Sunday, September 26, 2010

New female K-Pop group to debut with Teddy Riley production!!

Several months back I wrote a blog on Teddy Riley collaborating with Jay Park to produce some new music. Not sure what has become of that project, however according to a new and upcoming girl group Raina is set to debut in both Korea and the U.S. under Riley's production. I've said this once before but Teddy Riley is a musical genius, "Yep yep". For those of you who don't know already, Teddy is the godfather of New Jack Swing along with a significant chunk of contemporary R&B. It's sad that not a lot of people know him as being as the key instrument behind so many popular artists: Guy, Bobby Brown, BLACKStreet, Michael Jackson, SWV, Jodeci, Boy George and the list goes on.

I just hope their debut in the U.S. actually gets some rotation on the radio. I'm not holding my breadth though since radio stations are notorious for only playing the most watered down, mainstream shit. Every song on the radio seems to get play 100 times per day. Its annoying how they don't branch out and play something that isn't being pushed my major labels. Oh well, that's a topic I'm not going to discuss now since I can go on and on how bad I think music in America has become.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Tony Hsieh: The Asian-American CEO of the Year

Tony Hsieh may not be the Asian-American man of the year but he is definitely a legitimate candidate. Yahoo! published a story on their website not too long ago which really sparked my interest, because yes he is Asian-American, a male at that and in a high profile position that most Asian-Americans aren't exposed to in their careers. Whenever I read up on financial news or stories on successful business leaders, rarely do I see an AA male in the limelight. So to see Tony sitting in the drivers seat and consistently winning the online shoe business race for a renown company like Zappos, man that shit is inspiring!

Amazon purchased his billion dollar company last year and left him as CEO. He is getting paid a measly $36,000 annually to run the business which he made even prior to the acquisition. His only requirement, that he would get to run the company as a separate organization from Amazon maintaining the corporate culture he and his team nurtured. That culture is based on Happiness. He applies it across the organization, top-down to bottom-up.

If you haven't noticed already Tony has a different philosophy as a business leader than many other corporate executives that I've read or heard about. Most of the them numbers driven. How can we lower operating expenses? How can we drive revenue and increase that top line growth? How can we reduce labor costs?

The fact that he cares about his employees' well-being is a powerful statement in today's world of business. I've noticed more and more these days that the happier employees are at their company, the more likely it is to flourish and succeed regardless of the economic times. Zappos is a prime example of employing this ideology. How many times have you been disenfranchised or detracted from working at your current gig simply because you weren't happy with the way they were treating you? I bet everyone who reads this knows what I'm talking about. Even within the first year of employment, the value of a high salary may diminish very rapidly if you don't like being where you're at. 

For instance, your boss is a slave driver. He is always overworking you and demanding more without commensurate reward or recognition. Any suggestion you or your team provides goes in one ear and out the other. He just focuses on the day-to-day and never looks at the whole picture. Strategy is just a word he utters as opposed to an actionable item. Career development? Ha! Forget it. No time for that in this corporate setting we have work to do!

Then there's communication. It is lacking so much that you don't know when you're getting product and service updates until you're sitting down in front of the customer asking yourself, "When the fuck did they change this?" One of my favorites though would have to be when management establishes some sort of business objective for the year and the boss doesn't translate what it actually means to the team on a working level. How does it affect the working modus operandi? Best of all, there's the annual "Ra-Ra" cheerleading speech and presentation the executives give once a year where instead of talking about how they're going to grow the business, they yap about how they need people within the organization to "step it up". Newsflash guys, but you can't pull out the "step it up" card at every all-hands meeting and expect it to be effective. After a hearing it for the fifth time, it just becomes noise and we know the imaginary bonuses you speak of are nothing but lip service. 

This really makes me think about my current gig. My company could learn a lot from Tony...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Why Asian-American Men Should Feel Empowered

While I was down in Irvine last weekend my friend was explaining to me how I asked one of my friends how he felt about interracial couples. Here's how the conversation kind of went.

Friend:  This city is becoming predominantly Asian. Even when you go to the supermarkets here you'll find a bunch of interracial couples standing in line. 
MaSir:  I'm not surprised. Do you see a lot of Asian guy/white girl couples? 
Friend:  Naw dude. Its never like that.
MaSir:  Does it bother you?
Friend:  Nah, its cool. I don't got a problem with it. I mean getting all jealous over it is a sign of weakness.
MaSir:  Makes sense.

That's all it took for me to realize how lame I was being. Whenever there are discussions on message boards or blogs about the IR disparity, its always about how Asian men are getting shafted and how the women are traitors. Yes yes, I've been guilty of that plenty of times before. Looking back at it now it has recently come to my attention that those feelings of envy I had displayed were signs of weakness and lack of true confidence. But why?

Let me put it this way. Have you ever seen a movie where there are two guys fighting to come out as the winner of the game? Sure you have! The prize could revolve around women, treasure or some position of power. Now what did you think of the guy who was jealous of the protagonist who was outsmarting and out-gaming him? Well if you're like me, you probably saw him as a bitter, rotten, poor-sport not to mention it being very unattractive. Most of all, this guy looks weak. Instead of investing the time to improve his game, he's off whining about some setback or unfair circumstance he's had to endure and although he may have some merit, his complaints are so loud that it drowns out anything remotely positive in his personality. The guy with true confidence and perseverance embraces defeat by training harder and longer to subdue any mental obstacles which he encounters along the way. Think of Rocky.

So why should Asian-American men feel empowered instead of feeling jealous during these present times? Before I share with you my reasons I'd like to hear yours first.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Debunking the Asian American Male Stereotype

This past Labor Day weekend was awesome.

