Proving that we are just as capable of bad behaviour as anyone else.
This video has been making the rounds this week. At a restaurant in Sha Kok Estate in Hong Kong last week, two groups of people got into a fight over something. It’s a lot of yelling and screaming. Y’know, your pretty typical mass argument.
Typical, that is, until 40 seconds in when someone picks up a teapot and flings the hot water at someone else. That person then chases the target of his rage around the restaurant, teapot swinging wildly like a weapon. I think he actually manages to chase the other person down and hit him multiple times about the head and shoulders with the teapot. Twenty second later, someone else picks up a chair and hurls it at I think no one in particular. People are screaming, limbs are flying. At 1:30, a white-haired elderly woman who looks about four-and-a-half-feet tall courageously wades into the throng to try and calm the teapot-wielder down.
It’s equal parts horrifying and (admittedly) engrossing… from the safety of my keyboard, that is. Video, after the jump.
For over 12 years, the internet has been an intellectual companion, and a forum wherein I have shaped my activist thought. Although I found my way to Asian American activism through offline work, it was my online activities that have been largely responsible for who I am as an Asian American activist today.
My earliest political opinions — and my commitment to the importance of debate in shaping political opinion — were forged on highly-active Asian American message boards like YellowWorld.org (edit: holy crap — it is still online and someone even posted something this year!), which served as social hubs for the Asian American community throughout the early 2000′s. Over the years, my Reappropriate blogging self became a digital alter-ego, and this blog served as a space for the exploration of Asian American social justice thought — both for myself and for others. Today, I feel hyphenated in more ways than one; not only do I exist with the hyphenated racial identity of an Asian American, but I also feel as if my fundamental sense of self has become a hybrid of my real-life and my online presence.
For me, the role of the internet as a tool for radical consciousness-building cannot be understated. I would not be who I am without access to this digital space, and the freedom to cultivate new (and oftentimes revolutionary) ideas.
Today, that freedom is being jeopardized. Today, we are on the brink of legislation that would shackle the internet, and in so doing, make it fundamentally less free.
Last week, I reflected on the devastatingly high price of our collective silence on the occupation of Gaza. As of today’s writing, 1355 Palestinians — most civilians and children — have lost their lives in nearly three weeks of violence. An additional 59 Israeli have also been killed.
The individual stories coming out of Gaza are horrifying. Earlier this week, Gaza’s only power plant was targeted by Israeli airstrikes, leaving most Gaza residents with no electricity or running water. A United Nations school was struck, killing 16 Palestinians. Refugee camps and hospitals have not found themselves immune to attack. Efforts at a cease-fire have failed.
Last week, I wrote about the moral responsibility of all humans to speak out against these horrific deaths, and how I find myself empathizing with the Palestinian civilians and children of the Gaza Strip who have borne the brunt of the attacks and suffered the greatest share of deaths in this conflict. I spoke about the “blood memory” of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, who know firsthand the devastating impact of war and colonialism which has throughout our history taken countless lives and ripped apart too many families. I spoke about the emotional responsibility of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and indeed all humans, to not stand idly by while the death toll from this senseless slaughter continues to rise in the Gaza Strip.
Yesterday, Hollywood Reporter broke the news that James Shigeta, one of Hollywood’s most prominent Asian American actors of the 1960′s, passed away at the age of 85.
Shigeta broke into Hollywood at a time when Asian Americans still represented less than 1% of America. This was a time in Hollywood when racial minorities were still virtually unseen in front of (or behind) the camera. The use of overt blackface and yellowface — although in its waning years — remained an acceptable aspect of film and television entertainment, in conjunction with damning stereotypes. Hollywood’s attitudes towards racial minorities reflected popular America’s general intolerance: Jim Crow segregation was still alive and well in the Deep South. The Civil Rights Movement was still building steam. Less than two decades prior, the US government had forcibly incarcerated Japanese Americans in American concentration camps.
This was the Hollywood — and the American cultural landscape — that James Shigeta courageously broke his way into.
I’m happy to announce Episode #2 of Reappropriate: The Podcast!
In this episode, guest Snoopy Jenkins (@SnoopyJenkins) and I explore the “Thinking Man” superhero movies, and delve into the kinds of themes that appeal to us as adult fans of geek culture. We touch on a number of movies including Man of Steel, Robocop, The Matrix Trilogy and (of course) the Nolanverse Batman trilogy. I mention that the topic of this episode was inspired by my recent appearance on Flights, Tights and Movie Nights, a fandom podcast which you can find at the link provided and which is hosted by Bubbawheat (@bubbawheat).
You can view the podcast through YouTube, stream or download just the audio through the player below, or subscribe to Reappropriate: The Podcast through the iTunes Store.
NEXT EPISODE: On episode #3, I invite guest and fellow Asian American blogger Byron Wong (BigWOWO) on to tackle the question: “Should Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders support or oppose affirmative action in college admissions?” That podcast will be recording on August 11 at 11pm at this link, so mark your calendars!
As always, we invite viewers to submit questions before or during the podcast recording. You can submit questions through Twitter (@reappropriate) or through Google Hangouts before or during the recording. This episode should be a fun and lively debate, and I strongly encourage you to tune in!
Listen to audio-only version of Episode #2 using the player below: