Week 3: Tip of my Tongue

Seminar Thoughts: Towards the end, the topic came to defining racism. And like I WISH I had said what was on the front of my mind. At Highline College, I took my first class with a social justice focus. It was a coordinated studies course and on my transcript it was split into two classes: Critical Thinking for Equity and American Diversity. Each week we read a chapter on a form of oppression. During the first week they defined racism for us. How I understood it was this: all white people are racist because they benefit from racism. That’s how I understood all the forms of oppression, by pointing out who benefits from the system and who doesn’t. Now, my thoughts on these definitions have changed. Because to say all white people are racist assumes a pretty rigid boundary and it leaves little room for nuance. Or maybe “white people” is used generally like when we say “I hate white people” or something like that. (For example, I always say I Hate Men and I don’t mean I hate each individual men personally and I don’t treat and look at men with absolute hatred. I mean, I wouldn’t be partnered with a man if I hated men unless if I just wanted to marinate in the hate every single day.) Anyway, I wanted to share that definition in seminar because I think it gets people to think in many different ways and I just wanted to throw a definition out there. And hear people critique it, react to it, disagree – dissect – unpack it. But I didn’t I kept my mouth shut like I usually do lol. It’s a problem because I had that urge to speak and I just held back. Sometimes in seminar when I actually do speak it just feels like a performance and I’m not being authentic. Also in life in general and specifically in this class I feel like I share a lot of the same views as other students but they all just words things much smarter and better than I ever could. It’d take me a long time to share my thoughts in a clear way.

But that’s just a prime example of me diminishing myself in an accepting and open class. Like ugh. My goal is to actually say something, I’m not even going to put a time deadline on it because I know I’m working towards it. The discomfort feeling is absolutely real. I just wish I could believe in my words more.

Anyway, this week we read Donald Duk and I really enjoyed this book. I felt like this could/should be made into a movie. The imagery, the storyline, the history packed into it would make such a riveting story. The dream sequences and the dialogue would just come alive onscreen. The character of Donald was so real in his thoughts and behavior, he wasn’t someone to root for but you wanted him to be okay in the end. By the end, when he stood up for himself to his racist teacher and recognized the contributions of his ancestors closed the book real nicely. It was great. When life happened over the weekend and we were gone for the most part of Sunday I was behind in my reading. But on Thursday I practically read the whole book and I just had a good time. I’m glad I got to finish it because it was a nice wholesome story with a focus on family, heritage and coming of age.

General Life Thoughts:  It’s Saturday 11:20PM right now and on my mind is just kind of fried. I drank so many cups of tea it has lost its flavor. I still need to read and then I can go to sleep. Tomorrow I hope to do more reading and research. Also tomorrow Jackson and I are going to clean the apartment and that’s going to be an adventure. I just hope that like I can get a couple of episodes of Days of our Lives in before the weekend is done. It kind of sucks how the NBC website/app deletes episodes after a certain amount of time. Ugh.

Committed to Connection

Week 3: “It’s so heavy, it’s so stressful”

Now there’s an annotated bibliography due on Tuesday. I like searching for academic articles and getting lost in what I find. I’m kind of excited but it’s 8:11PM Saturday and I still need to finish this post, the Scissors one and read some of the book due on Friday (and make dinner lol) so I can dedicate some time tomorrow to research. On Thursday I actually started and printed out some articles. I just haven’t taken them out of my backpack yet.

I decided to stick with my topic of that connected feeling (and maybe one day before I turn in the creative essay I’ll be able to word my topic better and not have to go through the whole story) because it’s so important to me. In my mini-research session on Thursday, I search for articles on mental health in the databases because that’s where one of my homes ended up being from that writing session I did last week but I didn’t end up with a lot of articles. I’m sure they’re out there (I hope so cuz it’s super important) but mental health isn’t my strong area. I don’t think it’s an area I want to write about. I’m completely open with my time in counseling as it’s been a majorly transformative experience in my life but I’d rather talk about it than write about it.

