3.26.2015

Keeping the Conversation Going on White Fragility

Think about it like this: from the time I opened my eyes, I have been told that as a white person, I am superior to people of color. There’s never been a space in which I have not been receiving that message. From what hospital I was allowed to be born in, to how my mother was treated by the staff, to who owned the hospital, to who cleaned the rooms and took out the garbage. We are born into a racial hierarchy, and every interaction with media and culture confirms it—our sense that, at a fundamental level, we are superior.

And, the thing is, it feels good. Even though it contradicts our most basic principles and values. So we know it, but we can never admit it. It creates this kind of dangerous internal stew that gets enacted externally in our interactions with people of color, and is crazy-making for people of color. We have set the world up to preserve that internal sense of superiority and also resist challenges to it. All while denying that anything is going on and insisting that race is meaningless to us.

...If people of color went around showing the pain they feel in every moment that they feel it, they could be killed. It is dangerous. They cannot always share their outrage about the injustice of racism. White people can’t tolerate it. And we punish it severely—from job loss, to violence, to murder.


I want to expand on this a little by asking people to imagine a little scenario right quick: imagine being white a person in a world where white privilege no longer exists.  Imagine being in a white body with Absolutely No Perks Whatsoever to being white.

Somewhere, a white person's heart briefly stopped while reading that sentence.  They will soon experience a series of mini-strokes.

3.22.2015

Ranier M: My People

Someone has been on fire lately.
Dear White Folks,

It doesn't matter if we're chatting by the office water cooler or I'm shopping for asparagus at the grocery store, you guys ALWAYS find an excuse to ask me about my ethnicity.

"Where are you from?"
"How cool! My brother is dating a Filipina chick!"
"Do you know any good Filipino restaurants?"

I used to answer these question (reluctantly) but you know what? FUCK IT, I refuse to talk about my culture with white people AT ALL. I am never going to tell you about my race, where my people come from, nor will I entertain you with my knowledge of Asian recipes which you could easily Google, you lazy fuck.

Why? Because whenever I wanna talk about race in America, and how my people (yes, Black, Latino, and Native Americans are MY people, too) you wanna bitch and complain about us pulling the race card. You wanna hear ALL about my country and my advice on great local Asian restaurants but can't give two fucking SHITS about my dead brothers and sisters who are constantly brutalized and killed by YOUR people.

My culture is not a topic of interest because you say so. My experiences are not valid because you asked. I am NOT here to entertain you with kabuki and I sure as hell don't wanna tell you what Asian I am.

You wanna know about my culture? Then open your eyes and realize that all of us POCs are doing exactly that: with Twitter rants about Sean Penn, protests against SAE, and posts about ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter‬.

THIS is my culture. THESE are my people. THESE are our problems. If you don't wanna hear us, if you don't wanna see our race card, then fuck off, cause I don't want to tell you anyways.

3.14.2015

Fresh Off The Boat: "Shaq Fu/Fajita Man", "Showdown at the Golden Saddle", & "Philip Goldstein" Review (Ep.6-8)

No excuses, I hope this picture softens the blow.

No? Reviews below. Spoilers ahead maybe.

Shaq Fu/Fajita Man (Episode 6):
"As Jessica searches for a job for herself, Eddie starts working at the Cattleman's Ranch to get enough money for a video game he wants."
First, thank you online sites for making it confusing to understand whether this episode is called Shaq Fu or Fajita Man (please don't ask me to pronounce Fajita). And second, I should not do reviews in 3's. Oh well.
This episode details the moral of working for what you want, in this case Shaq Fu the video game. This plot details Eddie having to work to afford the game with his father, Louis trying to show the value of hard work as his father did. Its an interesting point that divulges into why Louis works so hard and the father-son dynamic between the two. Great way to build upon the existing relationship so far.

Also, Jessica is job hunting and utilizes her "strong" composure in becoming a real estate agent which explains what she does now while the kids are in school and while Louis is at the restaurant.

