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Way Better Than Celebrating Columbus Day

12 October 2009

❤ Philippines

Hope you make it through the storm.

– Shiyuan

“Did you say SHY-YAN? SHU-YEN? … Can I just call you Sheila?”

11 October 2009

Recently, I was confronted with a kind of discomfort I haven’t felt in a long time.

I started this Business Planning class at the Renaissance Entrepreneurial Center a few weeks ago. In some ways, new class means what new classes have always meant – fresh, clean notebooks; pens; binders & the paper to fill them; dividers with colored tabs; shiny, new accoutrements; & new friends.

But for me, and other Asian people who tunneled through that period in their adolescence when a person was supposed to “get an American name” with their Asian names still intact, the first day in a new class also means having to explain to new people what your name is, how to say it, and why no, no matter how difficult your name may be to pronounce, it’s YOUR NAME, and they cannot make up a nickname for you.

All the while fielding comments like, “Wow! That’s so EXOTIC. What does that mean? Does it have a special meaning?” and “Whoa, are you, like, Chinese? Can you say something in Chinese? Hey class! Shiyuan has something she’d like to say in Chinese.” (True story, BTW – 3rd grade, Harding Elementary School, Corvallis, Oregon.)

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Fight on the Muni

8 October 2009
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Sorry for this bit of sensationalism, but I couldn’t help myself.

These are some fierce ladies.

This took place on the 20-Columbus bus in Chinatown, San Francisco.

Wow. Who said Asian women couldn’t throw down?

– Shiyuan

Verbal Assault: The Abuse and Debasement of “Rape”

8 October 2009

By Amanda Hess, originally posted at The Sexist

Monday, Sept. 28, was a good day for the sexual assault euphemism.

Discussing the Roman Polanski case with the ladies of The View, Whoopi Goldberg mitigated accusations that Polanski drugged and raped a 13-year-old girl by insisting that the crime wasn’t “rape-rape.” In a statement to the United Nations that same day, Vatican rep Archbishop Silvano Tomasi spun the public outcry over sexual abuse in the Catholic Church by clarifying that the priests “involved in the abuses” are not pedophiles but “ebophiles,” a “sexual orientation minority which is sexually engaged with adolescent boys between the ages of 11 and 17.”

Both Goldberg and Tomasi were criticized for employing wordplay that minimized sexual assault. “Look, sex with underage boys is an area where you don’t want to be displaying your connoisseurship and nitpicking about aesthetic distinctions,” the Economist chided Tomasi. The blog Jezebel called Goldberg’s repetition a product of the actor’s “fantastical moral universe.” In that universe, anything less terrifying than the most barbaric form of rape doesn’t deserve to live under the same terminological roof.

How did we get to a place where “rape” needed to be repeated to mean anything?

In ancient law, rape was seen as an affront to female chastity as opposed to a violation of the human body. Raping a married woman robbed her husband of his property; raping an unmarried virgin robbed the woman’s family of her future value in marriage. Rape inside marriage was impossible, as a man could not rob what was already his. Similarly, a woman’s premarital sexual activity in effect nullified the crime of rape—women who chose to have sex outside of marriage had already devalued themselves and had no chastity left to steal.

Continue reading at The Sexist

A Retraction & Clarification on District 9 Review

6 October 2009
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Sad Homesick Alien

Sad Homesick Alien

I get more hate for the “District 9 Not Racist [Alternative Alternative Perspective]” article  than any other article.

I’d like to address some of the comments we’ve received, and offer a more nuanced read of the movie than I had previously presented.

How This All Started

Walking out of the theater, I thought District 9  was a really great, thought-provoking movie. When I saw the Racialicious article denouncing it as racist & encouraging people not to watch it, I got mad, responded via the above, and quickly found myself dragged into this “is District 9 racist or not” argument, which in retrospect, was exactly the wrong question to ask. Apologies to all of you – I should have thought things through before I so eagerly came to the defense of this movie, because my “it’s definitely not racist position,” which I took because I thought the movie had a lot of good things to say about race & race relations, forced me to dismiss critiques of the movie in a way that isn’t productive.

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Female Envy Sucks

4 October 2009
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Patriarchy Getting in the Way of Sisterly Love

Why does it seem so hard for women to be happy for one another?

Put differently: When was the last time that you felt genuinely happy for one of your sister peers when she had accomplished something noteworthy?

As some of you know, I’m in the process of opening a bakery in San Francisco. Part of my research process involves telling every single person I meet that I’m doing this, and asking for their feedback and suggestions. People who don’t cook much themselves, or who don’t think of themselves as chefs or foodies have, in general, provided really positive feedback. They give me ideas for new markets, different recipes, and creative solutions to my most pressing business issues.

People who cook extensively themselves, or have their own food-related aspirations, however, tend to be extremely negative about my business idea. They ask me –

Isn’t it really hard to open your own food business? I read that over 90% of food businesses fail within their first year. Here, what’s your email address? I’ll send you the article.

How are you going to distinguish yourself from the competition? There are a lot of good bakeries in San Francisco. (There aren’t, by the way. There aren’t nearly enough good bakeries in San Francisco.)

*Really skeptical look* Yeah, a lot of people want to start their own bakeries. Good luck with that.

And on, and on, and on.

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Guess Child Rape Is Not That Big of a Deal

29 September 2009

Speaking of the male complicity in our rape culture, the French & Polish Prime Ministers are calling for the release of Roman Polanski, a director who was recently arrested by Swiss authorities for his rape of then 13-year old Samantha Geimer over 30 years ago. At the time of the original trial, Polanski fled the country because he didn’t want to go to jail. (What a baby. Seriously. I have negative respect for him, now, if that’s even possible).

Many extradition attempts have been made in the past, particularly when it was known that Polanski would be traveling through Great Britain, a country that has an extradition treaty with the United States.

Mr. Kouchner, the Foreign Minster of France, and Mr. Sikorski, the Prime Minster of Poland, are SO CONCERNED about Polanski’s human rights, which they believe are being violated here, that they co-authored a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. (Yeah, like she’s going to have a whole lot of sympathy for your CHILD RAPING FRIEND).

Joining Mr. Kouchner of France and Mr. Sikorski of Poland in their effort to “free Polanski,” is Mr. Frédéric Mitterrand, the French culture minister, who has issued a statement in support of Polanski from Paris, and over 100 industry insiders who have signed a petition to that effect. Signatories on the petition include movie directors Mr. Pedro Almodovar, Mr. Wong Kar Wai, and Mr. Wen Wenders.

Men ALL OVER EUROPE and maybe even ALL AROUND THE WORLD, according to this petition, “are dismayed by this decision.”

Yeah, I’m sure. In case you forgot how Roman Polanski got into this mess, here’s a great Salon piece to remind you:

Reminder: Roman Polanski raped a child

Next thing you know, there will be “FREE ROMAN” tee-shirts circulating around the internet and a 1-800 number you can call to make donations.

Watch me throw up right now.

– Shiyuan