Archives for posts with tag: Asian

The year 2013 hasn’t been the most kind for me. In the past two months, I’ve experience three deaths in my life. Now, how I know each person varies and to be honest, I haven’t talked to all of them in quite some time. The three that I had lost, each of them seem to represent to me the way in which death works.

One of my friends, she had been diagnosed with cancer years ago. She was given a short span of life, a death sentence that put a finite amount of time in which she could do only so much. What she did with that time was nothing short of miraculous, but there was always an end in sight. The thing though, she was expecting an ending. To think, for us to go through life with always this harbinger of futility breathing on your shoulder, makes¬† you wonder how much we truly take what we have been given for granted. When she passed, it was never something sad that we all experienced. Not to say that I’ve been desensitized to this whole occurrence, but I knew what was coming. Time played a fickle role in this. She extended her short death sentence to many years, knowing full well that this was to be “it”. Yeah, I miss her. Every day. But I don’t think that she ever wanted me to see the pain. It wasn’t to define her, for whatever she were to do, she set her own path. Death comes swiftly, but to expect it. That is something we should never have to accept. But then…

When my uncle passed away, news spread fast. Dealing with the age of the internet, emails were abound and I first learned of the news from all places, Facebook. But, his death didn’t seem real. He was a young man, barely 50. With life expectancies closer to the mid 80’s, it seems ridiculous for a man to lose his life just half way through living it. When a stroke occurs, it’s not something that comes expectantly. Though there might have been signs, no one expects something so serious to happen so suddenly. When the news broke, everything feel a part. It’s ridiculous to see those in his family step up to task of all that is expected. No one deserves to be put in this position, especially at such a young age. But when death happens, it comes swiftly. But when you’re not expecting it, how can anyone step into these roles and continue. But what if…

Even though we haven’t talked since high school, I felt she was still a part of my life in some way. Is it awkward to admit that you Facebook stalked her? Well, I mean I did. But who doesn’t? When I learned of her death days after, it utterly shocked me. When I see the pictures, all I see is happiness. I never knew what was underneath. How could I? I didn’t talk to her in 7 years, it’s not like she was the most important thing in my life. But she was a part of my life. To take a life, even yours, it seems so extreme that you question existence yourself. Depression is something that is just too commonly over-looked in the Asian American community. The pressures of multiple stereotypes feeding on our minds, slowly deteriorating any conscious thought process makes it so easy to realize why one can just up and end all of what has been given. It’s not so surprising that suicide becomes such a hot topic, especially when it’s so easily ignored in our community. To assume that it “never happens to us” is so faulty. It does. It may not be so prevalent compared to others, but these things occur. When you accept your own death, these decisions are acted upon swiftly. But to just give in and take your own life… it shatters the perception of life.

I’ve seen in this short time frame three different perceptions of death and how it affects those who it occupies. Death is short. Death is sweet. Death has no remorse. Death will linger in many forms. Cancer, health, depression; there’s so many varying factors that lead to this one consequence. To see if occur in such sequential order with each story taking different turns but ending the same, it truly does make you question life. I’m not here to discredit any god/religion/faith etc., but I will honestly feel for those that I have lost. It’s selfish though, because this wasn’t a person or people that I just lost, but others have as well. Life is a shared experience, and every interaction, little or big, seem to effect us in some way. I think this is to the utmost important when life is held accountable. That though you may live for yourself, your actions are felt by those around you. It may be an old friend, a mentor, or someone you hardly talked to, but everything they’ve done for me and others I will remember. All I can say and all I can give, is the shortest thing I will write. It means so little in the grand scheme of what we perceive as life, but it is to the utmost necessity that these words hold their true meaning. Truly this is what makes us feel, and why we do the things we do. All I can say for these people.

Thank you.

