Accidental Chinese Hipsters

In case this was missed…


From the blog Accidental Chinese Hipsters, written by a fellow hapa. :  )


The Re-Moulding of ELM2587

Baked Bread has begun a succinct, yet informative, account of her transition from working at a start-up to embarking on the next step (TBD!) and the trials and tribulations associated with making such a major change. Inspired by her ruminations, I, who will refer to myself as ELM (will be crazy and *gasp* DROP THE NUMBERS!!), will follow suit and detail an account of my jump from confused pseudo-Arts journalist to…Master’s Student and from there…fashioning the ultimate Re-Start.

And this is the part I hate: condensing my past into mere sentences, crushing months into words, becoming text on a screen. But to spring into the unknown, you need something familiar to spring from, and I suppose that my brief account of myself will serve that purpose.

I thought I wanted to be a foreign correspondent while at college. That was even the subject of my (successful) application for the Ledecky International Journalism Fellowship, 2009, which allowed me to live in Prague for 2 magical months. I can tolerate living in a museum for about that length of time; anymore would have turned me into an exhibit!

Then, I veered off into artistic journalism territory. I spent several years dabbling, touched on advertising a little too, but realized that it wasn’t engaging me in the way I wished to be engaged. Cue, soul searching , confusion, onset of a quarter life crisis that marked, and still marks, me deeply…all that good stuff. So I applied to graduate school.

Now I’m heading off to NYU’s World History Masters program this September…wondering what it will be like to be a student again after a 3 year hiatus in the world. And then preparing to be spat out again, hopefully wiser.

I know that’s not the end of the path. Now, I’m faced with a daunting choice: go for what I love, or hold back, attain security, and then go for it, no holds barred, after a long hiatus. That’s a bit abstract, but it’s something I’m struggling with constantly. It makes me tired. I’m caving into to parental pressure to take the LSAT and apply to law school should the results be favourable. This is directed mostly from my Asian half, but I don’t care to dwell on the “implications.” Then I’m looking at other career tracks to prepare myself for what is to come. Still have no clue.



Starting to Change (1 of 3)

I’ve been hankering for change for a while. For one, it started when I left my position at a fast-paced, mentally and emotionally challenging tech startup. Suddenly I could breathe. I could be myself again. But who was I? How was I? The person I’d become, I didn’t like. The person I had been, I couldn’t remember. So instead I set about trying to live up to the aphorism a friend in college once said: “Every day always try to get one step closer to the kind of person you want to be.”

I signed up for a workshop that a former roommate of mine was co-leading called The Inkblot, which I loved. Every Sunday for three weeks we would gather in a community space (called Launchpad) in Crown Heights and explore, reflect, and commit. I’m great at exploring and reflecting; it’s committing that’s the hard part. The goal of the workshop is to “offer constructive and concrete ways to become creatively unstuck and kick off a passion project of your own.” Perfect.

Through the three weeks we looked at our interests; the possibilities; and then the plan. We examined our favorite activities as a child and how that influences what we still enjoy doing today, the types of activities. We reflected on who our “champions” were, and who were our “drainers.” And finally we wrote out a road map for achieving a single, giant goal by breaking it into three milestones with three specific goals each, with due dates and everything.

Perhaps my favorite part was the individual homework between sessions. Every member of the workshop had their own assignment targeting what they most needed and would benefit from. For example, my homework through the workshop included volunteering at Launchpad; having a “vulnerability conversation” with my boyfriend and mom; and writing a daily gratitude list. It sounds cheesy and the skeptic in me had a good time ridiculing my every step (“You’re grateful for food? Who are you?”) But in the end, I felt better for doing it. So who am I to complain?

Eventually the whole experience helped solidify my desire for personal change. The funny thing is, I’ve always craved it, always sought after self-knowledge and improvement and so on. When it comes to finding answers, I excel in finding solutions. The problem is that these solutions come in the form of “knowledge.” And as my friend Jason says, real knowledge is not information; real knowledge is behavior change. To learn something is to change something in your behavior.

While I really wanted to change and improve how I felt, improve my moods, my actions, my self, the route I took to do that was kind of amorphous and floating. I journaled. But in journalling I just wrote out how I felt and oftentimes dug myself deeper. I read. But in reading I ignored the real problem and patted myself on the back for “taking action” by finding a book. I talked it out. But in talking I satisfied myself with a part-time solution that didn’t really last.

So the point is I don’t think I ever went about improving myself in a really effective way. I’d like to, now. Of course I’m still reading to find the answers, but I’m also attaching myself to other techniques to give myself the biggest chance of success this time around.  


Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day.

Here is to doing more by enjoying more (and okay okay, doing less too!)

— from The Busy Trap on the New York Times

Busyness serves…


The Power of Genetics

…Okay, disclaimer: this isn’t strictly of Hapas. Nevertheless, it’s still fascinating to see how much children can resemble, or not resemble, their parents, the building blocks from which they were crafted by chance.

I was amazed by the art project featured In the link above, from FastCoExist, which paired half-faces of children and parents, sisters and brothers and relatives with different connections, to demonstrate the difference between people from the same gene pool.

Some images highlight how much children are merely youthful versions of their parents, while others suggest an unwittingly pleasing combination of both maternal and paternal contribution.

For example: I know that I resemble my Caucasian father much more than my Asian mother and usually get pegged for a Quapa. Or some kind of Southern European.


The All American-Cheerios Family

If you’ve been tracking all the important things in pop culture these days, you’ll be tuned in to the controversy surrounding the new “Cheerios” advert that features a mixed race child. Is this so strange? Not really–I suppose the notion of “all-American” family is being challenged or reshaped.

Business Insider posits that most viewers from its sample liked the advert…enough to get their Cheerios on.

Apparently, Cheerios is the No.2 best liked cereal ad of 2013 and the 6th best cereal ad of 50, from data provided by The Ace Metrics blog.

Interesting findings?