I find that

1. Things aren’t always as bad as they seem. 

Not in the sense that your worst-case scenario won’t happen. Because there’s always a possibility of your worst-case scenario happening. I just find that often, worst-case scenarios really aren’t that bad

2. Once you’ve genuinely done everything you can about something,

It’s time to stop worrying about it. See above.

Advertisements

Sikreto

Kinikilig ako sa’yo.

Sitsiritsit

Alibangbang.

‘That’ UCLA girl and the new racism.

So I’m pretty sure you’ve heard all about it.

Alexandra shown here, speaking the ancient Asian tongue of Ching-chong-ling-long.

A white student from UCLA gets on the webcam one regular afternoon and decides to share her annoyance towards the monolithic race-culture that is known as  ‘The Asian’.

What follows is a tragic mix of 1930’s ‘ching-chong’  taunts, a putdown of the survival skills of Asian youth, a half-hearted attempt to sympathy for Japanese tsunami victims, and a condescending ‘welcome-to-America’ instruction on ‘American manners’ (the dog-whistle here being that ‘American’ is synonymous to ‘white’, since Asians and other cultural groups are apparently excluded from these manners, regardless of US citizenship).

Tellingly, miss Wallace shares that her annoyance stems from her upbringing as a ‘polite, nice American girl’.

If we believe this to be true (and we do, since nice, polite American girls do not lie), we can trace her bigoted world view to her parents. By extension her immediate family, by extension her friends (which we can only assume includes Asians, since she took the effort to exclude them from her rant), and by extension the circle of acquaintances she keeps.

One 3-minute video then becomes more than a singular youthful miscalculation, but a glimpse at the entire segment of the American population that she inhabits. It chills me to think that in this segment, miss Wallace’s views are not extraordinary, but the unspoken norm.

And in there seethes a different strain of racism. It is not your father’s racism, mind you, the one that lets loose dogs on protesters and hangs men on trees. Instead, it is the racism that tries to excuse itself with “I’m not racist but”. The one that prides itself of its hateful garbage because it is somehow a protest against the perceived tyranny of political correctness.

While the racism of old was a humoungous, armored beast, the racism of today is a snake that hides in the grass. It is slippery, and it has many holes to hide in. Our struggle against this form of racism may no longer be in streets and barricades, but in every person that we meet. It is no longer a matter of bringing it down, but a matter of denying it safe haven.

An indictment of Alexandra is an indictment of every person who did not challenge her ignorance. It is an indictment of our society and mass media that did not widen her horizons and gave her the impression that her anecdotal experience is enough to demean entire races and cultures. This is not to say that Alexandra committed no fault; it simply means that too many of us are at fault with her.

There is no telling how this will affect Alexandra Wallace, the individual. Unfortunately, in the age of Google, whether she genuinely sees and understands her bigotry or not, her reputation may already be forever tarnished (unless, perhaps, another Alexandra Wallace comes by and accomplishes something great, or commits a bigger blunder). I would assume that the greatest distraction from her finals are no longer Asians in the library, but the death threats she is now subjected to.

She has now issued an apology. But like all apologies bourne from scandal, only she would know if she is apologizing for something she now knows to be wrong, or if she is apologizing for being caught.

Meanwhile, please donate to the relief efforts for the Japanese tsunami by clicking on the poster. Designed by Dan at http://twistedfork.me/

Either way, I wish her well. If we are all children of our societies then Alexandra is our sister. Perhaps the best way forward would be to forgive but never forget, and purge our own bigotries before we, in turn, make fools of ourselves in front of the world.

Confessions

1. It’s been a while since my heart raced. It’s in horrible shape and it’s your damn fault that it’s running at full speed and it doesn’t know what to do with itself. You’re gonna give it a heart attack, you know.  Which would be ironic, a heart getting a heart attack (or is it poetic?).

2. It was valentine’s. I waited for you outside doing the creepy-stalker bit. I gave you a gift that was cheesy but it was cheesy because it was heartfelt.  It’s nice to feel nice while waiting for somebody.

3. You scramble my thoughts. Which is why I forgot to ask you out for dinner. I waited for an hour and a half for a chance to ask you out to dinner and I forgot to do it when you were finally there before me.

What a blunder. What a rookie mistake.

4. You make me feel like a rookie. Which is probably a lesson in humility. I’ll try harder. Maybe I’ll win your heart.

You should be sleeping. (02-25-09)

So the Beatles are on. I always get emotional when the Beatles are on and she comes up whenever I get emotional.

A. I’ve been changing so much lately
I smell a freshness, I smell a chilly winter breeze.

“So you’re not constantly inspired. What does it matter?” she asks. Of course it doesn’t matter much. It’s just that I’ve to stop beating myself for it. My muses are flaky. They’ll come and have coffee from time to time. They’re the kind of people who sleep over after the house party and sneak out before it’s cleaning time.

Meanwhile, I’ll do something useful with my time. Like maybe try and cure Alzheimer’s.

B. Alzheimer’s
I’ve seen Alzheimer’s close up. It’s no longer an abstraction.

It’s a guy who keeps answering the same question five hours after I’ve asked it.  “I’m 6 foot two.” He answers, while I bathe him. “Oh come on, you look taller than that.” I joke for the twentieth time.

