K-Pop Changed My Life: How K-Pop Taught Me How To Be Asian American

In many ways, K-Pop has changed my life.

HOW

You see, K-Pop isn’t just a plate of abs that look like inverted ice cube trays or ridiculously stylish dudes singing god knows what. To me, it means more. To us, the Asian American community, it means much, much more. The arrival of K-Pop on American shores serves as a watershed moment in which Asian Americans were finally able to look down into a puddle of airbrushed idols and superstars and ask themselves…

Is that… me? Is that what I look like? Is that… who I really am?

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Growing up I never had Asian action figures. Mine were always beefy White men with marble sized eyes and noses shaped like arrowheads. I idolized the manliness of Don Draper from Mad Men and wished I were as tall and beautiful as Adam Levine. But I never thought about it from a racial point of view. I didn’t have to question it because I just accepted it. Because that was just what men looked like. That is what the hero looked like. That is what a masculine, sexy man did: he rappelled down a building, all 6 foot 2 of himself, and saved the day with his super White self. And I loved it.

So when K-Pop came around I was confused. I wasn’t used to seeing Asian people in such high production videos and films. I wasn’t used to them taking off their shirt, or kissing other women, or acting sexy. That’s not an Asian Guy! Where’s the Kung-Fu? Where’s his calculator? He’s the sidekick of some taller White guy – where that guy? Is this a mistake? It must be a mistake! To see nothing but effeminate Asian Men growing up was quite damaging. I saw it all and wondered if I was destined to be half a man, but what made it worse was the rest of the country seemed to agree.

AGA

It’s funny. If you look at this blog and go back far enough, you will arrive at a place where there are no photos of Asian Men or K-Pop stars. You know why? That’s before I knew about K-Pop. And why did that suddenly change to a bright splash of yellow? Simple: When I discovered K-Pop and realized the endless supply of people who looked like me, in non-stereotypical ways, with emotions and expressions and styles that represented who I was, I made a promise to use nothing but Asian Men in my photos. I don’t plan on going back either.

"Go back? BISHHH, SWERVE!"

“Go back? BISHHH, SWERVE!”

In all honesty, I actually dislike most K-Pop music. Not because of something inherent about Korean Pop, but I just hate most Pop in general. I’m more of a Jazz Man. Nevertheless, I will be forever grateful for those dancing and singing machines half-way around the world because for the first time in my life, they made me feel like I was something more. More than just a side-kick, more than just an owner of a Dry Cleaners, more than just a caricature. I can be the hero who rappels down the building, all 5 foot 7 (and a half!) of myself to save my girlfriend from a sneezing cold or my career from spiraling into an expected heap of Nursing, Engineering, or Accounting.

K-Pop changed my life, and the lives of many Asian Americans, not because it gave us a new standard, a new identity to aspire to…

K-Pop changed our lives because it wiped the white tile clean, painted it yellow, and said, “here… now it’s your turn.”

rise-2

This Is Why You’re Single: “I Can’t Date Someone Outside My Culture – They Won’t Understand Me!”

You know that strange sixth sense you get when you can feel all the eyes in a room watching you? Like a giant spider peering into your soul, the room grows silent and all you can hear are a thousand eyeballs moving as you think to yourself, “goddamn, what the HELL are you all looking at?!” I knew I was the only Filipino in that Vietnamese restaurant, but damn, did I look that out of place? Then I realized something: they weren’t looking at me – they were looking at my girlfriend…

My Black girlfriend.

But I’ll get back to that story in just a minute…

One of the laziest excuses I hear from people uninterested in interracial relationships is their need to satisfy their culture. “How can I date a non-Indian man? What about my culture? How will he like my food?” “But, I’m a Black woman! There are things that only a Black man can understand about being Black and I need that in my Black life! How the hell can an Asian man understand what I’ve been through?!” “Aye dios mio! Yo soy Mexicana! Esta chino? PORQUE, NO!”

I get it. I really do. You value your heritage and your connection with your culture is so tight not even a TSA agent with a latex glove and a bottle of Astroglide can get through. You know your religion and interests are important so you feel like dating someone of the same background will be easy. A stress free relationship where you don’t have to explain why you do the things you do to a person who, in your mind, simply cannot understand “your people.”