Kudos for the character development and some contributions from the grandma and the siblings whose names I cannot remember.
Showdown at the Golden Saddle (Episode 7):
"Jessica finds out the truth about the Cattleman's Ranch and Golden Saddle, while Eddie tries his best to catch Nicole's attention."
This episode gives even more backstory to Cattleman's Ranch. It ends up being a knock-off of The Golden Saddle, a local franchise that has many identical similarities. This also develops and showcases the relationship between Jessica and Louis (even showcasing their nicknames Scarface and Miller's Crossing, not identifying who's who). This was great to showcase their marriage as well as their chemistry onscreen making the viewing experience that much more pleasing. Plus the explanation for the billboard placement is surprisingly hilarious and practical.

The other half of the episode displayed Eddie trying to win the heart (or attention) of his neighbor, Nicole. Long story short, he finally gets to her through an Ice Cube album. I am curious to see how her character develops because it seems to hint that she has a less than stellar background which would add even more depth to an already great show. Like a broken record, great writing, greater delivery, and just a show that deserves a season 2 in the works if it hasn't already.
Philip Goldstein (Episode 8):
"A Chinese-Jewish boy, Philip Goldstein, is the new student at Eddie's school and they are paired up in all activities because of their race, even though Eddie does not like Philip. Jessica immediately likes Philip because he plays the cello and is a "good Chinese boy". Philip and Eddie make a deal that if Eddie takes Philip to see "Les Misérables" Philip will go along with Eddie to the Beastie Boys concert. Eventually Philip abandons Eddie and Eddie has to miss the concert looking for Philip. Jessica ends up taking Eddie to the concert the next day, and does not like it."
Shoutout to Wikipedia for the long description. Fitting in at a new school and finding your group is a univeral experience regardless of age, gender, race, etc. This episode was very fitting of that. To be honest, this is one of those episodes that technically works but I didn't completely enjoy. Mind you, Philip plays a great opposite to Eddie's character but I'm generally not a fan of these kind of characters in general (I work around kids and I hate annoying kids lovingly). It does drag a bit but it does show a reality that is assumed that because two people share the same ethnic makeup, they must have the same interests and values.

The writing and delivery is on par as usual. There is however a lackluster subplot of Mitch being rehired after the events of the last episode. No blame on the cast but rather its felt that the writers prioritized Eddie and Philip's dynamic first. The upside is that finally Eddie and Walter (the school's black kid) finally link up and become friends after bonding as "An Asian kid and a black kid bonding over music by white Jewish rappers."
If you haven't, get on this show now. 

Fresh Off The Boat (New Episodes Every Tuesday 8/7 on ABC)
Official Website: http://abc.go.com/shows/fresh-off-the-boatFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/FreshOffTheBoatABC
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/FreshOffABC @FreshOffABC #freshofftheboat

Review by: Christopher "Chrispy AKA Kon" Phiouthong
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3.11.2015

Lost in Translation?

On Saturday February 28th Daegu hosted a Black History Festival for the second time. This year Sam Okyere was the special guest host. Sam is very famous and appears in commercials and t he very popular show  "Abnormal Summit". There was a lot of anticipation surrounding his appearance from Koreans and foreigners alike. With a big name on the flyer, this year's festival would prove to be bigger and better. Unfortunately, it proved to be quite disappointing for me. I understand the time and energy it takes to put on an event of this size, so I know things will not always be perfect. However, it did seem as though the organizers underestimated Sam's fame and disregarded us, the audience. Sam Okyere, as expected, brought Koreans to the festival in huge numbers. Yet, that's all Koreans seemed to get out of it. The festival was a great opportunity to share Black culture with what many call a "homogeneous and xenophobic" society. However, it turned into a circus. It was no longer about Black History, it was about Sam! At one point he tried to make his way to the back tents where hoodies were being sold and programs were being handed out when he was swarmed by Koreans grabbing and pulling at him. A couple friends and myself had to peel people off of him and escort him back to the stage safely. It was chaotic.

Then, there were too many performances and the show dragged on longer than it needed to. There were random raffles, dance contests, and unfunny banter. By the time the performances started to heat up, the weather had grown cold and people were more concerned about getting pictures of Sam than learning about anything Black. Don't get me wrong I really liked that the programs containing a timeline of Black artistry was great. Also, many of the performances were awesome as well. The worship dance, reggae performance, and incredible operatic rendition of "Lift Every Voice and Sing" comparable to Marian Anderson, were absolutely breathtaking, but they took too long to get to. Koreans were part of the show too. They beatboxed, danced hip hop, popped and locked, and rapped sometimes making it seem like they could do "Black" better than  Black people. The next Monday, I asked my students who attended the festival what they thought and what they had learned and they said "Sam is so tall" "Sam is handsome"...Sam Sam Sam Sam...Le sigh

Last year, I left the festival wanting more, this year I just wanted it to end. Well, here's to next year. Is it enough to have a festival and let our presence be known if its not executed in the best way?
               

