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Self Evident: Asian America's Stories

Jan 18, 2021

When producer Erica Mu moved back to her hometown in 2014, she said goodbye to a past life without any idea what exactly her new life should look like. Looking for the most grounded place she could find, she went to the local mall early one morning, turned on her tape recorder, and started talking to everyone she could meet.

As Erica made her way through this sprawling landscape of mostly Chinese businesses in one of the most East Asian cities in the country, she peeked in the dreams, annoyances, and love lives of dim sum diners, shop owners, security guards, young children, young parents, weightlifters, all-night partiers, and one very skilled harmonica player.

But as she grasped for some universal truth that would tie all the threads of the mall, Erica realized that the unpredictable, unresolved mess of everyday life is exactly what makes it something to treasure.


  • Produced and written by Erica Mu
  • Edited by Liz Mak
  • Co-produced by Rebecca Kanthor and Paulina Hartono
  • Major recording help from Leslie Chang and Alyssa Kapnik Samuel
  • Immense story input from George Lavender
  • Final edits by James Boo and Julia Shu
  • Music by Podington Bear
  • Self Evident theme music by Dorian Love


Big thanks to everyone who spoke with Erica during her time at the mall for this story!

Support from the California Council for the Humanities, and advisors:

  • Al Letson
  • Catherine Ceniza Choy
  • Wei Li
  • Oliver Wang
  • Leila Day

Support from the Association of Independents in Radio, Mentor Martina Castro

Support from Third Coast International Audio Festival and Radio Residency

Fiscal sponsorship from Visual Communications, developing and supporting the voices of Asian American & Pacific Islander filmmakers and media artists

Countless friends and colleagues who have given their time to talk about all our stories