What I do want to write about is… you know something it’s so “funny” because I know what I’m going to write about next and it’s such a sore spot I can already feel my chest and face grow tight. So going along with the metaphorical home of being connected, I thought about being disconnected from my ethnic identity. This is an experience I’m not alone in but when you don’t talk about it, it sure feels like it. I’m already feeling like I’m going to cry which is amazing because I haven’t even gotten to the thick of it. Doing the blogging thing during Friday’s afternoon block really showed me this is what I should write about. I could connect all the things I wrote about last week into this too, because all connects together. On Friday, I was talking about my topic and then I talked about my life and after the convo I reflected on it because it felt good to share my life story with another person. But I also realized that when I’ve talked about my story, it feels like I’m telling it like it’s my past, rather than something I’m currently facing. Meaning: that when I talk about my childhood and growing up with my family, it feels like I’m so far removed from it on the inside. When seriously talking about my family is a super sore spot and I don’t talk about them very much. On the surface in conversation I can talk about the good and bad parts but when the convo is over, the feeling I’m left with is discomfort, heaviness and emptiness.

It’s like there’s a big hole missing in my family that would have connected us together: our Philippine identity. At least that’s what I hope! I can only speak for myself and in recognizing myself as a woman of color, as a shy student leader striving to lead with a social justice and feminist focus I can no longer push forth certain parts of my identity while hiding from my ethnicity because I feel disconnected from it. In having done that for years, I’ve shunned myself from being more open and learning from other people.

So this is why I have to write about this. It’s a personal project, it’s an important one. It’s one I hope I can find five sources for it by Tuesday night.

Bonus: here’s an excerpt from my journal, written Friday afternoon. After all the writing I did above, I hope it’s clear what IT is.

3:40PM It hurts me so much to talk about IT, I feel like I just need to let go and start crying. It’s like I’m holding so much in, it’s so heavy. It’s so stressful. I wish I want to get to a point where I’m comfortable in talking about IT, actually being in IT and not so much apart from it like how it feels. I do wish I were more connected I’m trying to find my way. I’m getting closer and closer every day to getting towards the feeling. And there’s no stopping point. That’s an important thing to remember. It’s getting me toward being authentic, I can’t deny how important it all is to me.

I’m not okay with the casual sexism in Better Luck Tomorrow

Week 3: AKA Questions of Representation Across Identities

Back when I wrote a post about seeing Ghost in the Shell during week one, I made this comment about how I don’t watch movies and a lot of TV. There are many reasons for that. One, Jackson and I don’t have cable, wifi is already expensive. Two) I’m a full time student, part time worker at the school and even when there is time I barely have enough to keep up with the only TV show I watch, Days of our Lives. Thankfully I can watch it online.) Three I’ve spent all the formative years of my life watching TV and have absorbed (and internalized) all the oppressive (most specifically, sexist) language and messages fed to me that I can’t take it anymore. I firmly believe a lot of the reasons why I’m insecure in a couple areas of my life have to do with how women are represented in the media. It really bothers me to hear a sexist joke or a scene where a woman gets r*ped or assaulted or harassed or killed, not just on TV but everywhere. There is a part of me that is numb to it all because this happens everywhere every single day and there’s not getting away from it but that doesn’t mean I can’t pick and choose what types of media to consume and spend my time on.

Watching Better Luck Tomorrow didn’t shock me with any of its language or violence. But how the male characters treated and talked about the female characters bothered me straight from the beginning and I hinged on that when I could have focused more on other ways to critically think about the film. The way I’ve come to understand systems of oppression is through gender oppression. If I were younger me watching this, I would have only seen the blatant offensiveness towards women like Virgil staring at the woman’s chest while she puts away her shopping bags or how Ben and Virgil are so excited to see this porn they think a classmate is in. Back then I wouldn’t have caught all the things Virgil said about women, how Han called them women and even the scene where Ben sits on Stephanie’s bed and looks through her things. What is seemingly small by other people’s standards, I can point out and say that’s messed up. And I know a common retort is to say “boys will be boys” and “that’s just how men are” and “you’re making a big deal out of nothing” blah blah blah. I say “whatever” to that because all those says are just tools to diminish our voice and to exempt men from the awful garbage they do to us.

