geek style · write on

Love Us the Way You Love Pokémon

blackmilk clothing pokemon 2.0 grass type evil tee dress bulbasaur

Instagram is easily accessible, so I’ve been using it over the years to microblog and share things the way I used to on here. But even then, my platform isn’t that grand and my reach is alright at best. So whenever I bring up anything regarding issues in the AAPI community, it feels like I’m standing on a soap box in the middle of a barren strip mall on a weekday afternoon, with the occasional passerby saying “YEAH! YOU SAID IT, GIRL!” and walking away. My words leave an impression on a few, and are forgotten within minutes by others. Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth it to speak up and put my heart on the line like that. In the end, I always hit “Post” because what is the point of me having a voice if I don’t use it? If I don’t say anything, who will? My community has been silenced for far too long. I only hope I can add more fuel to the fire, however small it may be, to amplify our plight.

It also feels weird to go back to business as usual on social media. Does anyone give a shit if I have a dope new Pokémon dress when my community is in distress? I originally planned to post these pics for St. Patrick’s Day with a punny caption like “What’s your [Pokémon] type? 🌸🌿”, but it didn’t seem right.

I ended up posting them a few days later with this caption:

Pokémon is a source of joy, and revisiting the anime has been a fun escape over the past month. But I can’t help but think of Jiansheng Chen — a 60 year old Chinese American immigrant that played Pokémon Go as a way to connect with his nieces, nephews, and grandchildren. In 2017, he went out one night to play and a security guard shot him when he was parked outside of a clubhouse in Virginia. The reason? He felt threatened. That security guard had it all wrong though — *he* was the threat. My community has NEVER been safe. The violent attacks and senseless killings have been happening ever since we first stepped foot in this country. Over the years, countless members of my community have been verbally assaulted, beaten, or have had their lives taken just because they’re Asian. So many families are left to mend the shattered pieces of their broken hearts and figure out how to go on. Some can’t even stop to grieve because they have to look out for other people in their family. My heart goes out to all of them, including the loved ones of those Asian American women that were killed in the recent Atlanta shootings.

If I’m still thinking of Jiangsheng Chen after all these years when I see anything Pokémon related, then how must his family feel when they see Pokémon too? 😔

A REMINDER: if you also love Pokémon and other aspects of Asian culture such as food, boba, matcha, anime, k-pop, k-dramas, k & j beauty products, kawaii things like Sanrio and San-X characters, Nintendo, martial arts, yoga, karaoke, Buddhism, hell — even Star Wars (yes, you read that right) — you need to be better allies. Don’t think I haven’t noticed how some of you have been doing the bare minimum or nothing at all. What I get from that is that you love what our many cultures bring to the table, but not us. I no longer have room to give anyone grace. Do better.

blackmilk clothing pokemon 2.0 grass type evil tee dress bulbasaur
blackmilk clothing pokemon 2.0 grass type evil tee dress bulbasaur

It’s frustrating to have people literally comment on any of my past posts and tell me they hear me and are willing to learn and do better, and in turn literally post pics to celebrate Animal Crossing’s one year anniversary and bubble tea without one word about what’s going on. I want to believe people can be better, but I keep being proved wrong. I’m tired of it. I’m tired of people being performative in their activism. I’m tired of all the hate we receive for us as a whole, but the endless love and appropriation of the many entities Western culture has taken from us. Just love and support us the way you love Pokémon, dammit.


PS: Sources to help support the AAPI community can be found here. Please donate if you can, and if not please share.

PPS: In case you’re wondering, BlackMilk Clothing Pokémon dress can be found here and here.

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It’s An Honor Just to Be Asian

it's just an honor to be asian t-shirt sandra oh

Steven Yeun recently said, “Sometimes I wonder if the Asian American experience is what it’s like when you’re thinking about everyone else, but nobody else is thinking about you.”

This quote has been on my mind a lot. It so perfectly sums up how I’ve felt all my life. I constantly feel like I’m juggling other people’s feelings along with my own. Always worrying that I’m overstepping if I say something about what I’m experiencing or hurting from because it’s not on the same level as someone else. Basically devaluing my pain. But at the end of the day no one cares about me.

Or at least until now…? Despite all the conversations I’ve had or posts I’ve put up on Instagram talking about the increased attacks on the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, it goes over everyone’s heads. Sure, people have posted things. But the fervor in which it’s done compared to last year with their declarations to become better allies to marginalized communities… well, they just proved to be empty promises.

The tragic events that occurred on March 16 — a mass shooting of 3 different Asian owned massage parlors that resulted in the death of 6 Asian women — led to a massive push. The next day I was greeted with messages asking me how I was doing, that people were there for me. That they see me and hear me. Though it was all said with the best of intentions, I couldn’t help but feel enraged.

