Angry Reader of the Week: Uyen Tieu

"In a nut shell, I am from America."

Hello, friendly people of world wide web. This is your regular check-in with the 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 Uyen Tieu.

Who are you?

I am a mother, a sister, a daughter, a wife and some folks call me the badass boss lady. However if you knew me as a kid, I was Banh Bao. Yes, I was called a Vietnamese steamed bun because I went to McDonalds and asked the clerk for a Banh Bao with my Happy Meal. Oh, and I was chubby too, so I couldn't be too mad about being called a steamed bun growing up.

What are you?

Hmmmm... so I thought I got that covered in the who section?

Where are you?

Well, currently I am in Los Angeles, gearing up for the #IAmAsianAmerican National Get Out the Vote concert (www.iamasianamerican.com). We got over 50 Asian American artists and celebrities to come out and perform and speak in 4 cities (LA, NYC, Chicago and DC) with 4 Free concerts, all on the same day, Sunday, October 16th 2016. I couldn't be in all 4 cities all at once, so I decided to come to LA for the flagship concert at The Wiltern Theater.

Where are you from?

So -- this is going to be a long answer. In a nut shell, I am from America.

My parents are Vietnamese war refugees who were sponsored to the US by a Catholic missionary family in Wichita, Kansas, and that's how I came to be born in Kansas and where I asked for steamed buns at McDonalds. Then, my parents being from fishing villages, moved to Biloxi, Mississippi and Bayou La Batre, Alabama where my dad became a shrimp boat captain and my mom became an oyster shucker.

But then, remember in Forrest Gump when there was that huge hurricane that destroyed all the ships but his? Well, my parents weren't so lucky and had their ships destroyed and went into bankruptcy and sent my three sisters and I to live with our aunt in Wisconsin where we went to Lutheran school.

After struggling to become financially stable for a few years, my parents decided they needed to be in a strong Vietnamese American community, and we all then moved to San Jose, California in 1989, right in time for the big earthquake during the World Series of the Battle of the Bay, the Giants vs. the A's. I went to high school in San Jose during the big dotcom boom and I remember soldering my own chip boards and going to school with Steve Wozniak's godson. That's right, I rolled deep with the nerds!

After high school, I then moved east for college and attended Yale in New Haven, CT. And after college, I decided to move the big Apple of New York City to start my career in fashion, then consulting and then finally media.

So really when you ask me where I am from and I say America, I literally do mean that since I am from the Heartland, the Midwest, the South, the East and the West.

What do you do?

I am a media executive and helped start the #IAmAsianAmerican movement to get out the Asian American millennial vote —- the movement is about giving a platform and a voice for all my brother and sisters out there to speak up, be heard and be represented. It's just as much about inclusion as it is about voter registrations.

What are you all about?

I am about being a good person. And when things matter to me, I ask myself what is the most I can do?

What makes you angry?

It makes me angry when people throw away their opportunities. To quote the fictional Alexander Hamilton, in the words of Lin-Manuel Miranda, "I'm not going to throw away my shot."

angry archive