I started writing about the toxic masculinity of the film but that’s taking so much out of me mentally so I’m not going to go forward with it. What I would rather write about instead is the subheading of this post, which is something I wrote to myself while I was watching: Questions of Representation Across Identities. This came up because I was thinking about the not-so-casual casual sexism and then having it tamper my whole viewing experience by not laughing with other students in the class at the “funny” parts and I didn’t even have any sympathy for the characters when things went wrong. Like seriously, the character of Ben is that stereotypical “nice guy” who wants a girl he can’t have (yet) and he has a friend who says offensive things but excuses them because they’re friends. Sarcastically I ask into the air “am I supposed to excuse the casual sexism because the cast and director are Asian?” Generally, what good is it to have a cast and write and director and producer who are POC if they are offensive towards other marginalized identities? In addition to the sexism, this film also used the n word, said something about going “Jihad” after an action scene or something, and my memory isn’t too sharp since I watched this three days ago but I’m sure there was ableist language in there too. If this is supposed to be a reflection (though a sensationalized, exaggerated one) of the lives of Asian teenage boys or even any teenage boy of any ethnicity or even in older and younger age brackets – of course they all say offensive stuff. No one is exempt from that BECAUSE that is the world we live in. No one is going to watch a movie where everyone is nice and respectable to each other, where no one gets hurts emotionally or physically, where the right people fall in love and be friends and everyone gets what they want. That is NOT the world we live in, that kind of movie will not make any money. So moviemakers have to be controversial, they have to tap into how people talk and view the world and each other. This oppressive BS is normalized through how we treat people with marginalized identities through action, language and thought. There was a question that came up of “does the filmmaker have a responsibility to portray Asian characters responsibly?”

This may sound unbelievable because I’m not a filmmaker nor a creator of any kind of media but I’m going to go ahead and say it anyway… it IS possible to portray Asian characters or any type of character responsibly (or complex and captivating) without resorting to jokes that are complicit in the oppression and discrimination of people with marginalized identities.

But I guess to that question, they were referring to the violence and drug use in the movie – especially the murder of the Steve character. This could be looked at as stereotypical representations, negative representations and filmmakers should be more responsible in portraying their characters more realistically – especially if they aren’t being represented well in the larger Hollywood scene. Asian people are not starring in box office movies or popular TV shows. The kind of representation we should get should be complex, realistic, non-stereotypical ones. We should be leading stars, love interests, action heroes and recipients of all the acting/directing/singing/performing awards. But seriously, To that question, there is not a simple answer. But there is a starting point, which I oh so clearly stated in the previous paragraph.

*takes a deep breath* alright, cool – I think I’m ready to step away from this post and never think about this film again.

Actually, on second thought, let me spray some positivity on this film so here are four (yes, FOUR) good things I can think of…

  1. The beginning of the movie shows a close up of Ben and Virgil’s faces as they relax under the sun. This is important because Asian features are not represented as attractive in the wider Hollywood lens (unless Asian women are being sexualized). The close up of the faces (and this happened throughout the film) was like a demand for the viewers to take a close look, as if to say this film’s appearance is undeniably unapologetically Asian.
  2. The boys beat up the white boys at the party. Look, I grew up watching wrestling and there’s that part of me that enjoys fight scenes in movies/TV. Plus it was cool to see the guys be fearless and take no shit from the ones who think they’re better. Although Daric taking it too far, Virgil jumping on the guy by kicking him after he was down and encouraging Ben to join in and then Ben actually giving into the pressure are all displays of that masculinity shit I was going to write about earlier. Anyways…
  3. The Stephanie character added brightness and it’s a shame her character story was what it ended up being. If the movie was centered on her, it’d be more interesting (although entirely different), tbh. I’d rather watch that one.
  4. The acting was great, super believable. While I didn’t like any of the main characters and was completely turned off in the beginning, the actors were committed and gave a great performance.

LOL I was going to do five but couldn’t think of a fifth one.

