May 21st, 2013, 1:17 am

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228-The big comic of being Vietnamese-American

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daviddoesntgetit May 21st, 2013, 1:20 am

I would say it's been since, well, high school since I've spent any substantial time with that side of the family.

I seem to have adopted our mom's side of the family's motto a bit more. Our mom said she grew up with grandma saying, "It's no big deal" all the time and that's how she grew up healthy. Bernard, on the other hand, as much as he hates our dad, seems to be exactly our dad. Haha. And our dad held a grudge against his father until the day he died, and even now, so who knows.

As for why Miriam and Connor aren't that much a part of this drama, well. Our mom had Miriam and Connor after Bernard and I left our dad's to go live with her so the family kinda wrote them off as belonging solely to our mom's side. For the adults, anyways. For the cousins it's no big deal.

But yeah. People who say they want to be Asian and think we're super lucky to be Asians are annoying as fuck. Same goes for the opposite of that, people who think that talking about Asian family pressures is blowing things out of proportions and we're just bitching.

Both of these scenarios are the same person. She bragged when people said she was really Asian for eating rice while also being racist. "You're in America! It's so rude to speak Vietnamese in front of me."

You're right. Let me tell the people who immigrated from the war in their 50s or middle ages to fuck that tradition they grew up with and try not to make the American girl feel left out. You're right, we only ever speak our native language to badmouth you. Not 'cause, y'know, that was their entire life. Move over to France without learning the language and tell me which language you're more comfortable talking in. When it comes to being Asian-American, I think "King of the Hill" might have the most accurate representation in popular culture.

In any case, Jesus. Unscheduled update 'cause I need to think this over, a lot. Still not sure if I want to go or not.

Last thing. That kid I played all those video games with? Grew up to be a programmer and made video games so... I'd like to take credit for that. Haha.

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zloi medved May 21st, 2013, 7:05 am

i think people who say "you're so lucky to be so and so" annoy me a lot too. as an australian of anglo-saxon descent, i can't imagine what that'd be like as an asian, but i think there's a common kind of threat whatever people refer to.

"oh, you're so lucky to be an artist, it's so romantic!"
"you're so lucky to be asian, it's such a rich culture (or whatever they say, haha)!"
"you're so lucky to be from x country, it has all these things!"
i think what annoys me about it is that they're not looking at you or the subject itself, but rather their romantic, idealised version of what they think that thing entails!

i'm a hobbyist artist, and i think people think you just kind of shit out masterpieces as whole and polished products or something, but (for me) each individual picture is the process of hours (sometimes days) of work, and the culmination of years of practice and self-discipline. but they've got this romantic idea that artists just moon around in paint-stained clothes, living carefree, bohemian lives. it's a bit creepy to have people look at you and see only a fantasy, instead of what's really there... and they get weirdly angry when you say, "no, actually, i didn't create this picture from a divine wellspring of creativity deep within me. actually, there's a lot of technical work behind it, from the choice of colour to the placement of elements, even the style - it's actually a very calculated piece of work, not romantic at all." people just want their romantic vision, and if you're not willing to be an accomplice to that vision, then they don't care.

i dunno if comparing "artist woes" with the write-up of a whole varied culture of people is fair, it was just the example i could most relate to...

i can't remember where i was going with this, haha, sorry. i just really wanted to comment and say how much i love your comic, but didn't want it to be just a single dumb comment that didn't really... contribute anything.

i'm asexual-aromantic myself, so there was something gratifying about finding your comic and seeing that not only are there people who are in the same boat sexuality-wise, but also faced the same problems with people's assumptions and misconceptions about it. i haven't told my family i'm a-a, because i don't think they'd get it even if i tried, and anyway, i don't think it matters/they really care.

your comic really inspires me. i think you're a very solid storyteller, and you talk about your past, esp. the tough parts, with a bluntness that i really love and appreciate. i think being able to just shrug it off and say "this thing is bad and it happened, but it happened in the past, what can i do?" is a much healthier response than making a huge fuss over it like people so often expect you to...

