... for the last week, all the hip-hop blogs were saying that Lil Wayne and Cory Gunz (his artist... a REAL New York head spittin flames) were going to drop a monster single soon for his upcoming Carter IV LP, and it just came out yesterday... the beat is pretty fresh, so you know I just had to do my own take over it...
The song is also streaming at my facebook page. If you actually do enjoy it, you can download the MP3 here.
If you have any comments or feedback, let me know what you think in the comments!
Askin for the beat up like I'm rappin with a glass jaw
And I could turn the heat up even when I turn the gas off
If the flow is bad you know it comes from an imposter
I could try to act but I would never win an Oscar
Step up in the studio like settin up a battlezone
Indiana Jones, leave my whip up in the catacombs
You got Game, Boy, but you never will Advance while
I might catch a loss but I'll face down any man who stands...
(sample: 6 foot, 7 foot, 8 foot, 9 foot)
Do it for the 16-year-old kid that I was back then
For global fans that speak with non-Americanized accents
Do it for the clubs - I'm just kidding, if you ever hear
my song up in a club, call me up and let a brother hear
I be chillin' late night in the apart-a-ment
Wishin that I had two houses like the Parliament
You'd get the joke if you knew the British government
These four bars explain why I'll never make a hit
I might never catch the ears of Clive Davis
But I'd be happy to just own a lightsaber
Fillin' reams of blank pages
With verses to last through the Ice Ages
I don't mean global warming
but them three cartoon movies that was just a little corny
Give a shout out to my shorty Jessii chillin up in Sac
While some dude up on the chorus sayin somethin in the back he go
(sample: "6 foot, 7 foot, 8 foot, 9 foot")
Battleaxe assassin slashin syllables for fun
Failed to pass gym cuz my uzi weighs a ton
I mean I Chuck D's at the open mic for fun
But the Flavor is exquisite when I'm goin' for my ones
Half the cats hear but they do not really listen
so I been workin on flows get their ears to pay attention
Get they souls to spark a vision set the cancer in remission
The doctors workin overtime to make the first incision
I mean that I'm iller, but those bars was just a filler
While I'm plannin out a Friday set with homeboy from Manila
What up Abz? I be chillin' drinkin' milk with some vanilla
In my studio listening to the 5th track on Thriller
And I'm spillin' out the vowels like AEIOU
While my consonants are competent in combat wit your crew
Yall just messin with some snacks, I'm bringin em brain food
So I'm up in the lab while you're cleanin aisle two
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
... for the last week, all the hip-hop blogs were saying that Lil Wayne and Cory Gunz (his artist... a REAL New York head spittin flames) were going to drop a monster single soon for his upcoming Carter IV LP, and it just came out yesterday... the beat is pretty fresh, so you know I just had to do my own take over it...
Friday, December 3, 2010
"The Office, Season 7, Episode 10 – “China”
After reading an article about China growing as a global power, Michael decides China must be stopped before they take over the US. Everyone in the office complains about Dwight’s building standards and Pam threatens to move Dunder Mifflin to a new building."
I haven't watched it yet (queueing it up to stream right now, though...), but I'm already half-concerned, and half-hopeful, about the content of this week's Office episode about China.... [continued on my ethnic studies blog]
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Last time I chronicled my journey around Beijing to find and purchase a dope mic and preamp...
well Monday afternoon after I finished everything else I had to do, I copped a mic stand and went IN!!!! Lyrics, samples, everything all done in one day and it turned out DOPE
co-starring Philip Lee and Sam Weatherford on the vocal samples...
and much respect to Just Blaze for the beat and Jay Electronica for SLAYING the original song...
download the MP3 at http://thesixtyone.com/grandmaster/
[Vocal Sample Intro]
I'm splitting atoms by spittin at em with written language
got the scriptures so vision vivid from different angles
catch the minds of imprisoned prisoners
movin roman senators even Trojan men at war
couldn't fathom the epic message that we bring to you
from the streets of new York to the sands of Malibu
got the gift of prophecy so my talent is the truth
it's biblical reality I'm spittin in the booth
and its nonfiction so I ain't fixed on fictions
no tales of cocaine or life in prison
...that ain't a diss to nobody's art
I just had a choice to make and i went smart
got knowledge in my head and my heart
and my hands and my feet on the path thru the dark
got my brothers all around me they sharp with the darts
we speak like lightning, thunder, sparks
(Tell em who you be) Grand Master in the house
Came in the game, ain't nobody throw me out
(Tell em where you go) I'm on the path
Did the math, it's my time now
No Sean John, no Sean Paul
when it comes to raps, I'm more John Paul
with the bars I'm apostle Paul
Gospel scrawled on high school walls
when hell freezes like bboy stance
I saw the Christ come down and give mad daps,
razing hell of the hellraisers
i'm like 8 mile meets wildstyle meets Brooke Fraser
[haha] now I'm wildin a bit
At the home studio got the mic in my crib
got the ESV on my hip plus the two-tone
black and white paint colors on the whip.
car twenty years old, it can almost drink,
ever since I seen the light I done start to think
...flashes comin faster now
My passion written in the sweat of my brow...
[Phil sample - outro]
Sunday, November 21, 2010
After my trip thru the states I hit Beijing hyped up to take grand master to the next level. But determination must inevitably face trials if it is to be refined... that's why we say, Hiphop and you don't stop! So it came as no surprise that my perseverance was tested soon after I returned to the Beijing hood...
Last Sunday afternoon, three days after I returned to China, my producer hit me with a text letting me know that he had a new job and needed the mic setup I'd been borrowing from him (BIG thanks bent!!)... So my home studio was disappearing :/
This setback could have slowed the movement down... But no, we kept it hopping! Monday night I chopped it up with my Model Minority brother D-One a/k/a David Fung and benefited from his research and thought, then spent a couple of hours on Google hitting up the audiophile and recording gear message boards! A lot of good options came out of the woodwork, but in the end I know that I wanted something (a) reliable (b) within my budget and (c) that I could find and get set up ASAP to continue making that good music (no kanye west [but sometimes i wish i were])!
After doin the groundwork online, I hollered at my church buddy JOSH ONG who majored in music and runs the music teams for one of the church locations in town, I knew that he would have the hookup! And he did, he had a place that he usually goes to cop gear... right near the church location, actually. And even going above and beyond, the man offered to come hang out with me Sunday afternoon and walk around to see what might be available.
