Saturday, May 20, 2006

random thoughts on a friday night/saturday morning while doing laundry...(lots of theory crap)

o Chewing over the responses that people have when I tell them I left my PhD program and applying for pharm school next year. Amused that most of the responses usually begin with, "That's a totally different world..." Is it because of what they've felt about people who usually apply to pharm/med school (apolitical, money making sell outs vs. people who are realizing what their talents are and how best to serve themselves and the community they belong to?) and how I don't really fit into it (supposedly)? Personally, I think I'm a hybrid--a burned-out activist who wants to make lots of money and still find a way to help Asian Americans navigate through this fucked up health care system and advocate for themselves to get what they need to maintain and improve their health since it's the only health care system we've got here.

o Ran into some people that I admire tonight (Esther Lee and Lisa Chun, a fucking amazing Asian dyke couple. I'd like to think that the husband and I are the male equivalents). They've just had a baby, and one of them's going back to school to do biotech. Are we on the same fucking wavelength or what?

o Really happy that the more I get into this whole prepping for pharm school thing, studying and doing other stuff, that I'm enjoying this so much more than I ever did doing sociology.

o Amazed that I don't feel guilt out of watching the other Asians in my classes who are trying to find their way in terms of what they want to do with their lives, and not intervening or giving them unwanted and unneeded advice. Maybe it's because I'm finding my own way as well and realizing that trying to direct people's lives when I'm just now starting to clear my own path is really hypocritical.

o Went to go see some shows as part of the Hip Hop Theater Festival, and trying to figure out what "hip hop" exactly means and its relationship to me. What has hip hop meant to me? A voice from my youth that helped to open my political consciousness? An excuse to dance? Has hip hop gone from underground to mainstream back to underground again?

o Was reading an article about Fil Am performers in sfgate.com and a quote really struck me:

Some academics and activists see the ability to sing and dance to Western music as a legacy of colonialism.

"It's good, because it's a source of survival and livelihood for a lot of people," said Rene Ciria-Cruz, a Bay Area writer. "But if you're a performer, your material is not yours. Because it's so imitative, we have not found our niche yet. How can you develop industry from being a better Elvis? You need to be something completely new.
"

Was thinking about how true that is for Asian Am performers who are trying to be successful, either in the US or abroad, and how they seem to be copycats and touted as the "Asian American [insert pop star here]" while those who are trying to be "different" get ignored. [Considering that everyone claims to be "different" but having it fall into neat little categories doesn't make things all that different or innovative, IMHO]

Maybe that's why I like comedy and [good] performance art so much by Asian Americans. While it's nice to see that the good comedians and performance artists have material that really reflects Asian America, it also seems to be the easiest way to get those who aren't Asian an accessible taste of all the bullshit we have to go through in being of Asian ancestry here in America. {And it also helps that they can't get away with trying to copy someone else because most people really call them out on their shit quicker than in other forms of popular entertainment.]

o I'm pretty sure I'm preaching to the choir here, but is there such a thing as a "stand-alone" Asian American culture or a truly Asian American identity, and how is that represented and how do we represent it? If all we're doing is copying what white mainstream media does, or what we think other people of color are doing according to mainstream media, or even if we're copying what we think are "authentic" representations of our homelands EVEN if those in the homelands don't do it anymore, does that make what we're doing Asian American? [Trying not to use polysyllabic theory words that no one else really knows, obviously :)

o I guess it's all going to back where I stand, here near San Francisco, CA--a 2nd generation, queer-identified, middle-class, monolingual (English), ..., Filipino American (though I identify more strongly as being Ilocano rather than "Filipino" because of the discourse that dominates over what is "Filipino", but more on that later).

o And I guess that's the funny thing about being a minority here in the US, you're acutely aware that you don't belong in the mainstream (I refuse to use "double" or "multiple" minority because it's too problematic)--but then when you break it down even further, you realize that there's really no one place where you can feel truly comfortable unless you make yourself comfortable. And I'm not sure if that's an American thing--or an individual thing.

Shit, I'm such a fucking sociologist...

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