Asian Enough

“I will not play my role.”

Minor spoilers for Life is Strange: True Colors.

The moment I finished Life is Strange: True Colors, I Googled “life is strange true colors asian” — I wanted to see if other people had seen what I had seen. Many raised the point that although protagonist Alex Chen being Asian American made for great representation, it didn’t have any meaningful effect on the story.

It’s true that the narrative wasn’t centered around race or racism the way that Life is Strange 2 was. It was still an Asian story to me — I felt it in my bones. I saw myself in the small moments, in the family dynamics of Alex’s own life.

Alex’s mother, dying in her hospital bed, told her not to cry and to take care of her father and older brother. It seems she internalized this as a desire to help people, but I questioned how much of that was conditioning. I shuddered at the injustice of it — injustice I saw mirrored in generations of my own family. I saw a Chinese woman being told to stuff down her own emotions and center her life around grown men fully capable of taking care of themselves. 

After all, Chinese families, historically, have prioritized sons over daughters.

Later, in a dream sequence, Alex’s brother tells her to “play your role,” so they can relive her memories of growing up the exact way things happened. She had to sacrifice her agency to keep things the way they were. Being raised an Asian woman means feeling responsible for the people around you, at your own detriment.

In the last few years, I’ve committed to putting myself first, attempting to deprogram the cultural belief that I should sacrifice my happiness for those of the men around me. I refuse to accept any longer that my value is tied to my caretaking ability. I protect my community, on my terms. I will not play my role.

By Tessa Kaur

Tessa Kaur is a queer Singaporean freelance writer focusing on topics of race, gender, and trauma. You can find their work at and on Twitter @tessakaur

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