When I linked with Josh at the Zhongguancun subway station, I knew exactly what I was looking for... throughout the week, I went back and forth on what I wanted to cop and how much loot I wanted to drop on it - my thoughts ranged from a super basic entry-level setup for around $100 total, to a super advanced setup that would run me around $600 (in the US where electronics are cheaper... even though they're all made in China anyways, smh).
I finally settled on a top-quality vocal mic, the Rode NT1A ($230 MSRP, only one level down from the $800 Rode NT2A adjustable mics I bought for my college studio at Yale) and a slightly cheaper preamp/audio control interface, the M-audio Mobilepre ($150 MSRP for an OK preamp but most importantly, an audio => USB interface).
Of course, knowing what I wanted and finding it could be two COMPLETELY different things. After all, in China, brand names are not only often misrepresented, but viewed as even interchangeable. Not to mention, the quality of equipment that I was looking for - in terms of reliability and brand recognition - was a cut above what you usually find in China, super local brands like ISK and Takstar. Not bad, but not something I would be wanting to use 10 years from now.... whereas, decades from now the Rode could still pull its weight.
Right around the ZGC subway station lie several large electronics markets... I'm talking multiple buildings, multiple floors, all crammed with tiny booths and slightly larger but equally transient retail layouts, 20 service workers all trying to pull you towards their shops as soon as you set foot on the floor, etc. You might have one modestly sized store selling Sennheiser headphones (super high quality, my favorite brand) right next to a tiny booth jam-packed with low-quality karaoke equipment and unbranded webcams, mouse pads, USB gadgets etc. I really wasn't looking to roll dolo through this environment so I was really happy Josh came through with me...
Anyways we linked up and walked in and asked one of the first market workers we saw where we could buy a 麦克风 (microphone), and she said 3rd floor so we walked up to the 3rd floor and saw nothing... i'm talking super simple joints, even the few microphones were the local ISK brand junk (OK for a podcast, something like that, but nothing even touching pro quality!) but that was just in the front of the floor. The more pro-level shops are in the back: with no impulse buys in stock, they don't need all that foot traffic and they can have a quieter and more professional atmosphere for buyers looking to drop more than a couple hundred RMB (~20 bucks) on simple gadgets.
Walking back, Josh and I were approached by another persistent worker, trying to draw us into his store... well we weren't going to have it but I just said "you guys got microphones?" to the worker and he said yeah, plus the store looked on the up-and-up and large enough to have good 关系 (connections) with suppliers large enough to stock good brand names. So we went in and he had me write out exactly the model numbers of what I was looking for, then went running around to various stockrooms pulling out exactly what I wanted.
Eventually they had everything I wanted out there... the Rode NT1A package with pop filter and shock mount, plus the Mobilepre preamp/Audio interface package. Haha, the salesman even asked me BOTH TIMES about the price like "are you sure you want this one? 这种有点儿贵" (This kind's a little expensive). But I told him I knew what I needed, and I was willing to pay for the quality.
But remember I said that things usually cost more in China?? Because of taxes and general shadiness on the part of foreign brands, etc. So they were asking 1850 RMB ($278) for a $230 mic package and 1380 RMB ($208) for a $100-150 preamp... ummm not cool. But with the equipment lying right in front of me, in good condition, I felt like making my move. After all, time was burning and the sooner I got my new studio setup done the better, right?? So I put my 8 semesters of Mandarin into play and bargained/cajoled the worker into hitting me with both for 3000 RMB total = 450 USD. NOT CHEAP but not expensive either, especially given how shipping the two from the US would have cost > $80 plus potentially taken weeks! AND having to go collect the package at some post office, plus the possibility of its breaking en route.
And you know the way I knew it was a decent price, the salesman wasn't happy with me after we sealed the deal! When we walked in talking about buying a high-level mic they were all getting us seats and bringing us hot water... but you know, if the staff is smiling at you and acting happy once you put the cash on the table, you did NOT hold up your end of the bargaining in this town!
We wrapped up the interface and mic in plastic bags, and i transported them back on the subway... soon you'll get a chance to hear how that new home studio sounds! By my estimates I'm thinking 10-20x the vocal audio quality.....
BONUS FOOTAGE: I hung out with China's #1 hiphop DJ, 3x national DMC champion DJ Wordy this last week... kickin it in the studio, building on the musical level, and killing Nazi zombies in CoD! I got some footage of Wordy mashing-up, mixing, and scratching for me!
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Thanks to my 妹妹 Kiki we have a shot of D-One and me during our recent MV shoot this past weekend in 五道口... this one goes out to every 留学生 who has passed thru BLCU, PKU, Tsinghua, or anywhere in Haidian!
Please believe me when I say that this video + single is going to be MAJOR and I hope that a lot of people enjoy seeing some familiar sights! We were out all afternoon in pretty much 0 degree Celsius weather but it was worth it!
Sunday, November 14, 2010
During my recent trip to NYC I had the privilege of linking up with the big homey DALLAS PENN of dallaspenn.com, XXLmag.com, and iNternetscelebrities.com fame. We've built in the past for various sneaker- and blog-related activities, not to mention exchanging kicks and the like, so when I was in town for about 20 hours last Tuesday, I knew I had to connect to the homey if at all possible!
We broke bread on 8th and Broadway at the famous Cozy Soup n' Burger, where we even got to spend some time talkin g with COZY'S SON, born and raised in the spot! With me moving forward in my rap career, I needed input and feedback and Dallas was quick to oblige. And you know we had to hit off the internets to say what up...
Thursday, November 11, 2010
I arrived at Beijing's Capital International Airport at 4:30 this evening... grabbed my bag and took the airport rail line back home... hit church to link up with my Embassy fam, then went home...
And what did I do there???
Forget going to sleep, D-One was jumping on a track so you know we HAD TO GO IN!
Check it out... Black & yellow... for our people worldwide:
and download the MP3 at http://grandmaster.bandcamp.com/
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Most of you probably know, I was living in New Haven for 6 years total... 4 as an undergrad at Yale and then 2 years on-campus working as staff for the same student congregation (UCW) that I attended during my undergrad years. During those 6 years, because of mad friendships and also my awesome UCW friends, I got super linked into the Yale Korean community especially the KASY (Korean-American Students at Yale) crowd... I'm talking about showing up to KASY events and knowing 80% of the people there, running into people randomly on W 34th in NYC, shopping in Soho, etc. etc.
