Saturday, April 12, 2003

after a two week hiatus, the friday five is back:
1. What was the first band you saw in concert? it would have been Bush, but my parents said i was too young to go to a "rock show". so the first band, hmm....i forgot their name, but it was at Endfest, so there were several bands...and the first band onstage i didn't know too well. i do remember that joydrop, orgy, eve6, blink182, the deftones, kid rock, everclear, and the boom boom satellites were there.
2. Who is your favorite artist/band now? i don't have a favorite...but i've been listening to a lot of stuff from the barsuk label and loveless records, along with elliot smith, tegan & sara, howie day, the flaming lips, and the roots.
3. What's your favorite song? currently it's Say Yes by Elliot Smith. i don't have an ultimate favorite yet.
4. If you could play any instrument, what would it be? the guitar, harp, or banjo. i need to pick up the violin and piano again.
5. If you could meet any musical icon (past or present), who would it be and why? Chopin -have you heard his work?...and he was a bit kooky. i would ask him about his relationship with George Sand.

Friday, April 11, 2003

"i alternate between being conspicuous and vanshing, being stared at or looked through. although the conditions may seem contradictory, they have in common the loss of control. in most instances, i am who others perceive me to be rather than how i perceive myself to be. considered by the strong sense of individualism inherent to American society, the inability to define one's self is the greatest loss of liberty possible." -yellow, frank wu.

[disclaimer:] i am not speaking for all asian-americans or minority groups. i am not speaking for any group at all. these are my thoughts -my way of working towards self-identification. comments are welcomed. hostility is not. i advocate discussion.

race matters. at least lately, it does to me. over the past few months there has been an internal struggle to make sense of how i, as an asian american, fit in with the rest of society.

before coming to college, i closed my eyes or turned my head when/if an opportunity to face race relations appeared -perhaps for the reason that most racist encounters were indirect and subtle or through a joke and easily laughed off. or, perhaps in worry of going against the grain and making myself more distinguishable than purely by skin tone. i've now realized how naive i was to have supposed that children grew out of their race and to have expected that adults could not possibly be racist.

that was, as stated, before coming to college -i've been slapped in the face since.
  • last year, a girl on campus asked me why i wasn't responding to her when she called my name. i told her that she had me confused with someone else. she laughed and told me to stop 'kidding around'. when it finally dawned on her that i wasn't the one she was looking for, she excused herself with an, "oh...i'm sorry. you asians all look alike."

  • while walking home one afternoon from B&N, two boys in their teens (one white, one black) proceeded to make asian-like karate noise gibberish, called me chink, and then threw dirt clods and small rocks at me. when relating this story to others, a few people told me to "forget about it. they're just kids. they didn't know any better".

  • was horrified by the lack of tact from a florist who continued to insult me by asking questions about my knowledge of bamboo plants ("those things grow like weeds in your country, right?") even after i told him i was born and raised in the united states.

  • being followed around the department store while shopping for my father's b-day gift and then having the white sales-woman tell me that i could purchase the item at the counter -after having plucked it from my hands.
some people have told me that the last experience could happen to anyone...which is true, indeed. however, when white americans are disrespected by other whites, are they plagued by the suspicions that it is for racial reasons? i don't know. all i can say is that it happens often enough [to people of color] that it is fair for us to surmise that race and gender are/could be involved.

what bothers me more than racism/discrimination is our ability as a society to "let it pass" or deny that it exists at all. almost imperceptibly, as a nation, we have become seemingly triumphant at vilifying racists that we have induced denial about racism. regarding racism, before the civil rights revolution many whites believed that what was, should be; now, in a post-civil rights era, they believe that what should be, already is. this profound change makes it harder than ever to communicate. what was once overt and thought to be right is now thought to be wrong but has become covert.

as far as stereotypes go, i suppose asian americans shouldn't complain -our issues are minor; we are at least stereotyped in a such a way that is at least superficially positive (we are the model minority, we're good at math and science, we're passive and respectful, etc...). nevertheless, these issues are vexing because they are minor. as race becomes less significant socioeconomically, it can become more important symbollically and politically. the more two individuals are alike in other respects, the more glaring are any race-based differences in the treatment accorded them. that i've popped a few brain cells trying to articulate myself, i will take a break only to continue at a later date. there is still much on my mind.

Thursday, April 10, 2003

it's good to know that my research did not go in vain...

after class, one of my peers stopped me before i ran out the door and asked if i had received any random e-mails. i hadn't. she proceeded to tell me that she had passed my contact information to a gentleman who introduced himself as one who works with Kenyan orphans or some social group. He was quite interested in dialoguing with me about the HIV/AIDS crisis in Kenya -he had been looking for much of the info on my board for several weeks, but had a diffcult time collecting it and wanted to know my resources.

it just felt good to know that i was affecting somoene positvely...even in a minor, indirect sense.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

highlights of the past weekend:

the annual amnesty general meeting was held in pittsburgh at the omni william penn hotel this year. because i took dorsey's int'l organizations class, i was (in)directly involved and was required to attend a panel (and although i hate to admit it, i have grown to respect dorsey). i'm not incredibly knowledgable about amnesty and all its stances on issues, but i feel like it's a "human rights advocacy corporation" advertising as a grass-roots organization.

during a session, i was trapped into a conversation with some older woman. the chat was light at first (where are you from, what do you study, etc...) and moved on to the discussion of human rights...HIV/AIDS, in particular. she proceeded to tell me that HIV/AIDS was caused by SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), that it could be contracted through a hug, and that anyone who had it would die 48 hours after contracting it. the kicker was when she told me that it could be cured by a special serum found only in India. and no, i'm not making this conversation up.

later that evening, i hit up FLUX in oakland to see j.lawton's art work/installation -she's a great one, she is. sadly, some asshole put up a sign stating that she was giving away her styrofoam dogs which she had up for display....

then i headed back to the hotel for a lil party with the amnesty activist kiddies. that was fun and weird all at the same time.

had a good conversation on sunday night. and i fell off a bed -someday there will be a story...i'm working on it.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

a woman should have... old love she can imagine going back to and one who reminds her how far she has come.
...a youth she's content to leave behind.
...a past juicy enough that she's looking forward to re-telling in her old age.
...a set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra. friend who always makes her laugh and one who lets her cry.
...a feeling of control over her destiny.
every woman should know... to fall in love without losing herself. to quit a job, break up with a lover, and confront a friend w/out ruining the relationship.
...when to work harder and when to walk away.
...that she can't change the length of her calves, the width of her hips, or the nature of her parents.
...that her childhood may not have been perfect, but that it's over.
...what she would and wouldn't do for love or more.
...whom she can and can't trust.
...where to go -be it her best friend's kitchen table or a charming inn in the woods- when her soul needs soothing.
...what she can accompish in a day, a month, a year.

Monday, April 07, 2003

I scored a 95% on the "How Pacific Northwest Are You?" Quizie! What about you?