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One in a Billion

“One In A Billion” is a podcast about China, through the voices of Chinese millennials in America. They have personal ties or deep roots in China. They also have big dreams and high hopes in America. “One In A Billion” is a platform for this rising generation of entrepreneurs, artists and other creative types. Hosted by Mable Chan, “One in a Billion” listens to China, one person at a time.
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Oct 8, 2019

When was the last time you had a talk, or a fight with your father? 

What might trigger your urge to call him, or to reflect on what’s been missing in your relationship?

In Part 1 of my interview with Mimi Wong, a New York based writer and multimedia producer shared her story, first published in  “How Watching Asian Father on Screen Helped me Face My Own.” 

The movie “Searching.” prompted her to dive into deep personal thoughts about her father, Asian fatherhood and media portrayal of Asian masculinity. 

Music used:
One in a Billion Theme Song by Brad McCarthy
Hlice by Monplasir
Inspirational Outlook by Scott Holmes
Little Tomcat by Josh Woodward

We want to include you in this conversation.

To send us your comments or stories, just go to our Facebook page or our website at OneinABillionVoices.org under “Pitch a Story.”

Share your thoughts? Pitch me a story?

“One in a Billion” is listening to #China, one person at a time.Subscribe to “One in a Billion” below: PRx | iTunes | SoundCloud

 

 

Sep 24, 2019

Why would you give up all that you’ve studied or worked so hard for once you hit a certain life stage and decided to pursue what really makes you happy?

In Part 2 of my interview with Chinese American documentary filmmaker Hao Wu, he talked about giving up the traditional notion of success. Making money. Making parents proud.

Instead, he chose to listen to his heart. 

This is a story about pursuing what’s deeply fulfilling for you. 

Music used:
One in a Billion Theme Song by Brad McCarthy
Which That Is This by Doctor Turtle
Xi by Andy G. Cohen
Descent of the Goober Monster by Jesse Spillane

We want to include you in this conversation.

To send us your comments or stories, just go to our Facebook page or our website at OneinABillionVoices.org under “Pitch a Story.”

Share your thoughts? Pitch me a story?

“One in a Billion” is listening to #China, one person at a time.

Subscribe to “One in a Billion” below: PRx | iTunes | SoundCloud

Sep 10, 2019

What will you find if you bank on the Internet to fulfill your desire?

How much money will you spend to make your dream come true in this digital universe?

In this 2-part interview with Chinese American documentary filmmaker Hao Wu, he talked about “The People’s Republic of Desire” - a film about live-streaming in China. 

It’s a story about the human longing for fame and fortune, as well as love and connection.

Music Used:
One in a Billion Theme Song by Brad McCarthy
I Will Not Let You Let Me Down by Josh Woodward
You Um Ill Ah by Doctor Turtle
Space Full by Andy G Cohen

We want to include you in this conversation.

To send us your comments or stories, just go to our Facebook page or our website at OneinABillionVoices.org under “Pitch a Story.”

Share your thoughts? Pitch me a story?

“One in a Billion” is listening to #China, one person at a time.

Subscribe to “One in a Billion” below: PRx | iTunes | SoundCloud

Aug 27, 2019

If you’re a 20 something Asian woman trying to establish yourself as a writer in Tech, listen up.
You can speak up, share your thoughts and yet, nobody hears you.
You’re ignored.

That’s Eda Yu’s story.

In “Don’t Talk Over Me” Eda talks with Lauren Dai, another Asian woman working in Silicon Valley about tough challenges in a room full of white men. Who helped her? How did she get over barriers?

Also, how did she first discover her passion for writing?

Who persuaded her to pursue it through college?

And what is holding Lauren back from writing? What are her fears?

Music Used:
One in a Billion Theme Song by Brad McCarthy
The Wrong Way by Jahzzar
Tumbling Dishes Like Old Man's Wishes by Jahzzar
Crazy Glue by Josh Woodward
Gemini by Josh Woodward
Sands of Windhoek by Mid-Air Machine
Need by Les Hayden
Death by a Thousand Questions by Springtide
So Far So Close by Jahzzar

We want to include you in this conversation.