One of the dope events that KASY puts on every year for the community is "Adopted Friends," they invite any local families that have adopted Korean children to come and have their kids (ALL their kids, not just the adopted children) come and learn about their home culture. Food, clothes, taekwondo, all that kind of thing. I remember MAD families used to come through - I even saw my advisor (i knew him all 4 years, philosophy professor, director of undergraduate studies, etc.) and his wife and two kids there one or two years in a row!
Well Asian media, especially Korean media, loves Yale! So this year my homegirl SARAH PARK was KASY social chair and so she put together Adopted Friends... and it was a huge success!! So big that they covered it in KOREA DAILY, based in Long Island... way to go Sparky!!
I see you! Miriam, Paul, EK, Eliot, Mindy, Esther, James, etc.! Hahahaha.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Just woke up at my parents' house in Delaware... after a whirlwind trip through the northeast, hitting New York, New Haven, and a wedding in Pennsylvania (congratulations to Justin and Kelly!!).
It's been good to be on the road, getting some space from Beijing and the day-to-day rush there. I've been constantly busy while traveling; but in a different way than I am while I'm grinding in Beijing... I haven't really been able to rest, but I've been getting a chance to refocus and recharge. In a lot of ways, the places I've been visiting are the places where I got my passion to do what I do: writing, thinking, rapping, recording, and serving others.
All of these passions involved going out, moving forward, going to new places and sharing my life with new people. But in order to move forward, you have to know where you are.
They say you can't go home again, and it's definitely true. New Haven, as much as I feel confident and comfortable there, isn't home anymore; and neither is my parents' house, which I haven't really lived in since I was 18. But you can go back to places that once were home, and remember why and how you were sent out from them. Maybe that's just as good.
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Yo internets fam!!
Another week and we still keep it rolling onwards!
Another video shot and edited in BEIJING by D-One! Two tracks off my upcoming mixtape re-release, Grand Master Vol. 1: American Dream, Chinese Hero (美国梦想，中国英雄). Watch it and you'll see: even when we're eating (饺子), we're still spitting like we're hungry!
Connect with my facebook artist page for the latest updates on music, videos, and shows.
More videos and mixtapes dropping throughout December and January!
Monday, November 1, 2010
Yesterday when I was hanging out in New Haven with my old roommate Ray, we decided to hit up East Rock for the sunset overlooking the city. Thinking back on my years here I thought I'd spit my first verse EVER recorded for yall! Peace!
First off, thanks to everyone who's always supported my music... even when I was super wack and just figuring out this emceeing thing!
And thanks also to the new fans. I won't ever call anyone out on sleeping on me, I'm happy that more people are in on the movement!
This is the first cut off D-One and my duo mixtape: Model Minority presents... The Model Minority Report.
I'd appreciate it if you Like my facebook artist page
and I've been twittering more and more, so hit that too.
More to come! Much more!
Saturday, October 30, 2010
New York City.
I love this town - after around 23 hours of travel i got to my reserved hotel room (gratis, courtesy of Steve Yu) at The W on 17th st. about an hour ago, and just took a little walk around Union Square.
Not gonna lie, I'm finding myself almost intimidated by the vibe here... I always give major props to the City, but 4+ months in Beijing have left me softer than i was when i left the States.
There's millions of people here, all going hard every day - and to be honest, whatever you're trying to do - especially hiphop - will have hundreds, thousands, and even tens of thousands of other dreamers in this city. Many of whom, if not most, will have more talent, resources, luck, or marketability than you. If I'm being honest, I don't think I could make it in New York.
You see, this revelation isn't discouraging - in fact, it's encouraging me as I think about it. I'm truly blessed to have the situation I do: to do the music I do in the place I am, with the people I know. So what if, right now, I couldn't rise to the top in New York. This isn't my city - for now, that's Beijing. And that's where the movement is going to start. Has started.
All that, and my brother Lucas got a sweet arm piece done. Respect!
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Well, I just booked my tickets - due to a happy confluence of even happier events, I will be returning to the States earlier than expected (albeit for only about a week):
Tuesday, Nov. 2 - fly from Beijing => San Francisco => New York-JFK. Take the MTA transit line to New haven.
Nov. 3-6 - hang out at Yale
Nov. 7 - Justin's wedding in Allentown, PA.
Nov. 8 - Delaware, visiting my parents.
Nov. 9 - New York City - one more day in New Haven?
Nov. 10 - 7 AM flight out of JFK => San Francisco => Beijing.
Nov. 11 - 4 PM, arrive in Beijing.
Let's hang, people!
Monday, August 16, 2010
In my travels - particularly the legs of my journeys that have taken me through New Haven, New York, and Beijing - I've met men and women who feel, material possessions stripped away, as though the only thing they have left is their story.
I've also met many people, regardless of economic status, who feel that their stories are unimportant and unheeded. Some of these people remember their stories, but think that they're only useful as a means to an end. Hoping to monetize their background, they leverage their characteristics and very selves into concrete value. They don't think who they are matters so much as what they can accomplish.
How many people have been told, over and over again, that their stories don't matter?
How can these men and women find a voice - and how can we tell them that there is Someone out there to whom their lives matter, on an intimate level?
Monday, August 9, 2010
Beginning Friday, August 6:
9:30 AM - Woke up. Dressed.
10 AM - Brunch in Dongzhimen with my buddy Israel.
12 PM - lunch at Xizhimen (across town) with my buddy Billy.
2 PM - Head to Dongsi. Hang with Chacey and her roommate in Dongsi, at the underground shopping market. Go to Bustout store, help the girls shop. Hang with Slim Paul.
6:30 PM - back at home. Kelley and Sylvia are waiting! Sorry, girls.
7 PM - go out to eat. 24 hour Xinjiang restaurant. Israel, Kelley, Sylvia, Chacey, Dui Dui, and I are all hanging.
8:30 PM - Chacey and Dui Dui had to bounce. Maggie, Jenna, Jenna's friend, and Ben join us. We ask the server to reheat our food.
11 PM - Maggie, Jenna, and her friend headed home; Ben, Israel, Kelley, Sylvia, and I are back home. Figuring out what to do.
1 AM - All hands in: pledging that we will make it to the sunrise flag-raising at Tiananmen Square.
1:30 AM - I remember that I have the Internet, and can stay awake forever with it, guaranteeing that I will be up to wake others up. The others go to sleep.
