Power and Politics - I am Not the Yellow Peril

The life and times of an Asian American activist who tells all the truth (and dishes news and analysis) but with a leftwards slant.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day

This Mother's Day I would like to thank my mother for having the strength to come to America. She didn't face the obscene obstacles that some of my friends and their families did, but I know that in the beginning, she didn't see her friends or relatives for over 8 years. And when she left, she didn't know if she would ever see them again.

She isn't a CEO or a big shot writer, a politician or a nonprofit leader. In fact, she doesn't do anything that generates lots of money or fame. But her coworkers appreciate her, and so do some members of our small community. My mom doesn't do anything revolutionary - she is not a revolutionary woman, and I hardly think she would consider herself a feminist. But she is one of the hardest workers that I know, and she has a deep deep ocean of patience.

Thanks for teaching me how to read. It's still one of my favorite past times, and even though I've moved on from reading Narnia books to avidly scanning political newspapers, I still read like a demon. I still devour books and magazine with a stupendous ferocity, and I owe that to you.

I'm even going to thank you for pushing me as a kid. Some time ago, I was complaining to a friend about you sending me to all those extracurricular activities on the weekends, and my friend said, "Well, at least you got all those great opportunities." I guess I never looked at them like that, just as burdens, just as another notch on the resume. And I resented spending my free time learning, and pulling all-nighters to finish projects. But I guess it built character. And it got me the grades I needed to write my own ticket, even if it's not where you wanted me to go originally. You gave me the best foundation, and I know how hard you worked.

I know how you would come home tired and then cook for us. And I know how closely you cherish your family, even if you don't get to see them more than once a year at best. And I thank you for teaching me the value of friendship - the way you've kept in touch with childhood classmates and friends is a real testament to your perseverance and warmth.

I think of what I was doing at the same age that my mother came over, and I wonder if I would have had the same strength, the same determination, the same adventurous spirit. I think that in some ways, I do. I'm not sure where I got the rebellious streak from, though!

Kai gives some of the history of racism against Asian American immigrants. I am happy to say that my mom didn't encounter all of this, but she is a strong woman nonetheless. Here's to you, mom.

And here's to all the immigrant women who came over to start afresh, or to create better opportunities, and who had children along the way. Happy immigrant mother's day!

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