Showing posts from March, 2010

The Keys to Happiness - by Mojo Rider

I wanted to piggyback on some things James mentioned in his previous post on the Blog and the Facebook discussions. James said he wanted to impart some wisdom to make life easier on the younger guys, to have them be fulfilled. That got me thinking about what makes a person happy? What would make you, the reader, happy? Those that feel isolated, what would make you have a good life?

As I kind of mentioned in my response to James' post, whining isn't good if you do it all the time. You can whine to vent and blow off some steam about the debilitating social images we have, but you also have to do something about it and go about living your life. So what would make you happy?

You'd probably answer "money", right? Well, that might not be so true. There has been research done by academics and economists about the link between money and happiness and the findings are interesting. It's mostly an illusion. Sure, money is important in that we have to pay the rent and put…

Behind Every Alpha Asian...

You know you're getting older when there's a movie called Hot Tub Time Machine. I've always been a fan of the time travel genre, but when you cross the genre with VH1's I Love the 80's, that's an irresistable combination for me. I can't travel through time and be my own mentor, but I do feel an obligation to give younger men a heads up on life to come.

A lot of Asian American sites catering to men talk about improving the AA male image and picking up women. But as a female co-blogger once wrote, there isn't enough talk about how to maintain a good relationship:

"What I come across most frequently is advice on how to pick up women or other dating tips. Guys will ask each other if they 'scored' but rarely will guys have an in-depth discussion about their long-term relationship. Men (and women) become far less interested in making a relationship good once it goes into the long-term maintenance phase. But why? How do you get better at a relatio…

Year of the Noodle - by MojoRider

If I eat too much American cuisine for a long time, I get a huge hankering for Asian cuisine. I gotta have some rice and get away from potatoes. I don't care what it is: Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, or Chinese, Korean. I am partial to Chinese cuisine and I am always amazed at the culinary variety of things that can come from a Chinese chef. I can be a little bit of a noodle freak, though---seriously, who doesn't like noodles? Be it won ton noodle soup, or a chow foon, a pad thai, key mow, or udon. It's all good stuff.

The other month, the Washington Post's food section did a story on Asian noodles:

Whether they're buckwheat-based soba, wheat-based udon, cellophane, rice or egg, Asian noodles are hitting their stride as one of the city's most versatile, inexpensive comfort foods. And while a bowl of noodles is gaining cachet -- just ask foodies waiting to see whether the London-based Wagamama really opens in Penn Quarter this May -- noodle houses have flourished…

Farewell, Alex Chilton

I've written here before about art and creative endeavors and this post will follow in the same vein. I believe I'm older than most people here, so my cultural frames of reference are much different.

Alex Chilton, an American singer/songwriter guitarist and influential performer, died last Wednesday before his reunited band Big Star could perform tonite at this year's SXSW. He was a child star, having a hit single at the age of 16 with The Box Tops' "The Letter" in the late 60's. Forming Big Star in the early 70's, Chilton exhibited an incredible sense of melody and power pop sensibilities. He had a huge influence on bands like REM, Wilco, The Bangles, and my favorite artist, Paul Westerberg. The theme song to TV's "That 70's Show" was a Chilton and Big Star song. Even though Chilton recorded just three albums with Big Star back in the early 70's. Still, he managed to develop a cult following with poignant and power pop songs lik…

Rock on, Lil' Alpha Asian!

Three year old Howard Wong

With all of these Asian kids popping up on YouTube with kick ass music and dance talents, I can't help but think that some of these parents are living their dreams of being a rock star through their kids. Very different parenting from the stereotypical Asian parenting that I grew up with that pushed us towards math and science, playing the piano or violin and becoming doctors or engineers.

My daughter is now one month old. My wife and I have talked about not raising our child to be an Asian Robot. My wife has always had an adverse reaction to nerds, and she doesn't want our daughter to be one. She wants our child to be well-rounded: smart, beautiful, stylish, confident, talented and kind to others (who deserve it).

Of course, I feel this way too, but I can't help but think that we might overreact to the Asian Robot Syndrome and create an underachieving wild child. Part of me is thinking, "Are we going to set the bar too low for our kid?"…


People of color shouldn't have to fight amongst ourselves for crumbs tossed out by the larger society.

