1. arrghigiveup:

    "If anything, the thing that made me weird as a kid was that my English was too perfect. My grammar was too meticulously correct, my words too carefully enunciated — I was the kid who sounded like “Professor Robot.” In order to avoid being a social pariah in high school I had to learn to use a carefully calibrated proportion of slurred syllables and street slang in my speech — just enough to sound “normal,” not enough to sound like I was “trying too hard.” I would actually sit at home, talking to myself, practicing sounding like a normal teenager.

    I don’t think I’m alone in this, though of my Chinese-American colleagues I’m one of the few who’s taken the quest to develop a perfectly “neutral” voice so far that I now market said voice to produce corporate videos and voice-mail greetings.

    The “Asian accent” tells the story of Chinese-American assimilation in a nutshell. Our parents have the accent that white Americans perceive as the most foreign out of all the possible alternatives, so our choice is to have no accent at all. The accent of our parents is the accent of the grimy streets of Chinatown with its mahjong parlors and fried food stalls and counterfeit jewelry, so we work to wipe away all traces of that world from our speech so we can settle comfortably into our roles as respectable middle-class doctors, lawyers, engineers, hundreds of miles from Chinatown.

    No wonder we react so viscerally to the "ching-chong, ching-chong" schoolyard taunt. To attack our language, our ability to sound “normal,” is to attack our ability to be normal. It’s to attack everything we’ve worked for.

    And make no mistake about it — to sound like a “normal” American is to wield privilege.”

     
  2. blah blah about why japanese history discussions in english get to be a hot mess

     
  3. dduane:

    she-kicks-she-throws:

    devildyke:

    tamorapierce:

    xkyaliix:

    she-kicks-she-throws:

    Photos from 1935 Japan via Old Photos of Japan.

    Japanese school girls practicing naginata (薙刀). Naginata is a pole weapon traditionally used by members of the samurai class. It consists of a wooden shaft with a curved blade on the end. In the modern martial art form of naginata, it is carved from one piece of Japanese white oak or it features a replaceable blade constructed from bamboo. Practitioners wear protective armor called bogu (防具). It is very similar to the armor worn by practitioners of kendo. In modern Japan, naginatajutsu is practiced especially by women.

    I’m gonna go out on a limb here and tag tamorapierce here because this is just too cool for words. 

    And that limb held, `cos here I am, with thanks!

    Look at them, at the easy grace with which they wait, at their focus on the weapon and beyond it, the opponent.

    Thank you! I sit here in delighted fascination. :3

    I have one of these. (It was a super thing when my sensei told me years back that the best thing about finally having a female student was that now there was someone he felt happy to teach the naginata styles to.) It’s a lovely weapon… and incredibly effective. When properly used, no one armed with a mere sword can get anywhere near you. Also very effective against mounted opponents…

    To elaborate on the commentary about samurai women: women “could” be samurai too in the sense that the term samurai became synonymous with the term bushi and refers to the social class, not just the male warrior; it’s not that samurai women ‘could’ be samurai, it’s that by virtue of their birth they were samurai.  Samurai women could and did occasionally fight on the battlefield in some instances, but their primary training was to the defense of their homes.  Similarly, bushido was not merely a “warrior code” but a system of morality and set of rules that the samurai class lived by, analogous but not identical to chivalry’s role for European nobility, which codified both their relationship to war and their relationship to social hierarchy.

    Historical samurai women occupied an interesting and very particular gender role that oscillated over time between complement or partner to their husbands and subject or servant of, and a mix of both—as have many noblewomen.  Naginatajutsu and its history are pretty neat, but also worth contextualizing within the fact that samurai women and other traditions of armed noblewomen didn’t necessarily enjoy the “freedom” to bear arms as their particular prescribed social role in some contexts also included bearing arms and learning to fight.  The ongoing complicatedness of historical patriarchy.

    The naginata also enjoyed a particular status as a symbol of home/hearth defense and devoted wifehood, which is kind of interesting in terms of later romanticization of bushido as well.  Worth noting also is that another romanticized symbol from this time period is what Westerners know as jigai, which was ritual suicide carried out by a woman either in the wake of her husband’s own suicide or to avoid “dishonor” herself at the hands of an invading force—both duties of a samurai woman.

    (Concluding this blah-blah historical tangent, I think my mom tried to study naginatajutsu when she was in school and was godawful at it, which is hilarious.)

