#SorryAsianParents

A goofy kid just trying to make sense of the world while trying to be Asian American

Yeah, I screenshot this. I stand by what I did.


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No Fadah, Moe Problams

This past Christmas, my father spent the festive night getting his gallbladder removed at Kawiia Delta Hospital. Despite being about ten or so years older than Baby Yoda, his health is not the ass-beating Asian father of nine he once was. I remember seeing my father stumble towards the front door the night before Krampus came for his inside cookies. I was sleeping in the living room when I woke up at 4 am to a thumping sound. Thinking it was my brother who was still drunk from a holiday party he and I attended a few hours before, I got up and yelled, “What the fuck you still doing up?” To my surprise, I saw it was my father, pressed against the wall. Between heavy breaths, he told me he was in pain and was making his way outside to meet my sister, who was taking him to the hospital.

I rushed to my father’s aid, escorting him outside by the arm. The early morning was cold as balls. I could feel my father shivering as we carefully made our way down the rain-drenched driveway. When I opened the car door, my father immediately sunk his body into the passenger seat. His eyes were closed, one arm clutching his stomach as the other found its place on the “Oh Shit” handle above the door. Seeing the man, who I thought was the toughest SOB growing up, in pain woke me up to a possible future where my father would die thinking I am a failure.

Growing up, my father was hard on me. Not to sound like the stereotype, but my father is the “typical Asian dad.” Like most Tiger Dads, he yelled at me when my grades fell below A’s (because B is for bitch); instead of getting grounded, I would get my ass beat; and, of course, he wanted me to become *enter my bad impersonation* doctor. He had a plan . . . until I (his firstborn son who had the opportunity to be the first of the family to attend a 4-year university) told him, “fuck all that.”

My parents and I at my SFSU graduation

Of course, I gradually disappointed my father with a soft lie of wanting to become a teacher. If I dropped the news like napalm, he would have had a heart attack from all the shame.

Even if my father wanted to voice his concerns for my questionable career choice, it would have been difficult because of our cultural differences. Typically, an Asian American son would know how his Asian father was feeling from the strength of his backhand. (JK…Kinda) Our relationship was(is) no different. So you can see why I avoided those father-son chats; my ugly face can’t take high-fives anymore. But when we did have our chats, the conversation would usually end with “You could do better,” or “Stop fucking up, dumbass.”

Looking back at it now, it’s probably not what my father intended for me to feel. He was trying to raise me how he knew best, learning from his father before him. But, needless to say, the constant fear of disappointing him put a lot of pressure on me.

Eventually, I stood up to my father and told him how I really felt (like them white kids on ABC Family). Haha PSYCH, no fucking way. I listened to my Asian side and ran away from my feelings, limiting my communication with him and avoided any conversations about my future.

Once my father got the hint, he started backing off. Then my twenties took OFF! Without having to worry about being the perfect Asian son, I was free from the guilt as I frolicked aboutsss in college. All it cost me was a healthy relationship with the man whose sack I swam from.

When you are young, you’re stupid. For real, think about being in your early 20’s and in college. I didn’t give a fuck about another person’s opinion, nor did I care about being some “model minority.” I was living the American Dream, baby. My ego had a BBC, and it was just swingin’ it in the air.

But all of that big dick energy went away on Christmas as I reverted back to a prepubescent teen who was afraid of disappointing his dad.

It’s a shame that it took an exploding gallbladder to make me realize how much of a child I’ve been, a thirty-year-old man-child who thought he could put a pause on time until he was ready to become an adult. But time doesn’t wait for anyone (unless you’re hella rich, then you can do whatever you want). Growing up isn’t a choice for me anymore; it’s a sobering reality.

Facing my father’s morality made me reflect on what I want for my future. I can’t change who I am and all the choices I’ve made in my life. And though I don’t want to be a bad Asian boy anymore, I cannot deny my hopes and dreams as an individual. I suppose, now, all I can hope for is to use the remaining time to make my dad proud by my standards. Or at least pay off my student loans. Come on, Liberal Arts Degree! Digivolve into a money-making machine!

