Nexon Makes Us Angry
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Nexon Makes Us Angry

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RevoBasics
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Posts : 19
Join date : 2010-03-19
Location : makin da bic orda bic boiii

PostSubject: Rant   Tue Jun 08, 2010 8:45 pm

Assimilation

When Zheng Lao Da and his ten children lived in a farming village in the Fujian province of China, he lived his days unaware that his children would continue his legacy in America. After all how could he? Like his father and his grandfather before him, he was a farmer, and he expected to stay a farmer. America! What a thought! The land of doctor-children, fast cars, and big Victorian houses. But Lao Da did not think such things. He was a simple man with simple wishes. He wanted his children to live long, and the crops to bring profit. What more could he ask for? However, my father, the youngest of six brothers, broke from the tradition. He had dreams. But in order to achieve those dreams, he needed an education. At the age of 24, my father graduated from a university in Fujian with a math degree and started teaching at a local common school a few miles from his hometown. Eventually he became principal, but his dream wasn't to become principal of an elementary school. No, farmer-boy was America-bound.

Now there's a funny thing my father realized when he arrived in New York City. There were buildings, there were hundreds of people passing him by every second, and no one to help him. He was alone like Sheep in the Big City. And man, did it suck. With a math degree that wasn't valid in America and no knowledge of even the most basic English, my father began working as a waiter for less than minimum wage in a restaurant in downtown New York. Now he knew he was getting ripped off, but he couldn't do anything about it. All he had was math, and whoever said math was a universal language missed something in the equation. But did he lose hope? Never.

I don't know if it is during this difficult time that he realized this, or after he married my mother. You see, farmer-boy vowed that one day he would have a city-boy of his own and he would be schooled the American way, and he would speak English and he would become the beginning of ten generations of the American Dream. After saving enough money to open his own restaurant and then succeeding in opening a chain of small restaurants he could call his own, the dream was becoming the truth. And city-boy became me. His own legacy. His American son.

So my own story begins in a neighborhood in Woodside, Queens. I mean, it wasn't the safest place, but it wasn't the unsafest place either. I mean, sure, you left a bike un-chained and you earned yourself a walk home (or to school). On the streets, teenagers were smoking God knows what and Spanish was as much in the air as the cigarettes and the barbecue your neighbor was having in his backyard. But that was it. No violence, no alcohol, no drug sellers. All the kids my age were either white or Spanish with the exception of the one Hindu boy named Danny whose real name was something no one could pronounce. So there they were, Danny and Esteban, my childhood friends.

Woodside had a type of personality, especially in my own neighborhood. There was an accent you got after living there that involved a lot of Spanish influence and a lot of curse words. Now it wasn't just the curse words. Or the fact that the neighborhood kids had taken the liberty of calling me Chinese Jay-Z. No, the reason I got sent to Catholic School is because all the cigarettes and Spanish in the air was making me a "bad person". Of course, naturally I now know that it was really because I needed to learn real English and not the English of a urban street thug. After all, my parents just wanted the American son all their friends had.

So after switching from the public school system to a private school in the first grade, I left a room full of Hernadezes, Gomezs, and Gonzalos, and entered a room full of Wagners, Smiths, and Cunninghams. They were white. I mean really white. Where I used to be a chino and everyone asked me if hajima meant stop in Chinese (it actually means stop in Korean), which didn't piss me off because I didn't know ANY Chinese at this point in my life, I was now a mystic Chinese master. White kids love the Chinese language I noticed. Since the only Chinese I knew was my name and my brother's name in Mandarin, I would tell these unknowing white kids random combinations of Zheng Xi Wen and Zheng Xi Tian. Of Course, being the only Chinese kid in God's White Kingdom meant that, by association, I was also white. I mean, I got into the Beatles, Blink-182, and the Rolling Stones that built the foundation for my love of rock. Thank you white kids of St. Mary's Catholic School.