     
  4. onthestateof:

    I helped to design this campaign for World AIDS Day, targeting Asians & Pacific Islanders and their policymakers in the US.

    Here are some key facts about HIV in the AANHOPI (that’s Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Other Pacific Islander) community:

    • 1 in 3 Asians & Pacific islanders living with HIV don’t know it: The lack of infection knowledge is higher among A&PIs compared to Blacks and Latinos. Part of this has to do with testing, which is mentioned below. Because AANHOPIs aren’t viewed by the medical community as well as CDC as “at high risk” for HIV, many of them don’t get tested. Most gay targeted HIV awareness campaigns feature Black, Latino and white faces, but never AANHOPIs, adding to the myth that Asians aren’t at risk. Even back in the 80s at the height of the epidemic, the scuttlebutt in the gay community was that Asians don’t get HIV. 
    • A&PIs are the LEAST LIKELY to know their HIV status because the number of A&PIs who have been tested is far below the number of other racial ethnic groups: Most testing funds are targeted to other communities of color, which is understandable because those communities have high burdens of disease. However, going back to a community with a high burden, the gay community, testing rates among A&PIs are still low. For Asians, the number who have been tested is 34.1%. For Pacific Islanders, it’s 29.6%. Blacks have the highest rate of testing in the nation, with nearly 60% of all Blacks having been tested at least one time. 
    • A&PI women are the least likely to have been offered an HIV test by their OB/GYN: All of the percentages of respondents reporting having been offered an HIV test in an OB/GYN setting is abysmally low, but more so for A&PI women. A lot of this has to do with risk perception again on the provider side, but also, many times providers will say that the primary care physician should be offering the HIV test. There is a lot of back and forth in the medical community about “who is responsible?” for testing. This was the bulk of what my literature review was about, but in the emergency room context. Providers need to take more responsibility to care for their patients.
    • 33% of A&PIs have low English proficiency: Advertising targeting typically happens in English and Spanish. But 33% of A&PIs don’t speak English very well. Compounding this problem is that A&PIs speak over 100 different languages, making it nearly impossible to get funding for translation services. 

    Please feel free to ask questions about this campaign. 

     
  5. yiduiqie:

    terror-incognita:

    I enjoyed yiduiqie's piece in the latest Peril, her experience is pretty much the exact opposite of mine. (Steph is a mixed Chinese/Anglo Australian-via-Malaysia who speaks Cantonese AND Mandarin AND reads Chinese, I'm a not-mixed Chinese Australian from PRC (aka mainland China) who speaks Shanghainese badly, Mandarin worse and is illiterate. When I'm in China people compliment my English and are surprised and amused at the many things I do incorrectly.)

    My Chineseness is backwards; is foreign; is unrecognisable from their own.

    This is fascinating to me because I feel like huaqiao (overseas Chinese) /Hong Kong/Taiwan/SE Asian Chineseness is usually represented as more modern and cosmopolitan compared to backwards mainland China - even when it’s more traditional (even that is somehow about refined, intentional Chineseness over brash, materialistic mainland Chineseness).

    It’s a perfect example of difference that’s suffused with power but can’t be reduced to privilege/oppression. PR China has power in defining what is or isn’t authentic Chineseness. It’s the referent. But then huaqiao Chineseness often has more cultural capital and also legibility in the West. (I think I’ve reblogged a quote from Joan Chen before saying that she came to the US from PRC and was like “what is this dragon lady trope, I’ve never heard of it”.) A lot of the stuff that looks like Chinese in the West is huaqiao, often tilted to southern Chinese cultures and also particular class experiences (and also Han Chinese cultures but that’s the case in PRC too).

    Because this was Dualities/Binaries I do actually discuss some of this in a companion piece that comes out in Peril in December, and I can’t remember how deep I go into it but I agree! My mum used to caution me away from Mainlanders/Mainland ideas because (she feared) that would be all backwards, and I’d be at risk of going backwards. A lot of my perceptions of China as a child were shaped by my mother’s Chinese-Malaysian experience, which even know I think colours my perceptions of what it means to be Chinese. There’s a binary there for me, as well - she has long believed that Mainlanders are not “real” Chinese - if they were they’d have left the mainland for somewhere else already, in order to preserve their Chineseness.

    A lot of things that are considered “Chinese” in Beijing, I found, were Northern things - versus as you say the more Southern things in the West. 

