scriptwriter and storyboard artist.

Ms Hui-Hui Pan, Managing Director of Cinemasia

Ms Hui-Hui Pan: “As I know ‘nothing’, I am always curious to learn about new ideas, concepts and industries. Since I was young I have been interested in more than one topic: how culture and history interacts with economies or businesses, how technology interacts with humanity or how the right communication can make a significant difference. As managing director of CinemAsia, I manage a wonderful organization that runs a yearly festival and year-round activities in order to promote Asian culture, cinema, contemporary issues as inclusivity and diversity.”


The hosts and speakers of this event are:

The goals of this free event series are to:

(A) bring together young people from different Asian groups;  

(B) reflect on their Asian heritage and cultural identities; 

(C) provide them with a platform to express their points of view; 

(D) co-create agendas for community action and research.;

(E) produce a short documentary for an international Asian studies conference (ICAS 2019). 

We will address topics such as cultural memories, family relations, the history of Asian migration to the Netherlands and Europe, Asian representation in popular culture (e.g., movies, comics), Asian stereotypes, and Asian healing traditions.


Leiden University College The Hague (LUC) offers an international honor’s Liberal Arts and Sciences programme that focuses on the study of global challenges such as social justice, development, sustainability. These challenges are also important to consider on a local level, especially in an international city like The Hague. 

The Hague has a very large population of people from Asian descent. The Hague historically has many Indo-Europeans inhabitants, has a vibrant China Town, is home to a large community of Hindustani-Surinamese people, houses many international students from Asia (e.g., Indonesia, India, Bangladesh), and hosts the embassies of all the largest Asian countries. A significant part of these Asian populations consists of young adults ready to make their mark on society.

So how do these young people connect to their Asian heritage? Do they connect their Asian roots to life in  the Netherlands? Which opportunities and challenges do they experience being of Asian descent in The Hague?  What questions do they have about the cultural, historical, and political backgrounds of the Asian communities in this city? What can the municipality and its institutions learn from these communities when it comes to cultural inclusive policies and practices? Can productive collaborations between scholars and Asian communities be formed to foster co-creation of the most important questions and answers?  To address these questions, LUC is organizing a series of events called ‘Me Asian?!’ for young adults of Asian descent in The Hague.


We invite young adults ages 18+ with an Asian background to attend the events. All Asian ethnicities are welcome, and it does not matter whether you are a new migrant in the Hague or whether your family has been here for several generations. It also does not matter whether you are ‘fully’ Asian or of mixed descent. Indeed, the series title reflects the variation in the extent to which they identify as Asian in the first place, ranging from not at all or hardly (Me, Asian?) to very strongly so (Me, Asian!). Wherever you are on this spectrum, you are all welcome!

The event series is hosted by hosted by LUC’s teachers involved in Asian studies, and moderated by writer Gustaaf Peek.

When and where?

The series consists of 6 events between summer 2018 and summer 2019, and includes interactive talks, discussions, workshops, and networking opportunities. Entrance is free (but pre-registration is required), and each event includes free snacks and drinks. The language of conversation will be mostly English, mixed with Dutch.

The following dates have been set for the 6 events that will be held at Leiden University College, Anna van Buerenplein 301, in The Hague:

  1. September 26, 2018 - This event already took place on Wednesday September 26, 2018.
  2. November 6, 2018 - Theme: Migration History and Cultural Memory. This event already took place on Wednesday November 6, 2018
  3. November 28, 2018 - Theme: Asians in Popular Culture.
  4. February 20, 2019 - Theme yet to be determined.
  5. April 24, 2019 - Theme yet to be determined.
  6. May 15, 2019 - Theme yet to be determined.

The event takes place between 19:00 and 21.00 and is followed by drinks. Doors open at 18:45.


Pre-registration is required. Please register here for the event on Wednesday 28 November 2018.

Download the information brochure here.

For questions, please contact Judi Mesman: j.mesman@luc.leidenuniv.nl

Register here!

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