#SorryAsianParents

PS, I know I’m not alone when it comes to immigrant children and daddy/mommy issues. Good luck to those out there who are going through the same struggles of finding your own identity.


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Life Is Short; Cherish Your Loved Ones

I would like to share a letter I wrote to my friends after someone shared with me some words to remember after the death of a loved one:

 

Someone who I had worked with recently passed away; her name was Judy. I didn’t work with her much, but I knew the fun person she was and the energy she brought to the room.

One of her close friends, Mark, gave me some wise words that have been lingering in my mind since last Thursday. While drinking a few Titos and soda with a Titos back, he told me to cherish the people who bring joy to my life because you never know what’s going to happen or when they will leave this world.

What Mark said made me think about all the times I have shared with everyone (my friends in the ZipperSquad) in and out of this group. All of those euphoric, blurry nights at music festivals (especially at the Electric Daisy Carnival) and beyond. For some of y’ all, it was like beyond, beyond.

I’m starting to realize that we are all living our life, growing into the spirited person we are all meant to be. And, of course, with life comes death. As we continue to grow from stupid teenagers to even sillier Adults, our encounters with lost will become more frequent as time continues to do its natural thing.

Sometimes our paths in life don’t always run alongside another or intercepts often, but that doesn’t mean the time we have shared was for naught. We have shared moments of joy and, of course, we were together in times of need. The company we each provided was the foundation of happiness I felt as I attempted to mature through my 20s.

In the grand scheme of things, all the hiccups and mistakes we all have made doesn’t really matter. What does matter is the bonds we forged through nights filled with side-aching laughter alongside those grey days showered by our tears. Life is short and we never really know what’s going to happen. I wish for everyone to appreciate the friends and family you keep and hope for you to enjoy their company to the fullest.

This could all be a bunch of gibberish from a man with too much time to think. But I would be lying if I said I don’t daydream of partying with everyone from dusk to dawn, or if I forgot about those times where we would sing offkey on our way to a burrito spot, or if I did not value the countless nights where I drunkenly shared a piece of myself. However, I did tell a lie. When I felt the distance between our friendship begin to grow, I reflected a cold manner where I did not care. Though some of y’ all saw through my facade, I was selfish to do so.  My memories with everyone are endless, and so is my sincere affection for everyone.

 

I hope this message sparks a nostalgic stroll in that beautiful mind of yours. It could be tomorrow when hearing that one song causes your brain to malfunction, looping the same memory as the music teleports you to the past. Or it could be when you spontaneously burst in laughter and can’t stop smiling at some stupid meme that uncovers a forgotten moment. If you have missed your bus stop because you couldn’t help looking at festival pictures suggested by Facebook Memories, or any other moments like these, then I implore you to reshare that memory and tell them how much you appreciate the impact of their friendship.

 

(TL;DR) Sorry for rambling on. Just so I can sound like a broken record, just make sure you appreciate one another and cherish those bonds that you have formed with your friends, current or past. If someone is on your mind make sure you tell them that they have a special place in your heart and that you will always remember the times you have spent with one another. If you ever find yourself where you need a friend to talk to, reach out. Depression and social anxiety in our generation are common, and your friends are there for you. Being vulnerable is ok. Just being there to listen can be all someone needs. Life is too short for pettiness to come between love for another. Remember, friends are the family you chose; there is a reason why you selected them to be a part of yourself and your journey.

 


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There’s Something About (Sad) Millennials

Sometimes we need a little help to keep from falling

Oh man, it has been a long time since I wrote something. Hi Hi, I want everyone to know that I am not dead; I just took some time off from doing anything creative to focus on my alcohol abuse. Wait, what I meant to say is that I took some time off to focus on myself. Honestly, it’s all just some grade-A millennial buulllllsheit.

