Angry Reader of the Week: Terry Park

Hello. Once again, it's time to meet 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 Terry Park.

Who are you?
Op-op-op-op-op, Oppa Terry Style.

Middle initial: K. According to my Dad, it stands for "Korea." I'm serious. But he said I can choose my own middle name, as long as it begins with the letter "K." I haven't thought of a good name yet. Please send suggestions to:

Twitter: @terrykpark
Facebook: /terrykpark
Website: terrykpark.com

The worst suggestion I've ever heard: Chlamydia. Doesn't even start with a "K." Stupid.

What are you?
A unicorn. A shining, majestic unicorn. With a mane that flows like an exhalation from the mouth of a god, and a horn so bright even Stevie Wonder saw it, and wept. Know this.

Just kidding. I'm not sure how to answer this question. I remember a girl in the 4th grade racistly asked me, "What are you??" and I responded, "I'm human, what the fuck are you?"

Where are you?
"Straight from the West, Oakland is the best
Baby it's so fresh (Oakland)
It's called the Big Bad O, city of players on the go
You gotta have Trues and Vogues (Oakland)
Baby, that's my town, when all the tops come down
You'll hear my funky sound (Oh-oh-oh-Oaktown)
O-A-K-L-A-N-D, that city was made for me."

--Too $hort

Where are you from?
Short answer: Salt Lake City. This answer usually induces shock and awe. But it's true. I grew up surrounded by Mormons, snow, and salt. A lot of white things. But I also grew to love nature, the Utah Jazz, and green jello.

I've also lived in a lot of different homes. A former love motel in Seoul. A Japanese pagoda in Brooklyn. A walk-in closet in Astoria, Queens, in which I taped a poster of a window that opened out to a beautiful lake in the Swiss Alps. A mobile home in the desolate hills near San Jose, surrounded by wild turkeys, coyotes, and the remains of mining ghost towns. I've got stories, man.

What do you do?
ALL THE THINGS. I'm a 7 on the Enneagram, so I tend to be a bit over-extended.

First, I'm getting a PhD in Cultural Studies at UC Davis. I'm writing a dissertation on the Korean demilitarized zone as a transnational space of US empire. I've also taught my own courses in Asian American and American Studies at UC Davis, Hunter College, and San Quentin Prison. I love teaching so much it makes me wanna barf.

Second, I'm a regular columnist for Hyphen magazine's blog. My first piece was a VaLINtine's Day card for Jeremy Lin, I've interviewed such Asian American luminaries like Joan Chen, Celine ParreƱas-Shimizu, and Eric Hsu from the rock band Johnny Hi-Fi, I reflected on my high school friendship/jealousy of Tablo of Epik High, and I recently wrote a piece on the suicide of David Phan, gay Vietnamese American youth from Utah. An updated article on Phan will appear in the next print issue of Hyphen.

Third, I'm the creator/host of a new web-based roundtable talk show about Jeremy Lin and Linsanity called The Joy Dunk Club, distributed by Asian CineVision. It's a lot of fun and partially satisfies my craving to perform (I was an actor before grad school). As well as my craving for MOAR JEREMY LIN.

Fourth, I stay active in the Bay Area, like volunteering as a study-hall tutor at San Quentin, serving as a core member of the Asian Prisoners Support Committee (which I represented as Mr. Hyphen 2011), and organizing a Korean film series at the New Parkway Theater called Oppa Oakland Style!

Fizzith, I try to practice self-care, physically and emotionally, so I can do all of the above mindfully and effectively. Key to this practice is eating disgusting organic vegetables, running around Lake Merritt, and noraebang-ing until the break of dawn. But seriously, I'm lucky to be surrounded by so many dynamic, supportive, and critically-thinking people in the Bay. I have a community I've been searching for my entire life, so I truly feel lucky and blessed. Oh, and I love to laugh, and make others laugh.

What are you all about?
Practicing strategic essentialism in all its kinesthetic contradictions, generative failures, and unfolding possibilities. Also, buying lots of groupons and livingsocials for things I'll never do like "1 week bartending class!" or "Improv class!", not using them, and feeling guilty.

What makes you angry?
I wish I could say I don't get angry. And I'm definitely not as angry as I used to be -- I've learned to let go of a lot of things, yet still be engaged. But I'm Korean, so who am I kidding?

Here's 1/16th of what makes me angry: People in positions of power who knowingly abuse their power and get away with it (cops, certain professors, the Bush administration); the rising tuition costs of higher public education in California and the expanding prison-industrial complex; drone attacks and how so many Americans don't seem to care; people who say "let's bomb ______; drunk GIs in Korea; every racist person in Utah who mocked my immigrant mother; Karl Malone losing the ball to Michael Jordan in the final minute of game 6 of the '98 NBA finals; people who take up the entire sidewalk and walk really, really slow; drivers who don't use their turn signals; drivers who drive recklessly fast or unbearably slow; parking in San Francisco; parking tickets; slow computers; gentrifying hipster cafes; overly-judgmental people who are incapable of saying "I'm sorry"; the school and school district that David Phan attended; Breakfast at Tiffany's.

But overall, I'm learning to love, to be loved, and to be beloved.

(Photo Credit: Tiffany Eng / Wardrobe & Styling: Retrofit Republic)

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