“OMG like how can I date a guy who won’t understand my passion for corny Bollywood films? I AM NOT WATCHING IT WITH SUBTITLES!!”

But you’re wrong.

Since when have ANY of your damn relationships been easy? Most of the shittiest relationships I’ve been with were Asian women themselves who I shared the exact same culture and heritage with. The problem with the culture argument is that it assumes all relationship problems exist for culture reasons when truthfully, it’s almost always a personal issue.

Many moons ago I dated a Filipino girl who had a Filipino mom, Japanese dad, she ate rice and liked listening to R&B slow jams – basically your standard Asian girl. Unfortunately, she cheated on me and my 14 year old self was overly jealous. It was an epically disastrous relationship equivalent to Satan shitting on the Hindenburg just as it fell from the sky. But guess what? All of those reasons had nothing to do with our culture, it had everything to do with her infidelity and my insecurity.

“It’s OVER, Tyler! I don’t care if you slept with my grandmother! How could you NOT like the Red Sox and Mayonnaise as much as I do?!”

Now ask yourself this: does the success of a relationship truly hinge on whether or not your boyfriend likes Salsa dancing? Will your relationship crumble if he doesn’t know how to properly roll a Pierogi and shop for deli meats for your Russian family? Is he less of a man because he can’t fully understand the struggles of being a Black woman in modern society? Will you care for and love him less because he can’t speak your native language?

No.

“I’m sorry, ridiculously chiseled and immaculately styled Asian Man that is making me hot and heavy, I can’t date a man that hasn’t even attended a single Barmitzvah! GO AWAY, COMMIE!”

Believe it or not, culture can be taught. We as humans can learn to adopt and learn to understand and learn how to cook the way your grandmother does. Those are things you can teach a man. But honesty, loyalty, a sense of humor, a taste for an unexpected road trip or a passion for corny scary movies? THAT is something you cannot teach. Those are the beliefs that make your relationship great. Those are the true values that erect the foundation for a healthy love that lasts. If you can find those key qualities in a man and he just so happens to be Asian, or Black, or Sri Lankan, why not go for it? Why let that ONE thing get in the way of an amazing relationship?

When I sat in that Vietnamese restaurant earlier today, with all eyes on my girlfriend as she masterfully rolled and ate Banh Xeo with all the veggies and fish sauce intact, I completely forgot that she was Black. All I cared about was, damn, my baby got skills. She may not look Asian or have experienced life as an Asian, but she’s willing to understand my life and my interests while also teaching me hers. Because at the end of the day I didn’t choose her for her culture or heritage, I chose her for her heart, her mind, and our shared love affair for trying something new.

Culture does not define you – you define it.

 

7 Reasons Why Arthur Chu Is Actually A Jeopardy-DOMINATING Money-Making BADASS!

The fact that you are reading this is a disgrace. How do you not know who Arthur Chu is?! Have you been living under a ro…

Oh…

Well, Arthur Chu is basically the Zeus God of Jeopardy and is making a KILLING with his use of game theory. He essentially says “fuck it” to the conventional way of playing Jeopardy and uses his Asian wizard powers to dominate and crush his opponents. Unfortunately, the racists have splashed from within the toilet bowl to spew their moronic, ignorant comments. But you know what? FUCK THAT! Arthur Chu is your dominatrix and your are his ball-gag-wearing bitch. Here are a few reasons why:

1. He’s not phased by Alex Trebek

Arthur Chu was never starstruck by Alex Trebek. In fact, after winning Jeopardy Arthur went to Trebek’s office, sat on his chair, and began eating a roast beef sandwich while Alex wiped the crumbs off his chest. Arthur does whatever he wants.

2. Arthur Chu = the Villain from James Bond: Goldeneye, Odd Job

Arthur Chu inspired the character of Odd Job due to his ruthlessness and intelligence. Correction: Odd Job was the CHILDREN’S version of Arthur Chu because once, Arthur Chu bit off a man’s bicep because he accidentally sneezed in Arthur’s way.

