issue 13.2

Download the pdf or read it online:

  • The Nebulous Masses: Cal’s Invisible APIs by denise wong
  • Are you Sleeping? by la salle duong, kevin macdonald, tawny tsang
  • MBA: Migrating Back to Asia by michell ho
  • Got Change? by carmen ye
  • “Are you a FOB?” by sunny kim
  • You say “hello,” I say “goodbye” … to Cantonese by casey tran
  • The Asian Suicide Phenomenon by alex wong
  • It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s an Asian! by justin ko
  • My Milk Toof by rachel le
  • NOODLES by tawny tsang
  • Inglorious Samurai by eileen tse
  • The Sun Will Not Set on Nichi Bei by sherry gong
  • Traditions in Movement by kim filipinas

editor’s note by elaine chen

I was over confident, prideful, and annoying. I sauntered into that room as if I owned the place. Six years of design experience under my belt, pssssh. I could totally take on this puny little magazine with its tacky layouts that had no clue about margins, white space, or typography. To that magazine, I must’ve been some sort of savior.

How quickly my ego deflated in that room, and how much more quickly a hunger developed. A hunger to find out more – about the snarky editors who seemed to know everything, about the magazine (tacky as it was), about this Asian American history I had no clue existed, and most of all, about myself.

Throughout most of my life, I tried to push the boundaries of what it mean to be an Asian American girl, struggling to defy what I knew others expected of me. I was loud. I was assertive. I was challenging. But I was so foolish.

Not to say I am not totally oblivious now. But entering hardboiled my freshmen year, I was struck with the reality of how invisible my history, and subsequently, my identity was. I was dumbfounded, and for once, silent. I soaked in every lesson like thirsty soil.

hardboiled tends to do that to people. Like a slap in the face, with a follow-up “What now?!”, this magazine truly pushed me to look at this world with a critical eye. Things that were invisible before are now annoyingly obvious to me, like the systematic racism that continually categorizes Asian Americans as perpetual foreigners or eventhe deeply rooted racism within my own mind. Each year I learned more and was a little bit more changed.

That kind of mindset genuinely shaped the framework through which I lived out my college life. It was through learning to see the unseen that I was able to really notice my parents and their stories. It was through being able to think critically that I was able to see through my own delusions of who I thought I was. And it was through always questioning what was given to me was that I was able to, remarkably, discover God and all the ways He has been in my life.

It’s been a crazy road from when I was an overzealous freshman to now, an anxious senior humbled by the realities of a life outside of college. But one thing that I can say I learned at the (near) end of it all is that we all need to look at this world with a stern and fixated glare and ask, “Is there more to this?” Not just over whether or not there was truly something sinister behind a new policy change implemented by Congress, or whether someone was actually motivated by racism in a violent crime against an Asian American, but also, who am I and what am I doing here?

Some final thoughts. Do not live a complacent life, going with the flow of the majority. Be a lover of truth. Ask questions, all the time, and remember: you don’t know everything.

Every new day I’m burdened by a world that is so broken by ignorance, hate, and self-delusion. But every day I am really restored with hope that these things will not have the final say.

So I just wanted to end with… Thanks hardboiled, for being that tiny little lighthouse off in the distance exposing reality for what it is and leading me in the right direction. I hope that you, the reader, can experience the same too.