To send us your comments or stories, just go to our Facebook page or our website at OneinABillionVoices.org under “Pitch a Story.”

Share your thoughts? Pitch me a story?

“One in a Billion” is listening to #China, one person at a time.

Subscribe to “One in a Billion” below: 

PRx | iTunes | SoundCloud

Aug 20, 2019

If you have spent a good chunk of your life studying and working like a robot, how would you know to wake up one day, and say “I am not a robot!” That’s Kou Aizhe’s story.

A former librarian and TV journalist, he was inspired by "This American Life" podcast to create his own show “Gushi FM.” The idea is to give voice to real people with real-life experiences and struggles. It’s now one of the most popular podcasts in China since it was launched in 2017, reaching 600,000 listeners and counting.

“Leaving a robotic life to create my own show” is about his thinking at various turning points and crossroads.

This interview will be in Mandarin Chinese.

View Chinese (中文) and English Transcript Click here:

Music credits (sourced from freemusicarchive.org):
Tech Toys by Lee Rosevere
What’s Behind the Door by Lee Rosevere
Sad Marimba Planet by Lee Rosevere
Wilsons Snipe by Chad Crouch
You’re Enough by Lee Rosevere
Wonder Under by Glad Rags

We want to include you in this conversation.

To send us your comments or stories, just go to our Facebook page or our website at OneinABillionVoices.org under “Pitch a Story.”

Share your thoughts? Pitch me a story?

“One in a Billion” is listening to #China, one person at a time.

Subscribe to “One in a Billion” below: 

PRx | iTunes | SoundCloud

Aug 6, 2019

Part 3 of a Special Summer Series from Shanghai: In Context with Anita Xu: “How can this be...the rest of my life!?”

If you’d invested almost your entire adult life training to be a professional landscape designer, you’d landed at your dream job. But a few years later, you looked around your workplace and you discovered something that would forever change your idea of what is a good life or what is a good career.

What would you do?

That’s what happened to Lu Xiaoya (卢小雅) 3 years ago, when she was 27 years old.

In this Episode 3 “How can this be... the rest of my life !?” Anita talks with Lu about that life-changing moment, and what she did next.

Lu will tell her story in Mandarin Chinese.

View Chinese (中文) and English Transcript Click here.

Music credits (sourced from freemusicarchive.org):
Whats Behind the Door by Lee Rosevere
Curiousity by Lee Rosevere
Sad Marimba Planet by Lee Rosevere
As I Was Saying by Lee Rosevere
I Was Waiting for Him by Lee Rosevere
Curiousity by Lee Rosevere
Wonder Under by Glad Rags

We want to include you in this conversation.

To send us your comments or stories, just go to our Facebook page or our website at OneinABillionVoices.org under “Pitch a Story.”

Share your thoughts? Pitch me a story?

“One in a Billion” is listening to #China, one person at a time.

Subscribe to “One in a Billion” below:

PRx | iTunes | SoundCloud

Jul 23, 2019

Part 2 of A Special Summer Series from Shanghai: In Context with Anita Xu.

Can you imagine your life’s mission is to meet the expectations of your parents?

Ever since she was a little girl, Carol pushed herself, moving to a big city from a small town, working her way up and up to satisfy her parents. Now, at age 33, Carol’s lost. Her parents have changed their minds. They ask her to slow down, but it’s too late! Why? Take a listen.

In this Episode 2 “Why Work So Hard?,” our contributing podcaster Anita Xu talks with a close friend Carol Luo about her dilemma.

This interview will be in Mandarin Chinese.

View Chinese (中文) and English Transcript Click here.

