angry reader of the week: haylee thikeo

Friends, it's time to meet another Angry Reader of the Week, spotlighting you, the very special readers of this website. Over the years, I've been able to connect with a lot of cool folks, and this is a way of showing some appreciation and attention to the people who help make this blog what it is. This week's Angry Reader is Northeastern student Haylee Thikeo.

Who are you?
A Northeastern University student with two identities! My given birth name was Phinnphana Vongphachanh which totals about 21 letters, and while I reminisce my days in the sandbox of being THAT girl with the long unpronouncable name, I oddly wished I had never changed it. After the summer of 2008, my father dropped "Vongphachanh" to go back to his birth last name - Thikeo. As for my new first name "Haylee," it was just a name that I really liked! Some of my friends call me Phinn and others call me Haylee. It can get quite confusing when you mash your two groups of friends together!

What are you?
(Saibaidee mom and dad!) I am a very proud Laotian American!

Where are you?
I am currently at my internship site, secretly writing this blurb and trying hard not to get caught! Currently located in Boston, Massachusetts, the wonderful college hub where college students unite and tourists come to hear Bostonians say words like "Pahk, Cah, Wicked, and Harvahd." My job requires lots of traveling, so I am all over the place via the world wide web, that is! You'll most likely find me on twitter, facebook, and youtube under a pseudonym promoting college readiness to unprepared high school students.

Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Lynn, Massachusetts a very small urban city just outside of Boston where the crime rate is high and dropping out of high school was the norm. "Lynn, Lynn, the city of sin" is what nearby townies would say to me once they found out I was from there. Walking through downtown Lynn and ordering Ice-cream from the ice-cream shop FLAVAZ is always an experience! The owner is a very cool and laid-back kind of man that blasts rap music in his shop. He sometimes made me wonder why he decided to open up an ice-cream shop, and I question if there is a "special" ingredient in the mix. I mean, as much as I can bash this place, Lynn will always be my home and I have wonderful and unique memories there. It has made me who I am, a person who is totally aware of the under and over privileged. It's definitely a very interesting place to spend your awkward teens years as friends started disappearing and unfortunately becoming another stereotypical statistic. Growing up in Lynn has refined me to become an individual who advocates the importance of education while understanding and defying stereotypes.

What do you do?
I plan cultural events as an active member of the Kappa Phi Lambda Sorority Incorporated, while upholding the pillars of sisterhood, service, and cultural diversity. As Cultural Chair for my sorority, I have worked hard to educate and inform my Northeastern University campus of the issues surrounding Asian Americans. In February I invited wonderful theatrical performers, Christina Chan and Judy Tso to our campus as Kappa Phi Lambda hosted " Achieving Perfection." This event was an evening dedicated to encouraging women of all color to explore the issues of body image especially, Asian American women, who seem to be so influenced by the westernize beauty standard. We opened the evening posing the question of beauty image: "Why do women of color tend to perceive westernize features as beautiful?" "What does it mean to have a slim, tall, and pointy nose? "Why is fair skin perceived differently from dark skin?" "Why does this all matter and how does this affect the success of women of color in the media?"

In march, our National campaign was an initiative encouraging women empowerment in chapters across the country. For this event entitled, "Spirit of the Phoenix," I invited Christina Chan to perform her somber monologue, "Unbinding Our Lives" and editor of Yell-Oh Girls!: Emerging Voices Explore Culture,Identity, and Growing Up Asian America Vickie Nam to be the guest speakers for the evening. These two are my absolute inspiration because they've encouraged me to find my own voice as an Asian American women. Afterward in the same evening, we staged a "Pie a Kappa" philanthropic event to raise money for our national philanthropy: National Asian Pacific Women's forum (NAPAWF). I even got pied for 20 dollars!

To end my semester, I invited David Choi, a brilliant youtube artist to showcase the phenomenom of Youtube and its effects on Asian American artists. I am an avid believer of fair representation and is aware of the current need to redefine "our place" in white America and the Media. I know that Youtube provides an outlet for this "equal" representation, minus the sometimes very rude comments from racist users!

Aside from planning events, I am a normal college student who travels all over the east coast to meet Asian American entertainers such as : Magnetic North, Taiyo Na, Wongfuproductions, Tim Chantarangsu, and Erika David. I even drove 5 hrs to meet Dumbo from Poreotics and Thien-Linh from Blueprint! I have big plans for meeting more, as I was re-elected for cultural chair this year.

What are you all about?
I am all about encouraging Asian American pop culture! Yes, we have one and I'm all about using social media to enlighten, educate, and encourage this movement. I am a student filmmaker, an event-planner, a story-teller, a social media intern, and after I graduate from Northeastern University as a Media Studies Major I want to be the advocate for the "movement". Sure I'll be in debt from student loans, but as long as I can spend my life trying to change years of neglect from capitalist media industries and make progress, I'll be happy. I am a dreamer that dreams of owning my own media network where I would break the stereotype of being the first Asian American woman to do so. I want to be able to do something that changes the way my children and grandchildren are represented. As of now, some of my online profiles say "part-time activist, full-time dreamer" but after I graduate, I hope to change that titled to "full-time activist, part-time legend."

What makes you angry?
Racist comments on YouTube, ignorant comments regarding race and gender from college students, Rosie O'Donnell, Fox News, Capitalism, George Bush, Arizona, Texas, The Last Airbender, 21, people that say Asian Americans are not oppressed, people that don't believe in questioning the media or the government, conservatives, Prince of Persia, Miley Cyrus, Twitter over capacity. Finally, I'm the most angriest when people aren't angry about inequality.

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