2.28.2015

Ranier M: Black Women Deserve Better

From The Love Life of an Asian Guy:

**If We Don't Love Black Women, Who Will?**
*Society's Constant Disrespect of Black Women*

The racist comments towards 18-year-old Zendaya caused a hurling punch to America's right eye and forced it's citizens to ask, "did we go to far?"

But making fun a Black woman's natural hair isn't the only thing our society has done. We've been chopping down the identity of Black Women for HUNDREDS of years:

We discourage them from playing with toys and instead give them blonde barbies that look nothing like them. We tease them mercilessly for their individual names, calling them "ghetto" and "ratchet." We convince them that their highest achievement in life is to be the arm candy of another man. We look with disgust upon their body types, then turn around and praise a white girl who looks exactly the same. We fail to acknowledge when they graduate from Harvard with PhDs and Masters in Biomedical Engineering and we still pretend like they're ALL on welfare. We treat them like they're always angry and bitter yet, how many killers and mass murderers are Black AND female? And then we strip them of ANY confidence they have left by bashing their natural hair? Hair that they spend HOURS trying to hide so no one will tease them ever again?

What have we left for these women to be proud of?
What aspect of their lives have we NOT fucked up?
What the hell are they to be proud of when all we do is laugh?
Who are they to trust?

Black Women are THE MOST oppressed group in America, and arguably the entire planet. And when you make an ignorant, lazy, racist insult, you chop down at an already fallen tree.

It's up to all of us, especially POCs, to lift up our sisters and allow them to grow. They deserve it. They deserve our attention, respect, and appreciation.

They
Deserve
Better.

2.26.2015

Tokyo: My General Impressions

Me in Odaiba, Tokyo with Rainbow Bridge in the background.

Encouraged by Amaya's post about her trip to Hong Kong, I have decided to share my thoughts here on the Narrative about my most recent trip.

The grand Tokyo Skytree, completed in 2012.
Recently, I took my first solo trip ever. Location: Tokyo, Japan. Though I only spent six days there, Tokyo has officially become my favorite city in Asia so far.

While planning my trip, many people told me going to Tokyo would be a waste of time as it is very similar to Taipei, where I currently live. Indeed, the Taiwanese do borrow several elements of Japanese pop culture (i.e., the Taiwan Hello Kitty craze), and both are bustling cities with many skyscrapers, restaurants, shopping streets, etc. Nevertheless, for years I have wanted to go to Tokyo and see the city for myself. Admittedly, when I was a kid, I wanted to go to Japan because I was an avid anime fan. Yet my teenage and later adult self who was (and is) strongly interested in other aspects of Japanese culture (i.e, the Showa era, especially kayōkyoku; cuisine) wanted to experience Japan firsthand.

As I explored the options of where to go in the city, I became increasingly excited about my 3-hour hop from Taipei to Tokyo. Additionally, the trip was a gift to myself for my 25th birthday. What better way to celebrate turning a quarter century and having survived working nonstop on my thesis and at my two jobs for the past six months? These days, I love to spend most of my money on experiences - especially travel - (and food) rather than things, so a trip to Tokyo was a no-brainer.

I decided to stay in an apartment in Kōtō-ku or Kōtō City, a small special ward in eastern Tokyo. My accommodation was small and cheap as it was not in the city center. Nonetheless, my apartment was clean and the view from my window of the Sumida River was absolutely priceless! I was barely in my apartment during my stay, but when I was I loved to watch people running along the river and the boats passing by. Plus, you can see Tokyo Skytree clearly from Kōtō.

The Sumida River.

2.23.2015

Fresh Off The Boat: "The Shunning", "Success Perm", & "Persistent Romeo" Review (Ep.3-5)

Apologies for another late review post, but better late than never I suppose.



The Shunning (Episode 3):
"Jessica finally makes a new friend she likes named Honey (Chelsey Crisp), only to discover that the other neighborhood women don't like her. To gain more popularity after not being able to have Jordans like the other kids at school, he figures showing off a hot girl like Honey to them will make him more popular instead."

