I have so many ambitions to learn languages to a certain level that I’m scared to write it all out. Too frightened to make mistakes. I overthink and end up not posting a blog entry. I am indecisive between what language to work on next. What makes the most sense? Which language speaks to me?
To a certain extent, each language speaks to me in a different way. And I hope to explore that in the course of the coming months in blog entry form.
English is the language of my wittiness and academia
Spanish is where I feel safe in my language wordplay, freedom to be sensual and defy expectations
Mandarin is my language of organizing, but it is also a language of expectation and other’s authority over me
Taiwanese reminds me of grandma, home, overdramatic teleseries & broken-hearted love songs
Arabic is the language of insurmountable challenge and the class that my boyfriend and I took together
Korean is the language that has surrounded me my entire youth and the language my Pakistani friend and I chose (unsucessfully) to be our “gossip language”
Tagalog is the language of my partner
Cantonese are both the seniors in my community work and the languages of middle school AZN friends who played handball, and HK pop icon Jacky Cheung (<3)
French is the souvenir from that long Quebec trip and that class where I first interacted with rich kids from the Upper East Side
Italian is senior year high school, professor leather boots
Latin is tutoring my friend in high school, declensions, and corny perverted Latin jokes
Brazilian Portuguese, Burmese, Vietnamese are travels in my favorite places
Hakka and Fuzhounese are the languages of loss and exile, after my paternal grandparents fled from Mainland to Taiwan
blue linen pants with love from 貼心的母親 (tiexin de muqin)
can i measure ma’s love in Ferrero Rocher golden kisses
刮痧 (guasha) tiger balm soothe dizzy heat
playful pursed lip partner
who knows me
in baby voices
through and through
getaway plan for two
blasting AC in Crunch gym
barbells on weekends without suits
pose of a dead man five minutes past dead
tilted head faces to industrial ladders and
falling brick façades
Cantonese class on Sundays
Looking out to fire escapes and Toishan restaurants
Spaghetti-strap teacher butterfly clip eye-liner
rough speak, tough streets
Tong yun gai 唐人街
in a heartbeat
Intercambio en el centro de trabajadores
o digamos, centro de historias
ya que cada vez que voy
yo conozco a alguien
me esfuerzo encontrar
propria y sonora.
And to slapstick and chisme
impressions with co-worker friends
Gracias / doh ze 多謝
Wasabi-dipped fried chicken
egg-waffle ice creams
crunchy cricket tacos in Sunset
wild gesticulations turn of a hand squeaking smizing
and shoulders to lean on
and minds for whirlwinds
ideas for better world
puffing lavendar potpourri for peace.
Thanks for Tibetan momos and
iced milk tea of cardamom
for yoga from the roots
and time to meditate as
jummah prayers drift into Brooklyn apartment
Shirk the petty like a penguin and molten feathers
value all who/what matter most
in all its nakedness
delighting in the sun.
Despite pressure from all sides
hair-pulling idiots of the world
balance a level of humor
that helps me
laugh it off
shake it off
flick off, sleep & repeat.
In May 2016, President Obama issued an executive order on nonbinding guidelines for public schools on access to bathroom and locker of the gender that transgender Americans choose.
Since then, we see Americans’ fear of the “threat” that transgender folks pose to cisgender counterparts. People say that they’re not transphobic, but we hear about how trans folks going to the bathroom will threaten the safety of all those inside.
Listen, people go to the bathroom to pee and poo; ain’t nobody got time for you. Perverts will be perverts. Why does the general public think that trans people are automatically perverts?! Americans are grossly mis-informed of what it means to be transgender. Furthermore the “trans threat” reminds me of a similar fear of gays in the anthology, “Toilet: Public Restrooms and the Politics of Sharing” In this work, scholars point out how bathroom design are created to hinder sexual activity between gay males (not females). Bathroom stalls are created with crevices so that other bathroom goers can police “non-traditional” acts. City officials and universities remove bathrooms every time there are reports of people having sex. The threat of gay male sex is so strong that entities are willing to forgo restrooms in spaces such as parks and universities even if that means there will be fewer places for patrons to relieve themselves.