(NOTE: I mention that Days of our Lives the only show I watch and I just want to add that I’m not oblivious to the problems in that show. The issue I have with media isn’t black and white. There are a lot of shows I used to watch and would still watch if I ever get acquainted with a TV again. But that doesn’t mean I can’t be critical about the stuff I watch. I can enjoy things and still ask questions, be critical about it. I like Days and it’s my escape from the world.)

Magnetic Field

Week 2: “Love me, leave me high and dry. I’m back in your arms and I don’t know why. Can’t get around your magnetic field.” – Magnetic Field by Lights

It is Week 3, Tuesday night. Life called me away from weekend homework duties and I wasn’t able to finish all three blog posts by Sunday night. It is Week 3 and I am feeling the weight of my life on my shoulders.

Last Tuesday we went on a field trip to the Tacoma Art Museum, the Washington State History museum and the Chinese Reconciliation Park. The specific exhibit from the TAM was “In Search of the Lost History of Chinese Migrants and Transcontinental Railroads” by Zhi LIN. This exhibit was extremely powerful and the one I spent the most time in. This exhibit is exactly why learning the real history of this country is so important. Before this class, I did learn about the Chinese railroad workers, the dangerous and unhealthy conditions they worked in and the political cartoons, the propaganda that was created during that time. In seeing this exhibit, I learned more about the Chinese workers and the lack of recognition they received from all the hard labor they did. Zhi LIN is an amazing and engaging artist and it’s clear to see the amount of passion and urgency in the art.

At the History museum, the exhibit we looked at was from Japanese artist, Takuichi Fujii. Fujii and his family were incarcerated during WWII for about three and a half years. These pieces of art were so colorful, full of life and intricately detailed. After having read “When the Emperor was Divine” by Julie Otsuka I have a better idea on what life must have been like in the barracks, even if it’s a fictional one. From that book, a common thought I had was how could people find the strength to keep going, especially when they have kids to take care of. Otsuka’s words of how they describe how the characters are managing through the days in the barracks were emotional to read and I can only assume that for Fujii creating art was one of the ways to manage, to survive.

This is why it’s so important to appreciate and seek out as many forms of art, education and media created by people with marginalized identities. The history of Asians in the United States is undertold and whitewashed. It’s a history of API being valued for their labor and not much else. It’s a history of API being stereotyped and discriminated against. It’s a history of API leaders, artists and political rebels being unknown. Our history is erased from the larger narrative. I could go on because this is the same story of other marginalized identities, it’s a lifelong work to give everyone and everything the recognition they deserve.

New Fears

Week 2: “I’ll take two times the misery and half the glory, then learn to be the champion of the story.” New Fears by Lights

Seminar Thoughts: I’m a shy person so speaking up in class without raising my hand was always difficult. It’s so funny, thinking about raising our hand to speak like “yes teacher give me permission to exercise my voice” but I get it because we all can’t speak out at once and it takes practice to let others speak and while we listen before responding. Every time I’ve been in seminar or in a seminar-like setting, my shyness gets in the way. And then my unprepared-ness gets in the way. And then my “I’m tired and don’t want to talk” gets in the way. And then I end up not saying anything. But I’ve been trying to step out of that, it takes a lot out of me mentally to speak because I’ve been so used to not speaking and diminishing the thoughts and the voice I have. In knowing that those neg thoughts don’t serve me, I’ve been trying to do the opposite. But I still need to feel comfortable in the environment to open my mouth and participate. I know I got to push myself though, dive into the discomfort because it’s really not as bad as my distorted thoughts make it so. But last Friday I was kind of uncomfortable. It felt good to focus on the voices of the people of color in my seminar and relating to what they’re saying because I see things the same ways too. I diminish my own voice by thinking they can word their thoughts better, more powerfully and effectively than I can. I also said to myself that I need to read better so I can synthesize the text better. I’m just thinking of ways I can enhance my experience here, asking myself what can I do to maximize my learning.

