Twenty Angry Years

Happy Angryversary.

Hey, everybody! Phil here. Happy Lunar New Year. Happy Valentine's Day. And Happy Angryversary.

On this day, 20 years ago, I hit "publish" on the very first iteration of this website. I barely knew what I was doing, and I honestly didn't think anyone was going to read it, but this shiny new internet thing seemed wide open and free, so I decided to carve out a little space on it. I had no idea I was starting a thing. Two decades later, with a lot of hours and energy in between, I've found a community and a calling. That said, I've seen this day coming up on the horizon, and now that it's here, I don't know how to feel.

I feel bewildered. I know I say this every passing year, but I keep thinking I've done the math wrong. How could twenty years fly by like this? In some ways, I feel like I'm still back on my old noisy desktop monitor at the beginning of the millennium, sitting in my pajamas, coding clunky HTML. I've run this blog longer than I've done anything else. It has basically defined my adult life. In recent years, as personal and professional demands have pulled me in different directions, my time and resources have been diverted away more and more from actual blogging to podcasting, social media and other writing, but at least I can say I'm still here. But where's here?

I feel tired. Twenty years ago, I didn't know where we'd all be in 2021, but it sure as hell wasn't here. Running this blog has given me a unique vantage point. On some days, I marvel at the joys, struggles and progress of Asian America. On other days, it feels like quicksand, and I wonder if any of this is worth it. I don't have to recount what a crap collision of the time/space continuum the past year has been, or ongoing recent events that have shaken our community. It weighs heavy on the heart, I start doubting if any of this is making a difference, and I calculate the actual cost of flinging this laptop off my balcony. Also, I'm just physically tired. I need a nap.

But I also still feel hopeful. Over the years, I've seen too many heartbreaks and setbacks to count (some of them, my own) but I've also witnessed the best of our community. The people, ideas and movements that challenge and inspire me to keep this thing going. Sometimes it feels like the full-time job of being Asian American is simply convincing folks -- America, other Asians, myself -- that we exist. But Asian America is a project, and it's not yet finished. It's a work-in-progress, and it's worth it.

Most of all, I feel grateful. The last few years, I've been in the habit of asking myself "how did I get here?" The answer is you. I always say the best thing about starting Angry Asian Man has been the people it has placed in my life, friends and strangers alike. Thank you for being partners in this journey. Thank you to the loyal readers who gave me a voice and purpose. Thank you to financial backers for your faith. Thank you to colleagues and collaborators for creating something with me. Thank you to the educators, mentors and activists for lighting the way. Thank you to the ancestors for holding us on your shoulders. Special thanks to my family and loved ones who have always held my hand and had my back.

Thank you for the last twenty years. As always, stay angry.


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