As an Asian American in Asia, I’m mistaken for either the local population or a Chinese tourist. This even happened in Ecuador! I was seen as an Asian Latin American, and not even having a fellow gringo as a sidekick changed their perceptions. But I think this incident best summarizes my experiences (because I’ve had plenty as an…Read More
💞 Is it harder for Asians to love themselves?
Believe it or not ‘why is it so hard for Asians to love themselves’ was a search term that I found on my blog one morning. I’m usually amused or curious what folks are looking for, and I don’t make it a habit to turn them into blog posts (see exception), but this one piqued…Read More
How to be an Edgy and Thought-Provoking Asian American
// Own the Bowl Haircut – Why should childhood trauma still haunt you? Bring a bowl to the salon and tell them to do it. Bonus points if you are a woman or you do it at home. Post on social media. #iamthebowlRead More
My reaction to “Want to be Less Racist? Move to Hawaii”
In 1991 Spike Lee released ‘Jungle Fever’, a movie about an interracial couple. When it came out, it was making the news, but I only remember it because my brother looked at me and said, “What’s the big deal?” I shrugged, “I have no idea.” Fast forward to 2019, he sent me a New York…Read More
Breaking bad Asian stereotypes
First of all, as an Asian American living in Asia, this is an interesting (and dare I say, amusing) topic to investigate. I’ve been trying to understand why this is entertaining for me though. I guess because I have what I consider a more balanced view of stereotypes. I understand that some stereotypes, in a…Read More
🇹🇭 Can you cook Thai food?
Upon learning that I am half-Thai, folks want to know, “Can you cook Thai food?” When I was younger, the answer was no. As in why on God’s green and blue earth would I want to? My mom can cook wonderfully though, thank you. As I got older, I became annoyed by my mom’s badgering.Read More
What does it mean to be Asian American?
Sometimes I feel like an anomaly. I’m a 45 year old American Thai-Chinese woman who was born in Hawaii, who has lived on three continents, and who was raised by a Thai immigrant mother and a working class white male. I can’t squeeze into an “ism”. My dress size is small in America, but…Read More
What’s up with Asians and White Couples?
It’s weird, you know, being back in Thailand. There are enough White men with Asian women around for you to you raise your chopsticks and your eyebrows. Sometimes it’s the age difference that’s startling. Sometimes though you can’t really tell, as some men look older than their age, and the women look (and dress) younger…Read More
The problem with creatives, Asian daughters, and non-conformists.
“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.” – as attributed to Mike Tyson OK. Here’s what I’ve told you. I had to come back to the US of A. We were not sure for how long, but we thought we’d give it a go, you know, return to America for good,…Read More
I’m Chinese, but I’m not Chinese
On a regular basis, I’m mistaken for being Chinese – as in from the Motherland, China, Chinese. Now, to be fair, I look pretty damn Chinese, but these days it’s getting ridiculous.Read More
I am Wonder Woman (an Asian American woman reflects on childhood female superheroes)
A tale of finding comic book heroes, like Wonder Woman.Read More
An Asian American expat musings on the post-election malaise
As an expat, one of the things I experience is how different governments treat their people, and how my passport country measures up. Until I had moved overseas, I had taken for granted American infrastructure, rules and regulations and our homegrown love for criticizing politicians and government. I lived in a democracy where political cartoons…Read More
Celebrating 7 years abroad
It was Facebook that reminded me that the milestone had passed. Otherwise, I’m sure I would have continued to scroll past this moment, drinking my coffee and eating my banana. I posted, “I signed up for Intensive Thai, but based on my photo (with my application) I was enrolled in Intensive English instead.” Now, normally,…Read More
What’s up with Asians obsession with white skin?
As many expats in Asia and perhaps even some travelers know, being white-skinned is considered beautiful, desirable and essential. This is quite laughable to the Westerner who wants to be tanned. Creams, sprays and salons are dedicated to making us look like we’ve just been to Mexico or the Bahamas. When I lived in Hawaii,…Read More
Why I stopped looking at women’s magazines
There is a blogger I follow on Instagram (I don’t know why, really, I don’t read her blog, but I find her – a curiosity) and she’s posted recently that she LOVES women’s magazines and how she’s obsessed with them. It reminded me of a time when I felt the same way. I used to…Read More
Do you speak broken English?
Despite the fact that I’m an expat in Asia and I hear broken English all around me, and struggle to communicate just as much as the next foreigner navigating these poorly maintained roads, I don’t speak broken English. And this isn’t because I’m an English teacher and I have my nose in the air, it’s…Read More
Identity, what is it good for?
