Monthly Archives: February 2011

Failure of Language

I was talking with a friend the other day, and we were talking about something that she is doing that requires conquering her fears and facing additional fears. And I told her “I’m proud of you” but really, it’s not quite the right word to express how I felt.

It seemed a bit patronizing to say “I’m proud of you.” After all, she is not my child. I have nothing to do with her actions. I’m just a friend who is happy to know someone like her–and who feels lucky to have friends like her.

But “proud” is the only word I could think of. What I really wanted to say was: “I think what you’re doing is awesome and I’m impressed.” But, we don’t have a word (at least, I don’t know of a word) that can express all of that simply and eloquently.

It reminded me of the time when my friends were starting to lose their virginity. The first word that came to mind was “Congratulations!” But really, not quite the right sentiment. And I recognized then that it wasn’t quite the right word to fit the situation. I really want to say: “I’m so happy for you!” but even that is not quite right. In fact, I really can’t describe what I wanted to express–I suppose some sort of acknowledgment of happiness.

Another failure in language.

This reminds me of the fact that there are often times when I can’t find the right words in English. Granted, I think all languages have the same problem. But, there are times when I know the perfect word in Taiwanese–and I just can’t translate it. Grinchy has the same problem, except he knows the word in Spanish. It just doesn’t translate into English.

I suppose this is the language we are given. At least, hopefully we can still find some way to express the sentiment that we have in the imperfect language that we must use. Hopefully somehow we can communicate effectively, or at least acknowledge that sometimes there are awkward words we have to use instead.

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thoughts on being Asian

I was talking with a friend today about guys who seem to really like Asian women. As in, they seem to only date Asian women. (Sometimes, for some unknown reason, we say that these guys have an Asian fetish.) We both agreed that our initial reaction upon recognizing this behavior in a guy is repulsion.

I think we are grossed out because we are concerned about the various stereotypes about Asian women. Oddly, the stereotypes are a bit contradictory. Asian women are submissive. Asian women are “dragon ladies” in bed. Sometimes, they are combined–sort of like the Asian version of the “virgin-whore.”

But then I considered other ethnicities. When a guy tells me that he really likes Latina women–I nod in agreement. It seems to make sense to me. And maybe I’m wrong, but I assume Latina women would also agree. Of course guys like Latina women. How could they not?

So I wonder if we are grossed out by guys who like Asian women because we think there must be something wrong with them. What’s so attractive about Asian women? They must believe in those annoying stereotypes–that is the only reason they would be attracted to Asian women.

This is warped thinking. Maybe it’s time to alter my initial reaction. Of course guys should like Asian women. We’re sexy and beautiful. Thank you for recognizing our fabulousness.

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what is it about food writing?

I have become completely enamored with books about food and cooking. I suppose this makes sense. The gateway drug was food blogs. There’s something about seeing all those provocative pictures of food. It makes you lick your lips.

I attempted to wean myself from food books by reading This Side of Paradise. But I hated the book. I got annoyed with Amory. What a stupid name for a stupid boy. I got angry at the book. Why the heck is this book a classic?

After weeks of suffering, I couldn’t take it anymore. So, I went looking for another book on my bookshelf and found Heat. And suddenly, I relaxed. This was a book I could enjoy–akin to comfort food. I stayed up reading 60 pages, caught up in the story of food and cooking. It doesn’t matter how many books I’ve read about the same subject. I was enthralled.

Hmmm. I might be addicted to food writing.

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I could be anyone

Sometimes, as I’m wandering around this big city, I feel like a small little ant.

I moved here with Grinchy. And he is the only one I know here. Sure, we have met some people, but I still feel very anonymous. No one knows me here. I could be anyone I wanted to be.

I sat on the top level of a train car. There was no one around me.

I could have danced in the aisles. I could have stood on each chair. I could have streaked the car. Instead, I took pictures.

For some reason, I sometimes get embarrassed about taking pictures. Even though I am just a small little ant, I don’t want to call attention to myself. I just want to blend in.

Even though no one knows me here, and I can be whoever I wanted to be, I am still me.

So, it was nice to have the train car all to myself. I took pictures without a care. Although really, I’d love to take pictures of people, without them noticing. But maybe that’s a bit invasive. People are so interesting though. Maybe if I can figure out how to silence the stupid shutter sound on my camera phone. I promise I won’t take evil pictures.

There is something mesmerizing about watching the scenery pass by a train window. Even better if you can take silly pictures, anonymously.

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