2017 was an objectively rough year for a lot of people. Trump is still in office (and so is most of his posse); if hurricanes didn’t ravage your area of the country, wildfires did; there might be a nuclear war on the horizon; and many terrorist attacks—organized or "lone wolf"—have taken many innocent lives.
For me, 2017 was tough because nearly all these big events that you saw on the news affected me on an individual level. I know someone who lost their entire home in the Ventura wildfire. The threat of nuclear war has given me multiple scares because North Korea is so close to South Korea, a place where many of my relatives still reside. I know people who have been directly impacted by Trump’s policies. But although I could go on and on complaining, it’s the Christmas season, and among other things, the holidays are a time for giving and loving and being grateful.
Because there is some justice left, all these numerous shitstorms have brought so many positive and uplifting messages. Mueller is still hard at work (and we are all awaiting the trial day in 2018!); we found true, hidden heroes of America—all those first responders, neighbors, and friends—beyond the screens of the latest Avengers movie; there have been countless protests for justice, peace, and understanding, and from these have come an incredible sense of unity and solidarity.
via: St Lucia Times
Once again, on a personal level, the #MeToo movement has been so inspiring, and attending the L.A. Women’s March has me still riding on the high of seeing 750,000 men and women stand together to fight for equality. Also, though the entertainment industry has finally been facing backlash for unfair hiring practices, it still feels like Christmas came early. The 2017 Grammys were been dominated by people of color, particularly Black artists, who have been ignored and undermined in the industry for far too long. Plus, the K-pop (Korean popular music) group BTS was the first Asian-American group to perform at the American Music Awards in 2017, and it warmed my cold, dead heart. Seeing their interviews in The Ellen Show, and watching fans of all different races go crazy for a band from my home country, made me more emotional than it should have. If I'm being honest, I have to say I know next to nothing about K-pop, and most of my non-Asian friends know more about these groups than me. However, this is such an amazing step forward for the industry, because representation matters—and now I have students whom I tutor who won’t be afraid to be singers and actors because people who look like them will be on TV, a privilege I didn’t have growing up.
Also, the live action remake of Mulan (forever my favorite princess for being a strong, kickass, unapologetic Asian woman) hired an equally strong, kickass, unapologetic Asian woman: Chinese actress Liu Yifei (who was all-around more qualified than any non-Asian woman for this role). That also warmed my heart and gave me the strength to finish finals during Dead Week. On another note, Lupita Nyong'o, one of the few people who I believe embody the word elegance and grace, is the January cover star for Vogue, and her film Black Panther, comprised of mainly Black cast, is perhaps the most anticipated movie of 2018. Although this is a tiny step forward in the industry, these movies will show and prove to the big corporate studios that hiring Asians for Asian roles and Latinos for Latino roles and Blacks for Black roles can work when it comes to netting revenue and recognition without having to endure backlash from whitewashing.
During this 80-degree California winter, I have been listening to too many Christmas carols and drinking copious amount of hot chocolate, and I feel the warm fuzzies and nonstop sugar high messing with my dopamine levels. I have a ridiculous amount of hope that 2018 will be an amazing year. At the very least, I hope it will be a better year than 2017, because God knows we truly had enough bad news to last at least a decade.
Ting Ting Chen