I’m not going to lie, I have spent the past few months lollygagging around; there was a point in my life where I did not know where I was going or what I wanted to actually do. So like many people who are in the post-college-oh-shit-I’m-almost-30 slump, I got a job making tips so I can participate in what some may call “Life Experience.” AKA: drinking myself into oblivion and avoiding all adult responsibilities.

Despite how much damage I put on my brain and liver, I still have a mind that will always (sometimes) want to make the “right” decisions. However, ingesting a bunch of booze can force your brain on a time-out, interfering with your conscious decision-making as you board the blackout train. For a random example (don’t look too much into it), making the choice of raging on a giant hill in Berkeley to drink alcohol and chase just-made-it-to-18-year-old-Irish girls a viable one for a soon-to-be-30-year-old-but-looks-23-cuz-he’s-Asian an easy one.

Ahh, I can’t lie. That was me, sorry for fooling you. Stupid? Yes. But at that point in my life, I found it easier to deal with the I’m-too-old-for-this-shit hangover than to confront my future with a sober mind. Trust me, getting rejected from a girl whom you may never see again is better than getting rejected by life.

The big thing I’ve noticed is that I am not alone. There are plenty of people like me who feel unmotivated, taking one step forward while taking two vodka shots back. If you don’t want to admit your similar circumstances, then we can just say it’s “your friend” (ehh, wink wink).

People in my age group are down and feel as if they have lost their path in life. Being lost can mean a lot of different things. You don’t have to be broke and living with your parents to feel like you don’t know what the fuck you’re doing. Look at me, I have a decent paying job that pays for self-destructive things that I do, I’m still alive, to say the least. Despite all of the positive factors in my (and probably yours) life, there’s still a lingering feeling of emptiness, a void in adulthood left unfulfilled.

Why are my peers and I so messed up? Growing up, we were told that we could be anything and do anything, but yet some of us do nothing or, worst, can’t. Are the destructive lives and uncertain future of millennials a result of poor planning, were our pipe dreams too big? Did you really need to take a bong rip and blow off work for the new season of Stranger Things. Well, I don’t know the answer. But I do know one thing: It’s probably because we broke ass shit and our education is nothing more than a glorified party degree.

Don’t just take my word for it. In Stephen Harrison piece “Start-Ups Aren’t Cool Anymore”, he explains how we millennials are fucked. “Underemployed Millennials simply could not build as they entered the workforce,” Harrison wrote. “Student debt worsened the underlying economic problems.” Our education was not providing the cash flow that we need to build a more Instagram perfect life. No money, mo problems. 

If the words of a Dallas writer doesn’t convince you how us born in the late ’80s got the short end of the stick, then let the American government tell you. In “Are Millennials Different?”, a study by Christopher Kurz, Geng Li and Daniel J Vine for the Federal Reserve, we basically are told that we are smarter, have different ideas in life because we’re racially diverse and are poor because the past generation handed us a shitty economy.

They didn’t exactly say that (it was me who paraphrased it, shhh).

“Millennials are more racially diverse, more educated, and . . . are less well off than members of earlier generations when they were young, with lower earnings, fewer assets, and less wealth. For debt, millennials hold levels similar to those of Generation X and more than those of the baby boomers. Conditional on their age and other factors, millennials do not appear to have preferences for consumption that differ significantly from those of earlier generations.”

So, the people who are blaming us for the downfall of the economy are actually the ones who fucked it all up. Shame, shame, blame game. 

Now, what are we going to do about it? Honestly, we just have to play with the hand we’re dealt and not give up! 

Personally, I take one day at a time while planning for my future. Sure, the planning part might not be consistent, or it may be put on pause for a music festival, but you have to just live life. But, you gotta make sure that you’re still making small steps forward, even if it’s with one hangover at a time.

Listen to some music, save money and take a vacation or watch a relatable TV show for a false sense of comfort. Take a drink and have fun on this adventure and try not to let the little stuff bring you down.

