Friday, March 25, 2011

Asian Penis Pickup - Get Her Number!


It's hard to be sure whether these guys are serious or just making funny videos, or both, but it was nice to see Asian guys acting with confidence around women!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Çinli Gibi!

Tsunamis and The Children Of The Corn.

As I've alluded to elsewhere, the Asian experience of racism in America bears some comparison to a campaign of terrorism. For instance, terrorists seek to manipulate, disempower, intimidate, and coerce a population into acceding to various demands and beliefs in order to empower themselves, yet, a society that promotes and normalizes racial hostility, violence, and behaviours through demeaning stereotypes and xenophobic socio-political rhetoric creates a similar relationship between the mainstream and the target minority as the relationship between the terrorist organization and the citizens it targets.

Where I presently reside, the existence of various militant separatist, anarchist, nationalist, and religious groups makes for an interesting cocktail of potential hazards of the explosive kind. Three years ago a bomb was discovered in a Burger King just down the street from my apartment, and earlier this year a suicide bomber martyred himself in one of the City's main squares. Suffice it to say that even though these types of incidences are rare, I would be lying if I were to say that the thought of being caught in a bomb blast whilst sitting in my favourite coffee shop, or shopping at the grocery store, is not always at the back of my mind.

Obscenely, this sense of foreboding that a bomb might go off is analagous to the experience of being Asian in America. Just as in a society that lives with an internal terrorist threat in which its citizens can never foresee the next martyr, but who know that one will come along sooner or later, Asians in America never really know when their race is going to be a problem for someone, somewhere. It could be in a favourite cafe, or whilst shopping at the grocery store, but sooner or later, someone will remind us that being Asian means casually routine harassment and racial baiting, and perhaps even violence.

It is precisely because American culture normalizes racist attitudes and behaviours towards its Asian minority that an environment has been created in which interactions with the mainstream often carries with it the likelihood for racial denigration or even violence. Yet, because depictions of racial violence and harassment forms the core of representations of Asian people in American culture, this is not considered an abnormal state of affairs. Hence, just like someone who is trying to live a normal life knowing that a terrorist's bomb could go off any time or anywhere, many in the Asian minority exists in a state of expectation knowing that an inevitable explosion of casual (or even casually violent) racism will impinge upon their lives. Society is set up to ensure this.

American culture (and hence American society) is abnormal in its xenophobic hostility to the epicanthic fold and the single eyelid. If you refer to the title of this post - "Çinli Gibi" - it is Turkish for "(He  looks) like a Chinese", and I heard a group of small Kurdish kids saying it about me whilst I was walking through my neighbourhood recently. I looked over at them and smiled, to which they responded in accented English, "Hello!" and then giggled. I waved and continued on whilst the kids went back to playing. Just a case of innocent curiosity - how normal! If this had occurred in America, the kids would be likely to have a selection of choice epithets to hurl at me, and the tone of the exchange would likely have been alot uglier.

This offers a great insight into how sick and aberrative American culture is when it comes to its attitudes to its Asian minority because, by contrast, mainstream American kids seem to be armed with a ready supply of racist attitudes and epithets that they are seemingly not discouraged from using in their interactions with Asian people. It is Asian-American children who experience this most intensely - yet what can it mean for American society and the place of the Asian minority within it when America's children go through the most impressionable years of their lives with the belief that it is normal to use racial epithets towards Asian people?

To me the recent outpouring of anti-Japanese feeling in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami is simply confirmation that the practice of rearing American children to think of Asians in dehumanizing ways has been a great success, and that we should not be surprised that this apparent inability to have a human connection with Asian people is so prevalent - it is how many of these people have been taught to think since childhood.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Goodbye Cruel World...For A While!

Oh the drama! Google Blgger has been blocked by the authorities here. I wish that I could say that dramatic, historically significant events were the reason for this (well, actually, maybe not), but the truth is that there is an epic struggle going on over the broadcasting rights for soccer games.

