Reaction to "Why You Should Never Listen to Asian American 'Writers' of Angst"

The Korean has received a lot of comments and emails expressing agreement with his reaction to Wesley Yang's "Paper Tigers" article. Below is a reaction from reader T.J.S., posted with his permission. The Korean is posting T.J.S.'s email because his experience is exactly what the Korean envisioned as he was writing the reaction.

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Dear Korean,

I just wanted to write to thank you for the very thoughtful and comprehensive smackdown of Wesley Yang's "Paper Tigers" article. My sister posted that article on her Facebook page for comment and I found myself shaking my head in disgust for many of the same reasons noted in your blog post.

I, like you, am a Korean-American lawyer practicing in the D.C. area. I am happily married to a gorgeous and wonderful woman. I earn a six figure income. I did well in school (although I probably slacked more than many of my Korean-American peers). Indeed, on paper I would appear to be the type of robot-Asian stereotype that Yang derides. However, before I went to law school I was a professional musician -- poor, touring all the time and partying more than was probably healthy. In other words, I was living the type of life that one with the stereotypical "Asian-American values" would never get into. The thing is, throughout that period of my life, I still revered my mother (who raised me and my sister alone after my father passed away when we were young, put us through school, and managed to put herself in a comfortable financial position in life by sheer hard work, discipline, and frugality), still worked hard (managing and booking the band before we got management as well as consistently practicing and improving as a musician), and still stayed true to the values that my mother instilled in me.

At some point, however, I realized that I wanted a family, financial security and all of the other things that working and succeeding in the real world bring. I live a far more comfortable life now. But I certainly don't think that I sold out in any way. I still play music (both live and recording), except now I can afford the guitars and home recording equipment that were beyond my reach when I was a starving artist. I still stay true to my fairly rebellious nature. I just think about the future more and yes, I sacrifice for it. I suppose Wesley would call me a sell out or something like that, but I care not about what that dude thinks. He seems to think that you can only be either an "artist" or a materialistic robot-Asian -- he does not realize (or refuses to acknowledge) that you do not have to be one or the other. Individual people are not so easily put into easily categorized boxes -- unless they are like Wesley Yang.

In any event, enough about me. I just wanted to say thanks -- you pretty much nailed the exact reason why I found Yang's article so distasteful.

Best regards,


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