2 AM - I'm on the internet checking email, reading blogs, and talking to Jessii. Everyone else is napping. Jenna comes by and promptly falls asleep on my floor. There are 12 people in my house: 6 in beds, 4 on couches, 1 on the floor, and me on the internet.
4:30 AM - Everybody up! Out the door, hailing the few cabs we can find, headed to Tiananmen East.
5:15 AM - sunrise at Tiananmen Square, followed by Israel guiding us over to the national opera house ("The Egg"), lots of photos, and a subway back home.
7 AM - Back home. Time to sleep.
11 AM - Up and at 'em: lunch with Steve!
And so another day dawns...
Thursday, July 15, 2010
8 AM - wake up. dress.
8:10 AM - hop on the bus to work
8:35 AM - arrive at my internship
8:40 AM - 5:30 PM - work. sit in on meetings, do some reading, send emails, write letters.
5:45 PM - 7:15 PM - prepare for large group.
7:20 PM - 9:10 PM - large group meeting.
9:30 PM - 11:00 PM - late-night after large group with friends from church.
11:00 PM - 11:15 PM - hop a taxi home from the restaurant.
11:15 PM - 12:00 AM - catch up on emails at home. change clothes.
12:00 AM - 1 AM - head to the nearby bar/restaurant/shopping district. hang out with rap friends - the top emcee and radio DJ in the city. The #1 DJ in the country. Meet the top house music DJ in Taiwan and his new assistant.
1 AM - 3 AM - Wes and Marcus know a guy having his birthday party at another club. hit the club.
3:15 AM - back home. brush teeth, check emails. mess around online.
4:30 AM - sleep. prepare to wake up at 7 AM to pick someone up from the airport. tomorrow, I meet up with friends, go shopping, head to a recording studio, go out to a work dinner with my best friend, and maybe go to see Chozie DJ at a club.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
How yall feelin tonight? (this was the second half of one of 108 Tongues' songs, Don't Start Somethin'. The chorus went:
How many tongues in the house? [108, 108]
How yall feelin tonight? [feelin good, feelin great])
Well, it's 1:30 PM in Beijing - a sunny, muggy, hazy day. I just ran around my block...
hold up, let me rewind.
"Yesterday" - that is to say, in that span of time before I last fell asleep and after I last woke - my parents, sister, and I left Delaware around 11 AM, bound for JFK international airport. I arrived in a fantastically, even excessively, prompt fashion: 1:30 PM for a 4:30 PM flight, that later wound up getting delayed until 5:15.
Boarding the plane, I was greeted with the horrific sight of no in-headrest entertainment. That's right: you buy budget, you fly budget.
Well thankfully, this revelation was immediately followed by another, more positive one: that in place of the now-commonplace headrest-mounted touchscreen lay a standard 3-prong electrical outlet. So, ten minutes into the 15-hour flight, I happily pulled out my laptop and spent the rest of the flight alternating between watching movies (The Squid and the Whale, The Departed, Pulling John - all dope flicks) and powering through over a season and a half of 30 Rock, abetted by the empty seats on my either side - at points, I was alternately nearly fully supine and prone.
After a full day of this, I was greeted by the lights of Shanghai Pudong Airport
where I passed a quick layover, including a short 15-minute panic after a delay was announced "due to communications equipment issues" (the worst phrase to hear when travelling: "your flight has been delayed. a new departure time will be announced shortly").
Post-boarding, I settled into my seat and finally succumbed to the dull but growing urge to sleep. Slipping on my headphones, I leaned back like Fat Joe and woke to the even hazier yellow glow of Beijing.
Gathering my two 50-pound suitcases (guh), I motivated myself, plus wheeled encumbrances, into a waiting cab and sped through the night towards dongcheng
Making my way to the address my new roommate Steve gave me, my cab driver and i only got a little (read: a lot) lost. I caught up briefly with Steve before he hit the hay, got online through my VPN and caught up with emails and various work, then fell asleep just as the blue of morning began to tint the east.
Waking up, I began my unpacking, ran various errands (got keys copied, bought a new SIM card) and had a quick run around my new neighborhood.
Tonight, I'm going to swing by an older couple's house to talk to the husband, meet some friends for dinner, and then tomorrow I have a lunch and dinner with friends - and hoping to meet up with some of the Light Fellowship students in the afternoon to hang around in wudaokou. Saturday, practically all day, is my buddy Billy's wedding! and we'll take it from there...
Time to roll!
this machine is super fly. The bit closer to the camera slides into the groove of the key, and moves synchronized with the drill in the background, which carves out an identical copy in the blank.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Monday, June 21, 2010
The homeboy Derek representing SBTG/Royalefam just friended me on facebook. I assumed that he friended me through my facebook connection to Mark "SBTG" Ong and thought, cool, good to network with a fellow Asian streetwear/lifestyle head - and maybe we can build, at some point after I move to China, connecting the bustout movement + Royalefam.
But it turns out that he had more of an immediate concern - in the last royalefam online mailer, they announced a simple enough giveaway: a silkscreened SBTG hoodie to a randomly selected respondent who could identify one of their AJ5 customs.
And so, a few minutes after Derek friended me, I'm tagged in this image:
(Bustout X SOS New Haven, representing in the studio! I miss those guys, thorough hip-hop heads and emcees to the fullest!)
"Derek says: Royalefam would like to thank all our die-hard fans for taking part in our hoodie giveaway contest! Out of the 300+ entries we have received, we have randomly picked Jason G.L. Chu as the winner! Congrats! Thank you all for participating, look out for our next giveaway contest!"
Internets - stay winning
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Monday, April 12, 2010
I'm going to buy a camera.
This weekend i was covering the trinity international hip-hop festival (big ups to magee & ben, kosha dillz, flex mathews, self-suffice, and a special shout out to jamnopeanut for the space to crash) and i realized two very important things:
(1) in some circles - of as-of-yet undiscerned radius - "I'm a blogger" serves as a credible shibboleth. this weekend marked the first point at which I realized that my stringing together a couple of words here and there on the internets actually means something to someone not related to me (hi mom). in this world of hyperattenuated attention spans, the blogs are the go-to media incarnation.
thus embodied, my digital voice translates into physical form, an even tangible perk. or so it felt as I fingered the press pass hanging around my neck, stretching out to push my voice recorder (read: cell phone) a foot away from KRS-One.