Lesson learned.

3. He’s Pretty Much The Mark Zuckerberg of Jeopardy

After his fourth consecutive win on Jeopardy, Arthur totaled over $100,000. People criticize him for his style but guess what? He’s so CASH MONEY he doesn’t even need to wear clothes. In fact, underneath the podium is a team of fans “servicing” Arthur’s Dong-Zilla. SO TRUE. Just google it. Trust me.

4. He Does Voice Overs – As a SIDE JOB

DUDE! That puts him on the same league as Morgan Freeman. How can you watch that video and NOT be all excited about Sous-Vide? I want one. I want one now. And if you’re a single woman and you watch this, GOD HELP YOU and your erupting panties.

You’ve been warned.

5. PLOT TWIST: He’s A Family Man

You know how in movies when they reveal the Villain’s motives and you suddenly realize, “holy crap, he’s not a bad guy after all!” Well, this is where Arthur’s evil personality takes a turn: he’s happily married and he’s planning for his future family. He doesn’t give a damn what anyone says about him on Twitter or Fox News because he knows he’s winning big money, and he sees how much his family will benefit from it. So who cares what the hell Jimmy McDonald from Florida says about his shirt, or his eyes? In an age of father-less children who have never had a chance to call anyone dad, this is something I have great respect for.

6. He’s An Asian American BAUCE On National Television

It amazes me how few Asian Americans exist on television. From our misrepresentation on shows like “The Bachelor” to our horribly stereotyped characters on “Broke Girls”, I can’t help but feel pessimistic about America’s attempt at highlighting our stories. So to see Arthur Chu rip a gaping hole in the minds of racist Americans through his abrasive playing style makes me giddy like an Anime school girl. To me, I just love the fact that he’s a regular Asian dude doing great things and THAT is an accurate representation of how us Asians truly are doing in America.

7. He’s In An Interracial Marriage!!!!

SURPRISE, MOTHAF*CKA!

How dare you think I wouldn’t make this relevant! HOW DARE YOU! But yes, Arthur Chu is in an Interracial relationship. So that just makes him that much more of an Asian-American, Jeopardy-Crushing, Money-Collecting, Interracial-Dating, Hero.

# IN ARTHUR CHU WE TRUST

15 Reasons Why Barack Obama Is Actually Asian

The other day I came across this photo of Barack Obama with his extended family. Notice anything?

HELLA ASIANS UP IN HERE! Upon further investigation I was SHOCKED to find out just how Asian Barack truly was. Could it be? Could it be that Asians aren’t just Doctors, Lawyers, Engineers, Nurses, and Pharmacists? Could we actually be… THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA?! Here is definitive proof that our 44th President is indeed a full blown Asian.

1. His Mother re-married an Indonesian man

Obama spent a few years in Indonesia and his step-father was Indonesian. Now, I’m not the most experienced when it comes to Indonesian people but I do know this: they’re brown like me, they probably like eating meat and rice, and they most likely sing Karaoke – so you KNOW Barack indulged in some of that!

2. His Sister is half-Indonesian

You already know Obama and his sister grew up on Anime. YOU ALREADY KNOW THIS!

3. His sister married a Chinese man

Uhhh, hello? Asian Brother-in-Law = Blasian hangouts! The two of them probably drink Ramune, eat pocky sticks, and gossip about how much they like Hawaii Five-O.

4. His half-Brother married a Chinese woman

OH COME ON!! Obama is so Asian when he breathes he smells like Oyster sauce. His brother can even be seen online wearing traditional Asian clothes and you know, YOU KNOW Obama walks around the White House wearing it too.

5. He loves a good MMO RPG

Here’s a photo of Obama playing Starcraft with his online friends, Young Ji and Seonghee. He’s probably winning.

6. He knows how to do “The Asian Bow”

If you read my last post about “How to do the Asian Bow” then you’ll notice that Obama is an expert. He knows not to look into the eyes, bow low, and keep his feet together. HIS FORM IS IMPECCABLE.