Music credits (sourced from freemusicarchive.org & purple-planet.com):
Snipe by Chad Crouch’s Wilson
Fearless by Purple Planet Music
Yorgan by Circus Marcus
Easy Life by Lee Rosevere
Quizitive by Lee Rosevere
Wonder Under by Glad Rags

We want to include you in this conversation.

To send us your comments or stories, just go to our Facebook page or our website at OneinABillionVoices.org under “Pitch a Story.”

Share your thoughts? Pitch me a story?

“One in a Billion” is listening to #China, one person at a time.

Subscribe to “One in a Billion” below:

PRx | iTunes | SoundCloud

 

Jul 9, 2019

Season 4 kicks off with a Summer Special Series from Shanghai: In Context with Anita Xu- "Why Risk It?”

It’s an intimate conversation between digital marketing professional Anita Xu and her college buddy Xu He. Xu He chose to become an entrepreneur after feeling unfulfilled in his first few jobs after graduating from a top journalism university in Shanghai.
Anita, our contributing podcaster, is puzzled. She saw him as a rising star in the journalism world, and she wonders -why risk it?

This interview will be in Mandarin Chinese. You can read an English transcript or check out our website at www.oneinabillionvoices.org.

 

Music used:
One in a Billion Theme Song by Brad McCarthy
Quizitive by Lee Rosevere
Tech Toys by Lee Rosevere
Whats Behind the Door by Lee Rosevere
Theme from Penguins on Parade by Lee Rosevere
And So Then by Lee Rosevere 
Wonder Under by Glad Rags

Dec 18, 2018

What makes people in China laugh? Why would they spend time and money to go to a stand-up act by an American comedian in Beijing? And, who is he?

This is story about an American scholar turned comedian who dedicates his life to bringing Chinese and Americans together through humor and laughter.

 Music Used:
Brad McCarthy's One in a Billion Theme Song

Nov 20, 2018

What is love about? Can you show gratitude without spending or giving money?

Can you show care without sacrificing your passion?

To truly show gratitude, must you also sacrifice?

 With these questions in mind, I interviewed Jinzhao (JZ) Wang, a 28 year old Chinese American a few months ago.

 JZ told me she can’t fully enjoy what gives her pleasure without also feeling guilty. Why? What is her guilty pleasure? 

What makes it wrong?

 

Music Used:

One in a Billion Theme Song by Brad McCarthy 

Mountain Monk C By Lobo Loco

Space (Full) by Andy G. Cohen 

You Um, I'll Ah by Doctor Turtle

I'll Be Seeing You by Sammy Fain (Sung by JZ Wang)

 

 

Oct 16, 2018

Are you the person you or your parents want to be?

Is your personal dream inseparable from your parents? Can it be? Should it be?

That is Angela’s agony.  

How does she navigate around a set of cultural expectations to create her own path?

Check out my interview with Angela Tang, a rising senior at Williams College, in Episode #3 “This Chinese Life: Whose Life is This Anyway.”

We want to include you in this conversation.

To send us your comments or stories, just go to our Facebook page or our website at OneinABillionVoices.org under “Pitch a Story.”

Share your thoughts? Pitch me a story?

“One in a Billion” is listening to #China, one person at a time.

Subscribe to “One in a Billion” below:

PRx | iTunes | SoundCloud

Music used:

Brad McCarthy's One in a Billion Theme Song 
Andy G. Cohen's A Perceptible Shift
Jesse Spillane's Number 0
Josh Woodward's Under the Stairs Instrumental
Jahzzar's No-End Ave

 

Sep 18, 2018

What does it mean to be Chinese? 415 million Chinese millennials in China wrestle with crushing pressure to live up to a cultural identity and societal ideal.

What are they? How do they cope? What are their biggest fears?

Check out Part 2 of my interview with author/public speaker Zak Dychtwald  “This Chinese Life: What does it mean to be Chinese?”

