Harvest Moons and Autumn Flowers

"I don’t know how the moon looked where you were last night, but from the curb where I stood, a few paces away from the auto repair shop and the two men tamping down the embers of their barbecue, the moon was round and luminous and haunting, and it glowed even through the quick-flitting clouds. Last night’s moon-gazing was for the Mid-Autumn Festival. That means it’s fully autumn, and it’s time to unveil a project I’ve been working on for the past year." About 12 hours after Kevin…

Who Is Arthur Chu? Villain, Hero, or Anti-Hero?

In 2014, I spoke with filmmaker Yu Gu (顾雨) and her co-director, Scott Drucker, as they were gearing up to follow Arthur Chu for his appearance in the Tournament of Champions on Jeopardy! as a part of their documentary, Who is Arthur Chu?. The film centers on this fellow Taiwanese American, who translated his notoriety from the game show into a being a critical voice on issues of social justice and pop culture.After following the film’s progress, I drove up on a rainy day to speak with Gu…

Beyond the Amy Tan Questions: Why a Millennial TA Anthology

I call them the “Amy Tan Questions.” Questions like “how do families relate in context of war, distance, and famine?” or “how does a child reconcile the old world of their parents with the new world America in which they live?”. These questions are important, for they are our foundation as a community and give us vignettes of Asian and Asian American history that American public schools neglected. But they are dated, and they are not our stories.I wanted to see writing that moved…

Paths and Patterns: experiences in translingualism

We’ve fallen into a pattern, my new friends. And some of my old friends, in this new context. It’s a new thing, for them, but feels familiar, comfortable, for me. You see, it’s natural for me, because it’s how I grew up.I grew up in the US, in the heart of the Midwest, a daughter of Taiwanese immigrants. Mandarin was my first language, but ceded her position as mother tongue to English early on, in a country where assimilation was survival. My parents, though, my beautifully centered…

Tongues like Swords: American Privilege in Taiwan

Being an American is a funny thing. Because, being an American carries some serious cultural currency in most parts of the world, mostly due to the fact that since the end of WWII the US has held hegemonic power, both militarily and economically. (Not to say we are or are not necessarily well-liked, but that’s a different question altogether). In many parts of the world, the sort of idea that “West is best” has been very pervasive, and this manifests itself in all facets of life. This is…

#ChampChu

At the beginning of this year, America met Arthur Chu. As a contestant on the long-running game show, Jeopardy!, he was, rather unexpectedly, the target of social media backlash, allegedly for his style of play. Since then, it’s become abundantly clear that Arthur’s game strategy could not have been the only factor in his notoriety. So why is it, when there have been other players in Jeopardy!’s history that have also used the “Forrest Bounce,” that Mr. Chu gets the heat? This is the…

Fresh and Accidental: Two Voices in Taiwanese America

Eddie Huang’s much anticipated series, Fresh Off the Boat, is the first sitcom featuring an Asian American family in over 20 years. Huang’s unabashed voice has been a refreshing streak in the conversation about the Asian American, and particularly the Taiwanese and Chinese American, experience. In an article regarding the series, the memoir it’s based off on, and his critics, Huang expresses his belief that “It’s not enough for one person to represent us. We need many people. People are…

A Taiwanese American Look at the Sunflower Movement

Let me paint a picture. The golden age of the American economy, where the US was the uncontested global hegemon after the Second World War, tripped over itself in the 1970s. Inflation, unemployment, and income inequality all rose significantly in the coming decades, contributing to what sociologists call the Great U-Turn, in reference to the receding of hard-earned social progress. Manufacturing jobs disappeared, entire towns across the country falling into despair in their absence. This crisis marked…

Midwestern Roots

I am deeply, deeply Midwestern.I often forget how much of an Ohioan I am until, of course, I leave Ohio. Then, wherever I go, it becomes painfully obvious that I am, indeed, from the Midwest, the Rust Belt, the Corn Belt. Not everyone knows what this implies, but as with any stereotype, the word comes with a myriad of associated traits. UrbanDictionary says that Midwesterners are:considered a different breed. the good: they're nice outgoing people with morals. the bad: they're nice outgoing…

Social Media Racism, Revisited

Once again, my university makes a splash in the Asian blogosphere and is highlighted in the metropolitan newspaper for having overtly racist students. Angry Asian Man, Colorlines, and the Columbus Dispatch all covered a new tumblr called OSU Haters, which highlights outrageous tweets by students of my beloved place of higher education, The Ohio State University, some of them by the afore mentioned OSU Asian twitter account. It seems that my first post about racial encounters in social media was only…