Tuesday, April 01, 2008

My Sista Maloy

With the dearth of good Asian/APA writers, it's about time I wrote about a bad Asian sista; you can click through to her old blog above, but her new blog is subscription only.

Besides being smart, what I appreciate about Maloy is that she brings an Asian national perspective that is rarely within the realm of Asian Pacific American (APA) consciousness. It was evident when I first began reading her posts on colonialism. And as someone who has historically had to fetch deconstruction on colonialism/post-colonialism from outside of the Asian/APA circle, more often than not from black intellectuals (like Cesaire, CLR James and Fanon, and others such as Don Bustany, Said, Zinn, and the Surrealists), she was a breath of fresh air.

And as I've said before that Michael Moore's work, despite it's polemical nature, is insightful. But it's a rare feat when someone can take serious subjects and make them funny and entertaining. Comedians such as Bruce, Carlin and Rock do this, and Moore really hit the bull's eye with Sicko. Maloy's entertainment factor isn't always on because sometimes she's just being straight serious, but generally her blog's smart, and she's really entertaining.

Did I (just) mention entertaining? Mix parts of Amy Winehouse train wreck, good writer, up to snuff colonial deconstruction and fashionista. Oh, and goldsmith.

Now, watching Renee grow up has been fascinating. She's acutely aware of how lame APAs are, how they worship at the feet of all things that only sink one deeper into "the system" and fog the mirror of self-reflection. There's a real price paid in that worship, and one of them is the utter lack of strong role models available to her as an Asian woman. They simply don't exist.

And here's something many of you might not know; for a good part of her life, Renee has spent significant amounts of it in Hawaii, which is dominated by Asian/Pacific Islander culture. Well, "dominated" in spite of being overrun by white culture, if that makes any sense. Also, my father was born there, and I've relatives who call it home.

So I turned her on to Maloy a while back, and she was an instant fan, as I suspected she would be. It's funny, but Renee and I can be out eating and catching up, and we often bring up Maloy's latest take, and we're off to the races, using it as a touchstone for analogical and analytical discussions about everything from music to colonialism to the sorry state of APAs.

It's weird how I live in a city rife with Asian nationals and Americans, but I feel outside of the circle. There's a fundamental rift between us and it's always been there. Perhaps it has something to do with me having been raised in a Chicano culture, I don't know, but I've always been at odds with "them." I mention that rift because while Maloy and I have never met in person, I feel much more at home with her ideas than the sterile nothingness of APA politics and art. (In fairness, there are some very talented APA comedians who I wish would get a shot. Honestly, there are some funny suckas out there)

A while back I wrote to Maloy and we've corresponded a few times, and despite her sometimes curmudgeonly blog demeanor, she comes across as really sweet on an interpersonal level. She even helped Renee once with a life situation, and for that I'm thankful. Hey you remember being 16, right?

But I guess among the things I really appreciate is her honesty and forthrightness. She pulls no punches. And as someone who endures a goodly amount of passive-aggressive behavior in his life, she's a welcome change.

So here's a raised glass to you, Sista Maloy, on the other side of the world.

Stay up!