Chilling with the Blastmaster behind closed doors because it's 2010 and the blogs is watching.
(2) if you have a camera (particularly in conjunction with a press pass - see the first point), you can do some real wild things that would otherwise be thoroughly gauche. at one point, my cameraman/bboy was up to battle, and so he passed me the camera for an hour or two. within 15 minutes, i found myself kneeling, craning, and instinctively pushing to the front of crowds, knowing that the camera i held was enough to grant me respected access to the attendant goings-on.
Wielding that power authoritatively - confidently - allowed me to interface with people around me in new ways. Strangers who might otherwise give me the ice grill would hear - hey, can i get a picture for the website? - and subsequently pose, shuffle about, even contort themselves to allow my gaze to fall upon them. i felt like Buscape' in City of God - the ultimate observer-participant, caught up in the front lines but set apart, objective, even judgmental - granted the decision of selecting those sufficiently noteworthy to rate the camera's flash.
and that judgment could be used foolishly or with discernment: i discovered how easily i took to being invasive, inhuman as i "went for the shot". but then, the next moment, the camera might become a tool for unity - joy, even - collecting groups of mutual strangers and binding them together - eternally in that moment - with the honesty of the flash, the revealing, recording, light. discernment.
things looked different through the glass eye. midway through the bboy battle, when the camera's batteries finally ran down, i realized that i had been missing the flow of the dance almost in its entirety. obsessed with capturing a clever, well-framed, energetic glimpse, i had forgotten the movement - drama - action of the dance. the very geist i had been seeking to exemplify, i had missed. foolishness.
Monday, March 29, 2010
The homeboy Kosha Dillz (a/k/a the flyest guy to the goyim), who I linked up with when I interviewed him for Nomadic Wax, had a contest co-sponsored by lifestyle heavyweight DQM and the Diamond Music Group to remix the last single from his album Beverly Dillz.
"Cellular Phone" has been getting some good buzz around indie circles, and now GMJ's remix won the Kosha X DQM X DMG remix contest. Big ups to the winner - I just listened to the track, and I gotta say that its pretty fly. As much as the original production fit smoothly into the aesthetic of the whole album, the remix is a great standalone track. Check it out.
And the Cellular Phone music vid:
Find more videos like this on ThisIs50.com
Thursday, March 4, 2010
There are two contrasting - though perhaps not mutually exclusive - arguments for the usefulness of popularity of X (X here can be anything - food, media, game, meme, etc. - consumed by an audience) as a metric of X's quality to which I subscribe:
I) In order for X to appeal to a sufficiently large population (arbitrarily, say n+1, where n is the size of the largest identifiable subcultural group), certain characteristics of X that would make it appealing to a certain subcultural group, but not to others, must be removed - it must be "watered down". Therefore, the more popular X is, the more watered-down it must be: the most popular rap music is going to be less edgy and authentic than more niche-targeted rap music, more popular movies are generally going to be more blandly generic than movies which were produced with no popular success in mind, etc. This is the broad appeal effect.
II) In order for X to achieve mass popularity, there must be some factor present within X that appeals to a broad population. The fact that it is so universally accepted means that the producers of X did something right - hit on some key factor, some deeply satisfying foundation of human experience - that allows it to have such broad-spectrum appeal. My friend Jason Latshaw argues as such in his blog, It's Show Business, Not Show Preference on Avatar's success amidst in-group disapproval. This is the universal factor argument.
In short: the broad appeal effect drives down the quality of any product X which is targeted to appeal to the largest audience possible, while the universal factor argument claims that any X which appeals to a sufficiently large audience has inherent in that appeal some factor of great value/quality.
I don't know how to resolve these - but I think they do go hand-in-hand in the wild. After all, while a case might be made for Soulja Boy as aesthetically transcendent auteur, those who can subscribe to such an argument without a wink and a nod are arrestingly few, as they ought to be. But at the same time, most of what captures the attention of so many must have some sort of genuine appeal; and one hopes that the universal skein threading together the thoughts of so many is not the superficial, but rather the deep, genuine, true.
Perhaps the two can be reconciled according to lines similar to these: authenticity must be paramount. That is to say: appealing broadly and seeking to appeal broadly are two separate beasts. To appeal broadly, one must strike an authentic chord with the audience - but authenticity, as with happiness and passion, is best sought by not setting out to seek it, but instead losing oneself in the pursuit of something noble. The broad appeal effect applies to media produced in a conscious effort to find broad appeal; but the universal factor argument obtains for media that finds that universal element - a key foundation of which is that it is produced genuinely, and not self-consciously ("self-conscious" here meaning created to serve a second-level aim ["to be popular"] rather than a first-level aim ["to be funny/amusing/moving/well-produced"]).
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Thursday, February 4, 2010
An index of recent work gathered from around the net.
- Murders for Gold in El Salvador - protest leaders killed on behalf of an American mining company
- Hip-hop Is Saving Asian-American People... - Asian-Americans find a voice through hip-hop (later reposted on Yale's AASA Blog)
- Flex Mathews: Making Music, Having Fun. - profile of DC hip-hop artist Flex Mathews for NomadicWax.com
- To the Rulers - a reflection on Psalm 58's prophecy of vengeance on the unjust
- The Responsibility of Christians in Art. - transcript of a talk originally given in April 2009 on Christians called to art
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
This city... I have great love for this city.
I remember one of the first thoughts that I had, upon arriving here. It was a stroke of uncharacteristic humility amidst the self-promoting, slyly arrogant chatter of Camp Yale: This is going to be home for the next four years.
I had, of course, no idea of how right I would be. For the next four years - and then another one and a half, and counting - this city has been my birthplace. Every year, every semester - even monthly, weekly - I've been renewed, reborn, found myself weaker and more capable than I'd dreamt (in nightmare or ecstatic reverie).
Now I'm taking steps - concrete steps - toward finally bidding farewell to New Haven.
That name, so fitting: a new haven. New - budding, bidding me forward. It's been a cold wind on my face as I bustle down the sidewalk, invigorating my strides. A warm breeze on my back - Oh, I'll see it at least once more! - lying out, out in the sun, conversing with people who are long since departed from here.
Haven - a place of rest and peace. I have fallen ill here, I have been healed. I have left it, but always only for a time, and then returned; and, far more tellingly, my heart has always returned with me (if, that is, it ever even left at all).