    I’ve become a lot more fascinated by chinoiserie of late, as a concept of Chineseness wholly defined by the West. 

     
  6. fergiedellorusso:

    as a korean-american young adult, ive had to deal with the fact that so many young americans romanticize japanese culture (for example that one popular post i saw going around a while ago written by some weaboo about how japanese culture is so perfect and nice and polite because some person returned a safety pin or some shit) and it makes me so angry how the stories of millions of east asian people suffering through genocide, cultural cleansing, colonization, etc are often ignored and looked over in favor of what the idealized weaboo idea of what japanese culture is. i’m a firm believer that every culture and society has wonderful, beautiful, unique aspects to it and japan is certainly no exception but seeing a bunch of people support notable japanese people who are literally WAR CRIME AND GENOCIDE APOLOGISTS and choose to just ignore and refuse to educate themselves about how the japanese government is literally trying to cover up MASS MURDER and other obscene war atrocities while claiming to be ~~~soo obsessed~~ with everything about Japan it’s like…. ok i get you wanna be a fan of some anime and that’s cool but please educate yourselves and maybe try not to support horrible people who think my country is “better off” after having been colonized and having my people murdered, raped, and stripped of their identities. i understand most people are clueless about this and that’s okay but ignoring that some asshole is a war crime apologist just because you like some anime just adds to the collective ignorance about historical AND modern (japanese textbooks and other media are still covering this shit up TO THIS DAY) issues that really should be brought to light. i know i always get really preach-y about this but being a war crime apologist is still fairly accepted in modern japan to some people and it makes me want to fucking cry and scream and seeing instances of modern weaboo ass bitches overlooking and not caring about any of it just adds insult to injury

    Uh, fellow Korean-Am here: Zainichi, actually, so I can verify my existence is literally a result of the devastation of Japanese imperialism on the people and nation of Korea— very directly, in a series of not-that-distant ugly events that I’d rather not detail.

    Can we clarify we’re talking about Isayama Hajime and the dumbass ignorant pro-imperialist bullshit he’s said on Twitter?  (If we are, that is; I’m just assuming so, though if another currently popular Japanese media figure is doing the same thing I’m going to put my head in my hands for a while.)  I understand you’re probably not saying so out of fear of inciting drama and fandom defensiveness— and shit, I understand that— but the alternative seems to be a vague post encouraging suspicion of Japan and discouraging weeaboo cultural fetishization not because it’s like, an obnoxious and offensive thing for any Americans to do, but because Japan itself is undeserving.

    Isayama doesn’t represent Japan; Himaruya Hidekazu (of Hetalia) doesn’t represent Japan, though they’re both products of the same empire-related cultural poison and historical erasure.  Criticizing Westerners for being into Hetalia because it’s fucking mindbogglingly offensive and horrifyingly clueless is one thing— as an example.  Encouraging anti-Japanese sentiments in Westerners is kind of another.  In my experience, if there’s one thing white Americans find comforting in talking about Japan, it’s talking about how racist the Japanese are.  I wonder why that is.

    Isayama Hajime is one 26-year-old mangaka with inexcusable opinions he had the lack of common sense to put on Twitter.  He’s not the nation of Japan.  I don’t think encouraging white Americans to self-righteously feel better about Japanese war crimes helps shit-all; it’s like Iris Chang’s The Rape of Nanking all over again, top of the bestsellers in the US not because people cared suddenly about the incredible crime against humanity that was the Nanjing massacre, but because it makes Americans feel better when they can talk about other imperialism as if it compares to theirs.

    So yeah, although you didn’t call him out— and if you weren’t talking about him, sorry, I’m going to look like an ass — I’m gonna name him here.  Let’s talk about a sector of SNK fandom’s uncritical hero-worship, sure, and how it ties into Japanophilia, but please god let’s not incite white Americans against anything but white America.

    Again, I say this as another Korean-American, and believe me I am pretty sure I do not enjoy the American amnesia of Japanese colonialism any more than you do.  But let’s clarify that this isn’t about the nation of Japan, this is about the nation of America and its willingness to overlook shit that happened to people it doesn’t quite see as people in the service of enjoying fun media: in this case, Korean people.

