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Aug 2019
I am the only Asian in this bar right now.
Be my friend!
I will check the box of your social diversity quota.
Granted, I only speak a mispronounced fraction of
my immigrant parents' native tongue.
Ala Jackie Chan, I do not understand the words coming out the mouths of anyone on that massive continent (Russia included) that I appear to be more or less from.
But, I do eat spaghetti with chopsticks.
I am mystical as
fox, or Kitsune, in Japanese folklore.
I can hit you with wisdom worthy of a fortune cookie as fast as Google can tell you that the Philippines is nearly 2000 miles away from China. I want to say I'm from an exotic island where they play basketball in sandals and drink soda from plastic bags- like, A-level material you could make a movie out of in Slumdog Millionaire fashion and get awarded for your romantic portrayal of poverty you think is three worlds away from home. But nah, I'm just a kid from South Florida. Paved driveways and cul de sacs. But I do pump both fists in the air watching Manny Pacquio PPV fights on a bootleg stream. Beyond that, I'm probably the worst Asian there is. Not the crazy rich kind with a PHd. I dropped out of engineering after one semester and cannot solve a rubix cube. I never learned kung fu. Though I'm learning to face the adversity of becoming a single parent after my daughter's home broke in two. I write marketing proposals to pay the rent and poetry to fight without fighting in the spirit of Sun Tzu. My eyes do not slant in the direction of your narrative. I once ran in a pick up gameΒ where I caught the nickname of Yao Ming. Yao, I am 5 foot 8. Though I fall short of expectation, I can still check your diversity box on the way down and do a cool pen spin after to punctuate my intellectual prowess. I also happen to own an assortment of Japanese swords made in China, which I intend to use as heirlooms. This is what cultural colonization looks like: me, in a bar, the last samurai standing confused in an age of melting pots, Korean tacos and Asian slaw made by corporate imposters with names like PF Chang. What in the slaw is Asian? I wish I knew!Β Β I wish I knew the true value of my heritage to be worthy of carrying it forward. Like how my grandfather planted a Malonggay tree in our backyard whose leaves my mother would pick and boil to make tinolang manok -the Filipino version of chicken soup- as a weeknight staple on our dinner table. I can barely soft boil an egg for instant ramen. Or how my motherland's socioeconomic gap tooth smile is so wide that it drove over 10 million of its native sons and daughters off its shores to find work overseas as servants on cruise ships and hospitals to feed the families they barely get to see. To follow their trail blazing footsteps, let me be the second generation tipping point where some form of cyclical tradition breaks. That way, I can raise my daughter free of predetermined scripts. So as the worst Asian in this or any bar, cheers:
to being the first of a new kind.
Antino Art
Written by
Antino Art  33/M/Raleigh, NC
(33/M/Raleigh, NC)   
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