Of course, it is not now the time to leave - but it is drawing up. I found my haven, of course, or perhaps it found me. But the Spirit calls, and I think the Spirit calls me away.
I remember standing at the crest of East Rock last Fall, when the wind was biting but still an embrace, and looking out over its streets and valleys. From the summit, you can see the terrain: New Haven lies cupped in a shoreline valley, surrounded - by friendly hills beaming benevolent? Or towering giants glowering down? - and I could see all the paths of this city that I have walked, run, biked. Sometimes I walked hand-in-hand, or in comfortable chattiness; a few times, awkwardly, neurotically, all too self-aware.
This is, I guess, a salute
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Parental Advisory - PG13 vocabulary (i.e., I say bulls**t in the chorus... my bad. dont listen if this will cause you to stumble; or talk to me about it first thats good too)
WRITING UP HOOKS!
WE BACK UP IN HERE MAN!!
NEW INTERNETS SINGLE: HUSTLE & GRIND
Also streaming at the Grand Master - 108 Tongues/BUSTOUT - myspace page.
Original collabo version with Macken' available too....!
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Congratulations to the homies (and my ex-housemates) Yier and Nate for balling out on the electrical engineering circuit (pun always intended, you know that).
Yale is not a school to which honors often go, but I guess these guys were able to rise above the vapid sea of mediocrity surrounding them and overcome the odds... who knows, "that school in New Haven" just might become a credible academic institution (nah) with guys like this around.
Even the humblest of things can spring from a humble beginning; but every humble beginning must come from the end of some other beginning (it's profound. [no it's not]), whether more or less humble.
And so, I must, with misty-eyed regret, contemplate the end of a thing; and the beginning of another.
It's one of the oldest voices in the book of tragically spurned love: "I'm sorry; there's another...". But here we go: while American Dream, Chinese Hero has served as a wonderful jumping-off point for my musings, personal and professional, I now find it more useful - if not necessary - to divide the two spheres of my identity.
But this is not an end! It is a beginning!
American Dream, Chinese Hero will continue on in more or less of its present (and traditional) form: a forum for me to post shakily-taken photographs from my camera(phone), eject musings of a highly unprofessional (and undesirable) nature, and post about the latest and greatest in the sneaker/mixtape/rap album world.
But there will be no more of the wittily incisive (yeah right) commentary on race, ethnicity, politics, philosophy, or theology that have preceded it. Instead, new things arise:
1) For vague (and unqualified) sociological discourse - both personal reflections and public musings - having to do with the field of Asian-American studies, hip-hop discource, political discussions (such as Affirmative Action and Just War theory), and other academic subjects, please head to Iason De Silentio.
The title - "Jason from the Silence" - comes from the pseudonym of Danish existentialist philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, Johannes de Silentio, referencing the Biblical John the Baptist: a voice out of the silence, speaking into silent world around him. This was literal and prophetic: John came into prophetic existence in the wilderness of 1st-century Judea, far from the urban centers of his time; and his voice came into the public sphere following four hundred years of prophetic silence. John's voice - strident, urgent - was the wake-up call preparing the people for a new revelation.
Kierkegaard found himself in similar circumstances. In his 19th-century Denmark, he faced an overbearing church hierarchy, a numb national congregation, and inadequate, distant theologies. Kierkegaard's voice awoke, aroused, and enlivened his people, Church, and philosophy forever, in his role as the Father of (Christian) Existentialism.
2) For formal and informal reflections on Evangelicalism, ministry, the global Church, Scripture, and faith, I am establishing a third space, seeking my name.
Names, in short, have power: when they are forced onto us (as by a schoolyard bully), they are repugnant, hateful, instruments of spite and derision. When snatched from the lips of a lover, they are glorious, shimmering, eternal things.
As a Christian, one of the things to which I cling dearly - desperately - is the thought that my name - given to me not only by my earthly parents, but my eternal Father - is written "in the Book of Life", a book within which no hand could ever dare raise the power to blot or inscribe a single character.
The Biblical conception of naming is an interesting thing: not only does a name describe who we are, a well-chosen name - a true name, as it were - prophecies (tells the truth) about who we will be. Names are not only references, but serve as stories - signifiers - prescriptions.
As a young, immature man seeking - seeking Christ, God, Grace, and Love - I think, ultimately, I and all others who are on a journey of faith are simply seeking our names. Our true, eternal, right names.
The long and short of it:
- American Dream, Chinese Hero - an informal personal blog: photographs, personal updates, and my music.
- Iason De Silentio - a formal ethnic studies blog, particularly touching on current events, Asian and Asian-American studies, hip-hop culture, and philosophy (primarily ethics) blog.
- seeking my name - A reflective and contemplative faith and ministry blog, discussing Christian living, Evangelicalism, Scripture, and theology.
Full disclosure: my homegirl sooey is on her hustle over at Complex mag's digital division, so I have a personal stake in this...
Still I am not gonna front like complex.com's commentary is anything but 50/50 (at best) in their track record... half of the time, they're profiling dope outfits, brands, personalities, etc.; and the other half of the time, it's puerile attempts at lowest-common-denominator frat boy comedy that blow up in their faces (sorry, "ironic" misogyny is still misogyny...).
And this time, it looks like they got one mostly right, calling out 50 flicks that (more or less) deserve to be called out for their B.S.: Complex.com's 50 Most Racist Movies.
I'm not all that crazy about some of their choices - Passion of the Christ, for one - but all in all, I'll shoot off some props (none) where they're deserved.
Friday, January 22, 2010
All my White friends, here's one to you.
Am I Being Racist Against White People?
There is a twofold concern for me as I explore ethnicity and the systematic, generational sin of oppression and cultural violence: (1) Am I demonizing and objectifying Whiteness, Western tradition/authority, and European culture? And even if I am not, (2) am I being perceived as doing so?
This question concerns me for several reasons: (A) if I am, I am being hypocritical. Hypocrisy is not only bad in itself, but it (B) leads to me, and other similar critics of power, being discredited or invalidated. This all contributes to (C) a widening divide of miscommunication or silence between those who are set to inherit the reins of traditional structures of power and contemporary voices who seek to point out the outstanding flaws in those systems.