Music used:
Brad McCarthy's "One in a Billion Theme"
Jason Shaw's "Acoustic Meditation"
Doctor Turtle's "Wherever I Lay My Hat, That's My Wife"
Andy G. Cohen's "Space (Full)"

Sep 11, 2018

He grew up in a predominantly white suburban town in California.

His parents would take him travelling around the world for work since he was a child.

Then one day, he stumbled upon a movie - “Enter the Dragon” (starring Bruce Lee) that would strike his fancy about another world - China.

That’s where Zak Dychtwald decided to go right after he graduated from Columbia University six years ago. Without a word of Chinese or a drop of Chinese blood, he went in search of himself.

Why China?

Check out my interview with Zak in a 2-part series “This Chinese Life: As a 28 year old white American in China” (Part 2 will be released 9/18).

Currently, Zak Dychtwald is author of “Young China - how the restless generation will change their country and the world.”

He is CEO/Founder of “Young China Group” - a think tank offering educational and cultural insight about millennials in China and America. He splits his time between New York and Chengdu.

Music and Audio Credits:
Brad McCarthy's "One in a Billion Theme"
Andy G. Cohen's Oxygen Mask
Philipp Weigl's "Even When We Fall"
Jahzzar's "Playtime"
Chris Zabriskie's "Your Mother's Daughter"
Bruce Lee's "Enter the Dragon"
John Boswell's "Bruce Lee Remix- Be Water My Friend"

Dec 12, 2017

An unexamined life is not worth living.

What leads one to examine one’s life?

A surprise setback? An unforgettable encounter? An ongoing desire?

All of these experiences tend to re-emerge or surge in our memory as we look back on 2017.

In this last episode of Season 2 “Reflections on 2017: What’s Weighing on My Mind,” we listen to three compelling stories from Maggie Shi, Joel Tsui and Justine Yan. Each embodies a personal awakening during one’s reckoning with the past, present and future.

I hope you’ll find them helpful to your own thinking about this year as we count down to 2018.

Listen to our latest podcast episode “Reflections on 2017.”

We want to include you in this conversation.
To send us your comments or stories, just go to our Facebook page or our website at OneinABillionVoices.org under “Pitch a Story.”

Share your thoughts? Pitch me a story?

“One in a Billion” is listening to #China, one person at a time.

Subscribe to “One in a Billion” below:
PRx | iTunes | SoundCloud

Music used:

Dave O'Brien's Busy Bees
Doctor Turtle's Which That is This
Arne Bang Huseby's Stormy Blues
Lobo Loco's Mountain Monk
Chan Wai Fat's Dream Instrumental
Dengue Fever's One Thousand Tears of a Tarantula Live
Jason Shaw's Landra's Dream
Live music in Kasghar, Courtesy of Justine Yan

Nov 14, 2017

She carries the good genes of music and science from the family.

Her grandmothers are physics professors in China, one of them plays the piano as a child.

Her father is a computer scientist, her mother is a medical scholar.

Yet, she struggled to learn the piano as a child. Her head was bored from slavishly following the sheet music. And her heart was burdened with a bitter childhood memory.

But all that changed when she discovered her fascination with computer programming as the pathway to animate her approach to understanding music.

How did Xiao Xiao eventually reach a breakthrough?

How did she combine her head and her heart to break the barrier between the technical and the emotional, the physical and the digital?

How did she confront gender bias and societal pressure as a woman in STEM?

Listen to Episode 6: “She Has Overcome: Cracking the Code of Learning Music” - my interview with Xiao Xiao - an artist, an autodidact, and a technologist with a Phd in Media Arts and Sciences from MIT Media Lab.

Music Used:
Johann Sebastian Bach's Partita No. 1 in B flat major BWV 825
Donal Fox's Partita for Three Characters
Beethoven's Opus 126 Bagatelles
Erik Satie's The Gnossiennes
Maurice Ravel's Sonatine 2nd Movement
Frédéric Chopin's Études
David O'Brien's Busy Bees

Oct 17, 2017

Kira Omans was just four months when she was abandoned in a public walkway near a bridge in Zhongshan, China.