    (Source: dominatrixjigglypuff)

     
  7. 10:16 21st Oct 2013

    Notes: 24891

    Reblogged from thestoutorialist

    Tags: asian invasioncommentary

    irresistible-revolution:

    louisaisntsure:

    dyemelikeasunset:

    Zeng Jing (曾晶) - Chinese plus-size model

    "I think someone needs to stand out and demonstrate our beauty because it’s not easy to be appreciated by society. And I think I can be the one."

    [SOURCE]

    ya cutie

    Can I also say this is especially important because East Asian women are so often touted as “naturally thin/ petite” etc which masks the impact of internalized racism, mental illness and eating disorders in our communities.

     
  8. image: Download

    carables:

shesanightowl:

dontbuymiss-saigon:

Miss Saigon and tired narratives like it bore me. Here’s a list of 10* things I’d rather spend my time and money** on, all of which are art or media projects involving non-fictional Vietnamese & Asian American folks, in no particular order:
 10. Re-watch the season of MasterChef where Christine Ha gracefully kicks everyone’s ass. P.S. Did you know she also has an MFA in creative nonfiction & fiction?
 9. Be transported through the words of writer Monique Truong, author of The Book of Salt and Bitter in the Mouth
8. Rock out to an album by the kickass Thao and the Get Down Stay Down, or go see one of their amazing live shows
7. Get futuristic with Jennifer Phang’s Advantageous, and check out the feature-length version when it premieres at the local Asian American film festival
6. Dissect fashion and beauty and all things zeitgeist with the rad academics who blog at Threadbared
5. Get deep feels and laughs reading Sông I Sing, by badass poet Bao Phi
4. Visualize stories in An-My Lê's beautiful photography book Small Wars
3. Explore the narrative-driven artwork of Binh Danh, which incorporates photographic techniques with plant-based canvases
2. Read MOONROOT, a rad zine about Asian womyn and trans* folks’ bodies and experiences
1. Check out an event put on by VAALA and get exposed to all kinds of art and artists you wish you had known about before
Bonus: see a play by David Henry Hwang. To paraphrase a friend, “M. Butterfly is the only retelling of Madame Butterfly I want to see.”
 **I had at least 20 more things that I did not have room to add to this list, but clearly there’s a lot of rad Asian American and Vietnamese American art & media out there, so go find it. Or make it yourself. *pretty much all of these things will cost you less than a ticket to the Ordway Theater. Just sayin’.-C

My submission for the Miss Saigon Truth Project. Support Asians and Asian Americans telling our own stories!

That’s right. We all got better things to do than watch this musical. The show opens October 8, but there’s still time to sign the petition: Don’t Buy Miss Saigon.

Consider it this way: what would you say if a blond homecoming queen fell in love with a short Japanese businessman? He treats her cruelly, then goes home for three years, during which time she prays to his picture and turns down marriage from a young Kennedy. Then, when she learns he has remarried, she kills herself. Now I believe you should consider this girl to be a deranged idiot, correct? But because it’s an Oriental who kills herself for a Westerner–ah!–you find it beautiful.

    carables:

    shesanightowl:

    dontbuymiss-saigon:

    Miss Saigon and tired narratives like it bore me. Here’s a list of 10* things I’d rather spend my time and money** on, all of which are art or media projects involving non-fictional Vietnamese & Asian American folks, in no particular order:


    10. Re-watch the season of MasterChef where Christine Ha gracefully kicks everyone’s ass. P.S. Did you know she also has an MFA in creative nonfiction & fiction?


    9. Be transported through the words of writer Monique Truong, author of The Book of Salt and Bitter in the Mouth

    8. Rock out to an album by the kickass Thao and the Get Down Stay Down, or go see one of their amazing live shows

    7. Get futuristic with Jennifer Phang’s Advantageous, and check out the feature-length version when it premieres at the local Asian American film festival

    6. Dissect fashion and beauty and all things zeitgeist with the rad academics who blog at Threadbared

    5. Get deep feels and laughs reading Sông I Sing, by badass poet Bao Phi

    4. Visualize stories in An-My Lê's beautiful photography book Small Wars

    3. Explore the narrative-driven artwork of Binh Danh, which incorporates photographic techniques with plant-based canvases

    2. Read MOONROOT, a rad zine about Asian womyn and trans* folks’ bodies and experiences

    1. Check out an event put on by VAALA and get exposed to all kinds of art and artists you wish you had known about before

    Bonus: see a play by David Henry Hwang. To paraphrase a friend, “M. Butterfly is the only retelling of Madame Butterfly I want to see.”


