Reader Mail: A Look Back on the Alpha Asian
I just discovered two of your blogs today Strength and Physique and Alpha Asian. I enjoy the writing style a lot and enjoy every little bit I read.
I just want to take this chance to thank you for being such an inspiration for Asians, as well as for fitness/bodybuilding enthusiasts worldwide! :)
My Answer: Thanks Dash, I'm glad you enjoy my blogs. I can't believe it's been 4 years since I started my Strength and Physique blog and 3 years since I started the Alpha Asian blog. I started the Strength and Physique blog as a marketing tool, and in the beginning I put a lot of effort into launching it. But over time, I grew tired of answering the same basic questions over and over. I still enjoy helping readers with exercise and diet advice, but I found the Strength and Physique blog too limiting in scope with regards to subject matter. I was limited to exercise and fitness questions, and they tend to be rudimentary ones at that. I wanted to talk about a variety of things other than exercise and diet. Things like psychology, TV shows, Asian American (AA) issues and whatever struck my fancy.
So that's when I decided to start the Alpha Asian blog. I looked around at other AA blogs and sites at the time, and I wanted to fill a void that was not being filled by other blogs. Angry Asian Man was the first in people's minds (and still is) as far as AA websites. So I didn't want another Angry Asian knock off. I wanted to progress beyond anger, and I felt that blogs like the Minority Militant and sites like Model Minority already articulated the anger and frustrations of Asian Americans.
The time that I started the Alpha Asian blog was a rather opportune time, because what happened was that AA blogs and discussion boards were on the decline as far as quality and proliferation. Fallout Central (which featured high quality podcasts on AA issues) was now defunct. Yellow World and the Fighting 44's (which were bastions of intellectual debate) were now dead.
After the implosion of these sites, the AA presence on the web took on different directions: self-improvement and user generated content. For better or for worse, Fallout Central was replaced by Better Asian Man and the Asian Playboy, who advocated improving the AA male image through self-improvement (and that meant attending their PUA bootcamps). Meanwhile YouTube allowed AA's to generate their own music videos and webisodes.
So I thought to myself, "Why not aggregate these entertaining and inspiring videos of Asians and Asian Americans on YouTube? Why don't we aggregate positive energy for once?"
And that's how I got started. I didn't want the Alpha Asian blog to be just another AA news feed like Angry Asian Man or another Asian-spotting blog or another "look how silly Asians are" website. I wanted the videos, podcasts and commentaries to be relevant, inspirational and educational for AA's and non-AA's regardless of what year they discovered the Alpha Asian site. I wanted AA's to push beyond anger, beyond helplessness, beyond frustration.
Over time, I found myself concentrating and writing from a more AA male perspective. I simply don't like the perception that the AA male psyche oscillates between frustration and despair. Most AA males take care of their women, their families, their careers, their lives. Many are leaders in their respective fields. They really don't have time to be posting and commenting on the Internet on a regular basis. And yet affirmative guidance is what has been missing from the AA presence on the web.
Since I started the Alpha Asian blog there have been a lot more AA sites, some devoted to an AA male perspective and some devoted to positive aggregation and self-improvement. Funny thing is there are a couple of blogs titled Asian Alpha Man and Asian Alpha Male. And unfortunately, the term Alpha Asian has been co-opted by the PUA community. The term has taken on a life of its own.
My intent with my blog was to spread the "ideal viruses" of the Alpha Asian. Not for PUA's to make money. So I thought I'd highlight some key ideals and notable quotes from the Alpha Asian blog, in no particular order:
"If you focus on things that you cannot control, then you will lose control on that which you normally control." (Mental Cages, Psychological Ropes)
"If you don't say much, then people will have to fill in the blanks. If a space is empty in people's minds with regards to you, then that space will be occupied, and it could be occupied by anything, any idea, not matter how outlandish. This is how gossip, rumors and stereotypes supplant the truth in people's minds.
"Your reputation precedes you, so you, as an Asian American must fill in the space in people's minds before some racist idiot does. You as an Asian American must control your image before the image controls you." (Underkill)
"Too many people take this all or none approach to everything. They define everything by success or failure, when in reality, most situations are opportunities to learn and practice. Define your own success."
"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." (Windowbreaker)
"It's amazing how people will vehemently cling to and defend a racial or ethnic stereotype, even in the face of contradictory information and examples. This goes for both the stereotyper (a.k.a. racist) and the stereotyped (i.e. Asians). Asians are guilty of conforming to stereotypes imposed on us by non-Asians and believing in the white supremacist crap about our inferiority. To paraphrase George Orwell: 'We're given masks, and our faces grow to fit them.'" (Honestly Expressing One's Self)
"Our greatest strength is self-reliance, but it is also our greatest weakness. Asians are expected to be self-reliant and not to complain about hardship, because our mentality is this: we take care of our shit. Everyone is expected to carry their own weight, so your personal shit shouldn't be affecting other people.
"While this is normally a good thing, it makes things difficult when there is a call for unity within the Asian American communities. We'd rather not get involved. We operate individually and independently despite our numbers and our potential for solidarity." (Blending into Your Landscape)
"Now I’m not saying that being a man-whore is the masculine ideal to strive for. [But] People act like the Western masculinity and Asian masculinity are mutually exclusive. But men are men, no matter what part of the world you’re talking about. Men of all cultures do stupid sh!t, like wage war, screw lots of women and say things they later regret." (Western Masculine Ideal vs. Asian Masculine Ideal)
"What transforms a community into a movement? Although forum communities serve a purpose (exchange of information, intelligent and unintelligent discourse, etc.), a community of people who think similarly is not a movement. A 'movement' implies a series of deliberate actions undertaken to move from your current state to a desired state. Without movement, then you don't have… a movement." (State of the AA Blogosphere)
"When it comes down to it, if you want to help Asian Americans, then develop that Asian American consciousness but also be a valuable asset to the community. A desire to help the Asian American community is great, but you have to offer something substantial that the community can benefit from. Know what your talents are and exercise them to better the lives of Asian Americans and people in general." (Develop an Asian American Consciousness and Be Damn Good at Something)
"The media has a big fat disconnect with reality. You'd figure that Hollywood (an industry based in California where people of color make up the majority) would have more portrayals of people of color, but there aren't very many beyond African Americans. Hollywood lives in a bubble of it's own creation and exports this idea of a 'whites only' reality to the rest of world. Unfortunately, we as people of color still gladly buy their white supremacist bullshit and perpetuate it." (What the Future Holds)
"Do you know what the difference is between cats and dogs? While both animals behave in accordance with their instincts, a dog accommodates to its master, whereas an owner accommodates to its cat. A cat carries herself as if she were descended from a great heritage: lions and tigers. A cat knows his proud and regal lineage, and let's you know it too.
"A dog is also descended from a great and noble ancestry: wolves. But whereas a cat remembers her heritage, a dog does not. Hence because of this cultural amnesia, he's vulnerable to having his behavior molded to fit the needs and wants of people." (The Difference Between Cats and Dogs)