It’s no big secret I love the show New Girl. To quickly sum up the show, it’s about a group of friends who are nearing the age of 30 trying to find their path in life.

His love for me is unbearable at times.

Sounds familiar? The show reminds us how surrounding yourself with positive friends and family can make this butterflying a more fun experience. You may be awkward and poor now but with help from the village, you can transform into a less poor and an even more awkward adult.

It’s ok to be unhappy and it’s ok to be happy with your current self in “adulthood.” Don’t feel guilty for having fun now, but know that you can’t Peter Pan it forever.

So, that’s what I’ve been up to, taking a turn onto Dazed and Confused road with everyone else. I’m not saying that I’m a changed man, I’m still that Asian boy who’s trying to find the right banana milkshake blend of Asian and American who continuously disappoints his hard-working Oriental parents. I am working on it and so are my fellow post-grad slummers.

If all else fails, you and I can always become sugar babies (;P)


 

 


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A (JADED) RAVER RETURN TO EDC

(Original post was on iHeartRaves)

After taking a year off, I attended my 8th Electric Daisy Carnival. Which also happened to be the 20th Anniversary of the iconic festival hosted by Insomniac Events. I, like many seasoned ravers, have uttered the phrase: “This is going to be my last EDC”. And like the many, we have failed multiple of times to live that statement through.

Many things have inspired my return to my favorite festival: My travel partner returning home from her duty in the Peace Corps, the 20th birthday of EDC and my crews itching to return to Vegas and rage. These are just a few reasons, but do you really need a reason to go back to E. D. Mother Effin’ C!

There is just something about EDC that overwhelms my heart over other festivals. Maybe it was the magic that I felt in 2010 when it was last held in Los Angeles. Or perhaps it was the immense amount of energy that surged through me when the Electric Sky first cast its illuminating lights over the once silent ground of the LV desert. Judging how0617161748b this event has sold out the last three years, I’m not the only one that feels this way.

Prior to the actual event, the Strip hosted numerous pool parties and club events for EDC Week. I was lucky to have attended the Jauz pool party at Marquee. Being my old age, I was destroyed and was not able to continue to TAO for Dreamstate before the stroke of midnight. The idea of YOLO anything now hurts my head. However, many seasoned EDCLV veterans would know that Day 0 (Thursday) is perhaps the only night to actually do Vegas-Vegas. It was a good time to bond and rage with friends, catch up with your festival crew that you have not seen in a while (or squad as some of the kids are saying these days).

When Friday quickly came, it was time for my return to the sovereign grounds of EDC. Of course, life and bad decisions the night before did not make it easy. By life, I mean the two-hour traffic from the Strip to the Speedway, and by bad decisions, I mean the ringing hangover that only 600 mg of ibuprofen could only mend.0618161929

Surprisingly, after the hassle of parking and pre-gaming in the parking lot after taking a bunch of selfies with a bright pink selfie stick, the line to get in was not bad. There were three different check points before you can get that good ole pat down (nothing says a festival like getting your balls grabbed). This weeded out the people trying to sneak in, and unfortunately weeded out the people who were sold fake tickets. My heart goes out to your wallets bros and broettes.

Inside the festival guide, which to me looks as if it has been designed to resemble a passport, Pasquale opens up with “Welcome Home, Everyone!” And that is how I felt as I stumble down the steps of the Las Vegas Speedway. There was a lingering sunlight when I made my way down the concrete steps that in my imagination was my Yellow Brick Road. I can see the lights leading me back home. The LED’s, strobes and screens from rides and stages were faint, but I still saw their warm rays of welcome. When I finally reached the dirt covered asphalt, I knew that I was back in Neverland as I was surrounded with a unison of smiles and bright eyes that surveyed the scenery with awe.

This feeling of course only lasted for about 10 hours until the sun came back up and everyone had to zombie themselves through a cattle of zombies back to their car or shuttle. Yet, despite riding the struggle bus at 6 AM the next day, many people still got back on the horse and did it again. Two. More. Times!