    **I had at least 20 more things that I did not have room to add to this list, but clearly there’s a lot of rad Asian American and Vietnamese American art & media out there, so go find it. Or make it yourself.

    *pretty much all of these things will cost you less than a ticket to the Ordway Theater. Just sayin’.

    -C

    My submission for the Miss Saigon Truth Project. Support Asians and Asian Americans telling our own stories!

    That’s right. We all got better things to do than watch this musical. The show opens October 8, but there’s still time to sign the petition: Don’t Buy Miss Saigon.

    Consider it this way: what would you say if a blond homecoming queen fell in love with a short Japanese businessman? He treats her cruelly, then goes home for three years, during which time she prays to his picture and turns down marriage from a young Kennedy. Then, when she learns he has remarried, she kills herself. Now I believe you should consider this girl to be a deranged idiot, correct? But because it’s an Oriental who kills herself for a Westerner–ah!–you find it beautiful.

     
  9. spiralwaves:

    geniusbee:

    Ok so Chesh said I should make a post about what we’ve been talking about, so here it is. Have you seen this post? I’ve seen it on my dash a whole lot recently, only with positive comments. So I have to add my two cents, and why this post bothers me a lot.

    The artist makes the statement “I designed these shoes with a unique goal in mind: to create a shoe as a summation of an entire culture’s art.” 

    Which, in and of itself is problematic to me. “An entire culture,” is not something that can really be defined by modern nationality. “China” is not ONE culture. But beyond that, it’s MADDENING that “China,” “Japan,” “Egypt,” have all been lumped into one “culture,” one shoe, while European art has been carefully subdivided because stylistic shifts in art aesthetics are only relevant in regards to Western art, right? 

    "Baroque art" IS NOT THE SAME AS "Chinese art" 

    It’s the same bullshit that college art history classes pull when they have a course dedicated to the Renaissance, and a course of equal credit value dedicated to African Art. 

    When someone tries to boil down an artistic history that is longer and broader than European art (like China’s), and say “This is definitely Chinese art”, but they refuse to use such a narrow definition for European art, it is highly problematic. I could go one and on about how othering it is to create such narrow definitions of people, but for now that’s what I have to say. 

    the tiny feet/en-pointe design of the “chinese art” shoe made me cringe. really? REALLY??

     
  10. Han is a concept in Korean culture attributed as a national cultural trait. Han denotes a collective feeling of oppression and isolation in the face of overwhelming odds. It connotes aspects of lament and unavenged injustice.

    The minjung theologian Suh Nam-dong describes han as…

    Ah yeah, han.  It’s interesting, I see han come up a lot on the internet in discussions of Korean culture, but in my own upbringing jeong was actually reinforced much more explicitly.  Han and jeong are often brought up as two of the most unique aspects of Korean culture, but as one of these links points out, it’s not so much that they’re unique to Korea as they’re important enough concepts that they have specific words with specific connotations to describe them.  Jeong is a form of collectivism and connection: it doesn’t have the connotations of transcending-the-hungry-self altruism that Christian caritas does, which is universal, but rather bonds you can’t and perhaps shouldn’t deny regardless of how you feel about it otherwise.  It’s hard to describe.

    The way my relatives always brought it up, it was usually in the context of a mix between compassion and loyalty and sometimes consideration: my mom would deem that some unkind people had a sense of jeong whereas my (white American biological) father who has a genuine sense of justice and kindness to strangers has rather a cold lack of jeong when it comes to the unwilling and inescapable bonds with family and community.  In a sense compassion and love are choices in this context but jeong isn’t.  Like compassion is cold (if brilliant) and jeong is warm (if binding), to use confusing sensory terms.

    Han on the other hand has almost never come up, but at the same time, it’s always come up in our discussions of Korean and family history, it backgrounds everything.  It was just not reinforced as a value—it was just always there, kind of a bitter inheritance.  Other Koreans and Korean-Americans may have had different experiences, mind, this is all personal anecdote and no sociology.

    (I don’t entirely subscribe to either of these things, but there’s no denying they’re part of my upbringing and the way the world was initially framed to me.)

    People may be a little more familiar with the Japanese concept of nakama, which is not reeeally the same thing and is in a different context but the emphasis on which is grounded in kind of similar cultural priorities.  Couldn’t say much more than that, though, despite Japanese heredity and to some extent ethnicity—Zainichi status is complicated.