If you'll bear with me - I'll try to be humble - let's examine these points:
The Natural Response to Violence or Assault
(1) A natural response to injustice is to render the unjust oppressor as inhuman. No one wants to think that someone who is in any way like me could do something so horrific to another; no, there must be something about a criminal, about a rapist, about a murderer, that makes them fundamentally different from me. This mental distance works both ways: slave masters, in order to justify the status of their slaves as property, dehumanized them along racial and cultural lines. If an African exists in a lesser form of being - whether a vastly inferior species of humanity, or not even as human at all - then, in a literal sense, it is not inhuman to claim possession over an African man or woman. Psychologists and historians who worked with post-war Nazi soldiers have noted that one of the ways that the German people coped with the horrific actions of the Holocaust was through a willing dismissal of the shared humanity between German Jews and German citizens of Germanic descent. 
Similarly, if, say, a close friend were to be murdered, I know that my temptation would be to see his murderer as a horrific, bloodthirsty, psycho bastard with no humanity, and nothing shared in common with myself. I think it's a general rule: we don't like to admit that we could share anything, even the slightest trace of fundamental humanity, with someone who could do such a thing. It is a natural coping mechanism, tinged with a trace of moral self-righteousness: how could anyone do such a thing? combined with well certainly, I would never be capable of such horrors.
This Is Wrong - What's Going On?
The problem here is twofold, both a problem of reality and effectiveness: first, the reality is that no entity or individual is blameless, and responding to evil by mentally distancing oneself from it is just wrongminded. Brokenness and perversity, when glimpsed in others, should not elicit my recoiling from them as diseased and inhuman, but rather my embracing them, knowing and acknowledging that I too have had my times of ugliness, hatred, anger, and violence. The reality is, as much as White, western cultural imperialism has hurt many people and cultures, I too, even in my short 23 years, have insulted, demeaned, and objectified many. To pretend that I am not also a participant in brokenness is to lie.
Secondly, by creating distance between myself and my oppressor, I lessen the possibility for her to reconcile herself with me and make amends to me, even if she desires to do so. As the saying goes, two wrongs don't make a right, and responding to a slight by slighting another only draws both parties further from reconciliation and mutual growth. Even if I were perfect, and my enemy were an incredibly spiteful person, distancing myself from him - while perhaps a useful coping mechanism, and a helpful step towards healing from the injury - ultimately does nothing to prevent the recurrence of the exact same slight, whether towards me or another.
Of course, the burden should be on the oppressor to make amends to the oppressed; even if the oppressed does not ask for apology, it is common human courtesy that if one has created a problem, one ought to fix it. If I kicked down your fence, appropriate apology is not to return bearing a hammer, hand it to you, and let you fix it; it lies on me to return, hammer in hand, and repair the broken fence.
But the simple and sad truth is that many people - myself included - are blind to the wounds we create for others. So to those of us who can be gracious - who have received grace from One who has been wounded by us, and are thus in turn in position to go to those whom we have wounded - it makes sense to do so. Just because I didn't create the problem, doesn't mean I can't be part of the solution.
In the Eye of the Beholder
(2) Tragically, even if I am just telling the truth - or, at least, the truth insofar as I understand it based on fact, evidence, and reasonable inference - I can be perceived as demonizing others. This is difficult.
One thing that I have learned, through reading accounts like Tim Wise's incredible White Like Me, is the unforeseen degree to which people coming from different backgrounds actually possess vastly different experiences. I am not talking about simple social distinctions, like a family only being able to afford bus passes vs. a family being able to afford an SUV. I am talking about completely different perceptions of social order. For example, I grew up with the explicit understanding that police exist to protect me and my friends: I was constantly instructed, in school, at home, and at church, to go to a police officer if I was scared, on my own, in trouble, or lost.
How far is this from the experience of an undocumented immigrant child growing up in, say, downtown Los Angeles! Disregarding the legality of her immigration, an undocumented immigrant girl not only cannot trust the police, but will likely actively distrust them - after all, the legacy of the LAPD is rife with scandal, corruption, abuse, blatant brutality, and more.
Imagine if eight-year-old middle-class suburban Chinese-American me could talk to that Los Angelena. When told about her view of the police, I would have considered her ill-informed, crazy, making up stories, and worse. And while, perhaps, her view of the police would be no more true than mine, I hesitate, now, to say that it is less worthy of consideration.
This is something that often concerns me when I disseminate information into the aether, as it were. I have no way to tell whether my audience is receptive or dismissive; and, while the information that I have uncovered is damning and even sickening to see, it is most terrifying to think that my desire to share the truth could be easily read as simple reverse racism. You can't handle the truth!(?)
After all, it is easiest to respond to an unpleasant message by disengaging from it: writing it off as fallacious, exaggerated, or irrelevant. Whether because a voice is too uncomfortable, too hypocritical, or personally offensive, it is very easy to be discredited, especially in circles into which you are speaking as a critic.
Vision for Reconciliation
But this is distinctly not what I want to do. I do not think that it is the time - at least, in the arena of racial reconciliation - for voices to only be present in the wilderness, crying out to those few who are attracted to them and who are willing to put up with their personal quirks. In this age, I think that the call is to go before not just those who want to listen, or are willing to listen, but especially to those who do not want to listen, and to convince, persuade, or somehow beg them to lend an open ear.
If the persecuted speak only to the persecuted, they cannot proclaim on behalf of the hurt and those crying out for justice. Proclamation comes into a community, and prophetic  voices and communities do not retain or hold in prophecy, but share it and spread a message of truth. The difficult, sad, and exhilarating mission for those of us who want to speak truth in love is that communication requires speaking to others, not merely at them.
 This is usually how it goes in war crimes: the object of one's transgression is seen as not human and, therefore, not possessing value on par with the subject's humanity. An alternative occurs in the case of child soldiers in Africa: there, instead of being taught that the targets of their violence are subhuman, the humanity of victims is often acknowledged, but simply devalued. Child soldiers are forced to rape, kill, and maim friends and family members, resulting in a general devaluation of all human life, rather than a specifically targeted dehumanization.
 Here I use "prophecy" in the general and original sense of "a true proclamation or statement," rather than the more contemporarily common sense of "a true statement about the future".
Thursday, January 21, 2010
[In the hopes of continued agility of thought, and to spite mental atrophy, a present hope is to dedicate myself to writing of a substantial character. Once a week, generally on Thursdays, I will be sitting down to hash out some brief comments of varying rigor. Your mileage may vary.]
