— Captain Anu Bhagwati (Ret.)
Director, Service Women’s Action Network, US Marine Corps
The Invisible War (dir. Kirby Dick)
Originally posted on Discover Nikkei
By Barbara Nishimoto
5 Feb 2013
Waking slowly. I can still remember the exquisitely warm feeling of waking up at home in my bed upstairs. The sounds floated up from the kitchen and gradually I began to distinguish the voices of my mother and father and older sister, Connie. It was a murmur accompanied by the clatter of pots, the hiss of water, the dull thud of the thick wooden cutting board being set upon the counter. New Year’s.
The preparation for New Year’s started days in advance. In fact our tradition for Christmas was to order Chinese food from a Cantonese restaurant 30 miles away in the city so that my parents and Connie wouldn’t have another big meal to prepare. Often we had company on New Year’s, the one and only time we had strangers in our house. My mother invited Japanese emigrants who had somehow wandered into her workplace, bachelor Nisei bowling buddies of my uncle, and a war bride whose husband had left her years ago. “Poor Mrs. Hawthorne. Twelve years and still hasn’t told her father in Hokkaido.”
I remember coming down the stairs, hearing their voices and the sounds of their cooking, and when I entered the kitchen the three of them were there at the table or at the sink or stove. My mother and sister wore aprons, their faces flushed and wisps of hair curled about their foreheads. My father wore a white T-shirt and khakis and one of his old blue post office shirts unbuttoned. As a child, then as a teenager, and finally as a young adult home from school, or on vacation from a job—through all those years it always seemed the same.
On New Year’s Eve we ate black beans for good luck, and on New Year’s morning there was mochi, charred and puffy and served with a sweet shoyu. It burned the roof of my mouth.
There was teriyaki and what we called “chashu.” My father spent hours grilling plates and plates of chicken and pork that he turned with a pair of foot long chopsticks. And there was tempura. My father said when he was a boy the sweet potatoes were like candy, and it wasn’t until years later that it became true for me, too. Every year he and Connie worked on their technique to get the shrimp to lie perfectly flat. My father cursed them, a constant delight for the rest of us. My older sister talked to them, about them, in a childish jargon she had adopted that belied her expertise. “Big boy goes near little boy.”
Connie helped, too, with the complicated details for my mother’s futomaki. Then my sister dropped the childish guise and stood with hands on hips, ready without need of a prompt to hand over the next ingredient. Fat rolls she wrapped in wax paper and placed so precisely, so carefully in long white cardboard boxes—shirt boxes my mother had saved for that purpose.
There was a huge red snapper that unlike the shrimp could not lie flat, but was trussed so that after cooking it had a pleasing flip to its head and tail. Sharing the center of the table along with the snapper was a platter of mysterious vegetables, some dark as though soaked in shoyu, some round like a wheel with spokes. There was sashimi and little platters of kamaboko and ginger and pickles—not the homemade pickles from our garden, but fancy store bought ones from the Star Market downtown.
My mother used the giant serving platters she inherited from my grandmother and the translucent china we were all afraid to wash for fear of chipping the delicate dishes. Cups and saucers that all year were kept wrapped in tissue paper so old it was soft as skin now were set not for the every day Lipton bags, but the earthy aromatic loose leaf tea from the tall tin my mother kept on a high shelf.
And there was rice. Of course. Lots of rice. Before the time of rice cookers it was my only cooking lesson. “You can tell by the smell when it’s done,” she said.
Originally posted on Angry Asian Man:
YOU WERE NOT INVITED TO KAPPA SIGMA’S “RACIST RAGER.”
Sometimes, you just need one guy to say, “Hey, maybe this isn’t such a good idea.” Alas, nobody in Duke University’s Kappa Sigma chapter had that good sense when they threw their Asian-themed “racist rager” last week: Duke Kappa Sigma party ignites firestorm of criticism.
I know. A racist themed frat party — shocker. Who would do such a thing? The flyer above was made by Asian American students in protest of the party, and all the other racist and sexist marginalization that consistently goes down at Duke and campuses everywhere. No, this is not a new thing.