7. Obama loves taking selfies

Originally, this picture was of Obama throwing up an Asian peace sign but his buddy didn’t think it was Kawaii enough. Whatever, man…

8. Obama enjoys a good K-Pop marathon

Mr. President has often been spotted watching re-runs of Flower Boy Ramen shop though his favorite pastime is keeping himself updated on the latest K-Pop stars.

9. He’s a big FOODIE

Asians are the biggest, most obnoxious foodies in the world – and so is Obama. President Barack Obama also has a private instagram where he photographs his meals and posts captions like, “nom nom nom” and ” yummy! ^__^”

10. He LOOVES shaved ice

Maybe it’s the Hawaiin in him, or maybe he’s just HELLA ASIAN LIKE THAT. You see, Asians are too cheap and lazy to turn on the air conditioner because they’re afraid of getting a high gas bill. Instead, they eat shaved ice. It’s cheaper, and it tastes like childhood memories and success.

11. Did I mention he LOVES shaved ice?

There’s an infinite supply of photos of Obama eating shaved ice. He’s totes addicted.

12. He’s always chillin’ with his fellow Asian brothers and sisters

Here he is in Korea with his buddies discussing where to go for good Bibimbap.

Now he’s meeting the president of the Philippines, Benigno Aquino, as they shake hands and agree to a Karaoke battle. I think Obama won after that killer rendition of Richard Marx’s “Right here waiting.”

13. Mr. President loves making noodles

I always thought of myself as a noodle expert, but Barack takes it to the extreme: he hires his Chinese noodle buddies to make it for him fresh. That’s dedication!

14. He loves making corny word puns

Asians love making word puns. Here he is whispering a good one into Michelle’s ear.
Barack: Knock Knock
Michelle:
Who’s there?
Barack: Pho
Michelle: Pho who?
Barack: Gurll, your body looks un-PHO-gettable!

15. Barack has those beautiful Asian eyes

YOUR MIND HAS BEEN BLOWN.

Asian Culture Tips For Non-Asian Girls: How To Do The Asian Head Bow

I get a lot of fan mail from my blog readers about how much they love Asian culture. They talk about how much of the Korean language they’re learning in class, and how good they are at chopsticks. Up front I congratulate them but deep down in the center of my cold Asian heart — where my future Tiger Father will soon flourish — I want to *politely and gently* slap them with all my might.

“Go away. I’m allergic to Weeaboos”

You see, Asian culture really isn’t that difficult to understand. Whether you’re a pro at it or you can’t tell the difference between Kimchi and Toyota, I have a handful of easy tips to place into your non-Asian bag of tricks. First things first…

Learn The Asian Head Bow!

Obama rockin’ the Asian head bow like a champ.

You know how in movies whenever an Asian businessman meets an American businessman for the first time there’s always that awkward handshake scene? Yea, don’t even try to bow to your hot Asian date. Why? First off, most younger Asian guys don’t even do that kind of bow and second, it would come off as racist if you do it to him.

How It’s Done:

In most cases, 15 degrees is perfect. Anything more and you better be meeting the president of Taiwan or Kim Jong Un.

1. Position your body like you’re ready to bow down

2. Bend from your neck/upper chest — kinda like you’re nodding your head.

3. Bend down only about 15-20 degrees.

4. You can maintain eye contact while bowing down if you want. If not, no biggie.

 

Why You Should Do It:

“I like my girls curvy, tan skinned, and raised to respect their elders!”

The Asian head bow is something that no one has ever instructed me to do, I just do it because I see other Asians do it. It’s basically a casual way of saying, “I acknowledge you and I respect you” — or whatever kinda of zen bullshit you wanna come up with. It’s essentially the non-verbal equivalent of saying thank you and can be used towards anyone.

When To Do It/To Whom:

If all else fails and you can’t score with your Asian date, bowing to the cute Asian waiter might catch his attention! YOU NEVER KNOW!!

Whenever you’re engaging in some sort of business transaction: paying the cashier at the bookstore, giving your credit card to your waitress, or thanking the Sushi Chef after you leave the restaurant, make it a point to do the head bow. It doesn’t have to be some grandiose spectacle that requires precise timing and background music — you just do it. It’s quick and simple, much like a head-nod or a thumbs up. You especially do this towards older Asian people.