Not only was she discovered and adopted to begin a new life in America, she would go on to become Miss Pacific Asian American (2015), a model, dancer, and an actress with her first lead in a new feature film “Shoes.” 

How did she get back up when kids kick her down? Who discovered her talent as a actor and a dancer? Why did she enter a beauty pageant she once thought was filled with “airheads?”

Listen to my interview with Kira Omans in Episode #5 “She Has Overcome: Re-imagining an Unforgettable Past.”

We want to include you in this conversation.

To send us your comments or stories, just go to our Facebook page or our website at OneinABillionVoices.org under “Pitch a Story.”

Share your thoughts? Pitch me a story?

“One in a Billion” is listening to #China, one person at a time

Subscribe to “One in a Billion” below:

PRx | iTunes | SoundCloud

Music used:

David O'Brien's Busy Bees
Jay Man's Playful Fun Days (ourmusicbox.com/)
Josh Woodward's Little Tomcat
Jason Shaw's Solo Acoustic Guitar

Sep 19, 2017

What would you do when someone tries to break you down, yelling at you saying “You’re the worst!?”

What would you do when no one believes in your startup idea, saying “it’s too idealistic. It’s never going to work!?”

What would you do when you face humiliating questions and intense scrutiny in front of millions of TV viewers?

Listen to Part 2 of my interview with Kimberly Jung in Episode #4 “Keep Climbing.”

An entrepreneur after overcoming class, cultural and gender barriers to forge a path that puts her at the heart of a bigger mission.

Music Used:

David O'Brien's Busy Bees
Jesse Spillane's Untitled
Komiku's Boss 1: The first challenge
Kai Engel's Chance

Sep 12, 2017

What would you do when you hit a storm in the middle of climbing to the mountain top? Would you stop? Would you keep going?

She would keep climbing.

What would you do when your parents want you to marry a doctor or a lawyer, go to Harvard or Stanford?

She would rebel. She would choose a different path, become an army officer and an entrepreneur. How? Who is she?

She is Kimberly Jung - CEO/Founder of Rumi Spice.

Kimberly shares the story of her becoming brave, transcending barriers and making tough choices at different crossroads in her life.


Listen to Part 1 of my interview with Kimberly Jung in Episode #3 “Breaking Barriers.”

Music Used:
David O'Brien's Busy Bees
Andy G. Cohen's A Perceptible Shift
Lee Rosevere's Love Wins
Jahzzar's No-End Ave

Aug 22, 2017

In America, the freedom of speech a First Amendment right enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.

The right to speak our mind is not only valued in the American culture but expected in our liberal democratic society where voices are votes. The American electoral process expects it, and American citizens demands it.

But what happens when the culture and society in which you grew up devalues or demeans free speech?

In this Episode #2 “Free to Speak?” we interview Chinese and Americans who have reflected on their cultural identity and their right to speak, after watching a controversial speech by Chinese student Shuping Yang at University of Maryland.

As Chinese in America, how freely can you speak? Who try to silence you?

Leanne Fan and Karen Su joined me for a studio conversation. Listen to “Free to Speak?”

Music Used:
Busy Bees by David O'Brien
Travel Light by Jason Shaw
Heroin by Mitch Hanley

Jul 25, 2017

It sounds like a simple question, “Are you Chinese?”

But why would someone ask it?  And what makes it difficult for someone to answer it?

Eric Liao, our blogger/podcast intern at One in a Billion, started writing a blog about this question a month ago. When I first read it, it overwhelmed me with provocative ideas and perplexing analogies, and many of the underlying sentiments turn out to resonate with many young Asians in America. So we decided to turn that unfinished blog into a full-fledged podcast.

“Are you Chinese?” is not a simple question, as we've discovered after interviewing Eric and listening to dozens of Chinese and non-Chinese in America. It challenges their sense of belonging and individuality.  Now, they’re speaking up.

