scarcity vs. sufficiency

As I was sifting through my inbox this morning, I came across this message from Rinku Sen, President and Executive Director of the Applied Research Center that really resonated with me. In her brief note, she speaks to sufficiency vs. scarcity and her evolution as a social justice warrior:

A couple of weeks ago I struck up a conversation with a man on the train from New York to Washington D.C. He asked me what I did, and I said it was racial justice work and described ARC. He asked me what I did before this and I told him I was a community organizer. He said, “you’ve taken a vow of poverty,” in a tone that was half admiring and half exasperated. I said that I wasn’t even close to suffering. This is an experience I often have.

Not only am I not suffering, but I’m happy. Consistently happy, every day. For the first time in my long career, and longer life, I feel like I have a clue about how to make racial justice and, more importantly, what I can contribute to that grand project. My coworkers and friends are a constant source of humor and sustaining wisdom. My family is lovely.

It turns out that it’s easy to be happy if I dwell in sufficiency. I used to feel the lack of things more than I felt their presence, which paradoxically brings more lack than anything else. I’m more likely to focus on solutions when I can see the assets, time, people, money and skills we do have, rather than only what we don’t. It takes some discipline not to slide into scarcity mode, but the notion of scarcity itself is so central to racial discrimination that living in it seems inconsistent with ARC’s, and my, mission. For me, happiness is different from complacency or triumphalism. The burn I feel for my work is more of a smolder now than the flame I had when I was younger. The fire has been tamped down some by compassion and loss. I’m okay with that. It’s less flashy, but lasts longer, and it fuels happiness instead of an ulcer. I’ll take it.



Leave a comment

Filed under apia, social justice

dsquared says all black everything.

so on the one hand, i kinda love this show. gorgeous bags, nice twist with the cuffed jeans – mixing trendy and old school style, classic glasses, ALL BLACK MALE MODELS. plus, the suiting. my gawd, the suiting. that last vest, with the black beading? stunning!

but on the other hand, i dont know how quite to feel about, well, the all black model cast. i dont think this is a typical occurrence for dsquared [but correct me if i’m wrong!] so there’s something about it that just feels like tokenization of black bodies.

they probably are. but whatever. for now i’m just going to enjoy the beautiful clothes and gorgeous male models. what.

Leave a comment

January 25, 2013 · 10:15 pm

我愛你, momma yin.

a while back, i asked momma yin to start writing her emails to me in chinese [with accompanying english] so i could in some small way start improving my chinese skillz. she obliged and recently sent me this email for my birthday:


Dear Maymay : 

Today ( 今天 ) is  ( 是 ) your  ( 你的 ) birthday  ( 生日 ) ,
I ( 我 ) can’t ( 不敢 ) believe ( 相信 ) you  ( 你 ) are already  ( 己經 ) 26 ( 二十六歲 ) !
You ( 你 ) was born ( 出生時 )  only ( 只有 ) four pounds ( 四磅 ) !
Happy ( 快樂 ) Birthday ( 生日 ) !=生日快樂!
i dont know why, but it made me smile. plus, i could read most of the characters! [well, with help from the accompanying english. but still. success!] it’s the small things. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

this blog is making a comeback.

i’m back. for real this time. slight revamp coming soon. 


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

is rape funny?

is it?

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

music by an asian american r&b group that doesn’t suck

i’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for asian american groups trying to make it in the music industry. especially ones that do more than the usual, ‘look at me be awkward/shy and play a pop melody on my guitar.’ i hate that shit. every single goddamn apia conference i’d go to, there would be at least one asam doing this and it would make me want to rip my hair out. asian americans know how to do more than just mediocrely croon and strum on guitars, dammit!

so as i was skimming through omona they didn’t, my go-to place for kpop news [don’t hate], imagine my surprise when i saw a post about an asian american r&b group. while the name, aziatix [they don’t even have a wiki page yet, eep!], leaves something to be desired, eddie shin and nicky lee have got decent voices that seem to compliment each other well and flowsik can spit some okay rhymes.

i’ll admit, it’s not like their single ‘go’ [see above] is something that’s completely unique-sounding and will forever change the music world but it’s fun and has a great, catchy beat. i could totally hear this playing on ‘mainstream’ radio. it would make for a great summertime jam.

it may take some time for them to hit it big but hell, it took far east movement a good number of years before people really began to take notice, so who knows. all i do know is that i would love to see some more asian american talent out their in the ‘mainstream’ music scene and aziatix gives me some hope to make that a reality.

go here for the music video teaser.

Leave a comment

Filed under apia, videos

lauryn hill is badass

so basically i fail. lulz. ah well. anyway, was skimming my friend jeff’s tumblr and this song came on through his blog:

and you know when you hear a certain song and it just……grabs hold of you? that’s what happens everytime i hear this song. i remember hearing this way back when when my sister would play hills’ cd in the house and hill was blowin’ up. i didn’t think too much of it then. but now when i hear it, i dunno. maybe it’s cause i’m older and am able to have a better understanding and appreciation for good [which is of course subjective] music. but man. i hear lauryn’s voice and it’s got so much soul and depth. paired with the sick beats, this song just gives me shivers. love it.

Leave a comment

Filed under videos