New York, NY
In my perfect world, I live in a future where I needn’t explain to anyone that Thailand and Taiwan are different places.
Who are you?
I am a composer, lyricist, Asian dude.
No seriously, that’s what it says on my business card. I tend to think of myself as a playwright whose finished work happens to be musical. But I think the technical term is composer/lyricist. I was, in a former life, an actor. I hold a BFA in acting and an MFA in writing both from NYU Tisch. I am a hardcore gamer. Currently playing: (God of War III, Fragile Dreams.)
I am about to have a really awesome year.
What do you do?
I spend a fair amount of my days getting IN the game but staying objective enough to write ABOUT the game. And by “game” I mean that whole “living” thing. Being an artist sometimes directly contradicts with being a writer. Because how can you make a compelling case for the truth if you aren’t objective enough to see it? So I have a survival job, working in a presentation center at an IBank. I also freelance and do sheet music transcription for actors. I get produced in the city at least once a year. My one act musical The View From Here will get a German language production in Vienna in the fall. My full length musical And the Earth Moved, about the Taiwan earthquake of 1999 is slated for a concert reading in November, and a production the following season. I don’t spend enough time with my girlfriend. Who is the single coolest person I’ve ever known in my life.
Why are you proud to be of Taiwanese heritage?
Because to be anything less would be a disservice to the world. If you’re nodding your head right now, and smiling, you probably don’t need me to elaborate. If you’re shaking your head right now, my wish for you this year is that you harvest a deeper appreciation for your gifts and the uniqueness of your experiences. That you come to understand the things that color your world, which you view as commonplace, are to others, completely alien. That maybe there are lawmakers and men and women of influence out there who unbeknownst to you have no idea what your experience is and therefore completely fail to consider it as they enact influence. I am proud of my heritage because I am proud of who I am.
What does the future of Taiwanese America look like to you?
In my perfect world, I live in a future where I needn’t explain to anyone that Thailand and Taiwan are different places. Where my hapa friend Kubo doesn’t make a ghost face at me when he hears me declare myself as “Taiwanese” as if his having called me “Chinese” was grounds for a knock down, drag out. But let’s talk specifics. My future holds a seat for Taiwan at the UN again. A seat that is born first from recognition of independence, but from recognition that is, itself, born from mutual understanding and respect. There is no Chinese/Taiwanese war in my future. No Terminator robots or Cylons or anything. Just two ideologies learning how to suppress the reptilian impulse (no V either) and act like grown ups.
Any additional information you would like to share?
I went on tour with Paul McCartney once. I also played Madison Square Garden and Carnegie Hall in the same year. I played Roberta Flack’s piano once. I believe Picard could kick Kirk’s ass, don’t see any way Aeris didn’t have to die, find LOST to be equal parts mind f*cking and equal parts insufferable and I used to make Transformers characters in my head. I despise injustice. I love theater. I am regularly shocked and dismayed at how few people are aware that music transcends language. Oh, and you’re not the boss of me.