Opening the jar of Fermented Feelings

January 2, 2020

In its darkest moments, a fermented jar sits unnoticed to the typical Southeast Asian spice shelf. It’s not until our mother cracks it open that it seeps into the air– becoming a balance of both slithering shame and pungent rumors of “what the hell is that smell?” It’s because of this concoction of fish, salt, MSG, and other secret feelings that have made the most delicious yet challenging staples to digest.

It’s a jar holding onto what’s left of yesterday and what’s yet to come tomorrow.

This is the homage to our ancestors. To air the fermented topics and issues in the Hmong, Khmer, Lao, Viet (and other ethnic groups from Southeast Asia).

As Southeast Asian diaspora, our feelings and voices have often been left to sit in our souls, fermenting in a mixture that is equal parts confusion and beauty. Fermented Feelings hopes to let those emotions, opinions, concerns, and ideas free. An online magazine driven by a team of Southeast Asian American creatives committed to uplifting the voices of the Southeast Asian diaspora experience. We hope to create a space for our stories and our voices to be seen, heard, empowered.

We want to ask “how do we as Southeast Asian diaspora members in the United States re-invent forms and meanings of “SEA-ness” within the daily contexts that we live in?” Understanding our identities starts with reflecting on our experience. Understanding our heritage starts with reflecting on what our experiences mean in the context of the Southeast Asian diaspora and our own unique existence.

The idea of fermented feelings is simple. It’s creating a space, both real and imagined. Through our words, our art. To become an extension of our storytelling space that opens up the known and unknown through irregular posts and podcasts. To be real with each other while flexing our muscle to imagine the future we want to see. We offer this space up to welcome and ruminate those fermented feelings with us through our storytellers, artists, healers and everyday knowledge.