It led me to write this on Instagram:

What can I say that I haven’t said already? I feel like myself, my sister, and friends in the AAPI community have been screaming into the void since, well… as long as we can comprehend. We’ve shared our struggles not just in the form of info graphs on our IG Stories over the past year, but have brought them up in actual conversations — everything from the rise of hate crimes since the last president uttered “China Virus” + “Kung Flu,” to talking about issues of representation in the media, to our own personal experiences of facing racism firsthand. But they always fall upon deaf ears. Sadly, it’s not surprising as our plight constantly flies under the radar. I’m tired of being invisible.

Why did it take a mass shooting of 3 Asian owned businesses that took the lives of 6 Asian women to be the catalyst for so many of you to REALLY pay attention? To start posting more? To check in on your AAPI friends? Have our collective cries for help in the past few months not been enough? I appreciate those who have checked in on me, but it’s really not necessary. Because I’m not okay — I’m angry, bitter, sad, and more scared than I’ve ever been in my whole life and I don’t see this changing anytime soon.

I implore you, please LISTEN to us. I feel like all the info graphs that circulated last year were for naught. So many of you who went all out in sharing resources and committing to being better allies have barely said a peep about what’s happening to my community until recently. Your silence has been disappointing.

There’s a link in my bio with resources to support the AAPI community, please donate if you can. I’ve also included my Venmo here for the emotional labor I’ve done in trying to raise awareness. Please consider sending money to your AAPI friends who have done the same.✌🏼We have screamed about our struggles into the void for far too long.

I feel like I have so much more to say, but I just can’t will my fingers to type every single thought flashing in my head.

To my fellow AAPI — I see you, I hear you, I feel all your pain, your sadness, your anger. All of it. You matter. Please be safe and take care.


bloop · write on

Heavy Stuff

chubby cheeks

A few months ago during a Wear Your Voice Mag (WYV) meeting, it was brought up that articles with personal narratives that included cultural experiences were some that our readership really responded to. When it came time to do pitches, I immediately thought of what it was like growing up as a chubby pinay. It was really the only thing I could think of to write about regarding personal narratives about my Filipino upbringing. As I started jotting down notes, I found it to be very hard and painful to write. Digging up all these horrific moments from the depths of my memory put me in panic mode and guilt ridden, so I put off writing it for quite a bit.  I didn’t go into full detail about everything I had gone through though in my final draft as I had to consider my word count, and also that I was focusing on how my culture in particular had effected me — not how my peers did. That could be another article all together. It’s just really hard growing up on the heavier side of the scale because it makes you the automatic target of ridicule.

I saw that it was posted last Wednesday, but I made no plans to share it because all this anxiety began to build within me. I started to worry about what people would think. The Filipino community is always depicted as being an extremely friendly and happy bunch, yet I wrote about how in that culture it seems perfectly acceptable to make blunt comments on someone’s appearance — particularly whether someone is too fat or too skinny. So basically, in my article it sounds like I’m saying Filipinos can be extremely insensitive bags of dicks. I’ve only been to the Philippines twice, the last time was 11 years ago when I had just turned 19. A relative we stayed with called a month after we came back home and while I talked to her on the phone, she casually asked, “Have you lost any weight?” Where did that even come from? A couple years after that, I opted out of going back there for a month with my mom, dad, sister, youngest cousin, and my aunt because I didn’t want to have to deal with being told I was fat everyday for a month straight. My mom came back with a couple of stories that would’ve made me cry a damn ocean — she told me about how she talked to a local and they asked her if she was American, and she joked “Yes! Can you tell by my accent?” Their response? “No. It’s because you’re fat.” She also told me that when her, my cousin, and my dad got into a taxi the driver went out to check on the back tires to make sure their weight didn’t bring them down. Like… what the fuck?

I was also worried about sharing this article because it’s so personal. I briefly talk about attempting suicide, and of course, my family. I worried (or, I am still worried as I have not shared it with them yet) about what they’d think of it. Would I hurt their feelings? Would I upset them? Anger them? Offend them? Would this cause drama? I was seriously not planning on sharing it, and was thinking it would fly under the radar anyway since my articles on WYV don’t create that much of a buzz. But that changed on Tuesday. My article was shared on their Facebook page, and someone had left a comment on one of my Instagram pictures telling me they had just read my article and how they related to it. I woke up the next morning to a message on Facebook. Someone else had thanked me and said the article resonated with them, and how they could see their daughters getting effected by the same type of comments I grew up with. Instagram notifications showed other people commented that they had read my article. I looked at my post on WYV’s Facebook — it’s been shared 30 times so far, and the comments I’ve seen people make throughout the day have been nothing but supportive.

If you’d like to read it, you can find it here:

Thank you to all who’ve reached out, commented on WYV’s page, and shared the article. It means so much that my words were able to resonate with some of you and let you know that you’re not alone. ❤

cheers le fancy geek fashion blogger