“We don’t really learn anything properly until there is a problem, until we are in pain, until something has failed to go as we hoped. Though we can, of course, use our minds without being in pain… we become properly inquisitive only when distressed. We suffer, therefore we think and we do so because thinking…Read More
Asian American American holidays
American holidays overseas don’t take on any extraordinary meaning, if anything they seem to diminish in specialness. And that’s okay. I think what really helps me is I’m a first-generation American, and what that means is, holidays as a child were perfunctory and often awkward occasions.Read More
🍛 Foods I love from Hawaii
Folks from Hawaii talk about SPAM as if we are talking about sex or something better. I’m fairly certain if we replaced SPAM with the word ‘sex’ the giddy teenage excitement in our voices would be the same. SPAM is our bacon, our beacon of light, our bowl of comfort and a beautiful mess.Read More
Visiting Hawaii meant not only visiting memories, but places where those memories are contained. Chinatown is one such place. Honolulu’s is one of the oldest Chinatowns in America and probably is one of the smelliest. So, I find it rather amusing that tourists come here and based on their 3 star reviews, visitors possibly find…Read More
the urgency of today, going home, gaining perspective
When you go home, regardless how much you think you know a place, there is almost always the unexpected. I was only returning to Hawaii for 2 weeks, what could possibly happen, right?Read More
Why this Asian American never pursued acting.
Grace Rowe’s video message to Asian Americans reminded me why I never pursued acting after high school. She pleas for AAs to get into acting and she’s witty about it, too. I liked the video. But even in high school, I knew I wasn’t the right color for Hollywood or NYC theatre. I knew that…Read More
My Ubon Ratchathani story
Have you ever chased a dream? And if that is too dramatic to say, have you ever chased down something that didn’t hold much of a chance, but you decided to give it a go anyway? Because that is where my Ubon Ratchathani story begins, with a pursuit.Read More
Was it really stealing? Stealing is wrong.
First of all, let me say that I’ve never stolen anything before. Well, that was what I truly thought until I started to write and then I began to remember my dishonest and theiving past. I was astonished, really. It’s funny what we forget and what we remember once we start writing. Forgive me and…Read More
🍛 What’s your relationship with food?
Eating as a kid – in the beginning, there was sugar. My brother and I pretty much had free range over the foods we wanted. But not in a “Do you want sushi or beef wellies?” kind of way, more like we rode the shopping cart down commissary food aisles with reckless joy throwing in…Read More
🍛 What’s your comfort food?
The problem is my mom is an amazing cook so I have fond and savory memories of her cooking. I can think of many comforting Thai dishes she made that taste like home: Stuffed Bitter Melon Soup, Pork Knuckles in Sweet Dark Soy Sauce and a very simple Chicken Rice Soup that she made whenever…Read More
How has your name impacted you?
I remember in the sixth grade when this new kid came to class. He was one of the few black kids at our school, and on his first day he answered Mrs. K’s questions as best as he could. “Your name is Filet Mingon?” “Yes.” She said it louder and slower, “Your name is Filet…Read More
I’ve been discontinued.
So, I signed this petition (I’ve been signing petitions lately.). This one is by 18 Million Rising because American Girl® doll cancelled their only Asian American doll. 18MR basically wants American Girl® to create another doll that looks like us.Read More
🇹🇭 At The Finish Line: Asian American In Thailand, Part 16
Originally posted on A Holistic Journey:
1) How do you define yourself racially or ethnically and why is it important to you? Please tell us about the racial makeup of your family if you were adopted or come from a colorful family. I consider myself Asian American, or as I like to say, American Asian.…
American Football, Family and God.
I like American football. I have fond memories from childhood, when the rest of childhood was more complicated and slippery. People are often surprised to hear that I like American football. I suppose because I don’t announce this, I don’t seem like the type (???) and because after college, I’ve never dated a guy who…Read More
Should Asian American parents be teaching their kids to be more Asian?
You mean they’re not? (*hit the gong*) Well, according to Vijay Pendakur’s Open Letter to Asian American parents, no, they are not. Really? First of all, I’m all for parents teaching their children to be proud of their race/ethnicity/culture/etc. Now, whether or not the child embraces their culture and parents’ teachings is entirely up to…Read More
My first sky lantern
Watching the sky lanterns float in the daytime sky, from my apartment window, reminds me of the first time I experienced a khom loy or khom fai. In 2007, I returned to Thailand after being away for 18 years. It was a pretty big deal made even grander by the fact that my mom said…Read More
What’s that one special story?
I’m participating in iversity’s The Future of Storytelling which I learned about through Aerogramme Writers’ Studio. At the end of Chapter 1 (and I’m assuming this will be the case at the end of all the chapters) we were given a creative task. Here it is: Please think about which story you have read, seen,…Read More
🇹🇭 Gin Salat (Thailand’s day of the dead)
Gin Salat reminds me of Japan’s Bon Festival or Mexico’s Día de los Muertos. In Thailand, we honor the deceased by creating “salats” adorned with household goods. The idea being that whatever things the dead used while living, like toothbrushes and toothpaste, are needed again in the afterlife too.Read More
How I got my EFL job: Asian Americans can teach English in Asia
In 2009, I took SIT’s TESOL’s course in Bangkok. The month long intensive course was wonderful because the instructors were quality, and my classmates and I got along really well. We were a diverse group from India, Cambodia, France, Belgium, Mexico, the US and Thailand (not including our instructors who hailed from Romania, South Africa…Read More
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