Apparently, some bloggers with Google have been posting videos of games on their sites - which is taking money out of the pockets of the multi-billion dollar media companies - a big no-no.

On the positive side, it's possible to occasionally get around the block and get to my dashboard to publish comments, but for some reason I can't post comments of my own - so no replies for now! Sorry. I'm not even sure if this post will make it through.

Stay posted - I'm hoping that the issue will be resolved quickly.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Being A Harbinger Of Things Unheard Of.

I recently came across this quote that struck a chord with me.......

Literature is not conformism, but dissent. Those authors who merely repeat what everybody approves and wants to hear are of no importance. What counts alone is the innovator, the dissenter, the harbinger of things unheard of, the man who rejects the traditional standards and aims at substituting new values and ideas for old ones. He is by necessity anti-authoritarian and anti-governmental, irreconcilably opposed to the immense majority of his contemporaries. He is precisely the author whose books the greater part of the public does not buy......
Ludwig von Mises....The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality.
Although I am by no means an expert on the subject, it doesn't require an expert eye to notice that when it comes to Asian-American literature, very rarely can it be characterized by the criterion set forth by Von Mises. There can be very little doubt that dissenting anti-authoritarianism plays little part in the themes of possibly the majority of Asian-American literature. Rarely, it would seem, do we concern ourselves with the notion of substituting new ideas for old, or the rejection of traditional standards. Rather, it would appear that there is a tendency for some to repeat what everybody approves and wants to hear - some of Asian-America's most widely read authors have been accused of using this strategy.

Yet, for Asian American men, about whom much is written that is misrepresentative, our very existence is dissent - what else could it be? Because Asian men are represented in such a negative way, to conform is to accept that we are less than human, therefore our only option is non-conformity. Given this, the question is; why is so much that is written by Asians about themselves devoid of this element of opposition? Given the degree to which Asians are villified and dehumanized by American culture, the largely conciliatory tone of the literary response seems bizarre to say the least. It's not that conciliation is a bad thing in and of itself, but without an equally established, vibrant, and assertive culture of non-conformity and dissent, its value would seem to be diminished.

Whether this description of the Asian-American literary world is accurate I leave the reader to decide for themselves, but, for me, any endeavour that requires creativity and originality must almost by definition challenge any, most, or all of the attitudes that we hold (or are held about us) regarding a given subject. In this sense, I lean towards the belief that much literature that is produced within Asian-America has not yet risen to this challenge. For a misrepresented minority the importance of original thinking, and a dissenting attitude are essential, if not a natural outcome of our circumstances.

To understand the power of non-conformist dissent, one need only look at the suppression of the intelligentsia in Stalin's Soviet Union. According to the book "Stalin And His Hangmen" it was through a series of "purges" that Stalin and his henchmen systematically murdered opponents, both real and percieved, first in the political sphere, but also in a process which ultimately saw tens of thousands of social activists, musicians, writers, artists, military personnel, peasants, foreigners, and minorities, being murdered or sent to the GULAG. The reason for this is simple; an intelligentsia is by definition an oppositional entity. Comprised of artists, philosophers, writers, journalists and social misfits, an intelligentsia pushes the boundaries of a society's beliefs and tastes and in so doing has the potential to set in motion dramatic shifts in social dynamics. There is power in asking uncomfortable questions and highlighting uncomfortable truths.

I would argue that it is this power that many in the Asian minority seem ambivalent about embracing - for whatever reason. There may be cultural reasons for this, or not, yet it seems to me that the most genuine expression of the Asian-American experience has to be based in opposition, and non-conformity. There are some who suggest that the future of Asian-American writing must endeavour to reach as wide an audience as is possible - this can only mean white people. I don't necessarily agree with this, simply because in order to do this one must dilute the experience in order to allow the mainstream to feel comfortable with itself. I would submit, instead, that Asian-American literature must strive to make the mainstream feel uncomfortable with itself, its pretensions, and its prejudices. After all, if we give the mainstream what it wants to hear, and is used to hearing, then what have we contributed that is new and innovative?