Child soldiers, the Secret War, and America: A legacy of blood on our hands.

Photo by Max Muselmann on Unsplash.

My dad passed away in 2018, but if you’d had met him, you’d have not thought that he was very threatening. Even in his later years, he still had a full head of dark hair sprinkled with grays. He was still handsome with a charming lopsided grin that had caused my mom a lot of stress in their younger years. He was quite the talker, after all. Time and genetics had been kind to his face despite the fact that he’d been a farmer for the last 30 years of his life, more or less. Even as cancer took its…


Defying America’s assumption that Asians are a monolith and that we’re all the same

My older brother and I in a refugee camp in Thailand in the late 1970s. Photo credit my dad.

I’m not your model minority. I never have been, but people have assumed I am because I’m well-read, I’m well-spoken, and I write well. I often get mistaken for Chinese or Korean. At times, I’ve benefited from the model minority myth because people don’t see me as a threat. They think I’ll be meek and quiet. They also assume I’m good with numbers. I’ve met some Asians who fall into the model minority myth perfectly and it’s always annoyed me. Even my brother thinks Asians are just naturally better at numbers than they are at the arts. (Tsk tsk, brother.)


What remains of us after we’re gone.

Photo by Linus Nylund on Unsplash

I think about my own mortality often, mainly about if I’ve made an impact, what I’m leaving behind, and have I affected change for the better on some small level. Each of us is a ripple in a pond and the things we say and do reverberates onto others, rippling across society until it dissipates against the shore. Some of us make bigger splashes than others, that’s for sure.

I suppose this is what you can call “being deep,” thinking about the responsibilities of one’s own choices and how it’ll ultimately remain after we’re gone. I think beyond myself, knowing…


*Trigger Warning* Discusses rape and the fallacies and truths about male victims

Photo by Edu Lauton on Unsplash

A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece about a scene in Netflix’s Bridgerton series, where the female lead rapes her husband. The resulting responses were a mixed bag of support or vehement denial. It’s hard for some to believe that men can be raped by women. After all, men are believed to be physically stronger than women. Men also have the sex organ that does the penetrating.

For centuries, rape was believed to only apply to women who were violently sexually assaulted or to men who were forcefully violated by other men. It wasn’t until the second wave of…

America the Great

Why I’m not surprised that NJ Rep Andy Kim was a lone man helping to clean the Capitol.

Photo courtesy of Associated Press.

I grew up in a traditional Asian home. This meant that your sense of self and service didn’t just start and end with you. It meant that you were part of and responsible for not only your extended family, but also for your community. You showed up when you were called without fail. You didn’t wait to be told that things needed to be done. Instead, you pitched in where you saw a gap and you asked, “What else needs to be done?”

Though there is a wide diaspora to the term “Asian,” some things are universal between Asian communities…

Race Relations

When it comes to combating the Model Minority Myth, being seen and heard is one of the biggest challenges for Asian Americans

Photo by Korantin Grall on Unsplash

I once wrote a piece to my community about how systemic racism has shaped the Hmong/Asian American landscape and the similarities therein between African Americans and us. Though there were a lot of nods of agreement, the flip side of that was that Asians still felt largely invisible and abused by the African American community — in particular, the later settled Asians like the Hmong, the Karen, and other Southeast Asians whose migration stories didn’t begin until the 1970s. …

Netflix’s Bridgerton Series reveals racial hypocrisy, blindness, and carelessness to storytelling

Photo © Netflix

I might be in the minority here, but I was not thrilled with how Shonda Rhimes reimagined Regency England. Let’s break it down to the main issues.

The representation of Regency England and Black folks.

Throughout English classes in high school to college courses, historical England is familiar to most through the works of Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Emily Bronte, and a myriad of others. None of these authors sugar-coated the hardships of Regency England. If anything, it is the hardships and rigid rules of the times that are the catalysts for their protagonists. …

Julia Quinn/Netflix/Shonda Rhimes’ Bridgerton Series glosses over rape of a man. *SPOILERS*

Photo © Netflix.

In the wake of the #metoo movement, many women fearlessly stepped forward with their stories (including me), but one aspect of #metoo that did not get enough serious attention were male victims. Recently, there’s been a lot of buzz generated for the Bridgerton series (based on the novels by Julia Quinn) on Netflix, spearheaded by none other than Shonda Rhimes. It’s a historical romance set around the Bridgerton aristocratic family in Regency England.

One of the major devices that Quinn uses to move her plot along is that Simon, the Duke of Hastings (Daphne’s husband), does not want children because…

Nutrition information for the traditional Hmong one-month long diet of chicken boiled with herbs after having a baby.

Although there are more indications for each of these herbs, I’ve only listed what they’re used for in postpartum recovery. This is a quick list of some of the benefits to the ingredients used in the Hmong postpartum chicken diet.

Photo source:

Non-commercial chickens:

Probably the key ingredient to the chicken diet is a free-range, non-commercial chicken that someone in your family has lovingly butchered for you. There are some real benefits to eating this non-commercialized chicken.

  1. No added growth hormones or antibiotics in the chicken’s diet, which means that you get the benefit of the chicken’s natural growth without absorbing extra…

Dying alone with COVID-19.

My grandfather was a medic in the Secret War. It ran from 1961 to 1975, mostly in parallel with the Vietnam War. At one point, he’d been lost down the Mekong River, swept by the dark currents as he was ferrying others across. My uncles searched for him for days down river, dodging the Pathet Lao the entire time. After a week, they took grandpa for dead, but miraculously, a few months later, he found his way back to their village. …

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