i went through my own childhood shit, and something i've been thinking about lately that i'd like to ask you is:
(not so important to answer:) do you wonder if or how you might have ended up, as a person, today if it hadn't happened and (what i'm really interested in knowing:), would you want to? there's a lot of things about the person i am today i am not happy with, but if someone came along and said "i can change the past so that this thing never happened", i don't think i'd willing to sacrifice who i am and who i have made myself into just to get rid of that bad thing. even if it meant getting rid of something painful that happened to me, that has affected me in a deeply negative way, i don't think it would be worth it.

wow, this ran really long, i'm very very sorry! i start talking and don't know when to stop sometimes!

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hyeonmu May 21st, 2013, 4:54 pm

It's fascinating getting a peek into such a competitive/stressful Asian family; I guess it'd be a "typical" one then, judging from the stereotypes and people I know. No offense meant; it's just that my family's usually rather "chill" despite being kind of big... unless large monetary loss is involved, haha. So long as you're productive/useful/know what you're doing, it's all good in most of their eyes; though grandpa would like to have someone in his bloodline being involved in medicine or law, he's not pushy about it. He sometimes jokes with "You should marry a doctor so your children/my great-grandchildren could be in medicine." Aw shucks; now I feel like getting all comic-journally about my family, haha.

I've never been told I was super-lucky because of my race; was it just once it happened, or is it a common occurrence? Just imagining that sort of scenario twinges my brain.

Why not go? I know I'm not a physical person in your reality, but going could be a step in forgiveness/bridge-building/letting-go-and-all-that-jazz. They did invite you, and there's probably going to be free food.

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daviddoesntgetit May 21st, 2013, 7:50 pm

@zloi medved: Haha, holy shit. Ok, uh. Let me see.

It's fine you compare... whatever my rant was to art. I mean, I also did art, y'know? I know what it's like to give your life to it so it's fine.

Man, people really think artist are like that? Really? Haha. I can't say I've gotten that reaction ever. Most of them are just, "Oh, an artist" and assume I'm immediately odd as a result.

Hey, I'm glad you like the comic! People comment all the time that they like it so it's not a problem.

Ah, a fellow asexual/aromantic, huh? Nice to meet you. Yeah, I haven't really told my family either. It just seems like too much of a pain in the ass with little reward, haha.

Ah, I'm glad you like my stories. I went through your comics and just, wow. You're very talented yourself so that's nice to hear. To be honest, I don't know if many people with the same sort of experience really make a fuss about it, it tends to be those that hear of it, haha. Or if they do make a fuss then I guess they just really want attention.

Ah, ok. I've answered your question somewhere a while ago but I'll draw a comic in response. You're going to have to wait 'til Friday to see it. Just as a sneak preview, I agree.

Hey, no worries about the long comment. Not to say that bigger is better, but I like all the rambling comments, haha.

@hyeonmu: Haha, oh man. Ok, well, to start let's just say if you have to say "no offense" that means you probably know it's offensive so saying it doesn't really make it better, it just seems like you're covering your ass 'cause you know it IS offensive but you wanted to say it anyways.

No offense.

See how annoying that was?

Anyways, sounds like your family is more like our mom's side. I don't know what your situation is, but here it seems like the more Americanized the family, the more lax they seem to be. which was true of my friend Amy.

People telling me I'm lucky to be Asian tend to be, hm. Anime fans, a lot, but other types too. It's not that common, but the fact that it's happened more than once is too much to bear. Even once is a pain, dude.

Well, the reasons why I don't want to go are plenty, and I said exactly why in the comic. And if just meeting them means forgiveness that easily, then I would have forgiven my stepmom a long while ago. Just because they invited me doesn't really mean anything, was it out of obligation or genuine connection? Who knows?

So. A lot of reasons I'm not that eager to go. My general feeling of uncomfortableness based on our relationships my entire life notwithstanding.

