Category Archives: apia

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.



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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.

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Filed under apia, videos

tiger mom don’t play.

so by now you’ve probably read amy chua’s article, ‘why chinese moms are superior,’ in the wallstreet journal. and i’m sure you’ve probably read the countless response articles to the piece so i’m not going to bore you to death with yet another response piece [well, not right now at least]. however, i can direct you to the latest internet fad: the tiger mom meme by jeff yang. below are some of my favorites:

photo courtesy of

**for those of you who don’t understand chinese, the second part means ‘listen to mom.’ lulzzzz. this one might be my favorite so far.**

photo courtesy of

photo courtesy of

while i don’t know if i necessarily agree with chua’s style of parenting [okay, i definitely don’t], i have experienced hardass asian parenting to a degree so i can somewhat relate. my parents, for sure, were not as fanatical as chua but they were pains in my ass for a while. until they gave up that is. lulz.

have any of you submitted one to the tiger mom meme? i would but i can’t think of anything clever enough…..

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Filed under apia, Uncategorized

beau sia.

last night, while searching for apia spoken word artists to possibly bring to school for asian american awareness month, i came across beau sia and his multiple guest spots on the def poetry jam [via youtube] on hbo.

i’d heard of him before via word-of-mouth and really liked the open letter he wrote to all the rosie o’donnells of the world during that whole idiotic ching-chong incident but wasn’t particularly aware of his other work.

anyway, while going through his youtube videos, i came across one that now holds a special place in my heart:

i think one of my most favorite parts has to be:

“…’cause we’re not just on the big screen, in the kung-fu flicks you adore. WE ARE EVERYWHERE. we are programming your websites, making your executives look smart, and getting into your schools for FREE. THAT’S RIGHT. RAISE THE BAR.”

hahaha. nice.

one of the things i think i like most about him is his intensity. he really gets into his pieces. you can tell that he really is passionate about the work he does. and i like the fact that his pieces are accessible [if you know me, accessibility is a huge issue for me] and easy to process.

apparently he also has youtube and mypace pages too. check ’em out.

“…’cause i got a chip on my shoulder the size of 25 years of being underrepresented, lumped into a group, and made to feel inadequate, and i’ve HAD ENOUGH. i currently have a nonspecific game plan though right now it’s just very very angry. but will be better thought out later. so until then, RIIIIIISE UP.”

you hear that? get ready for the ASIAN INVASIAAAAN MOTHERFUCKERRRSSS.

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