Who am I? Humor for self-awareness & identity issues

betty ming liu Food, Inspiration, Relationships 2 Comments

A good friend of mine says that reading my painful blog posts about childhood traumas and cultural issues is only bearable when I’m funny. Agreed! Humor goes a long way in sharing the truth effectively and then, growing from the experience.

The tricky part here is that looking in the mirror can be tough. But lately, that’s gotten easier as I’ve discovered a new type of mirror: Great online videos. With that in mind, the computer screen you’re eyeballing right now might make a pretty good tool for self-reflection…

There’s nothing like getting grounded in reality and context to reach a clearer perspective. For that, I thank fellow blogger Gil Asakawa. Gil posted the following TED video featuring journalist Jennifer 8. Lee.

Without him, I never would’ve found this fascinating segment about Chinese food in America — which is super-popular, but not very Chinese. After watching it, you’ll never, ever, ever feel the same about Chinese restaurants again.

The clip is a stand-out because it shows how facts can help power a thoughtful discussion. (Here’s a direct link if you have trouble viewing the video below.)

Of course, to complete this reflective moment, we absolutely must share some laughs about obnoxious tiger parents. For this, I thank Ivan Pereira, one of my still-young former students. He’s part of “American Dad’s” huge, 20-something fan base. If not for him, I would’ve never have caught this episode.

The episode was available to the public on Hulu.com for a while but now you have to be a subscriber to view it. Here’s the direct link. If you missed it, just let me say that the segment did a great job at making fun of the tiger mom stereotype, which apparently has now gone totally mainstream!

Just think — millions of people tuned into both this tiger mom episode, while hundreds of thousands of folks viewed the Chinese food video. These are signs of the universal appeal to the personal themes that I struggle with.

My guess is some of you can also relate, no matter what race, ethnicity or angst. This assures me of another important reality…

I am not alone.

And neither are you.

So grasshoppers, maybe we can go forth with our collective pain…and lighten up.  :)



P.S. — If you like this post, you might also enjoy the hilarious videos about sh*t Asian parents say, which are embedded on this earlier post on my blog: “Laughing at Asian Parents — of course, this isn’t me!” There is also my all-time most popular post: “Parents like Amy Chua are the reason Asian Americans like me are in therapy.”

Comments 2

  1. There must be something genetic about this. Of my 6 adopted sons, all of whom are high achievers – the most hyper- achiever is the one of Asian descent. At the age of 26, he has completed two MAs, one of them Ivy League and has presented papers to the annual convention of Social Work professionals and to seminars at the CDC in Atlanta, as well as getting an instructor’s certificate in kick boxing in his spare time AND had just bought his first house AND has a drop-dead gorgeous boy friend who is also a high achiever. I get tired just thinking about it all! However, it certainly wasn’t caused by tiger parents. His birth parents threw him out for being gay when he was 16. He has since re-established a sort of relationship with them but they never showed much interest in his accomplishments and they certainly don’t understand them. He did it all on his own, really.
    My own parents never pressured me to do anything. It was simply assumed I’d go to college and be a professional something – like all the ancestors back to time immemorial, but other than that, they just wanted me to be happy – and I am. When it comes to parents, I was greatly blessed.

  2. Post

    Toby, you were really, really fortunate. And it sounds like your sons are very blessed too. The whole high-achieving thing is such a huge issue in Asian culture. Sometimes I am fascinated by it but mostly, it totally disgusts and horrifies me. The good news is plenty of us — including this particular son of yours — find ways to work things out on many levels. As always, so glad to you have you drop by. :)

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