All posts in: Culture

06 Oct 2018

Can We Be Better?

photo cred | Associated Press

I recently read this article that struck a chord with me and made me want to share a similar story with all of you. The article is about how a video went viral of a homeless man shaving on the train. You can imagine that it was probably some millennial that filmed it. This person not only did it so that others could join in on ridiculing a stranger, but they also tried to sell it to other media outlets. The story was frustrating to say the least.

It’s more than just poor taste. It’s dehumanizing. There is so much to love about social media. I enjoy it because of the communities that it can form and the positivity that can be spread. At the same time, being in this space, I know that the internet can be a dark place. This is one of those moments and it’s heartbreaking to hear that someone used this video to try and gain viral status.

In San Francisco, I meet different kinds of people regularly. It’s through work, through my candidates, friends of friends, etc. I recently met someone who was trying to explain to me that the neighborhood we were in, though somewhat more gentrified now, is still as bad as it was years ago. He further explained to me that “just the other day, he was walking down the street and saw a homeless man digging out of the trash with his pants down at his ankles.” He took a photo of that moment and offered to show me. I could’ve died. The conversation and that evening needed to end right then and there.

In this day and age, I get it. The lines are blurry. Things on the internet are funny, but not at the expense of others. I’m not saying I have always gotten this right. I learned tough lessons about this in the internet age a long time ago and even before the internet was more of a thing. This is a friendly reminder to all of you to think before you post and to not film or take photos unless you’ve asked for permission. If you don’t feel comfortable asking permission, then you probably shouldn’t be doing what you are doing.

26 Aug 2018

You Are What You Eat

I want to start this post by getting something out of the way. A year ago, I wrote a piece on Yow Yow! sharing a difficult childhood moment that I faced that had to do with my identity – my ethnicity. It was challenging for me to write to begin with. After it was posted, I received backlash (from an individual), which resulted in me having a panic attack on my way to work. It was yet another moment in my life where I felt isolated and even having this platform for nearly nine years at the time, I was made to feel like I had done something wrong.

In the last few years, I’ve started to share more about my life when I can muster up the courage. It is never my intention to offend anyone. With every sensitive post I consider writing, I send a first draft and sometimes a second draft to Veronica before posting. I want to make something clear. I’m not a journalist. No one currently writes on Yow Yow! except for me. I’m not trying to push my opinions onto anyone else. You can choose to not read Yow Yow! ever if something I say upsets you. I never come in expecting my experiences to resonate with anyone. I consider myself lucky if I get just one person that can relate, but it is okay to walk away from this and not feel anything. We all process experiences and feel emotions differently towards a variety of things and that is fine.

That one day of backlash from one person wasn’t great. I was only able to get over it after receiving messages from people that thanked me for sharing my story because it is often stories from Asian Americans that get overlooked because we don’t fit in. At its core, Yow Yow is here to share the stories of others, which we’ve done so many times and mine when I feel brave.

*****

I started a new job a couple of weeks ago, which is never easy. The other night, I was invited to dinner with my coworkers and a question that was thrown out to the table was “what were your lunches like growing up?” In this moment, I was appreciative that my coworkers expressed curiosity because what that time represented for me was shame. In my first few days of Kindergarten my parents sent me off with leftovers from dinner the night before – a standard of rice with marinated beef or chicken prepared by my mother. Delicious, but what some may consider “potent smelling”. My attempt to blend in wasn’t working. I needed a meal that smelled more like a bologna sandwich.

I often times wonder to this day if my parents were hurt by me asking, “Can I please just have a Lunchables every day?” “Can I have a Capri-Sun?” “Can my peanut butter jelly sandwiches be cut into 4’s or at the very least halves?”

A lot of “Can I’s” in an attempt to feel like everyone else. I’m certain that it wasn’t much more work for my parents to adhere to my requests, but likely more expensive. They wanted me to be happy and we all wanted to fit in, right?

For the longest time, I used to say that I grew up mostly never having Asian friends or identifying with that part of my life. But I wasn’t really trying, was I? I wanted the things that everyone else had: A normal lunch, to run for student government, to be decent in school, but nowhere near an overachiever because that would put me in a stereotype. I longed to be good at sports, but that was never going to happen.

At the same time I was confused. I didn’t have the idols that everyone else had. I loved the Spice Girls and Britney Spears, but I couldn’t relate to them ever. For me, there was Lucy Liu, Mulan, Julie from The Puzzle Place, the yellow Power Ranger, and Kimi from Rugrats. As I got older, I admired Lisa Ling and Suchin Pak. I sometimes get annoyed at the articles that are saying that we are having a moment now, but the truth is, everyone has been hustling. We’ve always been here, but never truly seen.

*****

This chapter in my life is called embracing. Leslie, Tommy and I got tickets for Crazy Rich Asians the night that it opened and I had been looking forward to it all week. I laughed at the jokes that I knew my family could relate to. I smiled from my nearly front row seat looking up at Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) because she was a heroine in this film. By the last quarter of the film, my entire face was wet and the tears were flowing. I couldn’t articulate why, but I knew it meant something powerful to me. It was this idea that even though Nick’s family looked like Rachel, she was a stranger and could never be seen as anything close to family. It’s so hard to talk about the film without giving spoilers away, but there are many themes within that resonated with my upbringing – the standards that are held for us, the shame and disgrace that you can bring upon your family, and the pursuit of happiness vs. expectations.

