#SorryAsianParents

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


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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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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.

 


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Exploring Microaggression: What the hell is Microaggression?

By Airec Sype

The internet has always been a hub of good ideas: if you’re into stuff like DIY’s or trying to find a non-trendy-but-trendy-hipster place to brunch, or trying to gather up magical tips to help you lose your virginity for the first time. (Porn isn’t a reliable source for educational virgin tips for getting women or losing your virginity btw. Not everyone is lucky enough to just stumble into a threesome). But if you troll the internet a lot, like I do, you will notice that it is a Wild West of ideas with raw-uncensored thoughts. Which, of course, without filtration, the internet is saturated with a lot of racist (but sometimes hilarious) comments.

Instead of me calling it “internet racism,” lets ground this phenomenon in the scholarly world. First coined by Harvard professor Chester M. Pierce in 1970, psychiatrists have described these light “insults and dismissals” as microaggression.

Derald Wing Sue, psychologist and professor at Columbia, defines microaggression as “brief, everyday exchanges that send degrading messages to certain individuals because of their group” that occurs subconsciously when no harm is intended, unaware of the unintentional offense.

For example if I said that all Asians can’t drive, or all Mexicans are illegal immigrants, or all Middle Eastern are terrorist, or all black people can rap, or all Jewish people are cheap, or . . . maybe I’ll stop there . . . then it’s a form of microaggression. I think.

In simple terms, it’s kinda racist but not, but still kinda is . . . like diet racism!!!

Since openly expressing your hate for another racial group, like lynching black people or sending Japanese people into not-so-fun-summer-camps, isn’t the cool thing to do anymore (because we all know how uncool it is to be judgmental and exclusive right bros ‘n hipsters), diet racism seems to be the new trendy form of hate. Especially on the internet. #newhatenowtrending

Sue also states that microaggression appears in four forms: microassault, microinsult, microinvalidation, and microrape. But if you want to explore more of her work or what all of those four micros mean then you can hit up the Wikipedia link provided above like I did. Especially microrape, it’s just as bad as it sounds.

Being a millennial, we have all been exposed to a misguided judgment powered by microaggression, either online or in real life.

One time my brothers and I tried going to a party on the North side in Visalia. Little did we know, it was a Norteños party (gangsters who bang red). The (Mexican) door guy told us that no Gooks were allowed. At that moment, we didn’t know why this guy was being a fucking racist. Then he proceeded to say that if we don’t bang then it’s ok and welcomed us to come in.

Being obviously dumbfounded by his second clause, we asked him to explain what a gook was to him. His definition of a gook was an Asian gang-banger . . . if he or his fellow gang-brothers had seen the movie Full Metal Jacket or took a simple high school history class, he probably would know that being a gook isn’t a simple street banger and that Charlies were also in the trees and not chocolate factories. So instead of embracing his lukewarm idiotic welcome, we decided to get the fuck out of there.

Now I know that not all of us have had access to a gang kind of experience, I know we have all seen this ignorance in the comment sections on YouTube or on Facebook.

While doing research for one of my blog post on A Dark Minded Giggle, I came across some over-generalizations of the African-American culture in the comment section of this YouTube video:

Long story short, LTG defeated Viscant (20-4) in a game of SF4, or as the gaming community we call it: a raping (yeah, we nerds can have a harsh choice of words).

LTG is African-American who presents a “thug” style. Or urban. I don’t really know what to call it. But in the YouTube comments, Uzumaki Naruto provides an explanation on why “ghetto blacks” are how they are.

so microaggressive bro

so microaggressive bro

Now is he trying to be a racist? I don’t know. I’m not a ninja like he is. He does not state that he dislikes African-Americans but offers his own scientific-sociological explanation on why “black communities” are “like that in the first place.”

He may not have malice intent, but you gotta admit that his view of African-American upbringing is pretty fucking racist.

Now let us look at some stuff online that isn’t as harsh as Naruto comments and a little bit more of a diet racism.

BuzzFeed has some examples (like my Azn brotha down there) of racial microaggression in their post “21 Racial Microaggression You Hear on a Daily Basis,” by Heben Nigatu:

Yeah, I’ve heard that one before too brotha

Or this BuzzFeed post by Tayna Chen, “21 Questions Asian Americans Are Sick of Answering

Those two BuzzFeed link shows us some examples of lighthearted stereotypes, if lighthearted racism is a thing. However, BuzzFeed has also been an unintended platform of ugly unfiltered thoughts of microaggression towards Asian Americans as well.

