Child soldiers, the Secret War, and America: A legacy of blood on our hands.

Photo by Max Muselmann on Unsplash.

My dad passed away in 2018, but if you’d had met him, you’d have not thought that he was very threatening. Even in his later years, he still had a full head of dark hair sprinkled with grays. He was still handsome with a charming lopsided grin that had caused my mom a lot of stress in their younger years. He was quite the talker, after all. Time and genetics had been kind to his face despite the fact that he’d been a farmer for the last 30 years of his life, more or less. Even as cancer took its…


Mental Health

The mental toll and emotional exhaustion of amplifying voices for change.

Photo by Hedgehog Digital on Unsplash

A lot of people focus on others as competition, but for me, my biggest challenger has always been myself. I might get flashes of envy, but at the end of the day, I know that the only real person stopping me is me. I suffer from anxiety, depression, PTSD, and recovering from trauma bonding. I’m a survivor of domestic abuse, sexual assault, racist assault, patriarchal abuse. There’s a whole list and it never really fully goes away. You just learn to manage and work through the moments.

In some ways, it is the crucial component to why I’m empathetic, but…


Race

Struggling in a climate of Asian hate.

Photo by Kristina Tripkovic on Unsplash

I woke up this morning with a keen sense of longing for my youth. I miss those simpler times. I miss them so much. I miss walking underneath autumn trees on a cold New Jersey morning, my black leather jacket pulled in close. I miss the red-orange of the leaves over my head and beneath my feet, the air crisp and clean and scented with that thick scent of grass. I even found myself missing the company of my old lover, whom I’d long cut ties to.

Maybe it was the midnight talks with my friends or the way the…


Race Relations

The inevitable return of Asian gangs in the ever present tension between Black Americans and Asian Americans.

Screenshot of my own article that had to be taken down for safety.

A few days ago, I wrote a piece imploring to the Black Community to see my Asian community and our struggles with the Black Community. It’d been a deeply buried truth for so many Asians, but they kept silent out of fear of the backlash and the dismissal and the cancellation that they would receive from social media. They all feared being called racist and anti-Black for even muttering the words of their reality. The harassing of not just me but also my friends got to be so bad that for their safety, I had to take it down. …


Love

I’ll always remember you standing in the rain, waiting for me.

Photo by Andre Benz on Unsplash.

I’ll always remember you standing in the rain, waiting for me. The city lights were golden overhead, fighting through the gray drops of water as yellow cabs and black cars sped by in blurred flashes of red tail lights.

Even in the cold and wet, everything felt alive. The fine curls of mist that rose from the grates, the swishing of tires as they glided over puddles. People milling about, umbrellas unfurled, huddled in their jackets. You were standing there with your broken umbrella the wind had torn apart just before I found you.

I remember all the details of…


Love

Melodies of memory and time.

Photo by Thomas AE on Unsplash

Some songs make loneliness so palpable that it aches like an old wound. The melody calls forth a flush of longing that blooms in the chest to travel up the throat and suffuse the cheeks. The memories flood like a moving picture — an outstretched hand, a hapless smile, a knowing look.

And the scents…warm, like a summer’s day, sandalwood and vetiver. An embrace that is more than arms. It is whole and encompassing, a southern wind that buries in the hair and whispers a name like a prayer so sacred. It is the softness of lips and the tenderness…


Race

Defying America’s assumption that Asians are a monolith and that we’re all the same

My older brother and I in a refugee camp in Thailand in the late 1970s. Photo credit my dad.

I’m not your model minority. I never have been, but people have assumed I am because I’m well-read, I’m well-spoken, and I write well. I often get mistaken for Chinese or Korean. At times, I’ve benefited from the model minority myth because people don’t see me as a threat. They think I’ll be meek and quiet. They also assume I’m good with numbers. I’ve met some Asians who fall into the model minority myth perfectly and it’s always annoyed me. Even my brother thinks Asians are just naturally better at numbers than they are at the arts. (Tsk tsk, brother.)


Feminism

Freeing my girls from the contraptions of societal expectation healed my body from 25 years of a torture device

Photo by Dainis Graveris on Unsplash.

I’m a double D.

Oooh,” you say, “how fun.”

Wrong. With large breasts come a series of problems. Shoulder soreness and welts of angry red flesh at the end of the day from your bra straps digging in. Aching lower back pain from the weight of your girls being hoisted into unnatural positions. Bad posture from the gravitational pull of your fun bags.

In short, big boobs cause big pain. Not to mention that bras for big boobs are overpriced, horribly matronly and designed for sturdiness instead of beauty. For women, taking off our bras at the end of a…


Equality

What remains of us after we’re gone.

Photo by Linus Nylund on Unsplash

I think about my own mortality often, mainly about if I’ve made an impact, what I’m leaving behind, and have I affected change for the better on some small level. Each of us is a ripple in a pond and the things we say and do reverberates onto others, rippling across society until it dissipates against the shore. Some of us make bigger splashes than others, that’s for sure.

I suppose this is what you can call “being deep,” thinking about the responsibilities of one’s own choices and how it’ll ultimately remain after we’re gone. I think beyond myself, knowing…


Equality

*Trigger Warning* Discusses rape and the fallacies and truths about male victims

Photo by Edu Lauton on Unsplash

A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece about a scene in Netflix’s Bridgerton series, where the female lead rapes her husband. The resulting responses were a mixed bag of support or vehement denial. It’s hard for some to believe that men can be raped by women. After all, men are believed to be physically stronger than women. Men also have the sex organ that does the penetrating.

For centuries, rape was believed to only apply to women who were violently sexually assaulted or to men who were forcefully violated by other men. It wasn’t until the second wave of…

PBJ

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