General Class Thoughts: On the field trip this past Tuesday, it was important for me to not isolate myself from my peers, especially the other women of color in the class. It’d be so easy to walk around the museums on my own, go to lunch alone, sit by myself on the bus, be entirely by myself thinking no one notices me. And that’s the way I’ve lived life and lol I didn’t want to do that. So I had lunch with some very cool people and it was just a comfortable calm time. One thing I hate that I think I have to do is overextend myself and do more than what I’m comfortable with in making conversation. All I got to be is myself and it’s funny how it’s such a simple thing to say and also very hard to do in action. One thing struck me throughout the week, it’s something I have felt for quite some time. I feel intimidated being around other woc, especially if they’re API. There’s absolutely nothing they are doing to make me feel this way. It’s something within myself, my own insecurities on not having a very strong cultural and ethnic identity. Being so Americanized I just feel like I’m not “good enough” to be around other people. I’ve been in a workshop with other Pilipinx people where they knew more about the history and the culture than I did and I literally had to leave because I felt like I didn’t belong. I was/am too American, not enough “Asian.”  Something that is hard for me to understand is that a lot of other people have this same experience. It’s not just me.

Life Stuff: I always don’t like it when people ask me what my major is and what I’m doing after I graduate and what are my career plans. I always say I Don’t Know and it’s both true and a way to close the conversation so the person hopefully stops talking to me. That always annoyed Jackson but Friday night I told him my future-career-life plan and he was like Awe Richelle thank you for sharing that with me in that voice he does (awwww). I remember talking about my future for the first time with my TRiO advisor and just completely crying and blowing my nose. It’s such a sore thing to talk about, I never EVER thought about my future, but now it’s like right here. And this is why I’m asking myself what can I do to enhance my experience here, how can I maximize my learning. Also I need to think about what I’m going to do after I graduate. Haha, because it’s going to come quick. 2018 is just around the corner.

And that is why this blog post is called New Fears. It’s a song by Lights from her new album Skin & Earth. This song has been playing in my head throughout the week.


Empty Period

Week 2: I Found Home

This week we did a couple of writing exercises on our creative essay, expanding on our thoughts of what HOME means to us. I’m very uncommitted in choosing a topic for my paper and this one was no different. I’m the type of student that writes a paper the night before a draft is due and it ends up pretty great. I’m the type of writer that writes a thing and ends up hating it completely when it’s done. But that isn’t going to work with this essay. Especially with this being about something personal and I always want to get personal, it’s going to be that much harder. Of course I’d choose something difficult to write about. I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t push myself all the way into the personals and write about something so charged. But it was the only thing I was interested in. I am going to write about the body – some aspect of it, probably not the body as a whole. I thought about the eyes, which was what my Tuesday night free-write was all about. Then I thought about hair for a split second. I don’t know if it makes sense or will fit into the guidelines of the paper. Here is an excerpt from that Tuesday night free-write, taken directly from my journal, written after I thought about using eyes as a topic:

I thought about the eyes and my mind flashbacked to all the moments where I disconnected AND looked in the mirror at myself and all the things I thought I saw. And I immediately looked up from my computer, put my face in my hands and started fucking crying. But that’s so new, that’s so something I don’t even know what kind of research I can put in with that. But it’s a something and it’s a something I would like to explore. It resides in the body. It represents so much. It’s an opening. That fucking hurts me and it takes so much out of me.

The next day in class I shared this idea with a small group and even in explaining this topic more fully I felt so uncomfortable. I went back to a low period last year (my first year at Evergreen) where I felt absolutely sad and empty for a considerable stretch of time and talked about a selfie I took of myself where there was “nothing” behind my eyes. But that doesn’t represent HOME. It represents being away from home, LOST and disconnected. So if there was a continuation of the story then, how did I find my way back…I guess…I started getting better when I went back to therapy, when I prioritized self care. In that way, in remembering all those meetings and all those times spent by myself trying to be there for myself, the feelings from that were uncomfortable, I felt cared for because I wasn’t going through that stuff alone, I felt more connected to myself emotionally. In therapy we focused on healing parts of my past and I couldn’t help but be that kid again – all sad and alone, unsupported and misunderstood. Four things I felt during those empty periods last year.