On January 6th, BuzzFeed requested their Facebook followers to ask questions that a civilized person might have for Asian Americans in a new segment called Ask an Asian . . . you must be an idiot or super oblivious if you didn’t know what was coming . . .

I first caught this story from the blog Angry Asian Man after my friends kept posting it to my wall. Basically, along with a some questions people had about Asian culture, there were just some racist ignorant questions.

oh yeah, what do you think was gonna happen

oh yeah, what do you think was gonna happen

here are some that made the cut

here are some that made the cut

It looks like either BuzzFeed deleted some of the comments or they’re somewhere in the “see more” section. If you visit the Angry Asian Man link that I provided above, you can see his compilation of racist questions.

Being an avid poster on Facebook, I too have witness my fair share of internet racism on my comment sections.

these are my friends

. . . these are my friends

To be fair, my friends are dicks. But they’re my dicks. In a non-homo way. Not that there is anything wrong with being gay. Dammit I “microaggression” again.

But seriously? why all this online hostility against Asian Americans. Is it because Asian Americans are viewed as the “model-minority” and we’re suppose to just bend over and take it? Why does no one outside the Asian American race jump to the gun and defend our honor as often as oppose to say an African-American? I want my Social Justice Warrior white knight too! Or in this case Social Justice Samurai! Preferably female and hot like in the movies.

No wonder the Huffington Post reported that Asian Americans are the most bullied.

A friend of mine said the reason why it’s easy to ask such negative questions about Asian Americans is because we are “succeeding” in America. And the reason why this PC America takes more offense to other ethnic misconceptions is because they’re still facing a tough struggle. There could be some truth to that belief, I guess. I didn’t know that Asian Americans won the Minorities War and a seat at the WeMadeIt Table. Yay us! We’re no longer oppressed and now everyone thinks we have big dicks!!!

But we have fallen off track here with my PRO-ASIAN-AMERICAN rant. Let us return to the topic of defining microaggression.

So microaggression is this term that we use in post-racial-politically-correct America to define something (a statement, piece of art, whatever) that does not intend harm but has an underlining oppressive tone . . . yeah, that kind of makes sense. And on the internet, there are a lot of stupid people being racist, sexist, homophobic, and all the other kinds of -ist. But you know what they say: there are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

But wait? If we use the term microaggression to explain something that someone might get butthurt over, then wouldn’t that mean that everything is racist? Like comedy or TV shows? Or your old aunt and uncle who immigrated from a different country who doesn’t know better? Iono, that’s a touchy subject here. But I’ll save this conversation for next time when I explore microaggression even more and question whether there is any validity to the term and debate if everyone’s a racist or if this is just a Social Justice Warrior term that lets everyone know that there is a stick up their ass. Hmm, that last part is kinda of mean.

Till next time, Airec Sype.

 

 


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#SorryAsianParents: A documentation of my failure and success as an “Asian-American”

I just found this hat and I really love In-N-Out

I just found this hat and I really love In-N-Out

By Airec Sype

I am Asian-American.

What does that mean exactly? Shit, I don’t really know.

I guess if you break AA down to its two root words, my ethnicity is composed of Asian and American. (Also being American can mean a bunch of different things, in this sense I’m talking about mainstream “white-America,” I guess. But I’m not trying to be racist here, or at least not too racist).

So I’m Asian-American. Parents were born in Asia, I was born in America; I have spiky hair and sharp eyes, but I don’t have an Asian accent . . . most of the time, sometimes it just slips out, just the tip (;P). All of these things that compose me are borrowed cultural stereotypes and figures that mix the two worlds into my own.

Even though two different cultures are infused in me, you can say that I am not really Asian or American. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? The bewildering thought of assimilation or cultural segregation is one that many children of “color” (like me) are confronted with every day: Do I strive to become a part of mainstream America (again, what the hell is mainstream America? I know with my short height and yellow skin I’m not “white” but I am still an American) or do I isolate myself from the crazy melting-pot-culture of America and choose to stick with the familiar and become another Asian?

I don’t know.

