Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!
I know a lot has happened on the news and I had been quiet on this blog. I can rest assure anyone still tuned in that this quiet is not my silence on issues held dear to me. To that end, I will do a quick update of what I have been doing.
One, I had been visiting family and still working, hoping to have a positive transition in my work environment as well as situation. I went through some old photographs of family with my grandmother and started to draft a story inspired from a true story. Keeping in mind, inspired, not word for word what happened between a relation of mine and other actors in the history of the Vietnam War. Though in the passages, people may find experiences that are not their own. That is intentional. Being a product of this history is not a story to tell lightly. Some people where I live do not understand that there were people in this history. A country is not just a war name, nor is its people simply “there.”
Recently, I walked in a store. Immediately, someone had mentioned a person used the name of Vietnam in place of “Hellhole” when describing a part of their neighborhood infested with issues. I called them out on the problematic behavior and expressed disapproval of the racism exhibited when people replace “sh*thole/Hellhole” with the name of a “Brownish” country. It is especially an issue when people do the same with African countries, anti-Blackness taint on the behavior further adding to the abuse. I understood the person chatting likely assumed me a Southern European or Latina blooded woman, so the words were not directed toward me. Still, it does not mean I should not remind her of the humanity of people in countries not within the (White) Euro-American sphere of influences.
Last Holiday break, I went to visit my mother. Sometimes, the news and politics and what she hears compared to me puts us at odds on some topics in the news. Though, there was some comfort to be had in the fact we both have the same enemy in that realm. In the midst of this, there was no drama. We had real conversation, and runway for growth and when the case required: a sense of restorative justice. I recall not long ago how Hasan Minhaj was asked for his opinion on cancel culture, an opinion in which I share.
I am not out to criticize people who are just criticizing folks on the Internet. In this, I have found myself unsure if social media has room for the nuance needed to have meaningful conversations that bring change in this world. Algorithms and other considerations have made it a minefield when it comes to having a real dialogue. Social media by design thrives on this polarized world. While I still use some platforms, I now am mindful to make sure what I do counts (Facebook still deactivated for now). That leads me to other activities I have done in place.
I have been writing. I recently went through the process of doing an article on Asian American ethnic relations, of which I learned a bit researching details that are outside of my White-Southeast Asian experiences. The piece is submitted, and I have to keep details vague for now until it is ready for the public. Fortunately, it was not a huge stretch for me because I had already been paying attention to the ongoing conversations about it all. As someone who also focused on a very postcolonial topic for my thesis, there was no way I could not address group and ethnic relations within. Religion, race, history, and colonialism is not mutually exclusive. What was important for me was I answered a call to help with finishing a project and I hope my piece legitimizes voices of the Asian-American and Pacific Islander (API) community. In an ideal world, no one would need to even talk about this, but the dominant culture still persists in its marginalization of peoples.
Though I did my best to bring a very nuanced work to fruit, my audience and need to meet them where they were definitely made it a challenge at times. The piece was meant with (mostly White) late highschool and undergraduate college kids in mind. Even knowing this, I still self-interrogate how I could have done better. Especially acknowledging the problems with existing language used to describe ongoings with the API community, yet we are left with no other (for now). What I have written could become dated within a few years. So much is going on now!
My Holiday break aforementioned was relatively drama-free, though I am not without some worry and concern for my mother’s well-being. I will not get into everything that has made her significantly, differently-able-bodied, she has a combination of chronic health issues. And now a new chronic issue. She is still my mother, her health problems had been persistent enough that it has become the norm. And that saddens me in more ways than one. If anyone has any kindness to spare, please keep her in your thoughts. I will take prayers, too. I am not going to look down on whoever you worship if your heart is kind, yeah?
I also participated in an anti-War protest once I returned from my Holiday break. Just because Irans’ leaders have a terrible human rights record does not mean I am okay with the notion of another war. We had too many times of being involved in a war for “just cause” only to ultimately lead to the destabilization of a region, the public being lied to, and it being clearly about human greed than charity. Human rights cannot be achieved with racist wars designed to reap and control the resources of a people. If anyone had seen me years ago, I am sure I’d not be as outspoken on this. I recognize where I had to grow.
Wars cost. I had known people, including some of my own family, who were impacted by them significantly. At this point, if we want to say Iranian leaders are terrible and deserve to die, we are asking for people to kill a number of our own corrupt government officials. For me, I as a millennial had known war for half of my life, if not a little more if we talk about smaller-profile conflicts this country has been involved with. Our Generation-Z has only known of our international relations to equal near-endless wars. Some may not think kindly of me when I say this. That is okay.
Also, I would really appreciate people to lay off Ilhan Omar and her story. Post-traumatic stress disorder is no laughing matter, no matter how you feel about a person. I am disappointed in the people who make a mockery of mental health in general, but especially people who mock hers. It is cruel. Many of her critics are likely only making fun of her because of the White elephant in the room. Not okay at all.
I have been looking for initiatives to help with criminal justice reform and to help immigrants and refugees targeted by ICE. Endless petitions, more I have signed these four years than I had in my life prior. Letters. So on and so forth.
Otherwise, I have been trying to do better with self-care by also not reading news articles and social media posts for longer than 30 minutes to an hour a day. That is the most I am obligated to do so. Self-care is becoming a priority with how exhausted I have been, with all going on.
On that note, other projects of interest going on include poetry, articles on multiracials and White Supremacy, my novel revisions, and other articles. I have also taken interest in writing a film review for some of the movies last year. When all of these have been polished, I will start posting them.
Last but not least: I am going to start a Patreon this year. After I have solidified how I want to arrange the tiers and my content, I will let people know. Through this, though money is not the main goal, I want to better promote my material and make sure most of it keeps as accessible as possible. I will strategize this weekend on how.
Be good to yourselves. I hope I will post a little more for a bit.