Puro Arte: Filipinos on the Stages of Empire

By Lucy Mae San Pablo Burns | Go to book overview

4
“How in the Light of One Night Did We Come So Far?”
Working Miss Saigon

Many of the artists appearing in Miss Saigon have come from the
Philippines. In London a special school was set up to help train
young performers in the singing and dancing skills required.

—“The Original Miss Saigon,” 2010

[T]hey were looking for specific types of girls, that were very Fili-
pino looking. They were very specific.

—Fay Ann Lee, Asian American Actors, 2000

“How in the light of one night did we come so far?” is a line from a duet titled “Sun and Moon,” sung by the star-crossed lovers of Miss Saigon, Kim and Chris. Kim sings these last words of the musical as she takes her final breath in the arms of Chris, her lover and the father of her child. “How in the light of one night did we come so far?” captures the telos (one night becoming a much longer story) and geography (the routes between the United States and Vietnam) of their love story, a plot line painfully familiar by now: One fateful night, a Vietnamese prostitute and an American G.I. meet in a Saigon brothel. They have sex, and then fall in love. They commit to spending their life together but become separated by the larger force that brought them together in the first place, the Vietnam War. The Vietnamese prostitute continues a life of struggle while hoping to rekindle her love affair with the American G.I.; the American G.I. moves on—with reservations but nonetheless moves on—to marry a white American woman.1 Years later, the two meet again. Unbeknownst to Chris, they have a love child—Tam. The story

-107-

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Puro Arte: Filipinos on the Stages of Empire
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Introduction - Putting on a Show 1
  • 1 - "Which Way to the Philippines?"- United Stages of Empire 21
  • 2 - "Splendid Dancing"- Of Filipinos and Taxi Dance Halls 49
  • 3 - Coup de Théâtre- The Drama of Martial Law 75
  • 4 - "How in the Light of One Night Did We Come So Far?"- Working Miss Saigon 107
  • Coda- Culture Shack 139
  • Notes 147
  • Bibliography 167
  • Index 185
  • About the Author 192
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