Johnny C is a self-described Accidental Asian American: born in California and raised in Hong Kong and Manila, he spends his days traveling as a freelancer for various NGOs in development and human rights. An idealist and adventurer, his travels are both for work and fun, while sharing stories through his pictures, videos, and writing. When he's not dance-walking to indie rock songs on his iPod in cities around the world, he's usually got himself engrossed in a science fiction novel traversing the portals of reality.
[The following is an unpublished epilogue to Johnny C's Asian America in 2013 series. He was originally planning to leave 8asians on a high note after finishing the series, but we persuaded him to stay a little while longer. Some of us thought it would be a better send-off.] We forfeit three-fourths of ourselves in order to be like other people. – Arthur Schopenhauer Growing up overseas, America and what it was in my mind [...] Continue »
The buzzwords “passion”, “amazing”, and “awesome” are commonly used by people to describe themselves or what they do. As Louis CK says, many words have lost meaning. The danger of the constant use of words like “passion” is that passion is fuel–without a place to direct it, the platitudes of “chasing your dreams” and “being yourself” don’t help much–it’s like having a full tank of fuel but not knowing where to drive, and being told [...] Continue »
Recently, I climbed Mount Elbrus in Russia. Having nothing but my friend and a few books, it was a good time to really take a step back and reflect on society–ton look at a distance and not be affected by its trappings gives some insights. There was something liberating about not being told that “reality” and injustice were related to how I looked in comparison to others, that I could get by on my own [...] Continue »
Very few things can get me to pop in while I’m still vagabonding and give even an inkling of attention for something in another universe. Unfortunately for you all, the recent article about being “hip” to be Asian-American, which coincides with this idea that’s been idling in my mind before I bowed out are what both compelled me to make a few statements before continuing back on the road. So let me ask what is [...] Continue »
Growing up in Manila in the late 90s and going to international school (long before MP3 file-sharing became the norm), I had an opportunity to hear a wide variety of music most people stateside had never heard of from around the world, a statement that indie music hipster snobs often flaunt to annoy others. Whether it was my Scandinavian friends introducing me to The Shermans and Eggstone, or discovering the Manila underground thanks to news [...] Continue »
One of the things I enjoy about the Internet and Democracy is that you have the opportunity to engage in dialogues and see different points of view. One of the things I don’t like is that often, people have already decided that the only logic that works is self-serving logic, the only dialogue worth paying attention to is the sound of their own voice, and the best perspective is their own. Thankfully, that’s not how [...] Continue »
Culture is like water in a river flowing, and as we can infer, you can’t step into the same river twice. Take a glass of river water, throw it in another river, run out and grab it, then throw it back into the first river, and you will find several differences. The first is, no matter how much you try, you can’t throw the glass back into the exact same spot you filled it up [...] Continue »
There is a necessity to bind Asian America by ideals and a tangible goal worth pursuing rather than strictly by race. For one, Asian America is diverse, not in terms of race and the many cultural groups people are descended from, but within America itself. Much of what is written about Asian America is centered around California, as many of the loudest voices come from Southern California, especially with a huge concentration of the population [...] Continue »
The American Dream stays alive in the hearts and minds of everyone who wants something greater, and is a great part of what defined the immigrant dreams during the twentieth century. But what good are dreams and joy if they are not shared with others? The competitive air of America’s Capitalistic philosophy does not mean we should let go of our collaborative efforts for success. If people feel excluded from the American Dream because they [...] Continue »
As a global nomad, I often wonder what part of me is truly Asian-American. I am Asian, yes, and I am also an American citizen by birthright. I have lived in the West Coast, the East Coast, the Midwest; I have lived in eight Asian countries, and through these experiences, I ask this question as both an outsider, one who does not “belong” to Asian America, and an insider, for the basic characteristics of (one [...] Continue »
Rarely do I pick up a book so engrossing that I realize that no matter how tired I am, I am compelled to read “just one more chapter” before I realize that I have come to the end of the book and finished it in one sitting, much like the first time I read Ender’s Game. Yoko Ogawa’s Revenge, a collection of loosely linked short stories, is one of those books. Revenge is a series [...] Continue »
The person who experiences greatness must have a feeling for the myth he is in. He must reflect what is projected upon him. And he must have a strong sense of the sardonic. This is what uncouples him from belief in his own pretensions. The sardonic is all that permits him to move within himself. Without this quality, even occasional greatness will destroy a man. – Frank Herbert, Dune In Dave Eggers’ foreword to Kurt [...] Continue »
Johnny Chan: Interesting observation on this certain facet of Caucasian-American / Euro-American society; people should in fact collect all the available facts that make up Western civilization,... – What Do White Supremacists Think of Asians?