Along with a love for food, angst tops the chart of the Asian compulsions. Here are some sources of our angst…
A is for straight As. That letter has been ingrained into our minds since we were first able to read. Anything less than an ‘A’ was akin to sacrilege.
N is for No. Whether you’re the girl seeking permission to leave the watch of the warden…I mean, your parents, or the boy asking that cheerleader to the prom, the anticipation and utterance of the word ‘No’ creates more turmoil in the gut than a daily dose of kimchi.
G is for guilt which is the precursor to angst. For Asian parents who see their children as the eventual guardians of their happy retirement, guilt over getting high grades, making money, having grandkids, and owning a big enough piece of property to house everyone village-style is doled out like daily 401K payments. But it’s an investment for a retirement fund that may crumble under performance pressure before the age of 65.
S is for suffocation, another precursor to angst. It starts early with parents hovering over you and critiquing your grades, clothes, friends, and packing mojo (yes, my mom has fixation with perfect packing technique). Then into adulthood, you learn to do the self-asphyxiation thing only it’s not the auto-erotic variety per our faux Asian friend David Carradine – R.I.P. You lock yourself into a ‘safe’ high paying job, marry the trophy Korean girlfriend (see offender Phil’s warnings here), and buy the impressive property that feels more like Folsom State Prison with a Design Within Reach makeover. And before you know it, your throat starts to feel constricted, breathing is difficult, and you start asking yourself…How do I work this? And you may ask yourself, Where is that large automobile? And you may tell yourself. This is not my beautiful house! And you may tell yourself…This is not my beautiful wife! And you may thank David Byrne and the Talking Heads for writing the soundtrack to your life.
T is for temptation. The temptation to live your life like Ferris Bueller – steal the Ferrari, play hooky with your honey and mock the authorities which only makes living in the ‘Office Space’ reality more…well, angst-ridden.