Their experiences tell a story of our common struggle when we’re in our 20s - our struggle to establish our identity and individuality, and our search for belonging.

Listen to Eric’s story in “Are You Chinese?”

 

Music Used:

Busy Bees by David O'Brien
Xi by Andy G. Cohen
The War Drums of Peace by The Marian Circle Drum Brigade
Marty Ladies and Gentlemen by Doctor Turtle
The Encouragement Stick by Doctor Turtle
Grey Snow by John Woodward

Dec 29, 2016

How often do you hear these questions - “How high have you scored? How many hours do you work? How much have you done?”

Quantity is, of course important. It is a metric of output or outcome. We live in a results-driven economy that relies on quantifiable data to measure growth and success. But that alone can’t be enough to define the meaning and purpose of your work, can it?

Earlier this year, I wrote a blog about “Productivity & Purpose” after hearing a warmly personal and illuminating interview with Maria Popova, founder of “Brain Pickings” on “On Being with Krista Tippett.

In this season for reflection, our listeners have asked me to share my blog again through narration. I hope you’ll find it helpful to your thinking about this year before embracing the new one!

 Listen to our latest podcast episode “Reflecting on 2016.” 

 

We want to include you in this conversation

To send us your comments or stories, just go to our Facebook page, or our website at ChinaPersonified.com under “Pitch a Story.”

 

Share your thoughts? Pitch me a story?

 

“One in a Billion” is listening to #China, one person at a time.

 

Music Used:

David O'Brien's Busy Bees, 1648/5 (Album) Audio Network

 

 

Subscribe to "One in a Billion" below:

PRx | iTunes | SoundCloud

Dec 22, 2016

This year, I’ve promised my husband to be in Boston for Christmas and New Year. For the first time, it hit me how important it is to him that we celebrate Christmas, not in New York, or in Hong Kong (my hometown), but Cambridge our new home. I realize that his heart is forming roots to this place we’ve settled down for more than two years now. And in this season of longing, this is where he feels belonged. For me? It seems that I always feel belonged where I am most needed. Last month, I was able to spend more than two weeks with my father in Hong Kong, sitting with him mostly in silence while watching him watch TV, eat lunch or nap in the daybed as he coped with numerous issues including Alzheimer and Parkinson. A conversation was nearly impossible due to his cognitive decline and hearing difficulties. My gift for him was nothing more than my presence, punctured with periodic storytelling. Our quiet time together - my sitting by, being close, rendering care and reminiscing the way my father once was, the way we once were. I tried not to think about the future, but fully immersed in the moment we were sharing. How do you savor your time with your family? Listen to our latest podcast episode “Are You Home for Christmas?”

Our website bloggers Fang Guo and Xiao Fu had both written about their changing relationship with their parents earlier this year in “The Day My Father Fell” and “Dreaming of a New Beginning.

 Now, our listeners request to hear their voice narrating their blogs for this Holiday Season. I hope you’ll find them a cozy companion to your thoughts about our evolving identity and ties to your home.

We want to include you in this conversation

To send us your comments or stories, just go to our Facebook page, or our website at ChinaPersonified.com under “Pitch a Story.”

 

Share your thoughts? Pitch me a story?

 

“One in a Billion” is listening to #China, one person at a time.

Music Used:

David O'Brien's Busy Bees, 1648/5 (Album) Audio Network
Julie Maxwell’s 25, Piano Soul
Chris Zabriskie’s Your Mothers Daughter, Music From Neptune Flux
Chris Zabriskie’s Undercover Vampire Policeman, Undercover Vampire Policeman
Chris Zabriskie’s The Temperature of the Air on the Bow of the Kaleetan,Undercover Vampire Policeman
Josh Woodward’s Under the Stairs, Breadcrumbs
Jason Shaw’s 12 Mornings, Audionautix: Acoustic

 

Subscribe to "One in a Billion" below:

PRx | iTunes | SoundCloud

Dec 15, 2016

What Makes You Different? 

