Every year when May rolls around, I become wistful while ruminating on the meaning of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month and what it means to be an Asian American woman. This year, similar to every other year, it feels pushed to the back burner. I can’t recall seeing any AsianAmerican accomplishments being spotlighted in mainstream media or any significant programming that supports and uplifts Asian voices besides perhaps an ingratiating advertisement starring a leering Simu Liu.
Simple daily experiences can cause me to cherish my upbringing. The other day, I saw a virtually brand-new bidet at the Goodwill bins. Nodding fondly to myself, I thought, “That’s the way to do it. Nothing like a tight crisp stream to power wash the ol’ caboose.” Thrown so carelessly to the wayside, the bidet looked pitiful. A proper Asian household would never discard an item so deeply embedded in our daily routines! A proper Asian household would use an appliance until it was literally dissolving into dust in their hands!
There is no such thing as a proper Asian household, but these thoughts still ran rebelliously through my head as I gazed at that lonely little bidet. I find that there are certain aspects to Asian culture that my community and I will cling to — bidets being an example — in order to preserve a feeling of relatability and solidarity within our ranks. However, these aspects are not universal within the entire AAPI community and often conflate hyperconsumption of “Asian” goods, like boba drinks and Hello Kitty, without actual praxis about the AAPI experience. Don’t get me wrong, I love boba and Hello Kitty as much as the next girl but consuming goods should not be the only proximity one has to the support of the AAPI community.
Obviously, it is difficult to be flawless in one’s support of the community, and it is a complex terrain to traverse. I am grateful that an AAPI Heritage Month even exists. I am grateful that I grew up in the Bay Area of California, probably home to the largest AAPI community in America. There is so much to celebrate! And how better to celebrate than by eating a modest plate of cut fruit, left on your desk by a loved one? This AAPI month, along with the obligatory $5-200 venmo payments (if you’re feeling stingy, that is), I am imploring all of my non-Asian friends to bring me platters upon platters of various cut-up fruits, all preferably left by my door with a fork on top. These offerings are traditionally left silently, yet the message they scream is deafening. “I LOVE YOU AND I CHERISH YOU,” a plate of watermelon yells at me. “I AM VERY SORRY,” a bowl of pineapple screams. “COME DOWNSTAIRS FOR DINNER IN 10, SWEETIE,” a plate of honeydew screeches. Ahh, the sweet sound of healthy communication. Who needs in-person conversations when love can clearly be conveyed through a DIY edible arrangement? This is my sincere request to my non-Asian friends this month: If you’re not yelling kind things at me through a plate of cut fruit, you hate me. Simple as that.
Miss Informed wishes her I.V. apartment had a bidet.