I had a great time seeing my friends there. One of my buddies decided to surprise us by getting a ticket to attend Saturday night. His words were, “The friend lineup is just too good to miss out”. And that is one thing that is true since the beginning of this whole shabang. I saw my friends from all over California, from the Windy City of Chicago, those who made it from the East Coast, from pretty much everywhere! From an underground movement to the mainstream stage of today, EDC has always brought friends together. Where reality keeps some of us apart, EDC provides us with a secret liaison from life where we’re each other’s mistress in our very own love story.received_1040445536024987

Another thing that stuck with me was when my buddy said that this was the happiest that he’s seen me in a while. Which is true. I’m not going to get into my own self pity, but I have not been happy, happy for a while. Even at TomorrowWorld as I was dancing my ass off, I was having fun but not truly happy. This can be seen in my everyday life and with all the trolling that I do.

But at EDC, there is just something about being encased in its magic as I was surrounded by friends, dancing my little Asian butt away to trance, grooving my hips to the industrial sounds of techno, jumping away my thigh gap at hardstyle and even slow-motioning what can only be described as a stroke to some dubstep.

What more can I say about EDC that many people haven’t said already? Music was great. The art cars were great. The production and designs of the whole thing was AMAZING! The performers did a spectacular job keeping up the illusion that we were all our very own Alice in a Wonderland that was shared with everyone. However, there were some pretty awful stuff at EDC. Like people getting into fights, leaving the parking lot and trash that is left by attendees. Insomniac can’t be blamed for some of those. They did a great job providing space, water and medical tents for the insurance of everyone’s well being. Just sucks that some people had to be the few sour apples of the ball.

*cough* all of those long trains running through the crowd and not just Asian trains, all sorts of em *cough*

Despite all of that, PLUR was alive and well. From all the post and comments on the EDC Unofficial Facebook page, everyone seemed to have a good time. I even heard about this guy who spent a good amount of time trying to return a wallet and phone. Hell, even being stuck in traffic and singing “Tiny Dancer” and “Valerie” after being stuck in traffic for five hours on the third day was fun. It’s all about the company you keep sometimes.

Did I have a great time? Hell yeah! Would I do it again? Hell yeah! I’m not going to say that I am a better person for going to EDC and my life has now forever changed because I found PLUR. The one thing that I will take away from the experiences from this year is how to be happy.

Even if I don’t go to another EDC for the rest of my life, I will remember the love-felt hugs I shared between friends as we embraced one another, the smile on my face from hearing a song that I’ve over-killed on Spotify, looking into my friends eyes and seeing all of their sadness and sorrows from reality fade away for 3 days, the inside jokes, the thought of introducing your friend to deodorant all the times the DJ told us to put our hands up, all of it.

When I look back at EDC, I won’t hear drops or see people jumping. When I look back at EDC, I will hear a retro 80s synth and see all my friends shimmying down in slow motion with smiles on their faces under the disco lights. If I can remember all of that in my dark times I will have hope and smile, maybe let a little chuckle like a crazy person on the bus, and try to become a better person. Take it from an old jaded raver, EDC may have passed and gone but the magic still lingers, the wonderland we all embarked may have been a construct of our own imagination but the feelings we felt were real and not one can take that away from us.

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Dear Andrew, My Friend Who Was Taken From Us Too Soon

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(Note: This is not a comedy piece. My friend Andrew, who was a genuine great person, was taken away from us too soon. He did not drink, do drugs, or have a hateful cell in his body. It’s a shame what happened. An accident. So be safe out there folks, and cherish the people around you. You never know what will happen. This is an open letter to the man who made me want to not only become a better Asian, but a better person of the world. I’m a man who does not know how to really handle feelings and writing is the only way I know how. Every time I try to talk to someone about Andrew, I can’t help but to fight off tears and sorrow. So I don’t speak at all. Instead, I write.)