So from all THAT home is that feeling of being connected – a feeling I always felt in my three years of counseling/therapy. A feeling I never felt anywhere else because I was the priority, the focal point, the main reason I was there. It was all about me in there and I don’t get that anywhere else.

And this, and this, AND THIS fits that first guideline of choosing a metaphorical feeling of home. The next part is to connect it to APIA pop culture. IDK, this is still an underdeveloped thought. I just don’t know how I’m going to nail down a topic at this point. Do I go for something personal like this? My HOME is that feeling of connection, of grounded, centered and self aware. The closest I am to myself, the more connected I am, the more “at home” I am. There’s that and I like it because I’m the only one in that “home” which I can connect that to all the times before when my “home” was violated/forced into/taken from me/claimed for me. I like it because I’m the only one in that “home” and it speaks to how I believe I am the only one that can allow myself that connected feeling. No one is going to give it to me. No one is going to take it from me.

After taking a break and then thinking about it more, I think this is what I’m going to stick with. The feeling fits with my idea of HOME and it’s applied to so many parts of my life and then I can also fit it with APIA pop culture. It’s all out there The research part is up next. Except… you know, if I change my mind again. LOL.

Here is a line straight from my project proposal that explains why I was so drawn to the EYES idea: When I was freewriting on Monday night, I thought about the eyes because there have been times in my past where I caught myself staring out the window or at the wall as a way to disengage from an uncomfortable situation or whenever I just wanted to tune out of reality for a minute. I can relate that to feeling lost from home, away from my heart, running away from reality. But then with that, reality or my heart or my total body would be what my “home” is and my eyes would be like the front door I’m running out of.

This is the selfie I took of myself back in that empty period last year. I really like this picture because it shows me how lost and disconnected I was from myself and the people around me who tried to help me. I can recognize these eyes in the mirror now and it tells me I’m not okay, cautions me to not fall into this again.

Baby Scissors

Week 1: Thoughts on the Run

WHAT A WEEK. I was pleasantly surprised to see how many people I know and have seen before this program. That’s cool. I hope that my shyness doesn’t get in the way of connecting other people.

We had our first seminar on Friday and it’s kind of surprising to find out that it’s only an hour long. The funny part is we were on the first floor for mini-lecture, then the third floor for seminar and then back to the first floor to finish out the afternoon session. But anyway I’m excited to read the books and see how much I will learn. Also, this is my first blog, which is cool.

When I saw this program in the course catalog I knew I had to register. I have never learned Asian American studies as its own subject before. Funny how when I have learned of it it’s just been a secondary subject under the big one. Never a focal point. There’s just so much richness in the history and culture that education doesn’t get to unless you get into the college level. So now that I have my chance in studying what I’ve always wanted to study, I’m going to keep my mind open and absorb as much as I can.

The Rock Says…

Week 1: The Beginnings of Home + APIA pop culture

In thinking about this assignment it was a bit surprising to see that I was able to come up with multiple images and feelings of home. I think it’s because I’m on better terms with my mom right now. I think it’s because Jackson and I have our own apartment that’s just ours. I think it’s because I made ginger tea for him that morning because he was sick. This time last year I would have had a much harder time because I lived on campus and this time last year my apartment was already cluttered and occupied by animals not approved with RAD. Anyway, this time around I was able to jot down ideas about my family and things about my past that I haven’t really shared.

The first thing I wrote down was writing. It’s my calm space. Writing has done wonders for my mental health. It’s the one place where I can come to a place of acceptance and forgiveness for myself. This week showed how important my journal is to me. When I came home on Wednesday I was drained and overwhelmed and that’s when I realized that I hadn’t written in a while. My journal is where I free up my thinking space so I can move on with my life. I wrote that night and was able to temporarily write myself out of a hole. As much as writing has been liberating for me, it’s also super freaking hard for me to do when it comes to academic papers. Sometimes I get this image of me tearing off my arm, throwing it on some paper, turning it in to my teacher saying “HERE IT IS HERE IS WHAT YOU ASKED FOR.” The only way I’ve been able to write my papers without scrapping the whole thing midway though was writing it in my journal. That’s where I know I’m not as judgmental and hard on myself 🙂