How often do you feel different from your peers in America? Under what circumstances do you find your values at odds with your immediate cultural environment? How do you assert your sense of uniqueness?

Listen to our latest podcast episode “What Makes You Different?”

Twin sisters Chellie and Sara Zou narrate their blog about how they see race as multi-racial kids in Indiana.

http://chinapersonified.com/how-i-see-race-as-a-multiracial-kid/

 

Zara Zhang will read her story about “Warm Water.” 

http://chinapersonified.com/warm-water/

 


We want to include you in this conversation

To send us your comments or stories, just go to our Facebook page, or our website at ChinaPersonified.com under “Pitch a Story.”

Share your thoughts? Pitch me a story?

One in a Billion” is listening to #China, one person at a time.

Subscribe to "One in a Billion" below:

PRx | iTunes | SoundCloud


Music Used:

David O'Brien's Busy Bees, 1648/5 (Album) Audio Network

Josh Woodward's Once Tomorrow, Creative Commons Music

Jahzzar's The Shine, Jamendo Music

Sláinte's Banish, Beejayzus Records

Hyson's Whispers, Honest Music

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nov 16, 2016
The first time I wanted to deny that I was Chinese, I was 17 years old facing another 17 year-old. She was tall, blonde and huge from Chicago. 
 
“Where are you from?” She taunted me as I was sitting quietly in the corner, watching with wide-eyed wonder every teenage girl dancing up a storm on a chair or on a table.  It was our Friday night “break out and dance” party inside a private high school outside of Detroit.

“Hong Kong.” I muttered softly because she looked intimidating. She was three times my size, a full head taller, and scowled while staring me down. I had just arrived in America several weeks ago. I was the only Asian girl in the room, and this was my first encounter with a mean white girl.

“What? HANG? KANG? Where’s that? What are you? Japanese?”

Her rapid-fire, mid-western accented English coming out of her big mouth was bitingly cruel. I first stuttered a little, then gave it a go. “I am Chinese... from Hong Kong.”

“Chinese!? No, you’re not. You are Japanese!!!” 

She started cracking up so loudly that I suddenly felt an urge to quickly agree with her, just to shut her up! Can you believe that? No, I didn’t say a word. She kept it up for another minute, calling me Japanese and pulling my hair. I felt shame, small and shrinking in fear.

What made me think of this insulting bullying scenario from my teenage years, were the numerous intimate stories I heard while moderating the “Why Not Me” open-mic storytelling forum at Harvard on Oct 14th. The event was designed for Asians to share experiences of bias and barriers that put them on the outside looking in.

Many students who previously kept secret their immigrant experiences of being ostracized, ridiculed or shut out have decided to come forth and share their painful experiences. Some have described a breakdown, others recounted their breakthrough. Throughout the evening, I saw many in the audience wiping their weepy eyes, including me. 

What dawned on me is how the “ugly American” image is still alive and kicking today, decades later. Not only in high school or college, but in the larger culture. We see it play out in politics, on TV, and even in our own homes and neighborhood. 

But I also believe that we can enable the better angels of our nature to emerge and embrace our diversity – in our schools, our workplace, our churches and our communities. 

I invite you to listen to One in a Billion “Why Not Me? Part 2.”

We want to include you in this conversation.

To send us your stories, just go to our Facebook page or our website at ChinaPersonified.com under “Pitch a Story.

Share your thoughts? Pitch me a story?

One in a Billion” is listening to #China, one person at a time.
 
Music Used:

David O'Brien's Busy Bees, 1648/5 (Album) Audio Network

Jason Shaw’s Acoustic Meditation, Music by Audionautix

Andy G. Cohen’s Warmer, Creative Commons License

Axeltree’s The Thorn Revisit, Free Music Society

Julie Maxwell’s Dark Wonder, Bandcamp

Josh Woodward’s Hollow Grove, Jamendo Music

Kevin Macleod’s Cattails, Incompetech
 

 
————————
Subscribe to my podcasts below:
PRx | iTunes | SoundCloud
Nov 10, 2016

Snap Judgments. Stereotypes. Implicit Bias.

