My Mom is a Fob Events Recap!

2011 started off with a bang. After coming back from New York (for the book launch) and Vegas (for various conferences and a birthday), life never quite resumed to a normal pace… but sped off for some sort of marathon.

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! Continue reading

A foreign accent is a sign of bravery

Only one week after our blog-turned-book, My Mom is a Fob, had come out, Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother took the world by storm, raising controversy and quickly scaling Amazon’s rankings to #1 — her favorite number. The day I had my book signing at Book Passage in San Francisco, she was addressing a crowd at Berkeley (no wonder the media was absent at my event).

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. Continue reading

Concrete Jungle Where Balls Drop

I truly enjoyed New York the last time I visited, but this trip was as stressful as getting to Times Square on New Year’s Eve in heels. We had to walk all the way up to Central Park and enter 7th Ave from there because all the horizontal streets were blocked off. Not to mention, we also paid exhorbitant amounts for hotels in Times Square, where everyday, I had to fend off the stand-up comedy club flyers and walk away from the smell of roasted peanuts and halal carts (mixed with trash bags piled on sidewalks — a post snowstorm nuisance). Continue reading

The Road to Hana

Being 1. prone to motion sickness and 2. acrophobic, I tried to keep my eyes closed although I couldn’t because we drove through tropical rain forests with papaya and mango trees and the occasional waterfall. From high altitudes, we caught glimpses of the untainted blue ocean and hidden beaches before ending up on multiple shores. Continue reading

The Emerald City

I had imagined a city where trees outnumbered humans and rain clouds loomed above; a city where grunge and indie music played in the background and hipsters drank Starbucks and Seattle’s Best as they wove through streets on skateboards. And instead of seeing any skateboards, I saw policemen riding segways in stylish shades. Yes, Seattle was basking in sunshine the day I walked near the Space Needle and discovered Pike’s Market and the first ever Starbucks store, then watched cargo ships sail into port as orange cranes welcomed them with their brontosaurian demeanor. Continue reading

ROFLing With The Internet—Literally

This past weekend, I was in Boston for #ROFLCon, since Teresa and I were invited to speak on a panel about “race and the internet”. According to Ethan Zuckerman, “the panel on race – I can haz dream? – was one of the best conference panels” he has ever attended, because Baratunde Thurston and Christian Lander sat next to us on stage, of course!

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. Continue reading

The Empire State of Mind

It hurts to pay $5.44 for a soy latte… and even more to inhale outdoors. It’s nerve-wracking to take the subway through Brooklyn to Manhattan then stand confused in the middle of Chinatown alone at night…and even scarier to wake up in the morning and realize that no one’s there. Yet it’s exhilarating to walk through Times Square for the first time and watch the sunset from the top of the Rockerfeller, powerwalk through all of Central Park then grace the steps of Apple‘s glass spiral staircase, even hop on a megabus at 1:30 in the morning (with a Halal food cart gyro in hand) for a spontaneous trip down to Boston, then wander around the MoMA for the last few hours before saying goodbye. Continue reading

Taipei In A Wrap

In Asia, everything is cute or compact. What’s cute is usually compact as well: miniature toys, toy poodles, girls… but what’s compact is not always cute. The room I stayed in at my distant uncle’s over the summer was a Taipei standard. Oh, an 8 x 10′ box, perhaps? The mattress was smaller than a twin and hugged the ground without a box spring. My baby pink, Hello Kitty sheets were much appreciated (since they have two sons and no daughter, but for someone who’s room is black & blue back home, I did not find them that cute). This time, I stayed at my distant aunt’s and pretty much slept in the 6 x 10′ storage room with a sleeping bag “blanket”…but I didn’t mind. Though this trip still paled in comparison with my summer adventures, the last two weeks I spent in Taipei were fantastic. Continue reading
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