Across the Pacific: From Tropics to Snow

Tagaytay City, August 2010

I was reading Meg Crane’s zine when I saw her ad calling for submissions for her zine’s April/May 2014 issue. The topic was about travelling and journeys. It was something I could completely relate to, and it was something that I wanted to share to everyone. And because I would rather write my story than talk about it, I signed up to write it.

I had a difficult time writing it because I cried a few times when I was writing it. When I’m writing, I usually write a few sentences then read them again. So every time I reread them or if the idea really resonated to me, I tear up. Even after reading it for this post, I teared up a little bit.

Here’s a short excerpt (or parts where I always get emotional):

When you’re a minority, it feels completely different. It changes your world and your view about the world.

You feel like you don’t belong. You feel like they’re giving you disgusted looks. You feel like they’re judging you. You feel like they’re being condescending. You feel like they’re not treating you right just because you’re different. Your self-esteem goes all the way down until you lose the self-confidence you’ve built your entire life.

It’s hard. It’s really hard. But everything will be alright.

You will only fully understand how it feels to be discriminated when you have been discriminated.

This is one of my favourite parts:

I’ve accepted that I will never become white. I have learned to embrace my identity. It took me six years to figure this out and I think I’m still in that journey. The journey of finding and accepting myself.

Before coming here, I thought it was going to be easy and simple. All I had to do was get my education and get a job to help myself and my parents. I was 19 then. I was young. I was naive. I have learned so much in the past six years that sometimes I find it hard to believe that I have survived in Canada this long.

It takes courage to leave your past and start a new life.

My story doesn’t end here. There’s a reason why I moved here, so I have to know what that is.

Life is full of ups and downs. There are times when you’re at the top, and there are times when you’re at the bottom. There’s nothing wrong with starting over. Leaving your past and learning from your mistakes make you a better and stronger person. So whatever it is that you’re going through now, don’t give up. Don’t lose hope.

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Grab a copy of Cockroach zine’s April/May 2014 issue to know more about my story and to read other people’s stories about their own journeys. Email them at cockroachzine@gmail.com, follow them on Twitter @cockroachzine, or like them on Facebook. You can also grab a copy on Etsy or at Winnipeg Makers & Market.

Album: Do Re Mi – Wesley Woo

You know those nights when you just want to listen to music and get lost in the lyrics? How about those nights when you’re feeling in love, or feeling out of love, and you just want to curl up in bed while listening to music?

Wesley Woo is one of those artists you listen to on those nights. Wesley’s debut album, Do Re Mi, is coming out this week.

Born and raised in San Francisco, California, the singer/songwriter is an upcoming artist in SF’s music scene. In 2013, the San Francisco native won “Best Song of the Year” at the West Coast Songwriters SF chapter. He has performed in several shows such as the Brick and Mortar, RAMA GO!Ohana Showcase, and Woodshed Showcase.

I completely support Asian Americans making a name for themselves in their hometown.  As a minority myself, I understand how difficult it is to live in dominant society as a minority.

So when I had the chance to listen to his album before the launch, I grabbed it.

11th Ave Band

At the RAMA GO!Ohana showcase at Solespace in Oakland. Left to right: Rei Otsuka, Wesley Woo, and Miguel Becerra. photography by Jason Lor.

Whenever I listen to songs for the first time, I make sure that I really listen. I don’t do my homework, I don’t organize my planner, and I don’t clean my room. In other words, I don’t multitask. I like focusing on this one single task: listen to music, internalize the music, understand the lyrics, and appreciate the arrangement. That’s where you see the beauty of the songs.

The first time I listened to the album, it took me a few songs to get in the moment. The second time I listened to it, that’s when I knew that I’ll keep coming back to listen to this album.

I know it’s not right to pick favourites, but I can’t help it. But just because I have favourites doesn’t mean that I won’t listen to the entire album. So my personal favourites are “Lost in You”, “Fall Again”, and “Half Past Fine”.

“Lost in You” is one of those songs where you just want to close your eyes and reminisce as you listen to Wesley’s voice. His single “Stay” comes second place in that category. “Fall Again” is a good album opener because it starts off slow, and then turns upbeat to introduce the next eight tracks. It took me a few times listening to “Half Past Fine” because it didn’t exactly had that effect on me that I was looking for. The lyrics really resonate though, especially when you’re at a point in your life where you feel like the universe is against you. It’s a good pick-me-up song.

If you’re in SF or somewhere near the SF area, go to his album launch this Friday, April 4th, at The Lost Church, San Francisco.

To get your advanced tickets at Wesley Woo’s debut album launch, get your advance tickets here. Visit his website, Wesley Woo Music, and like his Facebook page, Wesley Woo Music, for show dates and to buy his album.

Wesley Woo album launch

Meanwhile, listen to his single, “Stay”, to get a preview of the album.