I was once at SF State at the Ethnic Studies Program, and an African American woman came in and got offended by the fact that the three people working the office were Asian. Our very presence was somehow offensive to her.

"What's with all these Asians?!"

She kept going on and on about how she didn't see no Asians during her days in the Civil Rights Movement. She couldn't see past our eye shape and recognize that we were on her side.

I think that is what a lifetime of dealing with bigotry and discrimination can do to you. When you cannot recognize friend from foe and you recognize race instead of the merits of one's behavior, then you are mentally colonized and racism has an outpost in your head.

A person of color can still have a piece of white supremacist ideology lodged in his or her subconscious. Not every Asian is my friend and not every non-Asian is my …

The White Man Squat? by Mojo Rider

I've been pretty busy of late with work but it's slowing down some and the ideas I had for more serious posts got too muddled for me to put anything coherent together. But I saw something amusing the other day so I thought I'd post something light.

On occasion, I'd hear somebody make fun of FOB's and I'd hear something like, "Yeah, you can always tell who they are because they're the ones doing the Asian squat at the bus stops!"

And then the other day, commuting into the city, I see this white guy at the bus stop. And he's doing....the Asian squat! This is in one of those transitional neighborhoods, where you see some gentrification, you see some urban hipsters around. These hipsters seem to be conscious about using public transportation and eschewing the use of cars until they have to. But the last thing I expected to see was a white guy doing the Asian squat!

For the uninitiated, it looks like you're trying to take a dump by the side of …

Facebook bans Racebending

On March 15th, 2010, Facebook bans the group "People Against Racebending: Protest of the Cast of The Last Airbender Movie" for violating their terms of use.

Joe and Heidi Eliminated from The Amazing Race

We bitch about how Asian Americans aren't well represented in the media, but we've made some inroads in three areas: online entertainment, children's programming and reality TV. This makes sense, because reality TV is supposed to reflect... reality.

Granted, you're holding a distorted mirror to reflect this reality, but at least you have a wide range of Asian American players being profiled and showing a wide range of emotions under a wide range of extreme circumstances. In Hollywood reality, everybody is white and colored people are merely supporting characters in the stories of white people.

Asian Americans have won or come close to winning many high profile reality shows, which is signficant considering they make up a small percentage of contestants. There is of course Yul Kwon, who won Survivor: Cook Islands, but there are others:

-Victor and Tammy Jih won Amazing Race 14.

-Yau-Man Chan came into the top four of Survivor: Fiji.

-Jun Song won Big Brother 4 in 2003…

Honestly Expressing One's Self

So here's a great video I watched on the Big WoWo blog. Here's Byron's synopsis of the video:

"In the video above, Nigerian writer Chimamanda Adichie talks about what she calls “the danger of the single story” and how stereotypes can warp a culture’s perception of the people of another culture when there are not many stories told about that other culture. She talks about growing up in Africa reading the stories of Americans and British, and how she felt people like her could not “exist in literature.” She talks about how power comes into the equation, and how stories can make or break the dignity of a people."

I think we know the single story for the Asian American experience: The Joy Luck Club.

For better or for worse, that movie and book has become the single story for Asian America. I remember watching Better Luck Tomorrow with a Caucasian female friend, and after watching the movie she said, "That was disappointing. I thought it was going to be the Asian…

Never Forget: Vincent Chin

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer

On June 19, 1982, Vincent Chin joined friends for a bachelor party at the Fancy Pants strip club in Highland Park, Mich.

Ronald Ebens, a Chrysler supervisor, happened to be there with his stepson, Michael Nitz, who had been laid off.

Chin and Ebens got into an argument. A witness heard Ebens say, "It's because of you little [expletive] that we're out of work."

Anti-Japanese sentiment was running high in Michigan, where the car industry was reeling.

The argument escalated into a fight, which was broken up. Chin and his friends left. Ebens and Nitz, testimony showed, searched the neighborhood for Chin for nearly half an hour.

When they found him at a McDonald's, Ebens bashed Chin's leg with a Louisville Slugger. Nitz held the injured man, and Ebens smashed his head with the bat. As Chin lost consciousness, he spoke his last words: "It's not fair."

He died four days later.

Ebens and Nitz, originally charged with second-degree …

Lost Update 3/3/2010