And then they might come for me

“Did you know that there was a handicapped section?” I asked my mom, curious about whether she really wanted to be part of the women’s march.

To my surprise, and contrary to what my sister said, she said simply, “Oh I wasn’t planning to go. You were there for me.”

I became incensed. “Every voice matters!” I said. “Why didn’t you really go?”

“Because it wouldn’t have mattered. It won’t mean anything.”

And that’s when it struck me. The greatest problem in any society is apathy. Which is generally the great consensus. Whether it’s apathy, because of a loss of hope. Or apathy that we must accept things as they are (and cannot change). Or apathy, because we are resigned, defeated, and depressed. The danger is that, because the energy dissipates and then soon, we forget the joy of living.

Yesterday night in an insomniac moment caused by coughing, I scrolled through Facebook. Yet there were many intense posts about the immigration ban and the fight for the rights. But then there it was. I would have scrolled right by in my dazed 3 am state if the word Asian hadn’t caught my eye. A post about anti-Asian activity in Southern California.

Despite my incredible desire to be an insider, to be popular, to be like everyone else, I have never rejected my Asian American identity. Yes, I may have rejected the side of me that is too Chinese, embracing the non-Chinese food and speaking only English fluently. But yet, to reject how I look, has never crossed my mind.

When I look in the mirror, I see only me. But I know quite consciously that everyone else doesn’t see me that way. They know that I a not white. Some might even assume that I am not American and wasn’t born here.

And so then. I had this fear several months ago once the election was determined. “What about me?” I said. “Can I do my job? Can I do what I need to do? Can I still be effective despite being the person that I am? Can I still be me?”

They came for them. Now they may came for me.

Fifteen years ago…

I started this blog.

Amazingly, I can’t remember a life without it. To have this place where it captures my memories, my thoughts, and my desires. Technically, it was hosted elsewhere at a url formerly know as and in a moment of emotional retaliation about 14 years ago, I moved it to this url.

But the concept of this blog started first at way back in 2000. There, I captured everything that was going on. Interestingly, I didn’t believe in diaries for most of my childhood, especially as a teenager. It was for those lovelorn girls who carried around pens with dainty pink feathers of puffs who wrote glittery pink sparkle fluff. I certainly would not do that.

But as a suppressed writer, I was seduced by the words that came out of my fingers through the keyboard. I had barely written for years, sporadically in the purple diary that an aunt gifted to me as a teenager. But with the advent of the boom of online journaling that I could share with others, I found myself writing and writing.

Yes, there were the growing pains—I realized that I couldn’t write about people (negatively) nor could I write about emotional turmoil (people would get too fussy about it—nowadays you may even expect shaming).

I miss the naivete of that era. Where we would embody ourselves with empathy and sympathy. We deeply tried to understand each other. Our comments were personalized. Truly self-centered of course. But we were figuring it all out. All we wanted to do was be heard. And crazy enough, it worked.

I am busy, but I make time for you

In college, a former boy interest said that he was too busy to call me.

“What do you mean by that?” I said, feeling anger cursing through my veins and tears squeezing through my eyes.

Thousands of thoughts went through my head, but the most prominent one was: He’s at a third-rate college. How can he possibly be more busy than I am? Yes, I had an elitist streak then—I was a top public university in the nation in my senior year. I was not only working part-time as a research assistant, I was also working as a residential computing consultant. I was taking the GRE for graduate school. I was an officer for a club. I had tons of projects then. Intense classwork. And he…I don’t even remember now what major he studied. But it was certainly not comparable to anything I was doing. How could he possibly be busy?

Obviously, he was finding an excuse for being unable to end things so explicitly.

And yet, in the midst of all of it, I still made time. Because I found it that important.