Identity & Culture
For starters, we’ve been interviewing potential hires for Bullet Media, and I’ve been catching up on work while receiving numerous requests for other freelance projects. For stressors, the media has been interviewing me non-stop for fob-related features online and in person — a KRON4 news segment live from Hayward, an NPR recording from Sports Byline’s studio in SF — and I’ve been running off to various back-to-back events (which I’m still very grateful for). Though the Listen to the Silence workshop at Stanford didn’t go quite as I had hoped it would (silent crowds!), the audience at Book Passage was really receptive and spurred some good discussions after the reading. Click through for photos and a short clip! view more →
The more I hear about Chua and tiger mothers, the less I want to comment on extreme Asian parenting being “right” or “wrong” (except I’ve actually read Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother from cover-to-cover — and quite enjoyed it); and while many people have asked me to write a “rebuttal” post, I can’t help but draw numerous parallels between the two non-fiction books (both published by Penguin publishers). Both quote the ridiculous things Asian mothers say to their children; both demonstrate a clash of eastern values and western upbringing; both exhibit our parents’ obsessive compulsive tendencies for excellence and perfection; and despite the brutal honesty and bubbling pressure, both unveil the underlying love our parents feel towards us, through their endless sacrifices. view more →
For those unfamiliar, Baratunde is the editor of The Onion, co-founder of Jack & Jill Politics, and author of the upcoming book, How to Be Black, while Christian is the author of the well-known blog and book, Stuff White People Like. As Zuckerman writes, “…a late night show based around Baratunde Thurston and Christian Lander would kill” — because they really are that good at being comedians. In fact, they were so good at entertaining the crowd that when our moderator or the audience asked sensitive questions about racism, homophobia, religion…no one was fidgeting. view more →
Before leaving Jiali (a small town in Tainan Province), I took a copy of my a-gong’s essay and told my a-ma, “I think I’d like to translate this into English with Daddy.” So of course my a-ma called me a few weeks later, “Sa-jit-gong (3rdGreat-uncle) says a professor translated some of your a-zoh’s writings into English. I’m not sure, you should call Sa-jit-gong and ask.”
Less than an hour later, I was in Taipei’s largest library hassling a pour soul behind the reference desk. Below, I summarize part of Shih-Jung Tzeng’s 361-page Oxford-published PhD thesis, From Honto Jin to Bensheng Ren: The Origin and Development of Taiwanese National Consciousness. This is the most I’ve ever learned about my great-grandfather — a historic Taiwanese literary figure — Wu Xinrong (吳新榮). view more →
I think part of what is making schoolwork so difficult is the post-conference lethargy associated with nostalgic longing—which of course, is exacerbated by daily monotony. It’s the trough after the peak, the low levels of endorphins after too much stimulation—the emotional flatline. So here I am blogging, reminiscing about a short-lived high jammed into the middle of a tough [albeit last] semester.
April 2, HoChie Tsai and I drove down to LA for the ITASA West Coast Conference held at USC. Because of MMIAF’s slight relevance to Asian American issues (think cultural gaps, identity issues, communication barriers), I was invited to hold a workshop for a college crowd, despite being a college student myself. Fast-forward two weeks, and on April 17, I flew to Champaign, Illinois by myself for the ITASA Midwest Conference held at UIUC.
To be honest, I really didn’t know what to expect. I always assumed cultural clubs consisted of first and 1.5 generation students—the “fobs” on campus with distinctive hairstyles and fashion tastes who always cluster together in Asian food courts and speak loud but authentic “dao di” Mandarin at 200 wpm. You know, the loaded parachute kids with parents back in Taiwan who send them wads of cash to rice up their M3s and buy Gucci messenger bags to make up for not being there. No? view more →