Words are undoubtedly powerful. Biblically speaking, the Word - Hebrew Dabar (), or Greek Logos (λόγος) - is centrally located. One could reasonably say, in fact, that the very essence of Christianity (and the Judaism from which it springs) lies in a theology of words: divine words given to humans from God (Inspiration/Revelation), words used by men to represent to themselves those divine words (Scripture), and words used to systematize, explore, share, and find application for those divine words (philosophical theology, mystical texts, etc.).
Socially speaking, as well, words bear power. Creating terms for systems of oppression and dismissal can serve to reinforce and legitimize them through lexical acceptance, as labels guide identity both overtly (i.e., "Illegal" vs. "Undocumented" immigrants) and subtly (i.e., the normative-neutral "White" versus the marginal and umbrella term "Colored").
This latter point may be unfamiliar to some of my readers, and - though initially I was hoping to cover this in a footnote - it is interesting to explore. You see, beyond the obvious connotations in Western societies - snow, purity, cleanness, and light - White is a generic default, aesthetically a "blank canvas". By creating Whiteness and identifying it with people of Anglo-Saxon European descent as White (rather than, say, Pink, Tan, etc.), the connotative implication is that non-Anglo/non-European persons are less of a blank slate.
I would like stress here that this is not a uniquely White, American, European, or even Western pattern, either. The same is present in modern Chinese: Anglo people are White (白人, bai + ren = white + person) , people of African descent are Black (黑人, hei + ren = black + person), but Chinese are 中国人, people of the middle kingdom. And humility is far from a trait of dominant cultures (Consider also the other common term for the Chinese diaspora, 华人, hua + ren = magnificent/splendid + person).
Whether identifying ourselves at the center of all things, or as White (and hence pure/unsullied/adaptable), so long as we have the power to do so, we nearly always ascribe normativity to ourselves. This is a fair move to make internally; after all, processing external input would be highly confusing were it not for the normative presumption of our own internal processes. However, to ascribe normativity to our own points of view in a broader sense overwrites and overrides the experience and authentic reflections of others, creating dissonant systems for those who are not-Us but subscribe (willingly or through coercion) to that prescription. For a majority member , most such suppositions pass unquestioned; but, for a minority member, it raises significant existential - even ontological - questions that express themselves as internal anguish and confusion.
Of course, words can also be recontextualized, forcefully and defiantly if need be. The homosexual community (and, increasingly, other communities as well), in accepting, embracing, and finally repurposing the label "Queer", has demonstrated, it seems, a praiseworthy amount of perseverance and deliberate, systematic, activism. It is also one of the rare examples of a community embracing marginalization, for the very etymology of the identifier names its referent as on the fringe.
The N word (as if you're going to get me to spell it out for you... get outta here) is an example of a slur with a far more controversial present usage. While some advocates of the word claim that the same process of acceptance-embrace-repurposing has been undertaken successfully, it is hard to successfully argue that the word has been rehabilitated in the same fashion as the Q word (if you would). To nudge this intuition, let me point to two pieces of evidence: first, that I am myself hesitant to type out in full "the N word", while having no such qualms about "queer" . Second, the ongoing dialect debate over "the N word with a -a" and "the N word with a -er" suggests that the process of linguistic evolution and drift away from offensiveness towards repurposing is far from complete .
What separates the two? Without entering into a rigorous discussion, the apparent answer seems to be that "Queer" is a word that preceded its use as a slur, while the N word - though possessing a historied and not entirely negative etymology - springs up in its proximal form as a slur. When those who self-identify as Queer (or queer-allied) do so, they are actually not re-defining the word, but instead actually maintain the definition of the word while re-defining the moral landscape within which it is situated, shifting from normativity to a non-normative field. Not being queer is therefore descriptive, rather than normative, and so queerness becomes as normal as non-queerness.
My (self-)allotted time is drawing to a close and is, indeed, even now nigh. Interestingly, all the above was initially only to be a brief footnote to a larger discussion; at this point, I will turn to a summary of my intended discussion, and pick up on it when next we speak.
So, why all the thought about Words? A natural response would be: the author's hubris leads to an egotistical confluence of form and content, wherein his verbosity is buoyed by the ostensible topic of exploring the power of words.
Actually, the choice of topic upon which to spend my meagre reserves is prompted by some reflections on the recent Malaysian religious scandal. In short, Malaysian courts recently ruled that it was within the civil rights of non-Muslim organizations (read: Christian churches) and individuals to freely use the Arabic term "Allah" to refer to God - God the concept and God the being. As far as I understand, certain elements within society - pre-radicalized, and definitely not all of Muslim Malaysia  - seized upon this ruling as a foothold from which to launch an extremist agenda, including vigilante attacks on various Christian churches and schools.
Malaysia is, of course, a country with a complex history of diversity along ethnic, economic, and religious lines. I am ill prepared to speak on it in such fields, and thus reticent.
While the proximally inciting incident of word usage seems to be more a case of finding excuses than of actual outrage, I am still interested in the idea that word usage can be made into an excuse for action; an excuse that is, at the very least, not horrendously implausible. And even if, in this case, the implausibility of gross offense through word usage is very high, there are definitely cases - slander, defamation, and libel - in which words alone are legally acknowledged to have the power to harm and damage.
To be continued.
 It is undeniable that other societies also associate people of Anglo descent with the color white. An interesting study would be a linguistic excavation of Whiteness in other cultures: for example, modern Chinese refer to Anglos as White People. Was this phrase introduced by cultural transmission along with the concept of Whiteness during the opening of Sino-American relations, or does it stem from a natural response to skin tone? Consider also the association of white with death in Chinese cultures (hence, red wedding dresses and white in funeral rituals): in this case, arguments for the nonpreferential nature of white-connotative language seem to obtain more readily.
 Majority here, of course, does not necessarily connotate numerical majority, but instead a majority of power. As examples, the racial politics of South Africa and the religious politics of Hussein-era Iraq come to mind.
 This does beg the question: ought I be so free with my diction? So far as I understand, queer-sensitive allies are allowed to use this word in such contexts. I may be wrong.
 Naturally, as a straight Asian-American male, I am an outsider to both these debates, and I may be reading social cues entirely wrong. This raises another question: do Asian-Americans have a repurposed label? I suspect not. Why not? Interesting.
 I hope not to evoke a sense of the Muslim Panic all too familiar in Western rhetoric.