Inevitably, I was losing my inner yellow. And my parents noticed it. I started to refuse to go to Chinese school on weekends. I would use big words from the bible to win arguments. I got 100s on spelling tests. I was assimilating and losing my culture proportionally. I began to have a can-do fuck-all attitude. When a relative asked me a question in Chinese, I would just play dumb even if I knew what was asked. This embarrassed my parents. Made them want to beat the white out of me. They could have just sent me on a one-way ticket to mainland China, but they didn't. Instead me moved to Bayside. I was confused. Was I to be American or Chinese?

If you don't know anything about Bayside, keep one thing in mind. Bayside has a large Korean and Chinese population and thats exactly where we went. Oakland Gardens in Bayside is a beautiful suburban neighborhood with the one thing my parents hoped would bring me back from the depths of total assimilation. Asians. Other Asians. I now entered the fourth grade with Kims, Songs, and Chens. It was also here where I met my first Korean and I finally figured out where those kids in Woodside got the word hajima from. So being in a room full of Asians would mean I should fit in easily right? Wrong. I instantly found myself different. Most of the kids listened to Kpop or Will Pan or something Asian. They never even heard an Ozzy Osbourne song in their lives, they had never drummed along to the beat of Sum 41. Any way you looked at it, I strolled into P.S. 203 a full-fledged twinky.

In middle school, I realized the full extent of my Twinkinism. I mean I had no culture. Hell, I knew more Spanish than I knew Chinese. So Leslie comes up to me and goes, "You ABC man." The whole time I'm trying to figure out what an ABC is? Who knew you could insult someone using the first three letters of the alphabet. So I go, "Well you XYZ, man." Which DOES mean something but is totally out of context. So what is an ABC? American-born Chinese, in other words, a twinky. Golden brown on the outside, white filling on the inside. A derogatory term used by those labeled FOBs. Fresh of the boat, Chinese as fried rice, with a mastery of accented English and fluent Mandarin. So who was punk-ass Leslie talking to? I mean, China-boy had a girl's name! Leslie considered himself the epitome of FOB culture: the polos, the thick-framed glasses, the insanely spiked, waterproof, wind resistant hair you see in Japanese cartoons. For much of middle school, I noticed myself feeling left out when conversations switched from English to Mandarin and I would instantly be lost in my own twinkinism. So by the eighth grade, I decided to go back to Chinese school on weekends.

Hey, don't get me wrong. I did genuinely try the FOB thing. It just wasn't my scene. I tried listening to Alan Luo and Evonne Hsu and Jay Chao. I tried eating stewed chicken's feet and egg custards. But I couldn't get into it. There was an extra A in this ABC. And I eventually went back to Foo Fighters, Linkin Park, and chicken tenders. But at least now I could speak and understand a bit of Chinese.

So who was I really? Until graduation, being an ABC defined me. I had an identity. Leslie Wai could pass as an anime character. Jon Zheng could fit in with white kids. But even with this fact, why did I always find myself making Asian friends? FOBs? You see FOBhood no longer referred to immigrants kids. FOBhood was embracing your roots, our culture. It was something you could convert to, something you could wake up in the morning and dress yourself for, just to say, "Man, I look like such a FOB." So to surround myself with FOBs was to admit defeat. To admit that I didn't want to be an ABC. Make this twinky more chinky. Because day in and day out I walked around with a question mark going what does being Chinese really mean?

So I still hang out with Leslie and Wei and Edward, and to this day, I can't for the love of China get into a serious conversation with them in Mandarin. They just have a cultural advantage over me in that respect. But while returning home on a Q27 bus after watching a movie and playing a while at the Smiles arcade in Flushing, my inner yellow returned to me.

