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It was brought to my attention that thousands of teenage Asian girls in the USA and other rich first-world nations are struggling to find their identity and they need a voice.  Let me be that voice…of reason.  Girls, all I have to say is one thing:  “Get over yourselves and join the human race first before you start worrying about how you are different from everyone else.”  Once you are “somebody”, then you have the right to be depressed should you find that the world is still crushing down on you or singling you out because you are different from a majority.  Is that harsh, cruel, or rude?  Maybe, but you notice that I didn’t name names and if you are offended, it is you who chose to be hurt by my indirect statement.  To me, I find that the biggest losers are those people who blame everyone else but themselves for their problems.  Trust me when I say that there are people from every race in every nation in the world who find ways to be miserable and depressed.  It doesn’t matter if you are rich, poor, black, white, Asian, and all ethnicities in-between.  As I remember it, people like Kurt Cobain can be living the American Dream, with vast wealth and admiration from millions yet still feel miserable.  Now I’m not just sitting here bagging on Mr. Cobain, but rather I’m using his example to illustrate that some people are just miserable no matter what they accomplish.  In relation to this, I read stories online about Asian girls in American schools who can’t find an identity, feel alienated, and etc.  Is it me, or doesn’t all schools in every nation of the world have a large percentage of the student body who feels that way?  Am I selling out my Asian sisters by saying that your race is just an excuse to classify your depression or feelings of inadequacy as racially manifested?  No, and I’ll explain why below.  Wow Kiana…what big words you speak!  The better to rant on you with…

As most of you know, I didn’t go to an American school.  Where I come from, we worry more about how we can scrounge up enough money for lunch before we worry about our social standing in a public school.  We don’t have widespread free lunch programs.  Only in rich nations do you have the luxury (dare I say you are spoiled?) to find the time and wealth to obsess over your “identity”.  But I do have friends and cousins who did go to schools in the West.  Some loved it while some hated it and described it as I’ve read and stated above.  The reason I see that some loved it while others hated it is due to one simple concept:  some people are optimists while others are pessimists.  It’s deeply ingrained in their character and there’s little you can to do change it other than allow them to grow out of it naturally.  The result is that some girls took the fact that they were Asian and used it to their advantage.  These girls realized that they are naturally petite and sexy with perfect hair and skin and worked to maximize their beauty.  If they had pimples, they had the resources to pay a doctor to prescribe them hormonal treatments to clear it up.  Their exotic looks captured the imagination of guys in the school both Asian and non-Asian alike.  Most girls ended up on dance teams, cheerleading squads, soccer teams, or whatever else the pretty and popular girls joined.  Because white (and non-white) people often generalize Asians as the “smartest race”, it was easy for these girls to run for and win most leadership positions.  Can you believe that some Asian people in the Western world are offended because many non-Asian people generalize them as “smart”?  Back to my point, how did they win?  They used the fact that they were different to gain respect.  It’s like that here in the Philippines and I’ve personally witnessed the following two examples.  If someone sees a white person involved in a company, other executives suddenly want to know how they could be so accomplished to get a white person to want to work for them.  If a black person comes here and attends a concert and starts dancing, suddenly all of the Filipinos think the show must be really entertaining or of quality.  The band will pull the black guys and/or girls onstage to dance with them.  Then the crowd really goes crazy like it’s a big-name concert and everyone starts bobbing their hands and take pictures like they are watching an authentic Snoop Dogg show.  Black people who are seen dancing to their hip-hop sounds gives credibility to their talent as Filipinos who are “down”.  Previously the crowd was basically standing around uninterested.  The black tourists absolutely love it and I would too if I were them.  They appreciate the fact that they are so much different from everyone else and they milk it for everything its worth when it’s their moment to shine.  For both of these reasons, black and white foreigners love the Philippines because Filipinos exploit their differences in a positive way for the foreigners, even though technically it’s wrong or unfair to the majority.  The foreigners are optimists like my friends in school who loved school.

 Now let me talk about the pessimists.  These are the miserable kids in school who are recluse and often lock themselves in their rooms, wear gothic clothes, and do whatever else it takes to express their angst.  They have the “woe is me” attitude and never make a concerted effort to attain a goal.  If they finally decide to try and wind up failing, they accept their failure as absolute.  If they hear a FOB joke or a racial slur, they prefer to accept that “everybody feels that way” rather than entertain even a remote possibility that most of their classmates do not share or condone such ignorance.  Most of the white kids are ashamed that someone from their racial group makes the majority look bad in such a way.  Have you ever heard of self-deprecation?  If you play along, the ignorant bastards will likely gain respect for you for standing up to them in a “humorous” manner and leave you alone.  If you show them that it hurts you, they will continue to recycle the same slur over and over…

My favorite commercial was the one that talked about Michael Jordan and all of his failures.  I managed to collect the poster when my high school classmate went to Chicago on vacation and bought it for me.  Obviously Michael Jordan is no failure.  Yet he failed all of the time over the course of his career.  In his full life, he has a mountain of mistakes.  But it’s only a mole-hill compared to the Mt. Everest of his success.  To all of the girls out there, Asian and non alike, I challenge you to choose which mountain you wish to be taller.  Once you have chosen, it’s up to you to go out there and make it happen.  Nothing is, or should be free in this world.  Again, being an Asian girl in a white world, you need to focus on what you have that white people envy.  For all of you inadequate kids of all races reading this now, I’ll state my point:  Yea, life sucks, but then you grow up.  Then it sucks for different reasons, none having to do with not “fitting in” at school.  The more you maximize your potential by working hard, the less life will suck as you grow older.  The most interesting part of all is that the popular kids often become mediocre and many dorks, geeks, and freaks bloom like wild roses.  Remember girls, just because you don’t fit in now doesn’t mean you won’t bloom later.  I wish you all could have seen the butch-haired, chubby, pimply faced tom-boy that used to be me.  The four years that is high school is such a short flash before your eyes.  So much more happens in your 20’s.  Also, you should always look around at your non-Asian friends.  I guarantee that all races have their share of social outcasts and misfits at your school.  I know I used to fit somewhere into the geeks and freaks classification.  Take a look at the rest of your fellow human beings and learn to see through their eyes before you decide that all eyes are on you and the world revolves around your being Asian.

I did a long time ago, and it was then I realized that the world is mine for the taking as long as I see it for what it really is.  My failure or success is ultimately up to me.  If I do it my way, I’ll always have my self-respect when I look at myself in the mirror.  If someone does it for me, I’ll never be 100% sure what is in the reflection looking back at me…

January 19th, 2005

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