After being absent from the nightlife scene for the last couple of months, I decided that it was time for a little break from the Bay Area and go hang out with some friends down in Southern California. I called up one of my buddies from college to see what he was up to Friday evening. Surprisingly he was available during the holiday weekend and didn't have any plans to go anywhere. Perfect. My next destination; clubbing in LA.

We roll up to the spot four deep and the place is packed with Asians. The first thing I noticed is that there were a ton of beautiful Asian women (yes, my favorite) as well as some sharp lookin' Asian dudes. I was quite pleased to see this because instead of looking all ghetto or thugged out, they looked pretty alpha and stylish. Now some of you might be thinking, "Why the hell were you checking out the guys MaSir? Are you gay?"

Clubbing in LA. Good times!
First off, I'm a straight Asian dude who loves women way too much to ever be homolicious (No offense to my female readers our there. I'm trying to make a point). Think of it this way. When I see an Asian-American male holding it down on television you want to give him his props because he's representing something that goes against the stereotypical norm of the goofy, nerdy or fobby Asian male. The media does not sufficiently capture or display this Alpha Asian-American Male (3AM) demographic to the American public so naturally I was elated to see my fellow Asian brothas looking 3AM.

There was something else I noticed that night which kind of ties back to what many of the AA female pundits have been crying out about all along. Regardless of a person's skin color, girls will be girls and boys will be boys. What I mean is as much as I've been harping on the significance of ethnicity in the past, its really trivial in the grand scheme of things because Game will supersede this phenomenon the majority of the time. I think many AMs out there, including myself, have assumed that AFs should pledge allegiance to us because we share the same cultural or ethnic backgrounds. This becomes a moot point once they're out there on the market.

One of my close AM buddies is simultaneously seeing two attractive white girls and a hot Asian girl. I used to argue with him on a regular basis how Asian men have it so bad in the American media and entertainment. His response has always been the same.
"I wish my Asian brothers would spend less time complaining about that stuff and more time improving their Game. The majority of America is still white so naturally they will want to cater toward a white audience, because that's where the money is. Even if Hollywood does portray Asian men in a positive manner, how is that going to change how successful Asian men are with women? Would it be beneficial for us? Absolutely. But if Asian guys want to just ride coattails off of that image, then they're just being lazy and not taking any responsibility for their own failures."
I will grudgingly admit he is absolutely right.

Randall Park, one of my favorite AM comedians, recently wrote a piece on how he used to attribute Gedde Watanabe (aka Long Duck Dong) for much of his dating woes during his adolescent years. Just like my friend, Randall has come to embrace a similar philosophy as my friend stated above.
If only I had this understanding earlier. Maybe I wouldn’t have blamed Gedde for my misfortunes with the ladies. Maybe I would’ve blamed more relevant things like my bad hygiene or my bad personality or my insistence that Sally Lawrence could be “turned around.”
Yes Randall, there are those Sallys of the world that you just can't turn around and I hope your article (along with mine) helps other AMs realize that they should cut their losses, build some character and improve their personal hygiene, since having the cush job only goes so far to make you 3AM.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Positive Reinforcement

Over the past several days I've been contemplating about my attitude towards the notion of being an Asian-American male. When I originally established my blog I had the intention of having it be a positive experience for my readers until recently where I've seemed to trail off into a negative oblivion. Just a few weeks ago I started bombing BigWoWo's blog with all kinds of negativity and criticisms toward Asian-American women, yes my very own sistas [sic]. What was originally intended to be a recourse for my fellow AA brothers to defend their ground AA women who reject us, turned into an online slug fest. I let a heated debate get to the best and worst of my emotions,
I rest my case. No permutations of “doing both” makes sense anymore. The numbers are statistically significant enough that warrant an undeniable trend. It does not happen by coincidence but subliminally driven motives influenced by external white-hegemonic factors which Asian women have succumb to. If you disagree, then as stated earlier, why aren’t there more Asian Female/Black Male couples? Why not Asian Female/Latino Male pairings?
There is no legitimate response because its the goddamn truth. You argue that “Asian women have more in common with white men on a socioeconomic level.” Well last time I checked, Asian men are the most financially well off so that throws this argument out the window.
Don’t you realize how absurd these “activists” sound and even the ones who defend them? Oh yes, its just so happens that all of my employees are white. I’m fighting against discrimination in corporate America, BUT that has nothing to do with the fact that every single one of my employees are white and I only hire white candidates.
Yes, this is how all of the so-called activists sound to us.
While reading through some of the harsh yet appropriate responses I realized I was being very self-centered. Albeit, there are other Asian-American men who can understand and empathize with me when it comes to the undeniable imbalance of AF/WM couples in North America. After apologizing to the offended parties I decided to disengage from the blog altogether, because the so-called "dialogue" was becoming an infinite loop of finger pointing, resentment, envy and eventual anger to which I was actively contributing to.

Human beings are funny creatures. We're very negative in our ways of thinking. Just look at the news for instance. There's a saying that no news is good news. Well whenever I read the news its always filled with negative headlines about how terrible the economy is or how so-and-so is getting a divorce. And predictably there I am consuming all of that crap every day. No wonder why I'm so jaded!

Now in order to change my tone and outlook on life to become a much more positive person, I thought I'd start off with my blog and I feel the title Destroy & Rebuild implies that I'm heading in the right direction. Granted its going to take an earnest effort on my part to accomplish this, but I want to outweigh the negative with positive reinforcement. I will try to focus on the positive achievements within the intercontinental Asian community, and in the process, highlight notable individuals around the world making a difference.

With that I already have my next topic in mind.