Not too far down the list was ginger tea. Oh that was a big thing this week. My partner Jackson was sick for two days and I made him the tea my mom used to make for me and my brother on cold nights. Ginger tea is one of the things that holds memories of being at home with my mom and my brother and life would just be calm, warm and relaxed. When Jackson and I moved into our apartment, it didn’t take me very long to ask her how she makes it. There are many recipes for ginger tea. My mom’s version uses very simple ingredients but the most important thing is the timing and how much ginger to put in. The first time I tried to make it, that distinct throat tingling feeling of ginger wasn’t there. That’s when I realized I had to put more and to balance it out with brown sugar. I don’t have my ratios right just yet but I’m getting there. The ginger feels so good on the throat too and it’s the memories attached to it that makes it so much more special.

In thinking of home, of course I thought about my partner, Jackson. He calls me Love Face and I think that is the sweetest most precious thing ever. Through the way he expresses himself to me, reassures me when I’m insecure, does his best to be there for me when I’m sad and empty, how he sings and dances for me, makes fun of me for saying LOL too much, how he works on his misogyny and toxic masculinity…there’s just so much about him that I love and that’s why he is home.  With him I know that he will do his best to be there for me like how I try to do my best for him.

An important component to this final project is incorporating Asian American pop culture into our visions of home. With me being Pilipinx there is a lot I can draw from. Some examples are written into my notes, like certain video games, food and family. One thing I didn’t write down were books. An early memory I have is being scared of the movie adaptation of The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan while my mom was watching it on TV. Years later I read the book. When I was in high school I read a couple other novels written by Asian women but there just weren’t a lot of them in my school libraries 🙁 For this project I was thinking about centering home and A-pop on my mom because I’d love to dedicate a piece of my writing to her and I think it would be healing for me to do. Other ideas I had were making connections between Asian women’s representation in the media and my physical body as home BUT that would very easily put me in a position I don’t think I’m ready for. I am excited to seriously sit down and think about what I want to do. All the writing assignments I have done at Evergreen were personal passion projects for me and this one will be no different.

First Paper

Week 1: Class and Reading Notes
This week we watched Ghost in the Shell (2017) and while I’m not familiar with the original anime, I have been aware of the attention this film got primarily due to the casting choices. AKA the whitewashing of the lead character. My general views of Hollywood aren’t very favorable for many reasons I just don’t watch movies or TV shows (except for Days of our Lives, tbh, that’s like the only show I keep up with). But anyway, here are my notes on Ghost in the Shell:

(typed out notes exactly how it’s written)

Ghost in the Shell

Observations: Beginning – the color RED, whole – slow motion action scenes LOL light/dark effects. She had really white skin. Never noticed the sun? She’s like a robot and they found it necessary/important to give her boobs (cringe) lots of white faces, really bright. THEMES (I guess) identity, family, body autonomy, holographics or whatever they’re called – in the city is like that inauthenticity of human – robot – constructions of what is real – how society progresses futuristically more THEMES (I guess) power control greed. There’s a masculine thing going on too.

Also this week we read Asian American History: A Very Short Introduction by Madeline Y. Hsu. Before classes started we ordered our books from Amazon and the fun was coming to the mailbox to see which books made it first. Funnily enough, the books we needed for the first week were the last ones to come (and Jackson’s book is lost somewhere). I ended up checking out this book through Summit and the book in the picture came on Friday, the day we all had to turn in our books with annotations, lol.

Anyway, I only have four days to read this book and I tried real hard in staying focused and annotating. This book was both intriguing and difficult because I never learned Asian American history comprehensively and condensed like this. There was so much information packed into that tiny book that I wanted to read more about certain events, people and laws. I wished that there existed a timeline of all the colonization, slavery and immigration that happened during the whole span of time. I never learned about Pilipinx history in school before and it was really cool to read about it in a textbook. I just wish that I could go in deeper into that history, learn all that I can about it.