Dear Andrew,

I really don’t know how to start this, but I’m sure not many people do. I’m going to miss you, man. You were an inspiration to my life. I remember the first time I saw you at the gym, at the Village Fitness Center. I thought to myself, “Man, who is this buff ass Asian guy killin’ it here. He must be on riods.” I was so awed by your strength that I never approached you. You also had his glare on your face, fueled by determination, which I mistook as being unkind, that scared me. Until that one day I mustered up the courage to ask you how to workout the back of my shoulders. Which you then told me to lay sideways on the bench so I can do a lateral in an upward motion. This was one of the moments that made me realize that you were not an angry d-bad gym Asian, but a kind man who was willing to offer advice. Luck had it that you were also roommates with my friend from my high school.

I remember the day Garret invited me to his room to eat the Subway sandwiches that we had bought. You and your brother arrived after we did. I don’t remember if this was during your brothers transition into the marines or right before. But I do remember me eating Subway Club and you having a Spicey Italian. It was then that you educated me on how to save money by microwaving your sandwich so you did not have to pay the extra 50 cent charge for toasting. This was the spark of our friendship that lead to many nerdy pho conversations that was sprinkled with talks of girls, sour candy induced car rides, and movies.

Even though some of our hang outs were reduced since you met Kaila, I did not mind. Despite me giving you a hard time about it, I was only joking. I actually remembered the first time I met her. It was after EDC 2013. Or 2012, I forget sometimes. But you took me to grab some pho in Daly City as I blabbered on about my misadventures and my sinful activities. I probably should have held some of my enthusiasm back, seeing how that was the first time your future wife was meeting me. But I couldn’t, I was too excited and had to tell you everything. I wanted to tell you about how I fell in love in a magical wonderland, and I could tell that day that you too had also fell in love back in reality. After many more dinner dates where I was third-wheeling it, I could tell that soon you were going to marry her. Now when I look back at it, I should have taken your invitations to go see all those scary movies that you wanted to see. But like your courage and muscle definition, I did not have the will to see movies that potentially scared the crap out of me. Instead, I limited our media pleasures to nerdy and action stuff. And hard rock music in your car.

Thanks for all of those rides, BTW. Thanks for driving me home after those nights of pho, getting me home safely after a night of drinking, and even driving Natalie home the first time you met her, despite the fact that she got super intoxicated, was uncooperative, and threw away all of our sour candy. Thanks man.

I’m not going to lie to myself and say that we were the best of friends, but I hope that you considered me to be a dear friend, like I did. In fact, I will admit that I admire you. Whenever I saw you, you gave me hope for humanity that they are people like you out there in this cruel, messed up world. You also gave me faith in myself that I can become a better person. In my eyes, you stood on this pedestal that is only shared with a select few of amazing people. You can say that I was a little jealous of you and your life: you were a great man who was in phenomenal shape, a loving wife, a great family that loved and supported you through your journey of adulthood, and you’ve built a solid group of friends that followed you as you lead them to the path of fitness and laughter, while stopping to grab your occasional bowls of pho, of course.

You were taken too soon my friend. An amazing man like you with a heart of gold that inspires all is what this world needs and we will be feeling that absent with you gone. Now, every time I have a bowl of pho at Kevin’s Noodles House (Irving or in Daly City) or maintain the proper form while I deadlift and clean, I will remember you and how you were there for me during those past moments. Even though you left me for Kaila, I don’t mind because she is an amazing woman and was your perfect match. I know that I could have made this post shorter, but I couldn’t. I could actually make this longer, but I’m not going to bore you with my blabbering, even though I could tell that you wanted me to shutup at times during pho. I just needed you to know how much of an amazing person you were. To tell the truth, you are still influencing my life. You’re the best human being I know, I aspire to be half the man you were.

I know you’re training Jesus up there, so go easy on him. See you on the other side, Andrew.


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Bad Asian Mom Chooses Car Over Son

By Airec Sype.

Long story short, a mother in Yiwu, China, refused to let firefighters save her trapped child by breaking the window of her BMW and wished to wait for a locksmith. She basically decided that her material object was more important than her son. And I doubt that it was because she didn’t have car insurance.

