The Betrayal


“…On the street they call me, you Chink, you Japanese, you Chinese, you Korean, you dumb Cambodian, What the F*** are you doing here? Go home.” That’s a powerful line from ai Thavisouk’s film “The Betrayal.”

Not too long ago I was at a football game at my old college. I was just walking by the field enjoying the “pageantry” of it all and I hear “Ching-Chong Ching-Chong” thrown my way. I immediately turn around and it’s some kids aping me and gesturing as if I couldn’t understand English. I didn’t say anything, didn’t step up, or call them out, just shook my head and walked away–but yeah, it sure did seethe for quite awhile.

This is not a criticism towards our own American culture, as Asian people are quite guilty of prejudice and hate as well, but this past weekend was just one of those rare times when I thought we as a people were in a place of good, talking about our past shared experiences never with malice, or a rocking the boat mentality.

Hanging out with ai Thavisouk was again inspirational, as his presence is similar to that of a tuning fork. The metaphor of resonance is very strong amongst Lao people, or rather with any group of people that flee to another country with basically nothing. Other people might maybe just ask him the standard interview questions for creative folk, but take it from me, hanging out with a fellow artist is the best way. Insights such as feeling inadequate and embarassed of his teeth when he was younger, to insults from friends and relatives about other physical shortcomings that would surely put a stop to his dream of making it to Hollywood. The cruel teasings that started from school carried on to the business world in which, to them, he became the walking version of the Asian caricature. Sad really, as most people don’t realize role models and heroes rarely wear capes.

After all, in art and in life, it’s only what’s on the outside that counts right? 😉

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