Wednesday, April 12, 2006


I have not been in Blockbuster for a year. And I walked in the one on 51 Street and 8th Avenue the other evening, and rented Crash and the Weatherman.

I don't know what it is, but blockbuster gave me the feeling of being homy, that dull and relaxing life of renting a movie and spent the night enjoying somebody else's story, knowing that you are safe since you are not playing.

I don't feel peaceful watching crash. I was crying non stop while watching it. I understand what it tried to say, even if it is being said in a dramatic way, the story is compelling.

Crash comes from anger. Anger comes from the fear of not being heard, not being loved as who you are, or not being loved period, and being marginalized because you are an outsider.

As immigrants, we over behave or work harder and believe that is the only way for us to get somewhere. I cherish this city as if it is my home, but I still know that there are so many words, songs, talking and past memories that I don't understand or have ever heard of. And I tried extra hard to understand it since it is so worthwhile. It has its beauty when I understand it and being understood, the feeling of expatriate and explorer.

It is not about blending in, since I don't care to blend in wherever I am, at home or at a strange land. It is about getting through, reaching out and getting known and knowing. Getting close to things and people you like and who like you.

I am afraid my anxiety of our relationship is partially from this anxiety of getting to know you and being known by you while we are from such different background. We did well, but maybe not enough.

But there are ugly ones. I got a ticket once without knowing it while reading a book sitting in a passenger seat of my SUV. Did the policeman ever think he can walk up and ask me whether I, an Asian woman, maybe can drive and move the car?

Going to Chinatown at summer embarrasses me with its noisy, chaotic, strange dialect, and dirty water flowing in front of the Seafood stores. I feel I don't belong there, but then feel guilty about that feeling. but I don't hesitate defending a Chinese guy in public who was being insulted by a Hispanic security guard (like in Crash) for not speaking English and I translated for non English speaking immigrants in the ware fare hospitals in New York and feel happy about doing something meaningful.

We all judge ourselves constantly and inevitably find we are all flawed and weak sometimes.

I have a friend who is trying to buy a diamond for his wife and he was yelled at after having a second thought: You Chinese just don't have enough money for this, don't waste my time. I know that Italian man is just a jerk or is in a bad mood that day for whatever reason. But you still walk away angry and hurt. And I don't know how black people really feel, but I know it got to be worse than that.

And the Koreans is said to not like the black people and I was told I was a racist by you since I said I think if one work hard enough, and then one can get out of bad situations since this country is about opportunities, more for the sake of argument since we were getting on each other's nerver already.

One reason I like Crash is it is a little more complicated than just simply taking the stand which we all take. It tries to discloses the fact that we human beings don't usually trust or like people who barely speak of our language or look very different. We all have our fear of being judged , disliked and looked down upon and we strive in our own way to get over the anger, to feel good about ourselves, or to stay away from harm, sometime by being a wimp, like the director husband in Crash. And there is no easy solution for this other than people being understanding and each contribute a little one at a time.

And gun control will help as well. And the segregation and pain of black people in this country is far beyond the immigration experience that I am talking here.

"We don't know what we really are". I found the younger policeman's shooting of the innocent kid saddest crash of all. He is trying, but he failed miserably at the time of real test, when he does not know the person.

Knowing is critical, knowing promots understanding, but the truth is most of the time we have to take the leap of faith and risk making decisions when not knowing, or not knowing enough.

I think I am crying for all the feeling of loss and remorse that I have had lately as well, since I am wondering about me, how good a woman or human being I have been for you and for everyone else that has been close to me while struggling with a very unhappy job and immigration situation and keeping up with family expectations that comes from love, and thus ever more heavier while constantly trying to confirm who I am and what I have become.

I love you deeply, but did I love well with all these strain, anxiety and baggage with me?

Life is not easy, but a strong, rich and honest soul and true love can carry us far and carry us there. We all know the right way, the question is how to get on it or stay on it.


Blogger chris miller said...

One of my see-every-week friends is a solid white-anglo-saxon-protestant who married the daughter of a high-ranking Beijing party official -- and while it's obvious that they have problems in daily interactions -- it's also true that they both divorced spouses from backgrounds that were more similar to their own. Different cultures have different expectations from people in a family relationship --- but in modern culture -- nobody really knows what to expect from each other-- so everyone is in the same boat.

12:36 PM  
Blogger New York Red said...

in modern culture -- nobody really knows what to expect from each other-- so everyone is in the same boat.

Well said. Thanks.

4:03 PM  
Blogger The Obscure said...

Have seen Crash. It's a very good movie for the first 2/3. Don't like the last 1/3. All the conflicts were simplified and resolved too conveniently. Way too idealistic and Utopian. Things would never work out like that in real life. The power of the movie was seriously weakened because of the easy way out. Doesn't deserve the Best Picture Award.

7:45 PM  

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