Thursday, May 17, 2007

ASIAN AMERICAN WOMEN: HIGHEST SUICIDE RATE OF WOMEN OF ANY RACE

You can't ignore the statistics:
• Asian-American women ages 15-24 have the highest suicide rate of women in any race or ethnic group in that age group
• Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for Asian-American women in that age range

CSU Fullerton professor Eliza Noh, moved by the suicide of her sister, seeks to uncover the reasons behind the alarming suicide rate among Asian American women. "My sister had a really low self-image. She thought of herself as ugly," she says. "We grew up in Houston in the '70s and '80s, and at that time in school there were very few Asian faces. The standard of beauty she wanted to emulate was white women." Noh's sister had surgery to look more European.

The story goes on to discuss the problems of the "model minority" theory and family/cultural pressures on girls. Suicide is a complex issue that leaves those left behind wondering "Why?" Perhaps in Noh's sister's case, you can't underestimate the feeling of self-hatred, which I can relate to as a person of color.

My family was touched by suicide once. I can't remember exactly what year or why, but I remember when and how: Mother's Day with a hair dryer in the tub. We never talked about it then nor have we ever. Maybe that's the problem with suicide is that it's swept under and hidden.

What can we do?

Sunday, May 06, 2007

HARDBOILED @ 10

Ten years ago, three UC Berkeley students created Hardboiled Newsmagazine as a proactive reaction to the lack diverse views and incessant attacks on diversity programs and legislations in and around Berkeley and California. While we envisioned it as an Asian Pacific American vehicle, our goal was to create a forum for students and the community to share ideas, discuss view points, and raise awareness. It was launched in October of 1997.

Ten years later, Hardboiled Newsmagazine is now ten years old. To commemorate this achievement the current editors spotlighted the first ten years. You can download the entire PDF version here. Enjoy!

Hardboiled @ 10

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

WELCOME BRADLEY!

...I just became an uncle!

Wow. Look at him. Bradley. How cute is he? So cute!

Bradley!

Bradley was born March 28, 2007 at 12:36pm. He weighs a whopping 8 pounds, 10 ounces. Over 20 inches long! I am so excited to be a first-time uncle, but I am sure my brother, his wife, and my parents are ecstatic.

I know I haven't met him yet, but he's my nephew and I just love him already. I can't wait to be the best uncle ever!!!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

CUONG’S BOOK CLUB

A heart-breaking and amazing read. Paul Monette's Borrowed Time: An AIDS Memoir is a remarkable must-read for anyone who's gay, faced tragedy, fought to live. Everyone must read this.

I found myself asking what happens to Paul and Roger Horowitz, and as I read, wondering if they'd be okay. In reality, I knew they were dead from AIDS. But a great book does that - it suspends reality and takes you into the lives, the hearts and the souls of the characters and makes you care, makes you want for them to defy their reality.

Paul and Roger's reality was the 80s in the incipience of "gay cancer," what we know now to be HIV & AIDS. While HIV & AIDS are now livable diseases, in the 80s, and we forget it now, it was a life of fear, anxiety and devastation. Monette details the unimaginable devastation of the disease on its earliest warriors. The the sheer thought of AIDS emitted shame, fear, and guilt in the workplace, in communities and within families. And why did a government not protect its children? The book is full of rage, pain, heart break, but with it hope. It doesn't seem right that a book about the ravages of AIDS sheds light on hope. But it does.

What Monette does portray through his relationship with Roger is love. It is the epitome of love. How selflessly they fought for each other and against the disease. How he took care of and wanted to take care of Roger: "...it never stopped feeling safe, not when I had him at home..."

