Across the Realm

Citizens of LLAG I have a HUGE SECRET that I’ve kept from you for TWO MONTHS!

I’ve been in contact with an AMAZING WOMAN OF COLOR writer to present her latest project:

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Welcome to the universe of Across the Realm!
http://www.acrosstherealm.com/

Created by Isobel Mitton, an award-winning, Black-Canadian writer,Across the Realm is an immersive sci-fi book series set 600 years into the future where two worlds and ideologies collide: The North, a racially segregated land where Black, Asians and Caucasians live apart, and The South, a society where people of all backgrounds live and love together.

Why LLAG is supporting this: This is POC EVERYTHING!!!

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Isobel is a Black woman, the artists creating the artwork are POC, and the entire storyline centers around POC characters! You have Korean commanders, Black high priests, and strong, kick-ass female protagonists.

The world of Across the Realm is vivid and magical and DIVERSE AS FUCK, and it reminds me of a POC Star Trek or a POC Star Wars. And if we support it, who knows? Maybe they’ll turn this into a screenplay the same way they turned Isobel’s previous work into screenplays. Can you imagine how awesome that would be?! On top of that, the series is ongoing so you’ll be able to read more into the galaxy, find more artwork AND they’re making a manga!

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PLEASE check out the Across the Realm website, read the character bios, and purchase the first book. It’s only $10 which costs less than a bagel from Whole Foods lol: http://www.acrosstherealm.com/

THIS IS IMPORTANT! We MUST support POC writers and artists!

– LLAG

The Inevitable: My Facebook Page Has Been Deleted

Because of course, you can’t talk about racism without angry, white racists reporting you for “hate speech.”

Funny how that works, right? You stand up for Black Lives Matter and this crap happens? Oh, but when someone says THIS on Facebook….
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…nothing happens?

#WhiteSupremacyIsABitch

Don’t worry, I’m ALREADY thinking of a way to come back.

Expect it.

Follow me on Twitter for updates: @theLLAG
Or shoot me an email: Ranierm.blog@gmail.com

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“What Kind of Asian Are You?” – An Asian Man Dressed as Other Asians

Every Asian person has heard that magical question before.

“What kind of Asian are you?”

This question is often followed by a series of random guesses. “No no, I got it! You are, uhhh… KOREAN! No! Wait, Cambodian?” I can see them studying my face trying to measure the angle of my slanted eyes. Or the bridge of my nose, the shape of my jaw, and the shade of yellow on my skin. It’s interesting: they have absolutely no clue what to look for and yet, they truly believe that the hours they’ve spent watching Asian porn and dining at the local Chinese takeout restaurant have bestowed upon them the ability to guess my ethnicity. And when I tell em’ their wager is wrong they think I’m lying.

“Filipino? NO YOU ARE NOT! Are you sure? I think you’re Chinese.”

I sometimes wonder how these idiots change their behavior once  they figure out which Asian I am. Do they change their approach or speak to me differently now that I’ve been exposed as one Asian over another? Most importantly, what Asian do I myself identify with? Well, here’s my answer:

Some days I wake up with a quiet calm inside my chest. I move around the house methodically, moving each of my limbs one by one like an animatronic robot in Disneyland. Here, I feel Japanese.

Other days I might be cruising through East Side San Jose with my shades on. The smell of sweat and gasoline, the screeching of tires and the sound of clanking utensils reverberating throughout a run-down pho shop. Now, I’m Vietnamese.

Then, in a split second, I’ll switch on some K-Pop and BAM! I’m no longer Ranier Maningding, I’m Ryung Minjun. My eyes gaze harder and my shirt starts to unbutton itself.

As an Asian-American, all of us are asked to check one box. Korean? You’re Asian. Japanese? Asian. Filipino, Taiwanese, Cambodian, Laotion, Vietnamese, or Hmong? Asian. Sometimes this can give you the sensation that your identity doesn’t matter. But to me, it does. Being Asian-American means I can blur the lines between which Asian I want to be today, and the one I choose tomorrow.

Care for some Chinese?

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.

 

VLOG: Q&A #2 – Non-Asian Girls Who ONLY Date Asian Men: Good or Bad?

The more I get into this VLOGGING business, the more I start to see it as a viable option to run side-by-side with this main blog. You see, this site is for the long, drawn out thoughts that need time and energy. Broad topics that I feel the need to talk about in detail whereas these VLOGs will come as side dishes aka banchan aka appetizers. Let me know what yall think! LET ME KNOW, DAMNIT!

Enjoy!

Waking up “in an empty house” is the hardest part

I don’t know about you, but I always get this eerie feeling when I wake up in my house, realizing that no one’s home, and I’m all alone.

There’s this atmosphere, as if there is none – like living in a vacuum. And right when you wake up it’s almost like for a second, you can feel the emptiness. But aren’t we all alone? Aren’t we all just flies trapped inside of a glass jar?

Earlier today I was in the hospital lobby waiting for my brother to finish his checkup. And although I had to wait for about three hours I kinda…. I kinda enjoyed it. The people inside of the hospital were incredibly interesting to watch.

Twiddling my thumbs I watched as people, random people who don’t know each other,  were interacting. A little boy was playing with a dog – one that belonged to a woman who was also waiting; A gangster looking guy opened the door for a little old Chinese woman; and fireman were wheeling away an elderly man as they comforted him with kind words:

” Everything is going to be okay. “


It’s kinda beautiful, ya know? Astronomically speaking, when two Galaxies collide, it is said that the stars within that galaxy have so much space in between that once they combine, not one star will touch another. There’s that much emptiness.  It almost seems as though life should end up like that…

There’s so many people on this earth, and yet… we do smash into each other. We do collide – and we want to. Sometimes we do things out of our way, just to feel less lonely. Maybe that’s why we open doors: to know that someone is actually walking in.

So in the end, are we really alone? Are we all just dreamers waking up inside of glass jars? Yes…. but it doesn’t have to stay that way…