I’ve noticed that Chinese ethnic newspaper have sided with conservatives in this public bathroom rights discussion. One Flushing resident was frightened by a transgender individual at Target. In the weekly World Journal, there were two opinion pieces where one person stated that transgenderism was a “mental disorder,” calling trans folks “transvestites.” Furthermore, the writer asserted that “no LGBT people existed in the past; it is only now starting to surface perhaps because of evolution’s need to solve overpopulation.”
In seeing the surge of these articles in the Chinese media, I am more convinced that more of these conversations need to be conducted in languages other than English. How can community advocates in New York City have more conversations in Chinese about this? In the spirit of pride, I feel so much conviction in politcal engagement of our immigrant communities. gay and trans folks have always existed. and we are not a threat to your safety. bigotry and ignorance are the biggest threats to the safety of all.
Trans Taiwanese New Yorker Pearl Love was attacked on the MTA early May. Also think about recently deceased transgender activist Alisha in Pakistan. She was shot 6 times by a man who tried to rape her and taken to a hospital in Peshawar. But because doctors were too busy arguing over whether to place her in the men’s or women’s ward, Alisha died before she could receive a life-saving blood transfusion in a timely manner. Violence happen to gay and trans folks around the world – we as children of immigrant families in NYC need to be part of the solution in creating more political education opportunities for more folks in our communities, in languages other than English.
Over-thinking again and now I haven’t written a thing in ages!
The more I write, the better my stories will flow.
There was a period of time where I wondered if I wanted to write. Putting pen to paper was just so difficult. But I realized typing is a better medium for me – if I could only stop getting so distracted. Sitting down to write about things that matter to you is hard & I realize that my attention wanders not out of boredom, but as a defense mechanism.
How can I sit down and type out the stories of taboo and silence? the hard-do-have conversations? Above all, I need that work-life balance because for me creativity always comes last when work and errands are in the mix.
Couldn’t help but feel a little jealous that a colleague of mine just produced his first play, three years after we had both participated in a program that helped us organize stage readings for our 10-minute plays.
Need to sit my ass down and think more. My writing can move people. My thinking can move people. My respect for myself derives in part from my respect to my own writing craft.
Tonight, Audre Lorde Project hosted a facilitator training for LGBT people of color.
A lot of gender non-conforming and cisgender women. I was probably one of 2 of East Asians and one of the few gay cisgender men in the room. For some reason, I could not get myself to speak up.
One person said they work with sex workers who come into their meetings with a lot of emotional baggage. How could ALP’s facilitation model assist? Yelling so-called “community agreements” like “one mic” was not going to stop fist fights.
It became clear that socioeconomic class and education created diferent views. ALP facilitator Cleo asked us the difference between “teaching” and “facilitation.” While a lot of folks who went to college asociatied “teaching” with one-way lectures and facilitation as a helpful tool, one participant said:
“Actually, I grew up with LGBT African American seniors in Philly who taught me to garden. Teaching from my experience has been positive way of the older generation imparting knowhow to my generation. I didn’t go to college like all of y’all. I learned facilitation when I started coming into these non-profit spaces. Y’all ask me to talk a certain way and it feels oppressive.”
We framed everything in terms of “education level,” but really the root was socioeconomic class. I come from a middle-class Asian family in Queens. Inevitably, the way I speak will be different from some inner city youth.
At workshop’s end, someone asked if everybody was “Gucci.?” I looked for a handbag or other designer gear, but realized they were asking if we were good like Gucci?
The LGBT community is not monolithic – so even though I felt shy, I’m hoping to see where the facilitator workshop takes me .
Lot of great acronyms for ground rules, like “WAIT” for Why am I Talking? to challenge over-sharers to let others a chance to speak. Or like ELMO, which is “everyone let’s move on,” a great strategy to keep the conversation going. If only, acronyms could solve all of the world’s problems!