"...[T]he longer Roger and I were together, the more we healed as a family. It's no accident, I think, that neither of us came out to our families until we found each other. Alone is is hard to want to face the barrage of cliches, and the closet is so much easier. But you can't go on very long hearing your heart's deepest core called your roommate."
Monette talks passionately about having a voice:
"...Loss teaches you very fast what cannot go without saying. The course of our lives had paralleled the course of the movement itself since Stonewall, and now our bitterness about the indifference of the system made us feel keenly how tenuous our history was. Everything we had been together - brothers and friends beyond anything the suffocating years in the closet could dream of - might yet be wiped away. If we all died and all our books were burned, then a hundred years from now no one would ever know..."
And on living:
"...[S]aid to John once, "All that will matter to you when you're old is how much you're loved." That is as true of sick as old..."
I was moved by this book. The story of love, compassion, of hope is universal. It is an analogy for any generation, anyone that's been marginalized, anyone who's ever lived. Go get this book. Read it!

Paul and Roger

Thursday, March 01, 2007

I’M SINGLE

This line from a Savage Garden song resonated with me. I know, Savage Garden's a pop band, but maybe they have a point we should consider...

"I believe that trust is more important than monogamy."

I think it should be that trust and love, and love are more important. Love and trust. That's what I'd like to think.

What do you think?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

UPHEAVAL

Major changes at work akin to Dynasty's Moldavia Massacre. (If you're too young to comprehend it, never mind...) During the height of the chaos, a co-worker asked me:

"I'm updating my resume and you're updating your MySpace page?"

Well, maybe... What do you think?

Dynasty's Moldavia Massacre   Dynasty's Blake and Krystle

Dynasty's Alexis   Dynasty's Amanda and Michael

Sunday, February 11, 2007

I'M NOT?

I am 67% Evil Genius.
..
Evil courses through my blood. Lies and deceit motivate my evil deeds. Crushing the weaklings and idiots that do nothing but interfere in my doings.


Bummer! I thought I was much, much, much more maniacal than that. I am such a loser!

Monday, February 05, 2007

I THINK THAT'S LOVE...

"I realize now how peaceful it was to be writing while Rog[er] lay asleep in the next room. I can't describe how safe it made me feel, how free to work. I think mothers must feel safe like that, when it's so late at night you can hear a baby breathe. We had gone along this way for so many years that when I had to do it for real - watch over him half the night, wake him and give him pills, run the IV, change his sweat-soaked pajamas three different times - it never stopped feeling safe, not when I had him at home...."
    -- Paul Monette, Borrowed Time: An AIDS Memoir
Wow.

I think that's love. I think that's what love is supposed to feel like. How it envelopes you and that you just act so utterly instinctively. From a place maybe you never knew existed. A place sheer in the moment of life. And that it makes you selfless. Maybe that's love...

Maybe it's not me.

Have you ever been in love?

Friday, January 26, 2007

CAROLINE'S TURN...

I was going to comment, but that would only be too obvious. So I thought let Caroline explain...

***

Let me clarify.

My dear fo-worker Cuong has not been scouring the hallways, peering over walls and through doorways; salivating whenever a pulse nears – he leaves that for the weekends. I’ve merely noticed more turned heads and averted eyes lately. And I only mentioned this to him because my opinion seems to have been asked for more frequently regarding the possible ‘hotness’ of a passer-by or two or three.

Maybe instead of mentioning that Cuong appears a tad horny as of late – I should be asking him, “Why ask me?” Granted I have exquisite taste and a desire for only that which is perfect. But really, Cuong. I am a married woman – a married lady to be exact. And ladies do not talk of such things.

If a man’s buttocks seem taught from an over-abundance of exercise and youth who am I to call attention to this and state the obvious. If a person walking down the street appears to have their navel resting ever so slightly above the rim of their buckled jeans – why voice this observation? A lady simply smiles and purses her lips with knowing satisfaction.

So, it has come to this Cuong – either you purse your lips and smile sweetly while we sip our Starbucks or you bare it all and start passing out calling cards to the many, many, many people you find attractive to help slake your recent thirst. Maybe you’ll find your rhinestone in the rough. Maybe you’ll just have one hell of a winter. Whichever course you choose – this lady thinks you’re more than deserving.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

LOADS OF PHEROMONES

"You're really horny these days."
        - Caroline, my fo-worker, to me

So horny for you!  Call me Scott!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

AN INDELIBLE MARK

There are millions of people on the streets on the island of Manhattan. So many faces. Sometimes you feel invisible. But once in a while you do something that sets you apart, that leaves an indelible mark on others.