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hyeonmu May 22nd, 2013, 12:24 am

@daviddoesntgetit: I didn't mean to annoy you with my "no offense" bit, even though I'm not annoyed by the term "no offense." I guess I just got in the habit of using "no offense" after people started calling me inconsiderate/offensive for not using it. But now everyone tells me not to use it because it makes me sound offensive/inconsiderate and invalidates anything I say. How perplexing. Anyways, I've been trying not to use it so much lately, so thanks for pointing out that I used it. I wonder if I should stop caring whether or not I sound like a nincompoop...

The laxness in the family goes way back, haha. So, yeah; like your mother's side. Though I hear great-granddad was a real stickler when it came to certain table manners as well... I guess "drama" just wasn't directed at other people unless they swindled you, if that makes sense. What do you mean by "Americanized"? It seems a lot of the immigrant households I've seen have tension.

And of course it doesn't mean automatic forgiveness if you go. It's a step. And I was assuming you didn't really care if it was out of obligation or anything - sorry about that. If you don't want to go that bad, then... well, nothing I can do, haha.

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AwkPenquin (Guest) May 22nd, 2013, 9:13 pm

Man i can't imagine having so much family drama! I guess the bigger the family, the more drama there is? (or maybe that primarily applies to asians?) My familys chinese and pretty much everyone gets along. But i guess thats cuz we dont really interact with our relatives much since most of them live in another country. Plus there isnt really anything that separates us like with the north and south vietnamese in your family.

Well as always, love the comic! I'd really like to do a comic telling my own stories just like this!
Maybe its just me but it also seems like you've mellowed out a bit since u started this comic. I guess sharing your life stories can really lift a burden, or help you become aware of things u didnt notice before.

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Dumah May 22nd, 2013, 10:02 pm

I personally wouldn't drive six hours for a high school graduation. Maybe they won't be condescending, they probably will, considering your history with them... I just can't imagine driving home after putting up with all their bullshit like that. Idk, you'd have to get some sleep at one point, unless you want to drive twelve hours in a day; I wouldn't want to have to sleep over, too.

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Sunset* May 23rd, 2013, 8:49 am

@daviddoesntgetit: The only tenson that was seemed similar like that is that there was sort of a silent competition of who can buy a house first and my Dad won. The only tension the occurred afterwards is when my uncle and aunt came to live with us for a short time and they left later on halloween. There a time later weird events occurred like when me, my brother, Mom, and Dad left the house and we get a call from my Mom's firend that our hose was on and someone cut it too(high water bill). The other event was when my Dad's car got sprayed with orange paint and later there was some sprayed writing on the side of the house( it was lucky removed later for both the house and car). The moral of the story know your relative make sure they are not bothered just because someone got a house first and makes sure they have no problems when they are welcome in to your house.

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daviddoesntgetit May 28th, 2013, 10:34 pm

@AwkPenquin: Haha. I think the drama has to do with the redneck aspect. Y'know how those cop shows have cops going into trailer parks and breaking up the guy with the mullet and the barefoot woman from throwing shit at each other? Something like that.

Have I become more mellow? Maybe. People keep saying that so I guess it's true, haha.

But hey, you should tell your story! If you want. More power to you.

And again, like with any grand generalization, I don't make them without being aware that there are, of course, other aspects however addressing a stereotype forces me to generalize. It's not like I'm unaware that there are Asian families that get along and I'm not trying to make a statement that states as such on every single person. So just don't worry about it, haha.

@Dumah: Haha, well. I'm pretty sure the party is going to be a weekend stay at their house. When we visit them it tends to be for a while.

Uh, haha. They probably will be condescending, I'm usually ok if I can complain to someone and take some of the brunt of my anger but if no one's there, I'm worried about myself.

But I have driven 17 hours in a day once. It wasn't so bad, especially the night part when no one else is on the road and I can just relax. Haha. Having a motorcycle is pretty great.

@Sunset*: Wow, that sounds nuts. I dunno, man. Those are pretty dickish things to do, haha.

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Sunset* May 29th, 2013, 12:51 pm

There is more that happens to the story but it gets a little darker there s,o I will save you from the shock.