This is the beginning of the journey I took to Asia 5 weeks ago and I'm finally going to blog about it in installments because there's just so much to say.
First stop : San Francisco.
First stop : San Francisco.
I attended the RAMS event in San Francisco discussing mental health. I met with Hung from Top Chef (winner season 3) and the Victor and Tammy, the brother/sister pair from the Amazing Race Season 14, and Pam from Real World Season 2 (first Asian-American on reality television!). The committee members of the event, which was called Changing Reality: The voices of Asian American TV Stars, asked the panel how the reality show has affected us. What's really interesting about the event is for me, how even to this day, Asian parents still want the typical doctor-lawyer path for their children to aspire to: the safe field, the predictable field. And being on the panel with Pam who is a doctor and Victor and Tammy who are lawyers, it's interesting to be on a panel with the perfect parent dream because Victor & Tammy play piano and speak Chinese. Me and Hung, on the other hand, are fashion designer and chef, respectively. You couldn't get more of polar opposites. The beauty of being on the panel is you can choose to be the doctor or you can choose to be in the creative field. It leads to people to become aware that you can be successful doing something else.
I felt so fat next to Tammy.
I don't think we realise what impact we really have, at least me and Hung, until we get on the internet and read about ourselves or meet one of our fans when they tell us about we have changed their life. Here's a true story: once, someone came up to me and told me that after watching Project Runway, they decided to change their mind from being a doctor to being an architect. You dont realise you have this kind of impact until you hear things like this. I'm glad that the change is becoming more evident, I actually did this other event at an art gallery here in Houston and on the panel was me Lan Tran, a playwright, and Andrew Lam a Vietnamese writer; Dai Huynh food journalist. we were all asian artistic people. We proved that you don't have to be a lawyer or doctor. You can be whatever you want be but work hard at it, because nothing comes easily. Doing what you love doesn't always equate to succes, it's doing what you love and working hard that equates to success.
RAMS is a non-profit mental health facility for all Asians - Chinese, Vietnamese, even a small group of Russians. Mental health, especially in the asian community, is such an unspoken thing. In a way, they're saying that it's okay to be crazy, so I think I'm in good company ;)
Next time, I'll tell you all about my trip to Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Guangzhou!
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