“Are your parents okay with it?” That’s the first thing many people ask me when they hear that I am dating someone white. Most of those asking were other Asian girls, who struggle with their parental preferences on their dating life. Asian American girls often hear about what it means to date white to our Asian American peers (male and female) on blogs, but less about our parents. Continue reading
When I was a child, I would start a new diary and begin with such fervor, endlessly documenting my life, activities, feelings for the first few days. Then my poor diary would lie on my desk, gathering dust. Then, after several weeks or months even, I would rediscover my forsaken friend and begin writing again, apologizing profusely to the small bound book. “I’m so sorry I haven’t written in you for so long,” I would always say. I feel a similar urge to say that here, to my readers, who have been so patient. Thank you for reading!
A large reason for my absence of late is because I have recently achieved a milestone in my twentysomething life – I now have my first “real life” job. Continue reading
When you haven’t been able to break into the work force yet, you can feel rather defeated. It doesn’t help that most of your friends and peers are employed with six figure salaries coming right out of college. Talk about hit the ground running. There have been days when I have felt pretty depressed about my lack of employment. Even though it has only been three months since graduation, the looming sense of failure and rejection can even bring the brightest of spirits to its knees.
Last summer, I — like countless others — read Anne-Marie Slaughter’s “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All,” and had several reactions to it. Aside from the class and racial issues I had about Slaughter’s article, it did raise interesting questions about feminism and work. Slaughter had the opportunity of becoming a powerful woman leader, at the peak of a political career in Washington — but she gave it up to spend time with her kids (and, you know, remain a Princeton professor). At the time the article came out, I was interning at Beacon Press, a non-profit press that promotes equality. When talking about the article with my (wonderful) supervisor at the time, she commented, “Isn’t this a step backward?” Back at the birth of feminism, women were trapped in the housewife role and wanted real careers. Now Slaughter was claiming that women still couldn’t be the mothers they wanted while having these powerful careers? I saw my supervisor’s point.
Yet the past few months, I’ve been grappling with the conflict between feminism and my own desires. While I initially saw how Slaughter’s article could be anti-feminist, my recent struggle with feminist theory and my life have allowed me to better understand Slaughter’s claims. Feminist theory has fought against old ideas of what women can and cannot do — it has allowed women to join the workforce side-by-side with men. But feminism has now shaped what we expect a woman’s goals should be. It has created restrictions again on the definitions of a woman. Really, feminism should give women the freedom to choose their goals.
I am supposed to be one of the privileged and educated women Slaughter was addressing. But I didn’t come out with a powerful job — in fact, I’m still pretty lost as to what I would like to do. I really enjoyed my summer internship, but as it drew to a close, I had to face a looming question.
After my internship, where would I go?
“The Road Less Traveled” was what I named my college personal essay. I wrote about wanting to be an English major despite my father’s fears of economic insecurity. It was my passion, I wrote. And now that college is over and I have secured my coveted English degree, I find myself down this woody path of dark undergrowth with nothing but my wavering passion to light the way.
During a meeting of friends, a consultant who enjoys his work while not loving it asked the three present who had decided to take a more non-traditional route. For Harvard students, the “non-traditional” route is the one not necessarily paved with gold. The “traditional” route is often consulting, iBanking, academia, or something in the tech field. As someone interested in the arts or writing, I would definitely fall under the “non-traditional” route.
After graduating from college, I did what I believe most students do (aside from road tripping across America with my college friends). I went home. I stayed in my childhood home for three weeks, though if my parents had their way I would stay longer. Within those three short – or long, depending on your point of view – I achieved absolutely nothing. Continue reading
Here are some photos I took as I was playing with the idea of portraits. Enjoy! Continue reading
When I was seven or eight, I remember sitting at the dinner table, glowering at the food in front of me. As my family got ready to eat, I accused my parents of neglecting me and my brother. You’re never around! And other such accusations flew out of my mouth. The moment they were uttered, I could see the raw hurt flash in my father’s eyes.
