I don’t want to ignore the difficulties of the past year, of which there were many. But in celebration of Abba’s abundant love, here are several ways I’ve felt blessed in 2018. From the upper left and going clockwise, then ending in the center:
Some of you have seen this animated short already, but I had not until this morning. It’s made the short list of potential Academy Award nominees in its category as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences whittles down submissions to the final group that will be in the running for the Oscar. Without a single spoken word, TAIKO Studios‘ One Small Step says so very, very much about what being a feminist Asian dad means to me.
I never thought I’d be back in the classroom as a teacher.
But since I haven’t landed another position doing what I love most (being an advocate for women’s rights and a violence prevention educator) and since freelance writing and speaking doesn’t pay the bills, I’m “Mr. Hung” again – 24 years after I left the teaching profession! Yes, my first job out of college was being a public high school teacher back in Texas.
In late September, I had the privilege of being one of the featured speakers at Southern California Public Radio KPCC’s Unheard LA event in Long Beach. If you’ve ever wondered how I went from longtime evangelical pastor to women’s rights activist, today is your lucky day! My remarks run about six-and-a-half minutes:
It’s rare that I ever just share someone else’s content on this blog. I’m doing it here because Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware captures my feelings about the Kavanaugh nomination so precisely and, in his understated manner of delivery, so powerfully. My tears began just moments into his speech; by the end of it, I was sobbing.
Hers isn’t a household name yet, but actress Chantal Thuy’s growing body of artistic work will undoubtedly win her many more fans soon. Among her various projects, she has a recurring role on The CW’s Black Lightning, DC Comics’ first ever TV show centered on an African American superhero.
Chantal plays bartender, bookstore staffer, and comic book geek Grace Choi, a bisexual Asian American woman who has a budding romance with one of the title character’s two daughters, a medical student named Anissa Pierce (played by Nafessa Williams). Grace’s special powers have yet to manifest on the show, but her back story is laid out in the DC Comics source material; she’s half-Amazonian, giving her a common ancestry with Wonder Woman. Thus, in the comics, she possesses superhuman strength, endurance, and self-healing. Hopefully, we’ll see her powers at work on the TV version of Black Lightning this season!
But Chantal doesn’t just portray an extraordinary character. She’s an extraordinary person, which I’ve found as we’ve interacted over the last year. In this Feminist Asian Dad interview, Chantal discusses bisexual and Asian American identities, her family’s refugee experience, what she does for fun, and much more. It’s a truly heartfelt conversation which I know you’ll enjoy! (And it’s been gently edited for length and clarity.)
Sometime in the next few days, longtime Arizona Senator John McCain will say the last of his good-byes to his family, friends, and fellow Americans. As that sad moment comes and goes, we’ll be hearing many more praises and critiques of his life and career. I’d just like to mention two significant things about him that might get overlooked in all the news coverage. Ironically, they should be among the parts of his life that get the most mention, because they illuminate qualities that most of us will want in our next president, particularly in contrast with our current one.