 

How You Can F*ck It Up:

lulz

Timing, intensity, and location are key. You can’t bow too slowly or else you’ll look like you’re seeking attention, nor can you bow too low or you’ll just look like those awkward Americans who doesn’t know jack shit about Asian culture. Additionally, you shouldn’t just do it any damn time you like or you might run the risk of coming off socially awkward.

It should merely be the cherry on top — not the entire goddamn ice cream itself. So relax… it’s not that difficult.

What You Should Learn From The Racism Against Lorde/James Lowe

I think I’ve come to a point in time where racist tweets, journalism, and overall bigotry isn’t just common, it’s expected. I’ve learned to accept the fact that as an Asian-American in the 21st century we are not welcome at the table of America. We do not sit at the same table, we do not eat the same food, and we certainly don’t go back home and share the same stories. Our narrative is different because our experiences are different. We are different because America makes us feel like we are.

But one of the beauties of being a minority is that although we sit on different sides of the room, away from the rest of white America, we can relate to the struggles of our Asian brothers and sisters from afar: UK, Canada, Germany, Australia, and anywhere else we’ve managed to call home. And although our problems may be different in many ways (job discrimination, racially motivated violence, racist media) we all feel a connection of pain.

So when I read the news about James Lowe, boyfriend of New Zealand singer-songwriter Lorde, being the target of racist tweets, I felt compelled to say something. “So…” you may ask, “what’s the big deal?”

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a non-Asian woman that has a penchant for Asian Men. You love us when we’re nerdy and awkward, and you swoon when we’re ripped and sophisticated. So how should you feel about this Lorde/James Lowe issue?

You see, interracial dating is actually much easier than people think. The problem is rarely you or him. The biggest problem seems to be other people. If you’re dating an Asian guy now or look forward to finding one in the future, you need to understand that you will eventually come across racist shit like this. You will walk down that street and people will shout, “you need a real man!” or “why are you with him?!” Your boyfriend will be passive-aggressively teased by relatives who say, “are you Chinese? Can you do Kung Fu? Haha!” And even if you’re big and famous like Lorde, your boyfriend will not be off limits. If anything being popular will encourage more of that bigotry.

So my advice to you is this: expect the oblivious men and women that will make stupid comments about you and your relationship. Know how to deal with it by standing up and shouting, “YEA, my boyfriend is Asian. We’re also sleeping together. WHAT ABOUT IT?!” I’m not too sure if Lorde has addressed the racism but I can only hope that she does. And if it ever happens to you, you need to prove that you’re a woman worth fighting for by being the woman that fights for him.

It’s bad enough that Asians don’t get any breaks or support from the public when we are ridiculed and harassed, but you? His girlfriend? His fiance? You need to fill that gap. And if you can manage to be this brave, this loving, this supportive, I can assure your Asian boyfriend will always have a seat for you at his table.

Please, especially if you’re a non-Asian WOMAN, you need to speak up against this shit. You need to be the counteractive voice to these idiotic children. Write something, post something, or share this. You say you like Asian culture? Then voice your opinions.

Do Asian Guys Like Thick/Curvy/Big Girls?

Let me guess: you’re single, ready to mingle and you’re ready to say hello to the brothers in yellow. Unfortunately, despite your love for Asian guys you constantly look in the mirror and ask yourself, “will an Asian guy be able to love and handle all my love handles? Can he handle all of this meat?! WILL HE STAND TALL AND ERECT WHEN I STRIKE DOWN UPON HIS BODY WITH MY THUNDER THIGHS?!!?!” In other words…

DO ASIAN GUYS LIKE THICK/BIG GIRLS?

NEWMODELS

Generally speaking, most people tend to go after and date those who have body types similar to their own . If you take an anorexic, sucked-up guy with arms as thin as noodles, chances are, he’ll end up with a girl just as noodle-like as himself. On the opposite end, a guy with a beer baby sloshing around his gut will probably go for a girl who also has more to love. Of course, there are exceptions and unfortunately, you’re more likely to see a bigger guy with a skinnier girl as opposed to a thick girl and a skinny guy.