For weeks, I continued to hear this phrase, “representation matters”. I couldn’t say it myself because I didn’t know what it meant until I felt it. This past week has been overwhelming for me, full of emotions, a sense of accomplishment and solidarity. For those of you that connected with Crazy Rich Asians and To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before – Asian or not, it meant the world to me to hear your praises and how much it resonated with you. Please continue to be curious and to seek these stories. The ones below are some of my favorites and paint an even clearer picture than I am able to.

 

30 Jul 2018

Blog Roundup

  • Seattle’s Pike Place Fish Market Sold to Fish-Throwing Employees [The Seattle Times]
  • The world’s most Instagrammable sneakers [forward2me]
  • The horror film, The Purge, is being turned into a television series for USA Network and it looks just as terrifying as the films.
  • Mara Wilson’s thoughts on how Allison Mack got roped into NXIVM [Elle]
  • An interview with Stripe’s CEO, Patrick Collison on culture and growing startups [High Growth Handbook – Elad Gil]
  • How an ex-cop rigged McDonald’s Monopoly game and stole millions [The Daily Beast]
  • The bowling mechanic keeping America’s favorite pastime alive
  • The legacy of Benihana [The Ringer]
  • Being 30 in Seattle: It’s a lot harder today than it was for your parents [The Seattle Times]

  • How Marie Kondo Created a Decluttering Empire [The Every Girl]
  • He Kissed Me…and then Unmatched Me [The Every Girl] – just a funny take on online dating in 2018

  • Giant NASA Space Blanket Will Cover This Year’s Burning Man [Hypebeast]
  • The 18 Best New Restaurants in America [Eater]
  • Lyft Announces New Subscription Plan [Refinery29]
10 Dec 2017

Blog Roundup

  • Meghan Markle: I’m More Than An ‘Other’This isn’t a new post, but this was my first time reading this. With the announcement of the royal engagement, this is a reminder of just why we love her so much. 
  • On Blonde Girls in Cheongsams [Racked]
  • 5 Lessons from Jimmy Iovine [GOOD]
  • Alexa Chung answers questions while eating spicy vegan nuggets.
  • Airlines hate your smart luggage [Gizmodo]
  • Silicon Valley is sneaking models into their holiday parties [Bloomberg] This is absolute trash and disgusting. I hate hearing about this stuff. 
  • Google is rolling out a new feature that allows celebrities to answer the most asked questions about themselves – selfie style [Engadget]
  • YouTube will launch a paid music streaming service next year [Hypebeast]
  • Apple reportedly purchasing Shazam for $401 million [Hypebeast]
  • Hangover cures from your favorite food pros [Coveteur]
15 Oct 2017

Blog Roundup

–  These museums actually allow you to have sleepovers there [My Modern Met]

– The evolution of women in stock photos over the years [New York Times]

– Here’s why you get better at things after 1-2 drinks [Mel Magazine]

– Advice vs. Feedback [Signal v. Noise]

– How to End a Bad Date [Man Repeller]

– Watching these two people tight rope between two hot air balloons gave me anxiety [Digg]

– Elevator etiquette in Japan [Medium]

30 Jul 2017

A Collection Part 48

48 posts and counting! I’m convinced that writer’s block is a thing that happens to everyone. I can still remember being in college and becoming upset at myself when I knew I had waited until the last minute to complete a paper. Typical. Writing always came easily when it wasn’t out of desperation and when it wasn’t at a time that I needed it the most. These “A Collection” posts are my favorite because they don’t ever require writing, but I like to write a little piece to go along with it anyways. It’s nice to just sift through a bunch of images and decide on the spot if I want to include them or not. I will usually know within a second and if I’m thinking about one for too long, that might also mean something too. I like to think that all of the images represent the mood that I’m in or a period in my life. I never actually write out the exact feeling at that moment and we’re completely okay with that. If you read into these a bit though, you can always sense a type of pattern.

Enjoy!

Read more “A Collection Part 48”

23 Jul 2017

A Vending Machine for Homemade Meals

Now I haven’t done too much international traveling, but I’ll never forget my trip to Japan and how amazed I was by not only everything there, but the amount of vending machines everywhere! Those vending machines get so much use by the locals that it feels like such a norm as opposed to here in America. It’s also entirely normal to just buy decent food at a gas station according to my friends.

I loved this story about vending machine owner, Tadashi Yoshimoto, who refills his curry and rice concoction twice a day using rice that he grows from his own farm.

[Source]

12 Jun 2017

Blog Roundup

  • How a 6-year old became one of Japan’s Instagram icons [Vice]
  • A woman’s journey to having a career in beauty after growing up on welfare [Allure]
  • A history of those Real World vs. Road Rules challenges [Buzzfeed]
  • Hear women discuss the sexism they face in Silicon Valley – a video [Wired]
  • Why you feel exhausted [Man Repeller]
  • This quiz will tell you your favorite rom-com [Livingly] I got How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and it’s true I’ve seen that movie a million times.

Instagram

  • Found a wonton soup spot that makes all problems go away. I’m never eating anything else ever again and for $6 it ain’t bad.
  • Fun Size
  • Saturday afternoon x Ferry Building
  • Striking the balance of cozy and silkiness 😌
  • Keeping it 💯 and tropical
  • Today was mess and Winny saved me from getting hit by a car in the city so onwards to tomorrow!
  • l u s h
  • 🆙
  • Quit playing games with my tots @tacotimenw #KandHdoTT

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