Bitter Orientals – where love & advocacy coincide

Love Intersections is a media arts collective which is comprised of queer artists of colour. Artists who are a part of the collective are dedicated to using their passion for art to challenge systemic racism and advocate for underrepresented communities.

David Ng and Jen Sungshine, co-artistic directors at Love Intersections, have created the virtual talk show, Hot Pot Talks, which focuses on the mission of the collective: to represent and target key issues. The show’s first episode of the third season is being released shortly after the Lunar New Year on Feb. 11, 2022.


The show stemmed from a long-term collaboration with the Lim Association, an association rooted in history, founded in 1908 with the intent of creating a thriving community in Chinatown. In 2019 & 2020, Ng and Sungshine were planning to digitize the Lim Association’s archives to portray a visual art exhibit, yet, due to COVID, this was put on pause.

The point of this project was to engage the population outside of Chinatown and to show the history of Chinatown which involves segregation, systemic racism and racial marginalization, Ng, who is also a PhD student at the Social Justice Institute at UBC, points out.

Because of this delay, Ng and Sungshine innovated and created an alternative, Hot Pot Talks, which is aligned with the purpose and mission of the virtual art exhibit. Since they both are also part of VALU CO-OP, the Vancouver Artist Labor Union, they had plenty of support from these organizations to create this talk show.

Hot pot invitation

Hot pot is used as a metaphor in this show.

“[Hot pots signifies] community, nourishment and communal food sharing which, in Jen and my respective cultures, are big, important things, and it is also shared in other BIPOC communities as well,” says Ng.

They are using this metaphor to invite guests in a comfortable environment to share their experiences about the themes they wanted to talk about. Of major importance are “Chinatown, diaspora, migration and colonialism.”

Ng and Sungshine mention that a part of the curation of the show is to sort through the themes and bring guests “from various disciplines to sort of collapse the distinction of the themes that we’re trying to explore.”

For example, in the first episode, they talked to Johnny Sapachuk, co-founder of VALU CO-OP. In the following episodes, they paired local artists Paul Wong and Dana Claxton to discuss “intergenerational mentorship and the evolution of antiracism and decolonization of the arts.”

These three different episodes were interlinked as the topics were interconnected with each other. The point of this type of approach is to disintegrate the distinction of such topics and open up different ways people view the topics being discussed.

Negativity and a call to action

Ng states the topic regarding increased antiracism and how that impacts their feedback will be addressed in the third season of the show. He mentions that it is an interesting time to discuss “really doubling down on talking about our identity as Asian people, especially during the increase of anti-Asian violence.”

Ng’s reflection stems from the anti-Asian vandalism in early 2020 during an exhibit at a gallery in Chinatown, and, with this personal experience on hand, both co-directors are aiming to build an ongoing conversation about what it means to be Asian in a time like this and how to “organize around antiracism and transform systemic racism.”

In season three, Ng and Sungshine hope to emphasize an actionable plan as well as explore more intense themes mentioned above. A big theme they want to explore further is abolition. Dylan Rodriguez was one of the guests in season two, and he wrote an article around the “necessity and obligation that have when we organize as Asians in terms of abolition of the police and prisons,” which was featured in the publication Abolition Now!: Ten Years of Strategy and Struggle Against the Prison Industrial Complex.

The first guest of season three is Angela MacDougall, the executive director of the Battered Women’s Support Services, who will speak of this theme as you cannot speak about the anti-Asian violence Asians face without speaking about prisons and police.

Ng and Sungshine are challenging the status quo in hopes of empowering everyone to engage in these types of conversations and change the world for the better. Hot Pot Talks is a much needed bridge that people need in Vancouver.

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