My parents have loved me and my brother more than anything else in the world. They weren’t home until dinnertime because they were working all the time. Growing up, my mom worked in a clothing factory, her back hunched over a sewing machine from dawn to dusk. Her eyes would go bleary as they watched the needle endlessly pierce cloth under harsh lights. My dad worked as a construction worker and contractor. He often came home with paint, dirt, or wood dust on his shirt and between his nails. He did everything from tearing out walls to reconstructing roofs. My parents were paid probably lower than minimum wage, and this was during the nineties. They slowly chipped away at a mortgage for a house in San Francisco while supporting my grandmother, my brother, and me. Their lives weren’t glamorous and they could barely afford the two gifts I got each year. You’ve probably heard it a million times, but the only reason they came to America was to give me and my brother a better life than they had in China – they had grown up during the communist era, starving through the Great Famine and lacking education beyond middle school.
So why did I think my parents didn’t love us back then, when they so clearly did?
Because once again the past 24 hours have been so chaotic, with incredible news coverage (but perhaps, daresay, an overload?), I’m writing what happened in Boston on April 19th following the MIT shooting and Watertown shooting.
For the hours immediately following the MIT shooting, read my other post, “What Happened In Boston Last Night.” I’m going to begin with the morning. I was awaken around 5:43 AM with yet another Harvard emergency text message that read, “Due to search for dangerous suspect, HUPD advises people near Cambridge/Allston campus to remain indoors. Updates to follow.” I drifted back to a fitful sleep as more texts came. At 8:56 AM, I received another text, alerting that Harvard University was closed today and to stay indoors.
Finally getting up around 10 AM, I immediately checked the news, hoping to see progress on the previous night’s remaining suspect. Confirming my suspicions, I found that news sources had tied the MIT shooting to the Boston Marathon bombers. To my surprise, they had succeeded in identifying both suspects and the media was rapidly searching for all the information they could get on the two: Dzhokar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. I was honestly shocked that they were brothers – but what immediately crossed my mind was that (and I could be wrong) made them less likely to be part of highly organized crime. Continue reading
A lot of my relatives and friends (not from Boston) reached out to me today, asking “What is going on over there?” Because the internet is so jumbled with crazy and conflicting information, I’m writing a play-by-play of last night (April 18th-April 19th) from my perspective. For some background, I am a Harvard student and that plays into how I got my information throughout the night.
It started when a MIT campus policeman was shot. Harvard students got an emergency text and e-mail at 11:35 PM that read: “At 10:48 PM today gunshots were reported at MIT. The area is cordoned off. Please stay clear of area until further notice.” Three minutes later, there was another text, this time from the Harvard University Police Department that read, “Shooting with injuries near MIT campus at 10:45. Suspects at large. Police searching area. No impact on Harvard. Stay out of area.”
At first, it just appeared to be a random (school) shooting. It didn’t seem related to the bombing. I heard sirens outside my window as police rushed to the area. While chatting with my boyfriend, I began feeling nervous about Harvard because if it were related to the bombers and they had been headed for MIT, it’s not a far stretch for them to head to Harvard after (considering we are only about 2 miles away from MIT).
At around midnight, I found out with great sadness that the MIT policeman passed away. If not for him, who knows what the suspects would have attempted at MIT or the rest of Boston…
Harvard Network and Police Scanner
There were various emails being sent over Harvard lists. One reported to stay away from Central square (close of MIT), where there had been an armed 7-Eleven robbery that might be related to the shooting. News sources have now confirmed that the suspects had, in fact, first robbed the 7-Eleven before heading to MIT. Another email reported that police were concerned that the shooter was on the red line (and possibly headed toward Harvard Square). This information was received by students listening to the police scanner because both the university and news sources were not reporting on everything that was happening (presumably because the university didn’t want students to panic and because news sources needed to get everything straight).
Then there were shots heard at 109 Garden Street, which is close to Harvard’s quad, near 12:40 AM. Continue reading