Not many of us children of mixed heritage know. For we do want to be a part of this modern day America, but we also don’t want to lose touch with our parents’ culture that they have brought with them as they dreamed for a better life for their children. For if I were to lose my Asian heritage, then I would just be a goofy-Asian-looking-white-boy who doesn’t know where he came from besides his fathers balls. Yeah, that’s kind of weird to think of. I already get hateful looks of disdain and disgust when Chinese people, mistaking me for their own, try to speak to me in their language and I respond to them with a blank face and Engurish.

See, even Asians can be racist against other Asians.

But this Asian heritage- what is it really? I can tell you one thing: there is a lot of fucking pressure. It’s not easy growing up with society labeling you the model minority. Just like how American society assumes that most African-Americans are good at sports, or how Jewish people are good at saving money, Asian Americans are also stigmatized and branded with stereotypical pressures that can sometimes be overwhelming.

Am I good at ping pong? No. Am I good at racing rice rockets? No. Am I good at math? Ehh, kinda but that’s not the point. But I’m good at beer pong, I’m good at wrestling (a popular American sport to participate in during high school, and I should probably say I was good since I’m fat and doughy now) and not Judo (an Asian martial arts). I can continue but you get what I mean.

American society isn’t solely to blame for this “Asian” social pressure on us hybrid kids; our own culture has a hand in it as well. (And anyone with an Asian mother knows we fear that hand). We all have heard the stereotypes of strict Asian parents, the tiger moms. Our parents may not necessary want us to be super Asians, but they do pressure us to become doctors or get A’s (because B is for bitch) on our report cards . . . cause if we don’t, we get the fly-swatter. Haha, just kidding . . . actually not really.

With all of these obligations and demands that outside forces put on us, as an individual, to become the perfect model-minority-Asian-American, it’s really easy to disappoint. Not only does this mentality create a competitive atmosphere with other Asian Americans, but it also creates a negative internal dialogue within ourselves. Which is probably why suicide amongst Asian Americans is so high.

I mean, how do I become the perfect Asian if joining a fraternity wasn’t in the plans of becoming a doctor? Is it really that shameful if your child that was spawned into this free world of America decides to become an English major and instead of a doctor or a lawyer or a scientist? Oh no, how will you tell the (Asian) neighbors?? We’re not some trump cards in your mahjong game of who-has-the-more-successful-kid!!!

Actually, I had to lie to my parents about joining a fraternity and told them that it was a club for future teachers. Luckily my parents were from villages with huts and shit so they don’t know what Myspace and Facebook are. Also on a side note, I joined a social fraternity and not an ethnic fraternity. If I wanted to hangout with other Asian people, I could go to Chinatown or join the ASU, I don’t need to pay for that; my money went to fund my adventures with brothers from another ethnic mother and to help me find women who aren’t ASIAN!!!

So as you can see, I have a lot of short-comings to being the perfect model minority. And I’m sure some of you out there (you don’t have to be particularly Asian-American, I know some kids who are failing as Mexican-Americans) also face the same trials and tribulations of modern day second-generation life. If there was a report card for being the ultimate Asian-American and pleasing my Asian parents, I probably would get an F.

But the F doesn’t always have to stand for Failure; it could also stand for Fucking (Awesome).

Now what is this blog? This blog, SorryAsianParents, is going to be a documentation that is composed of my thoughts and feelings, although not all of my thoughts and feelings within this blog are going to be about my journey to becoming the perfect Asian-American. Some of my posts will be of some random shit I thought of while I was sitting on the MUNI or the toilet. A lot of random but funny stuff.

Hopefully they will be humorous for your entertainment and hopefully they will have a slim number of grammatical errors (because everyone knows I speak and write Engurlish).

The name of my blog was birthed during my last year in coolage (I know it’s spelled wrong) while I was bored in class and Instagramming a picture about graduation. See – I wasn’t paying attention in class – bad Asian! I created the hashtag #SorryAsianParents to describe a picture that thanked Red Bull and Wikipedia for the credit of one’s graduation success. I dedicated that picture to my parents because my wit did not help me graduate alone and I needed the help of study aids.

image

*Note: I did not create the picture

Whether it was subconsciously made or just a fluke accident due to my random collective thoughts firing without a filter, I created something hilarious that generated positive reception. I’m just glad not many people were offended.

So here it is, my new writing project that will not only explore the existence of Asian-Americans living and surviving in mainstream America but also exploring the random idiotic thoughts of Airec Syprasert. Enjoy the ride folks because it’s going to be an interesting one. And if I’ve revealed too much about myself or about my family then I might as well say it now, “Sorry Asian Parents.”