They exist everywhere, across and beyond Harvard.

When I was a graduate student in the Regional Studies East Asia Program, I had experienced attitudes and comments that were sprinkled with presumptions from faculty and administrators whom I thought, would or should know to suspend judgment before they begin an enquiry. That enquiry could be as simple as a casual conversation or a probing question that would lead them to know me, as a person, before making reckless remarks. That was my assumption or expectation, you see. Well, I didn’t see it then. This is what I still recall.

The day I handed in my thesis (more than 20 years ago), I went into my department program administrator’s office and yelled, “I did it!’’ Margaret looked up from her desk, cluttered with piles of paper, and smiled,  “Nice job! You’ve proved to be more than a pretty face!”  “What? Wow…” My heart froze a bit. “Was that a back-handed compliment!?” I stood and wondered, stunned and speechless.

Margaret knew me as someone with a TV on-air background as an international correspondent with field experiences in a glamorous profession. Perhaps she thought I could run around the world covering breaking news but not buckle down to read books and write a paper? Perhaps she thought I would throw my hands up one day and just drop out?  Perhaps she has seen that happen at Harvard? Whatever that was, I would never know. But what I know is this – it felt so out of line. What was particularly striking was the emotional gusto in her tone as if I was to be congratulated for having succeeded in surprising her, and proving her wrong.  Obviously that was a rather harmless incident, one of several other instances where I felt like I was viewed as a “less than” until proven otherwise.  My response?

I swallowed it, in silence, in disgust and brushed it off.  

Twenty years later, Harvard is home to an ever-growing number of international students with complex and diverse backgrounds and experiences before they arrive. The university is increasingly active in exploring ways to invite them to speak up, share stories so we can understand one another better. 

Earlier this Fall, I was invited by the Graduate School of Education to moderate and produce “Why Not Me?” the first open-mic storytelling event at Harvard (The Moth style)  via live streaming on YouTube, and taped recording for my podcast “One in a Billion.” Tracie Jones (Assistant Director of the Office of Student Affairs at the Graduate School of Education) saw a critical need to better serve the rising number of Asian students who aren’t always ready to talk about anxieties and vulnerabilities due to race, class, sexual orientation or stereotypes. Their personal stories drive home the point “Why Not Me?” in their pursuit of a more fulfilling life.

Listen to this Special Edition of “ One in a Billion“ “Why Not Me? Part 1.”

We want to include you in this conversation. To send us your stories, just go to our Facebook page or our website at ChinaPersonified.com under “Pitch a Story.”

Share your thoughts? Pitch me a story?

One in a Billion” is listening to #China, one person at a time.

Music used:

David O'Brien's Busy Bees, 1648/5 (Album) Audio Network

Doctor Turtle’s It Looks Like The Future, But It Feels Like The Past, Flush Your Rolex
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Doctor_Turtle/Flush_Your_Rolex_1416/it_looks_like_the_future_but_it_feels_like_the_past

Dave Keifer’s New Moon, Howdy Persephone
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dave_Keifer/Howdy_Persephone/NEW_MOON

Doctor Turtle’s Know No No-Nos, Flush Your Rolex
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Doctor_Turtle/Flush_Your_Rolex_1416/know_no_no-nos

TRG Banks’s The Silver Bus, Dreamland
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/TRG_Banks/Dreamland/The_silver_bus

MMFFF’s The Army's March, The Dance of the Sky
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/MMFFF/The_Dance_of_the_Sky/The_Armys_March

Andy G. Cohen’s Monkeybars, Through the Lens
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Andy_G_Cohen/Through_The_Lens/Andy_G_Cohen_-_Monkeybars


 

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