Damn, stuff like this really pisses me off. Of all the moments where I wished a negative story wasn’t about an Asian person, this is probably in the top 5. This kind of reassures that stereotype that Asians, particularly women, are materialistic. I’m not saying all Asians are like that, but this c*nt really is.

My parents used physically discipline on me when I was growing up. However it was only used when I was doing something stupid, never was there an incident where my father or mother came home after a night of drinking and beat me. I understand that their form of discipline was one borrowed from their old country; they didn’t know of any other structure of discipline. However there is no exception in this case, this lady wanted to make sure her posh BMW stayed unharmed while her child was dying in a car that was being baked by scorching heat; now that is some sh*t that is unforgivable.

I first found this story on Uproxx and did a little more research on a Yahoo! news page. So needless to say, many Internet outlets have picked up on this story. Not to mention the public shaming by random people through social media, like Twitter and other blogs.

Moral of the story is don’t leave your kid in a car during high temperatures. And if your child is locked in a car during a heat wave then smash that window to save YOUR OFFSPRING! Don’t be a bad Asian; you’re suppose to be smarter than that. SMH!

I know this site is called #SorryAsianParents, but this lady needs one for #BadAsianParents. I feel sorry for this kid who has to grow up knowing that his life isn’t worth a window on a BMW. If only China had affordable car insurance like GEICO.


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Let Us Celebrate 61 Years of Jackie Chan: My first Asian Hero

(Jaaaackkiieee gots jokes as he post a hipsterized pic of himself on Facebook)

By Airec Sype.

Action comedian actor director singer Jack-of-all-trades Jackie Chan celebrated his 61st birthday earlier this month. So I have to mention it; how can I have a blog that celebrates my Asian American weirdness without talking about one of my heroes JACKIE CHAN!!!

Growing up in America, there were not a lot of Asian heroes for this cute little Asian baby, who was lucky enough to be born in this great nation (MURRICA!), to look up to. Most of the heroes I (or we) had were from the relic VHS tapes that translated kung-fu movies onto giant heavy television boxes.

When I talk to some Asians and Asian-Americans about Jackie Chan, I get the conciseness that you either like him or hate him. Some Asians dislike Jackie Chan (I know this is going to get annoying but it doesn’t feel right just using his last name; there is more power and status if I just keep saying Jackie Chan) because they don’t see him as a martial artist despite him having training in multiple of different styles. But then they’re Asians, like I, who loves this man.

The legacy of Jackie Chan is his ability to combine comedy and action. There is a sense of authenticity to his work because he does almost all of his stunts himself. Uproxx has compiled a list of his notable injuries. This is because he was originally a stunt man in old martial arts films. In fact, he got hit in the face by Bruce Lee himself in a failed attempt of a sneak attack.

However, behind all the action and laughter, Jackie Chan also has a sensitive side. During a press-conference, Jackie Chan reveals how he wants to do a movie about love. Knowing that this might not be the Jackie Chan we all know, he said, “I love to produce movie which I love where I can speak what I want to speak and do what I want to do. It is not all about making money.”

Getting hit in the face by Lee and breaking almost every bone in his body all in the effort of entertaining us, that is the man behind the legend. My favorite movie will probably be Legend of the Drunken Master. That movie has the perfect combination of comedy, action and Asian boys with daddy problems . . . Oh did I forget to mention that this man can SING!!!

Oh yeah, this man got it all.

Let’s go back to this idea of Asian or Asian American heroes. Growing up there really wasn’t much for us to look up to besides these kung-fu flying, fist punching, ass-kicking action heroes. Growing up in the 90’s, the idea of an Asian American in the mainstream media was not feasible.