Here are some more protest flyers, created using Facebook photos from the party, as well as emails that were sent to invitees. Looks like it was a jolly good racist time for all. Well, for all those white kids, I mean:
Asian American students at Duke are planning a protest rally on campus tomorrow:
Protest Against Racist Kappa Sigma Party
Wednesday, February 6, 2013 | 1:00pm
West Campus Bus Stop
If you’re SICK AND TIRED of ASIANS BEING MARGINALIZED on Duke’s campus, and INFURIATED that RACIAL, SEXUAL, AND SES MINORITIES continue getting stomped on at this campus, then come to the WEST CAMPUS BUS STOP to participate in a protest against Kappa Sigma’s “Asia Prime” party and ALL DISCRIMINATION AGAINST and SILENCING OF Asians at Duke.
*****Be at the West Campus Bus Stop at 1:00 pm sharp for a protest of Kappa Sigma’s repulsive invitation.*****
DO NOT BE SILENT.
OUR CAMPUS NEEDS TO KNOW.
Duke’s Asian Students Association will also be hosting an Open Discussion on Wednesday night.
Kappa Sigma was officially re-recognized by Duke’s Intrafraternity Council last year, a decade after dissolving over issues of misconduct. It looks like ten years wasn’t long enough. But honestly, this is part of a larger pattern of discriminatory misconduct, not just at Duke, that’s been happening on campuses for a long time. That’s racist!
Originally posted on Angry Asian Man
One of my female friends, who is Taiwanese American, and I were discussing the dearth of white male foreigners dating Taiwanese girls here, and by the end of the conversation both of us were basically reacting like:
It’s so common here and the roots in fetishization and the racial stereotypes of east Asian women run deep. One of my white female friends has been living with a bunch of white male expats for over a year now. I asked her if there was any tension there, and she just responded:
“No, as long as you’re not an attractive Taiwanese girl, then you don’t need to worry around them.”
Most of them don’t speak Chinese (of course), but they have basically been dating a parade of Taiwanese girls, since getting here.
Another example: When I was walking past some bars in Hong Kong. I walked past one in particular that was packed with old white men surrounding a number of young Asian women dancing on poles, flirting with them and serving them drinks. The lustful looks on the guys’ faces were disgusting, and you could tell they were living out their fantasies.
And one more, one of my white female followers on here sent me a message the other day saying that when she was in Taiwan, multiple white men told her to her face:
“Why would anyone want to date someone they could date at home in a country with millions of hot Asian chicks?”
It makes me sick to my stomach to see as I know that many of these relationships are rooted in the exoticisation and fetishization of these Asian women and in the white supremacist notions that have been implanted globally, making these women believe that white men and people are rich, smart and are the standard of beauty (even here in Asia). It’s so common in Taiwan, but I’ve heard that it’s even more common and the fetishization even more blatant in other countries here (e.g. Thailand). And let’s not even go into how common it is back in the States as well…
Part of me wishes that I knew some of these women better, so that I could try to say something to them, but I don’t. One of my Asian friends back home in the States is now dating a white guy, and all I could do was urge him to be cautious and watch out for the hallmarks of fetishization and “yellow fever” in his new boyfriend.
It’s not to say that there aren’t relationships between white males and Asian females in particular that are rooted in love— there are. From what I’ve seen in Asia, though, a lot of them appear to be founded in this much more insidious form of racism from both parties with the white man sexualizing the Asian female, and the Asian female seeking out the white male due to white supremacy, and, in some cases, internalized racism and self-hatred. It’s both disturbing and sad.
I’ll just close with a quote that I found on tumblr the other day by Bell Hooks in “Eating the Other” from “Black Looks”:
To these young [white] males and their buddies, fucking was a way to confront the Other, as well as a way to make themselves over, to leave behind white “innocence” and enter the world of “experience.” As is often the case in this society, they are confident that non-white people had more life experience, were more worldly, sensual, and sexual because they were different.
It’s true and traveling in Asia you see it first-hand on an almost daily basis.