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So you are Asian American. Let me have a turn describing you. Well, it does not really matter if you are male or female, most male men seem to get lumped with females in their descriptions. Look no further then Detail Magazine’s “Gay or Asian” article. Feminizing the male Asian is not something new, but this is getting off track. Let us get back to the topic at hand, Asian Americans and what you look like. If we are just going to look at stereotypes, I guess we have to start with the obvious stereotypes. Let us get them out of the way now. Slanted eye, bowl cut, buck toothed, glasses wearing, possibly holding a (math) book or if a girl, wearing some school uniform. Oh yeah, and you’re skinny. Definitely skinny. It is not just American cultures or Western values that hold true to this. Look at our media abroad. You have Yaoi manga portraying the skinniest of Asian man on (most of the time slowly building to) man action, the Sailor Fuku girls in Anime with the disproportionate arm lengths and widths if I may add, and even our Korean dramas can’t seem to get away from the skinny. Is it a culture thing? Skinny does seem to always turn it’s thin head back to how our society views beauty. Let us get away from the “white guy, Asian girl” stuff about what people see as beautiful and really get to the root of the issue. Asian people can not be fat. It is socially engrained. Our media tells us this, our culture tells us this (whether in Asia, diasporically*, or stuck in some “x” amount of generation Asian in America). We are beings of skinny people.¬†But is that who we are as Asian Americans? What happened to the fat guy?

I swear I will not meme this kid. Swear.

All this talk about what defines us and who we are, the identity discussion, usually ends up either limiting us to certain descriptions (like the stereotypes mentioned earlier) or are so broad that it becomes all encompassing. I think the most important part that we need to understand in what is Asian American is that through how we are observed, we define who we are and how we can challenge these notions of Asian America. I think it’s important to understand that the perception of Asian Americans as skinny is limiting. In a nation where obesity has now become an “epidemic,” it’s easy to just assume that the skinny Asian doesn’t face this issue. I mean, out of all listed races in the Office of Minority Health, Asians rank in the lower spectrum as far as being overweight is concerned. So that’s good right? I mean, Asian Americans don’t face this issue, what’s it to us. Except that we’re still at 29%. That’s a staggering number. Three out of every ten Asian in America is overweight. Let’s put it blunt, 29% of us are fat. And that isn’t a BMI number, that’s who we are.

Hello Kitty Costume x Linsanity

So where do all these skinny Asians come from? Are we to assume that Asian Americans can only be seen as skinny? In the GQ article “Rocket Man“, it discusses about Jeremy Lin’s journey post “Linsanity” in New York. The author subtly points out how seeing Asian Americans as meek, frail, and skinny stem from some sort of racist ideology. The discussion comes from the description of Jeremy, saying “Because Lin is a modest-size guard and skinnier than most NBA players, there is a tendency to assume that he’ll look like a regular guy in person. (There’s surely a racial component to this, too.)” The problem, same as the “the model minority” myth, is that this positive assumption of who and how Asian Americans are suppose to be doesn’t explain the reality. Perception is not reality. Let me repeat that once again, perception is not reality. If it is perceived that Asian Americans are all skinny, it becomes a non issue, especially within the community. When we walk down this path, those that need help with their weight issues are lost in the discussion. But the numbers, they don’t lie. This overweight community is large, no pun intended. This isn’t just a white American problem, this is our own community’s problem as well. And we can’t just ignore it. It starts with what we eat.

Yup… I’ve caught the addiction.

Nutrition is key in everything we do. It is surprising notion that what you put in your body will reflect what you look like on the outside. Just the same, I do appreciate the tumblr “Pictures of Asians Takings Pictures of Food“. It is a trendy topic for sure, but it does draw some assumptions about what we think of when we picture the typical Asian Americans. Taking pictures of food generally assumes that the person is most likely eating outside of the home. Fitness magazine describes the link to eating out with obesity. If the (normal) behavior of Asians eating out seems to be a trend, it is no surprise that obesity is not taken into account when consuming. I think it is so important to remember what we are eating and what is being put in to our body. Asian Americans are not above weight gain, no matter how much the media tries to feed us.

Weight is an important issue that will not go away. The Los Angeles Times recently spoke in the aptly named article,”42% of American adults will be obese by 2030, study says.” Obesity is not just strictly an American issue, but an Asian American issue as well. As we identify ourselves and try to represent our culture, we must also take on the culture we live in. We are Americans and we are Asian. We are also not above the issues and problems that are faced by all Americans. Asian images may confound that notion, yet we still go through these issues that every other American goes through. The perception of skinny Asians can not be overlooked. Under-eating is just as dangerous as over eating, but the issue of what and how much we eat is compounding. This issue is growing and we can not take this lightly. Bringing this consciousness to the forefront, Asian Americans have to identify that there are overweight people within our community. This is fact. We must stay educated and stay above the stereotypes. We are not all “model minorities” nor are we all “skinny”. Keep eating Asian Americans, and snap a few pictures. Just do not forget what is on our plates while we expand our palates.

*Sorry for dropping the ethnic studies term. If it makes you feel better, spell check couldn’t find this word. That shit Kray.