I’m not saying that there wasn’t any Asian heroes when I was growing up, I just didn’t know about them nor did I have the mature mental capacity to appreciate them (not saying I’m mature, I still act like a frat-boy at times). I was introduced to Yo-Yo Ma while watching an episode of PBS Arthur, but I didn’t really know who that was. There was obviously Michelle Kwan who can literally fly on ice, but I didn’t like ice skating as a kid.

Growing up, I wanted an Asian Arnold, or an Asian James Bond. These were men that I could look up to! I didn’t want the Asian henchmen in the Rambo films who gets gunned down by starving POW to be my heroes. Fu*K those guys, they were WEAK! Or I wanted a swavey Asian guy who can come into a room and swoop the girl, not the creepy four eyed Japanese pervert that the white hero was saving her from.

That is one of the things I was envious of as a kid, these white little boys had someone they could look up to; they were able to picture themselves as the hero and mainstream media reenforced that dream. So if I followed what the 90’s told me, I was bound to be a fu*king four-eyed henchmen who is perving on white woman while getting my ass-kicked by some white guy or just some nerdy sidekick who does all the math homework and robot stuff.

Blacks and Latinos were also lucky. Of course black kids had . . . well they had the whole NBA and hip-hop industry in the 90s to look up to . . . and Malcolm X and MLK. I’m not a complete racist here. And Latinos had Oscar Dela Hoya and Ricky Martin (before he came out). But there I was, thinking that my future can do no better than Mr. Miyagi. And he wasn’t even the main hero of the Karate Kid! THE KARATE KID WASN’T EVEN ASIAN! Thankfully Community fixed that.

I guess that’s why when Al from City Guys first appeared, I hung onto that character. He was one of the first Asian looking males on TV that I saw swooping girls off their feet. The same feeling of inspiration arose when I first saw John Cho in American Pie. Despite their small roles in the show or movies, their presence on the show gave me a light of hope that an Asian American male like me could one day exist in a mainstream American world where my role isn’t the nerdy foreign exchange student . . . and that I too can get cute white girls (but that’s not the point of this conversation.)

Of course now when I look at the Asian American, or just Asian in general, heroes of today, I can think of Jerry Yang, the creator of Yahoo!, or Margret Cho, or the Chinese who left their homeland and built the railroads/gold mines. I can think of people like that who risked their lives or did amazing feats instead of solely relying on action stars like Donnie Yen and Tony Jaa or any other yellow-skinned karate master. But lets not forget those two, they’re pretty badass. Oh, and that Asian kid from 21 and over, his chill-to-pull ratio was 5:5.

That is probably why when shows like Selfie, which has an Asian American male as a lead actor, gets cancelled I feel a little hurt inside. Or actions like replacing the Asian characters in movies like 21 and Dragonball: Evolution hurts the young Asian American community. I feel for the lost of an easy hero for young Asian boys to look up to, to picture themselves as a possible version of their future. Some say that the media is evil, but it was the quickest way for young minority boys like I to picture themselves in the American world. School and books and Asian doctors, pff. That didn’t matter growing up in the rough side of Visalia. Movies was our salvation for a potential better life. In a way, that sense of living vicariously through a fictional character allowed us to be hopeful of becoming a real American. It’s what the media told us.

Despite the lack of Asian males in the media, we still have mix-martial art fighters. But sometimes it’s hard to tell who’s fighting when two Asians are going at it.

Now looking at it in hindsight, we kinda all had a hero with us growing up. I didn’t realize it until I reached college and was able to think like an “adult.” My father kinda is a hero. Any minority kid can call their father a hero, a man who risk his life leaving his old country for a better life for his family, a man who slaves away at work so his children can have an American life/education. Well unless your father was a bastard, then this doesn’t apply to you.

Sure my dad was an SOB at times, but he was there for me and had my back. He didn’t know kung-fu or built robots, but he got his yellow ass over here and fertilized me on the great soil of America so that I didn’t have to make shoes for Nike.

I guess heroes are everywhere, it just took me a little while to realize it. If you’re Asian American, try to be a hero for the kids of tomorrow. Oh and I love you Jackie Chan.