I know, it sucks! HOWEVER, that’s just a general way of approaching the subject. When you zoom in a bit and focus on specific cultures, you start to notice that certain ethnic groups are actually open, if not IN LOVE, with thicker, more curvacious ladies. By now most of us are aware of the countries/cultures that are more likely to breed lovers of curves: Brazil, Mexico, parts of Africa and even Hawaii.

Here’s The Bad News…

“Damn you Asian culture! Why won’t you accept my love for thick women?!”

As a whole, Asian people tend to not like bigger people. Save for the Japanese Sumo Wrestlers who are all men, most Asian cultures have a standard of beauty that says the thinner the better. While some might say this is a highly superficial and vain way of thinking (to which I do agree) you also must understand why Asian people think this way. First off, based on the fish and vegetable heavy diets that Asians have, we are simply less likely to get fat by the logic of nutrition. Combined with the reality that much of Asia is actually VERY, VERY, VERY poor, the result is a population of people who simply do not have the money nor the diets to sustain any curves.

Second, Asians are incredibly conservative when it comes to social status. Everything they do revolves around maintaining and upgrading their status in society. Part of that is to be just as skinny as everyone else. As an Asian competing against other Asians, you have to drive the same expensive car, take your kids to the same expensive University and you need to be shopping at the same expensive designer boutique while wearing the same size dresses and jeans. To an Asian, being bigger and heavier is almost an automatic deduction in one’s social status, despite how much money you make —  especially for women.

Here’s The Good News!

“Hey there lovely lady, are you new to this buffet?”

Everything I said in the previous two paragraphs mainly applies to Asian-born Asians and not Asian Americans. Also, most of the discrimination against women with junk-in-the-trunk stems from OLDER ASIANS, aka, people in their 40’s and up. Asian guys my age (I’m currently 23) honestly don’t care too much about weight so long as you’re not double our size. So if we weigh 150lbs and you weigh 240… yeaa…. you might want to reconsider. But hey! You never know! He might wanna dive right into that body of yours like a scuba diver! It all depends.

Now, this is the part where I complicate things for just a second: relative to Asians, there are a few Asians that are more likely to discriminate based on your body weight and they just so happen to be the big three: Chinese, Japanese and Koreans. “OH NO! ARE YOU TELLING ME THAT I DON’T HAVE A CHANCE TO FIND MY OPPA BECAUSE HE WON’T LOVE MY LOVE DUMPLINGS?!” Ehhh…. kinda? You see, the big three just so happen to be some of the more conservative Asians so you’re MORE LIKELY to encounter Korean, Chinese or Japanese guys that won’t date big girls. That’s simply what I’ve noticed but as always, there are exceptions. If anything, try a Filipino, Thai or Vietnamese guy! They MIGHT be less critical.

THE BOTTOM LINE

BEHOLD!!

So if you’re wondering if having a big ass or wide hips will turn-off an Asian guy, I’m pretty damn sure he’ll love it. In fact, you might blow his goddamn mind with how attractive you are. How much will he love it? It depends on how conservative he is, if he’s been with a big girl before, what kind of Asian he is MIGHT have an affect, and most importantly, how husky is he himself?

When it comes to whether or not Asian guys date big girls, the deciding factor is YOU and SOCIETY. Exactly how BIG are you and how much does the rest of society care? The reality of the situation is that your weight shouldn’t matter in a relationship. Unless your weight affects the sex, your ability to go on activities with your boyfriend or your tendency to eat a certain diet that your Asian boyfriend doesn’t like, unless your weight negatively affects your relationship, you should be just fine. But you still have to define: how BIG are YOU? And are you too big for other guys who aren’t Asian? Do you also have trouble with Latin guys or White guys or Black guys? Because if you have had problems in the past with guys accepting your weight, then I can be certain that simply switching to Asian guys won’t exactly change things.

“Where can an Asian guy get some decent THIGH ACTION around here?!”

If all else fails, hire an Asian personal trainer, tone up, get fit, take him to the locker room, compliment his biceps, pretend to drop something, bend over, show-off DAT BODY and make him LOVE THOSE CURVES!

WERK IT!