C. Lola Carmen
I am reminded of my grandmother.

We used to spend summer vacations in her house. She loved me and my brother from childhood.

Between then and my college years she began forgetting things. She insisted I was eight years old. She insisted that long-departed friends are coming over for dinner. My mother and aunt were constantly frustrated with her, and my brother and I decided to see as little of her as possible. She made us uncomfortable.

Lola, I’m sorry.

D. She ain’t heavy, she’s my lola
Not that it matters to you, of course.

You’ve gone somewhere else and apologies for wrongs done a couple of years ago are apologies for wrongs you don’t even remember. I’m apologizing to your existential being, the being that was, is, my lola. I’m apologizing not so much as to spare your feelings but to soothe mine.

E. Don’t worry,
she says.

“Your muses will be back. You know how they dislike orders. You of all people should understand.”

So I sit down and she whispers to me:

That the gray-tipped bird
Who broke a foot while drinking
Has nowhere to go

Fancy Little Things

The flyer, featuring "Moonthieves".

I know it’s kinda late and all, but if you ever find yourself in Chicago and craving some wine and/or art, I have some work hanging at Swirl Chicago at 111 West Hubbard street in Downtown Chicago. It’s gonna be running ’til the 15th of October. Come by, and have some wine and have a quick look around. They’re actually the friendliest winebar in Chicago 🙂

The Last Airbender: Killing kittens and making babies cry.

:(

Soul-crushingly horrible

I never, ever, in a million years, would have though I would utter the words “I should’ve seen Twilight instead”.

I should’ve seen Twilight instead.

We were lining up for “Eclipse” when I changed my mind. I’ve sworn, sworn not to see the live-action remake of “Avatar: The Last Airbender” after hearing that it cast, for no apparent reason, white actors for implicitly Asian roles. But then again, I am also a forever-scarred veteran of two Twilight films. And that’s two Twilight films too many.

And so, in my eternal folly, I decided to hand M Night Shymalan the benefit of the doubt.

Now I’ve always been a staunch defender of M Night. I appreciated the multiple layers he laid on “The Village” and “Signs”. Unlike everybody else, I didn’t fall asleep to “Unbreakable” and was among those that insisted that “Lady in the water” was being misread as a horror flick and should instead be interpreted as a fantasy film (and I tend to use the term ‘film’ very loosely).

Mower > Sweater guy

Should've done it to the movie instead.

Ok so “The Happening” should’ve done us all a huge favor and got under the mower instead but hey, here’s an Asian director, making his way through whitewashed Hollywood with strange Jiujitsu-style endings so you know what?What’s one stinker among friends?

M Night, we are no longer friends.

I could’ve forgiven the let’s-put-white-actors-in-because-Asians-playing-Asian-roles-are-a-vote-against-diversity idea, (what?) if the said white actors could ACT.

Come on, man, if you’re gonna do this dissing thing, at least leave a little of our dignity and find some GOOD white actors to play us. Or at least have the decency to send them to friggin’ ACTING CLASSES. You want to give the role to the “best actors” instead of the most racially-compatible ones? I can respect that. Hey, maybe it’s a coincidence that the three “best actors” you can find just all happened to be white, hey that’s cool too. But your kids (and I’m not counting Dev Patel, who’s great) got nothin’ going on. Nada. Zilch. Wala. I don’t know where you got them, but all of them put together ain’t no Haley Joel Osment. Which makes me wonder why you insisted on putting them there in the first place. Why, M Night, WHY?

And I’m not about to blame it entirely on them. I’m laying this mostly on you, bro. Your script didn’t give them much to work with. The snotty kid who sat beside me in second grade can come up with a better script than that tripe you threw at us. Wait, you know what? It wasn’t tripe. Tripe is nice. If you threw tripe at me I’ll eat it. I won’t eat your script. It just ain’t worth it. STOP. WRITING. Don’t ever write a movie again. Ever. Please.

* * *

Now this one’s for you, movie fan. If you haven’t seen it, and you do have that extra ten bucks to see a movie, heed my words: DO NOT WATCH THIS MOVIE. Go see something else. Are there any slasher flicks available? Are they re-running Aliens vs. Predator? Watch that.

aliensvspredator

Officially better than Shaymalan's "Airbender". Which is so impossible, but also true.

While you’re at it, DO NOT WAIT FOR IT ON DVD. Or Netflix. Or Piratebay. Or anywhere. The bytes in your hard drive are too valuable. So is your time. If you ever feel the urge, the small itch of curiosity to maybe watch the first five minutes and give it a chance DON’T. Do the laundry. Or the dishes. Spend more time with your kids. This movie can give you friggin’ cancer.

And sure you can dismiss this as “Hey it’s just another Asian dude ragging on Airbender”. But let me tell you this: remember this post as you walk sideways down that sticky aisle, your ego completely deflated and dangling only by the thinnest of threads. Remember this post as you drag your ravaged soul down those dark stairs while the credits play and you’re wondering what went wrong in your life.

Remember this post and understand that I warned you about “The Last Airbender” not because I wish Shaymalan ill, but because I love you. I love you, man. And I’m not angry, just really, really disappointed.