As I stepped off the bus quickly I didn't notice an old lady getting off on my stop as well so I let the door close on her, forcing her to open the door for herself. So she began lecturing me on how it is rude to come to someone's country and not hold the door open for the people of that country. Then she called me a "stupid Korean" and that my parents should be teaching me American values. "Fucking Koreans". No, no, no old lady you have it all wrong. For the first time, I understood. I understood and I was pissed. Suddenly I had the urge to shout something beginning with an "F" and ending in a "K" and it wasn't "firetruck". I walked away from that old lady and began to think why it bothered a twinky like me so much. Until now, the extent of racism I experienced towards myself was being asked what hajima meant in Chinese. But at that moment I was helpless. Being insulted as a different race is like getting a ticket for a broken tail light in your friend's car. You can't really say anything because you've been caught red-handed for something that isn't your fault. And for the first time, I started to care. Sarah Silverman's Chinks joke was suddenly un-funny. Rosie O'Donnel going "Ching chong ching chong" on the View during the Sichuan earthquake and then apologizing for it because "she didn't know it was offensive because she does impressions of accents all the time" was instantly a load of bull. Ching Chong is a direct insult to how the Chinese language sounds. I was feeling more Chinese than ever. Being insulted by a racist white lady was the best thing that could ever happen to me. This is when I realized. I know I'm an ABC, but hell, I'm Chinese. Wo shi zhong guo ren. And nothing was going to change that. I might not know how to speak Chinese well or read it off a newspaper, but being Chinese is who I am.

So after this bonefied self-awakening, I began to see certain things that I hadn't noticed before. For one thing, why is it that everytime theres and Asian character in a cartoon he speaks with a horrible imitated accent, is colored yellow, and knows kung-fu? What are Asians to society beyond the Hong-Kong action films and anime and Pokemon? Are all Asians from China? Do our many cultures not exist? Are Asians hung like horses, have squinty eyes and have small reproductive organs? Are we all just a bunch of rice-eating, flute-playing, haiku-writing, cello-playing, computer geek math wizard kung-fu karate ninjas that can't drive? Please someone, tell me what the fuck I'm doing here. Who am I? Am I Chinese because I am Chinese or is it because I look Chinese.

Believe it or not, but it actually now that I am writing this paper that I noticed that this ABC and FOB thing isn't about embracing your culture, its about losing it. So in this sense, I realized it is possible to be Chinese and American at the same time. At this point in time, I am college-bound, and eventually I will join society as a trained professional, ready to become a part of society. But no matter who I come in contact with or who I eventually become, I will never forget who I am or where I come from. So what did my parents really want from me when they decided to send me to Catholic School and then an Asian paradise? They wanted to perfectly balance my exposure to two worlds, both of which I am a part of. But it is also fear, a fear that I would not only become the start of ten generations of the American Dream, but also ten generations of ABCs who forget where they come from. Its a scary thing to be an immigrant who is proud of your culture to come to America, start a family, and know that your beautiful culture dies with you. But my culture doesn't die with my parents or even me. I expect to start not ten generations of FOBs or ABCs, but ten generations of Chinese Americans.
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Topphat
King Topphat the Asshat Third
King Topphat the Asshat Third
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PostSubject: Re: Rant   Thu Jun 10, 2010 4:12 pm

bro. i was expecting a rant.. not your life story.
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RevoBasics
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Posts : 19
Join date : 2010-03-19
Location : makin da bic orda bic boiii

PostSubject: Re: Rant   Thu Jun 10, 2010 7:47 pm

im sorry your mind can't handle the most intellectual of thoughts. I admire how stupid and narrow minded you are, it must be fun to walk around with a hamster running a hamster wheel in your head everytime you have to READ anything. Honestly Topphat, hats were meant to be worn to cover the head. Obviously yours was meant to cover the fact that you have a gaping hole at the top of your head which allows the disgusting backyard barbeque fumes of Texas to seep into your head hole and corrupt your brain with images of gay cowboy buttsex and the thousands of KKK members ready to shoot down unsuspecting retards as they waddle over to the rodeo. Or maybe you have decided to drop out of high school and work on the family farm. Think about how fun that would be! You never have to leave the farm 'cuz the farms got everythin ya need cowpoke. Its got food, its got water, its got a nice place to raise children, and who needs to work to get married, you can marry your fucking sister! Life is great when your brain runs on 20 percent of Duracell rechargeable batteries and a box of marmelade.
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