Take Ragsy. If you know him, you know this small-framed boy is an intoxication of fun, wit, and intoxicants. We're in the East Village. It's a little bit past 1am. Ragsy and I are hailing a cab back home to Hell's Kitchen. Let's stop at White Castle, he says. Fine, I say.

We tell the cab driver to go to 37th St. and 8th Ave. (where White Castle is). He hesitates a beat. Then as if embarrassed to correct us: You're going home, right? We acknowledge him. Okay, 39th St. and 8th Ave., he says, directing us to the location of Ragsy's home. We gasp. We laugh.

Once in a while you do something that sets you apart. Some become President, some find cures for cancers, some shed light onto the grayness of life. Others, however, go to East Village, party like there's no tomorrow, get shit-faced drunk. And do it again every weekend. You, my friend Ragsy, have left an indelible mark on New York's most stony cab drivers, most likely as that crazy alcoholic with the liver of a lion and spirit of a possessed vagabond.

This, as you know, is your mark in New York City. Way to go Ragsy!

Friday, January 12, 2007

A NEW YORK YEAR

Another year over.

I wasn't going to write a cheesy New Year's resolution entry. That wasn't my intent. But I did want to reflect. Mainly because I spent 25 years in Los Angeles and as my first (calendar) year in New York City opens into the second, I feel a sense that everything is a beginning.

There were a couple of weeks recently where I felt alone. For the first time, I was away from my family and I didn’t have a boyfriend and my family of friends felt so far way. I felt alone. I stayed in that aloneness for a while. Somewhat sad, somewhat vulnerable, somewhat helpless. I really never felt like this before. It’s true. It’s because for the first time in my life I’m my own person. I felt alone, but I was really on my own. My own person.

Sometimes the smallest decision changes everything. I made the move to New York. Somewhat impulsively, somewhat carelessly. For the first time and – maybe it’s being away from old scars, being on my own – but I’m starting to finally feel like me. Closer to who I am.

Here are the things I want to accomplish in 2007:
• Write that story
• Be disciplined with my mind and my body
• Read one book a month. (I wanna say two, but…)
• Help others, particularly in the Asian American community
• Use my powers for good. Use my powers for good
I write this because I want to be held accountable. This year, I want to push myself to be a better me. I know now that I can be...

Monday, January 08, 2007

YOUR HAPPY ENDING...

Yuki Lin was the first American born at the stroke of midnight at New York Downtown Hospital in New York City. She was named Babies "R" Us's "First Baby of the Year Sweepstakes" and awarded a $25,000 savings bond.

But... Well, she's an Asian baby so you didn't think there was gonna be a happily ever after, did you? So, the but. But Toys "R" Us, the parent company of Babies "R" Us, disqualified Yuki Lin and awarded the $25,000 bond to a beautiful white baby (blond I'm sure) born in Gainesville, Georgia, because Lin's mother is not a legal resident of the U.S.

Not race or alien status, Toys "R" Us said, but rather rules. Of course, how else do you apply oppressive acts upon others? Rules, duh! According to the rules, the mother had to be a legal U.S. resident, despite the fact that the prize is awarded to the "first baby" of 2007.

The Chinese community criticized Toys "R" Us's decision. "We love all babies," the company said in a press statement. Maybe mounting criticism, but whatever the case, the company went on to (re)award Yuki Yin along with the child in Georgia the prize. Now that's a happy ending! Right?

Maybe. I guess it depends. If you've ever been marginalized then you might think it was racialized or xenophobic, and wonder why this shit even happens. But if you've never been marginalized then you might think it was fair all along. What you believe depends on your life experiences.

Is this a happy ending to you?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

I'M DREAMING OF...BROOKLYN

I think I've resigned myself to the idea that I'll be living in Brooklyn for a year. Is that so bad?

Bye New York City. See you in a year!

Mood: Somber...

Ah, Brooklyn!