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Chin's exploration of East-to-West cultural assimilation carries harsh political overtones. In her "How I Got That Name: An Essay on Assimilation" from her 1994 collection The Phoenix Gone, the Terrace Empty, she writes of her father's seduction by Western culture and values: a "petty thug," he "obsessed with a bombshell blonde/transliterated 'Mei Ling' to 'Marilyn,"' thus dooming his dark-haired daughter to bear for life the name of "some tragic white woman/swollen with gin and Nembutal." Other verses reflect upon the scars borne by diverse Asian Americans, including women whose value as a human being has been reduced to their novelty as a sex object ("Homage to Diana Toy") or even of the second-generation of Asian Americans about whom Chin writes in "I'm Ten, Have Lots of Friends, and Don't Care," included in her first collection of verse, 1987's Dwarf Bamboo.