html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: I'd feel bad about naming names, but I knew, like, four Sungs.

Monday, March 26, 2007

I'd feel bad about naming names, but I knew, like, four Sungs.

My flight is completely full, so I took a middle seat between two of my people. By “my people”, I mean, of course, two shaven-head, buffed out, wristcuff and dogtag wearing, cut-off camouflage and flipflopped southeast Asian boys. They probably want to look all urban and hardd, but to me they look adorable, like every boy I went to high school with. I took out my knitting, the better to patronize them, and reminisced.

The boys we went to high school with were mostly car thieves (Korean) or ran gambling rings (Vietnamese). That didn’t interrupt their schooling much; I think they’re mostly surgeons or lawyers now. One guy, Sung, was in loooOOOOoooove with my sister and wanted to prove his devotion by stealing a car for her. I remember thinking that was the most useless gift ever. Did he think my parents wouldn’t notice if a slammed Honda Civic just appeared at the house? That they wouldn’t make my sister account for a surprise new car? Where would she keep it? What if she got caught driving it? I was of the opinion that Sung had not thought this gift through. Sung didn’t get caught stealing cars until our first year of college, when he was busted for GTA. It was a bummer, ‘cause his folks were in Korea at the time, so mutual friends had to bail him out. I never heard how his court case came out, but I do know he was sent to live with his uncle in Bakersfield, which seems unduly harsh. Still, I can imagine him bragging that he could drive to LA in an hour and a half, listening to the VTEC symphony of his engine as he drove the Grapevine.

My sister hung out with a harder crew than I did. My friends just sold SAT scores, but I totally heard from my friend who went to school with those guys that her friend saw my sister’s friends carrying guns that time. She spent a lot of time with Nam, whose guy-code included the rule that you can’t make a U-turn with a girl in the car (lest you look like you didn’t know where you were going). She called him on it the second time she noticed that they’d made three right turns in a row, but he still wouldn’t make a U-turn in her presence. If they did carry guns, I made the rudest gesture of my life to an armed teenage boy at one of our parties. My sister was standing around talking to three of her friends when I went over to yell at her for something (in fact, I may have been pissed to hear that they’d brought guns to our party). I was super angry, so I went over and yanked her arm or something. One guy got fired up to defend her, so he got in my face to tell me to back off. I put my hand on the side of his face (not hard or anything), said “I’m talking to her” and spun him 120 degrees away (because if you aren’t braced you have to follow your head and neck.). It was incredibly dismissive. I hate confrontation and I was always intimidated by those guys, so I can’t imagine how I did that. But picking on my little sister is my fundamental right. It would take more than a few pseudo-gangster National Merit Scholars to stop me.

13 Comments:

Anonymous Peter said...

Your high school friends apepar to break just about every Asian-American stereotype.

7:38 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

I have a rather different set of Asian-Am stereotypes. Model minority, my ass.

7:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought viet gangster was a common stereotype. Maybe only in certain cities?

At my college, people were worried enough that I always got spam for outreach programs for "underrepresented minorities" because I'm Vietnamese. I thought that was hilarious.

dan

8:09 AM  
Blogger grant said...

"pseudo-gangster National Merit Scholars"

Greatest phrase ever.

9:03 AM  
Anonymous Peter said...

I have a rather different set of Asian-Am stereotypes. Model minority, my ass.

Must be an East Coast vs. West Coast thing.

9:04 AM  
Blogger harryh said...

Have you seen Better Luck Tomorrow?

11:18 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

Yep. It was shockingly accurate, 'cept my friends all went to UC's instead of killing someone.

11:32 AM  
Anonymous c-monkey said...

Best. Post. Ever

That is all.

11:34 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

Glad you like it, but I'd have said it was more of the usual.

12:18 PM  
Anonymous Ennis said...

I went to an east coast geek school and there are similar stories I could tell (but not with guns, they were poser gangsters). This was a far bigger problem with Stuy ...

2:47 PM  
Blogger Spungen said...

My friends just sold SAT scores

Um, how did that work? They actually took money to take the SAT for other people?

Did they have those weird little party "gangs" like the Filipinos did, with the fliers? You know, with names like "II PHUN GIRLZ ..." (this was the 80s, before there were raves or hip-hop and when it took some minor effort to create fliers.)

4:50 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

They actually took money to take the SAT for other people. They could guarantee a score within twenty points, too.

They couldn't take the test at my physical high school, where the administrators could tell Asian kids apart. But they apparently didn't have any trouble using the purchaser's ID if they took the SAT at other high schools in the area.

4:54 PM  
Blogger Spungen said...

Interesting. I wonder how widespread that is.

I wonder whether that's done for the LSAT? I can't remember what security/identification measures they used. At least it's not given that often, so a ringer wouldn't have many opportunities.

8:38 PM  

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