Its nice that they're adding more depth to as far as giving Jessica a friend that shares a similar interest. Its especially endearing since she has had trouble acclimating and finding new friends with similar interests in Orlando.

It also tackles an interesting subject of selling out (befriending fake friends to bring in business) or being true to her friend, Honey (befriending someone who is disliked strongly). Its also nice that they gave him the pretty girl next door that Eddie is interested in.


Success Perm (Episode 4):
"Jessica's sister Connie (Susan Park), her husband and Louis' old boss Steve (C. S. Lee), and Jessica's mother visit the family. As they arrive in Orlando, Louis and Jessica have tried to make their house and the restaurant look nice so that successful Steve, snotty Connie, and penny-pinching Grandma Chu will think they're successful as well. Eddie is excited about seeing his cousin who introduced him to hip hop, Justin (Lance Lim), but Justin is now very depressing to be around since he found grunge music."



This episode was very needed as far as providing a good deal of backstory to the Huang's pre-Orlando. It details alot of motivation for Louis starting his own business, Jessica's relationship with her sister and mother, and Eddie's love for Hip-Hop. Its a very nice clash of one-ups both Louis & Steve and Jessica & Connie. Very well done as far as how Steve, Connie, and their mother were portrayed. The lesson is essentially both sides want to portray success over the other, ultimately both sides has their hiccups but they're both family and thats what counts. Also, the jokes are well written (the 90's fax reference and Steve driving his Miata from NY to Orlando just to show it off).


Persistent Romeo (Episode 5):
"Jessica requests that Louis has a sexual harassment seminar for the restaurant, but ends up making the employees feel harassed. Eddie tries to impress the kids in his school by showing them a dirty movie which happens to be Louis' sexual harassment video for the restaurant."

 So this episode carries over from episode 3 on Eddie trying to impress the popular kids with a sextape. It tackles every kid's desire to want to be liked or approved by their peers. It also touches on sexual harassment in a humorous way. Jessica, with too much free time watching several bad news what-ifs leads a sexual harassment seminar within the restaurant. It also illustrates "the talk" when the sex tape (sexual harassment training video) gets passed around school. Again, well-written and the casting was well done.


Five episodes in and this show feels like it knows what its doing. If you haven't been watching this show, you need to get in on this ASAP. New episodes on ABC every Tuesday.


Chrispy AKA Kon
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2.21.2015

The 1ST ANNUAL PHILLY PHEST Event on April 4th!!!

The 1ST ANNUAL PHILLY PHEST Event is coming up on April 4th!!! 
Tickets are limited so act now before it's Sold Out!!!

WHEN: Saturday, April 4, 2015
WHERE: District N9NE, Philadelphia, PA
Doors: 5:00PM / Show: 5:30PM (event ends at 9:00PM)
Charge: $20.00 - $50.00
This event is for 12 yrs. old and over



Click Here to Purchase Tickets and find out more information about the Artists:

FEATURING: 
Timothy DeLaGhetto (Traphik), Honey Cocaine, Lil Crazed,
Nutreez, JoanLee, Danny Chung, Ruby Ibarra, Rob Campman,
BFR, Nikko Dator, Hella Chluy & Special Guest Chops

ALSO PERFORMING:  
VMG, Rush Hour, Dolo, Von & Yung Jae

HOSTED BY: 
Ricky Shucks & Jessica Hien

MUSIC BY:
DJ Ricky Lee & Ronnie D

This is gonna be an incredible event that people will be talking about for years to come.
Show your positive support and reach out to as many people as you can to help get the word out. 
  
I'll be at the event doing video interviews with the artists, video documenting, & asking fans questions. Who knows, maybe I'll get a chance to interview you.

Do not be the only person that missed out on this once in a lifetime opportunity.
See you there and hope to speak to you in person. 

Which Music Artist do you really want to see??? Why???

Click Here to Purchase Tickets and find out more information about the Artists:



2.16.2015

2.15.2015

Rihanna Covers the March 2015 Issue of W Korea Magazine

I'm sure there's an interesting and informative article in there somewhere, but for now I can't get past the covers. She looks absolutely stunning.

Smoking hot! Rihanna looks incredible on the front cover of W magazine Korea, for their 10th anniversary issue, out in March