Why I Can’t Wait to Read The Good Immigrant

goodimmigrant.jpg
I can’t wait to read this once I can get this book stateside. Also I love this part of in the Monocle podcast covering the book about having three voices, which I think a lot of children of immigrants have.
Your White people phone/at work voice, the hybrid voice in of your neighborhood or the people who roll with for real – your normal voice – one you’re sure if it still quite feels like you or comfortable anymore once you reach a professional status, and the language of another land that will probably be lost on your children.
Ever since I first went around Europe alone as a adult (sort of) when I was 19 and discovered there were other countries full of people like us, it was this simultaneous:
1) We’re not alone in America as what we are.  There are people living as mongrel cultures everywhere.
2) Oh shit, I’m glad I got to grow up in America and be a person of color here instead. I think a lot of us 2nd gen Americans, and Canadians too, have experienced advantages we don’t think enough about, having arrived in countries that are more blank slates for us instead of inheriting history of being from a former colony or descended from slavery.
3) Totally obsessed with stories of people like us in other places.  This has been rekindled lately where our destinies seem to have a lot more parallel convergences under the shadow of the Brexit and a potential Trump presidency.
I hope this is available soon stateside.
Advertisements

On Reconciling Double Consciousness and Being an Emotional Immigrant

owt.jpgwalk.jpg

From a few weeks ago after a pretty amazing but tormented first year in New York City and dealing with the weirdness that sometimes comes with life changes and upward mobility:

On Monday night, I was on my way home after a meet-upy thing I’m super excited about that I wouldn’t have even considered a few years ago bc I would have been no joke like “that shit is for white people.”

I opened my phone to figure out the best way to get home and instinctively opened Waze and chuckled. I had spent the last week and a half in LA back on freeways but mostly back in the neighborhood I grew up in, where everyone is more or less like me. I couldn’t wait to leave this time last year (when I signed the contract for the job I have now), but as always, distance makes the heart grow fonder.

I switched to Google maps to check train times while walking through the cacophonous internationalism and diversity that is NYC on an extraordinarily beautiful night. I’ve always really wanted to be a global citizen despite inclinations for tribalism.

Lately, I’m always switching place to place space to space. I put on different clothes, talk with a different accent, speak in a different language, change different IDs and transit cards out of my wallet all without thinking. Feeling like an emotional immigrant, not quite real and definitely not down.

I’ve struggled in the past year to finally get that this life is both a gift and a responsibility and that is ok, even though it can feel like a burden with sense of torment, the constant mix of ecstasy and guilt immigrant Americans can feel. Of always being an outsider, but someone who moves past borders, real and invisible. My adaptability has sometimes made me wonder if I’m a plastic person.

But I can’t keep worrying about feeling like selling out or that I’m being a faker – I’ve made my choices with no regrets. Maybe I can be a bridge and accept it as both a form of duty and a stroke of luck, because let’s face it, most of the world cannot be global citizens. Choosing the best parts of life and knowing that to much is given much is expected, but I can enjoy it, appreciate it, use it, and forever be grateful for this moment in life.

Trump’s ‘Losers’ of Capitalism Army

Some scary as shit from NYTimes: Voices From Donald Trump’s Supporters Screen Shot 2016-08-04 at 12.16.40 AM.png

I have to wonder if there is some dark side of capitalism and structural change when mixed with an entitled group if people fall behind. The unsympathetic side of me would say these racist losers who probably have no skills for the 21st century deserve to be poor and forgotten. After all, isn’t our system supposed to reward those who work hardest (in theory)? If people can cross oceans and deserts and care out better lives than them, why the fuck should I give a shit about them? Full disclaimer if you couldn’t tell already from the blog title, I’m an Asian person. I could make the argument I probably pay tons of taxes for their welfare and they probably hate seeing someone like me living a much better life than them or god forbid a Black president who was the son of an immigrant. But then the on the flipside, they literally are a flaming trash fire of danger to everyone including themselves. I also generally believe in alleviating the suffering of the downtrodden, if not to just to save my own skin with keeping society stable.

The United States is hardly the first country to have seen a middle class get gutted because of mechanization, globalism, and other structural changes. I have to wonder though if the natural conclusion and human nature is to blaming other people and turn against each other when you live in a diverse society. It’s not as if middle class people in other developed countries haven’t started facing salary crunches long before the United States did, but it spurred renaissance of small businesses and people finding other ways to live, even if obviously is not ideal (I’m thinking particularly of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong here) and cope. In the West, we have resurgent xenophobia, racism, and the strange economic and political self-immolation with actions such as the Brexit and supporting an unstable demagogue. Once you get entitled people in a frenzy, fearful, and desperate, they’ll believe anything someone says. Also, while these people aren’t anyway near a majority of the country, it’s not as if vengeful and prejudiced minority groups haven’t exercised tyranny over entire countries for significant and devastating periods of time (the Serbs in the Balkan wars, White South Africans, upper classes in South America, the KMT-in-exile in Taiwan, colonialism the world over). Unfortunately, generally educated peace-loving cosmopolitan people are shit in a fight and slow to wake up and stand up to barbarism. Just saying.