This is a response to follow up on this article HERE. This article in brief speaks about the race bending that will be occurring in the Wachowski siblings latest Hollywood blockbuster.

He’s suppose to be Asian… if you couldn’t tell.

Make sure to read it, soak it up, then realize where we stand on these issues. We are not accepted to fill our own roles. Nice! Let’s be honest though, they’re aren’t that many Asian actors and actresses so why should we think there would be any to fill ONE role in a movie.

List of Asian American Actors and Filmmakers

Oh… well, I mean, none of them are any good right?

List of Asian Academy Award Winners

Ohh… I hate to use my source of Wikipedia but I mean, c’mon! Hollywood, why you gotta try to bring us down? I think the lynch pin image of Asian Americans being subservient and easy to step on leads into how much people think that we won’t speak up. We’re quiet right? We don’t like to “lash out”. Model minority so on and so forth. Let’s be real though, we are here. We are going to make noises. I know, I know, “making waves”. But we’ll get ours. It isn’t something that happens all of a sudden, but definitely needs to happen sooner rather than later. It’s tiring.

By the way, check out The Slanted Screen Great documentary focusing on the history of Asian men in American media. Funny how often history repeats itself when you know… ignore it.

So last week I had an interview with this really amazing Non-Profit Organization. They are located right on the outskirts of the Pocket area and serve the greater and not so well to do Asian American community for Sacramento. What I love about this organization is the establishment has grown up with me serving somewhat as the initial community to be helped. My first experience here was as a youth growing up and attending this area with a group of my friends. My vaguest memory was of Pumpkin Carving and having our work of art donated to the local nursing home only a few blocks away. This has been almost a decade.

For a while now, I have always looked at this place from the outside. Driving by the community center seemed like a pipe dream to me as I started attending college and growing into the person I wanted to be. I call it a dream more so in the sense that I never knew what I could be with my life but I knew that I needed to start with my roots. I think it’s important to remember where you come from and how you can always give back to what has given you so much growing up. I won’t lie, I was one of those spoiled, entitled kids who was sheltered from most of life and only expected hand outs in the form of life expectations. Regulating myself and what I truly believe in makes me truly appreciate what I never realized what had been in front of me and offered to me my whole life. It isn’t my job to just assume that my social status is entitling me to some lifestyle that I could never achieve. I need to remember for myself that why I exist is to help others. I wouldn’t go so far to say that I am a selfless person, but i do care to make the lives of other’s easier. No lie, I’m a nice guy.

Hello everyone, it’s time to meet a true American. Daniel Inouye! If you didn’t know, he is the HIGHEST ranking Asian American politician in American history. A Nisei from Hawaii, he grew up in Honolulu before becoming a senator in 1963. What makes this man a true legend though… let me just leave an excerpt from his Wikipedia entry.

“As he raised himself up and cocked his arm to throw his last grenade into the fighting position, a German inside fired a rifle grenade that struck him on the right elbow, severing most of his arm and leaving his own primed grenade reflexively “clenched in a fist that suddenly didn’t belong to me anymore”. Inouye’s horrified soldiers moved to his aid, but he shouted for them to keep back out of fear his severed fist would involuntarily relax and drop the grenade. As the German inside the bunker reloaded his rifle, Inouye managed to pry the live grenade from his useless right hand and transfer it to his left. As the German aimed his rifle to finish him off, Inouye managed at last to toss the grenade off-hand into the bunker and destroy it. He stumbled to his feet and continued forward, silencing the last German resistance with a one-handed burst from his Thompson before being wounded in the leg and tumbling unconscious to the bottom of the ridge. When he awoke to see the concerned men of his platoon hovering over him, his only comment before being carried away was to gruffly order them to return to their positions, since, as he pointed out, “nobody called off the war!”

Hang loose… and such.

‘Merica. Seriously though, for all though crazy ass stories of crazy ass Americans showing their pride, the most amazing story I have heard come from someone that our OWN COUNTRY wanted to put in an Internment Camp. Nice call America. Good thing they kept this guy out, because… Red, White, and Blue. Seriously. Get to know him.

And just to top it all off, he’s going to run AGAIN for his tenth term in 2016. Let me quote this guy again. “I have told my staff and I have told my family that when the time comes, when you question my sanity or question my ability to do things physically or mentally, I don’t want you to hesitate, do everything to get me out of here, because I want to make certain the people of Hawaii get the best representation possible.” True American through and through.