The Flying Turtle Journal

The inner life of a 24 year old, gay, Hmong man. Refugee born, Minnesota-bred, DC resident.

(Source: sharmanzard, via imrow)

GAME OF TROPES: Racefail (spoilers)



I’m late to Game of Thrones - but I caught up. And I couldn’t help photoshopping this picture of Khal Drogo as a Klingon. Anyone sad enough to be familiar with both GOT and Star Trek knows exactly what I’m talking about.

The Klingons are the Dothraki of Star Trek - the scary,…

Anonymous asked: can i twerk on you?

Haha, thanks for the offer, but I’ll have to pass. ;)

How do you wear a #Rockets bandana?
Wassup, J. #Lin! #Linsanity…kinda. There are touchdowns in #basketball, right?

Anonymous asked: why would you being csigendered identifying be a problem?

Well, it was a female space. I know that if I was in a queer space, I probably wouldn’t care for allies in the room.

Finally #cooking! Kidding, it was mostly Liz. #IConsiderEdibleACompliment

In Response to Understanding

I was at an Asian Pacific American feminist tea gathering the other day, mostly to show solidarity. When I was invited to attend by one of the organizers, I was very hesitant to attend because I didn’t want to 1.) take up space and 2.) make any of the women there feel uncomfortable with my presence as a cisgender male identifying individual. But I eventually went anyway. At first, I just sat and listened, it was very interesting and disheartening to hear some of the people in the room speak about their experiences in both API and non-API, corporate, government, and nonprofit spaces, and even in their own women spaces.

But there was a point where I just couldn’t keep myself from speaking. One of the women said, “I don’t like to think that we’re trying to change anyone. I don’t want to change anyone. I think what we’re doing with feminism is having conversations with others who may or may not think like us so we can understand each other. We don’t have to agree.” I felt such an immense need to respond to her, regardless of whether or not it was out of place for me to vocalize myself in a space not designated for someone like me. So I said:

"I think we are trying to change the way people think. Feminism, social justice, queer and people of color movements, these aren’t about just understanding each other and talking. I am out there to shift the way people think, what they believe, and how we are treated. I don’t want them to understand me and then continue living and acting the way they have their entire lives. I want my cousin to be able to look at me, speak to me, and acknowledge my queerness and my humanity. And that requires that he changes the way he thinks, believes, and acts toward queer individuals."

"Movements are political by nature. Politics is an ideological struggle, where justice is determined by the victor. I’m not trying to struggle for the sake of conversation, I’m fighting to win. And I’m feminist because I love my sisters and want them to have access to everything. But I’m also a feminist because feminism and gender equity is central to queer liberation. I am a feminist because women must be unshackled, gender roles demolished, and patriarchy crumbled before queer and non-gender identifying individuals can be free. Feminism is about change. Movements are about change. We must change the people around us."

My words may have been out of place and maybe even hostile, but I think…I felt okay with what I said. It was authentic, and I don’t think anyone can have an honest conversation about movement building or isms without framing it within a political and ideological context. It is a struggle between different interpretations of justice. And I want to see justice that liberates my people from the oppressive beliefs, norms, and structures that plague our current paradigm.

The politics of being friends with white people


My favorite bit:

I have always been skeptical of white people who claim that “one of my best friends is black.” Internally my response has always been, “They may be your friend, but are you their friend?”

I believe deeply in the power of friendship to make us better human beings. But interracial friendships, especially in adulthood, require a level of risk and vulnerability that many of us would rather simply not deal with. And that is perhaps one of racism’s biggest casualties: Beyond the level of systemic havoc that racism wreaks on the material lives of people of color, in a million and one ways every day, it reduces the opportunity of all people to be more human.

Cooper put my thoughts and feelings—like how I always keep one eye out on my white friends because I know at some point, they’re going to throw me under the bus—into words far more eloquent than my own. 

(via raybg89)

Can’t say no to little girls selling #lemonade.

Thought of the day - my ass looks great in these pants.

Moving On

Is it weird that when I see photos of my friends from back home together, having fun, and living their lives, I grow envious? I’m not there…and suddenly, I feel like my presence never mattered. There and then gone. I’m jealous about nothing and at the same time everything. I have my own life, I have friends here, great friends. But when I see pictures and when I read status updates…I think, am I so easily replaceable? Yes. It seems our spots are filled as quickly as they are emptied.


Taking a quick breather from my work and thinking about the recent usage of Twitter as a form of activism, especially with the recent Asian American stuff. Here are my thoughts, I suppose:

At its core, advocacy comes in two forms, with various tactics: 1.) dismantle and 2.) reform. The most apparent form of API advocacy at the moment (according the recent usage of twitter) seems to be dismantle at all costs, regardless of who gets slaughtered in the process. This version of advocacy cuts through, tramples over, and further marginalizes those from our communities who cannot join the struggle. I’m not in a position to judge the way someone else struggles to live, but when the dust clears, when you have achieved your victory, will your community stand with you? Will they applaud you? Or will they be so far beneath the soles of your shoes that they can’t even see you?

You can represent yourself; you can represent a community; and you can represent a people - but your movement needs to align with the wants, needs, and desires of those you symbolize. Otherwise, you fight for yourself. There’s nothing wrong with that, but do not claim to represent me or my people if you cannot stop long enough to listen to us. And I’ll tell you one thing, my people are not on Twitter. We do not need to agree because justice goes to the victor, but social justice is not just a fight, it is a lived experience. You call yourself a symbol of a people, burn those who seek a different path to the same end, and call that social justice. In social justice, the ends does not justify the means. There is no justice if our communities are lost in the process. Our movement should be angry because we love and are family. To quote Lilo and Stitch: “Ohana means family, family means nobody gets left behind. Or forgotten.”


Year Zero in Cambodia,

In 1975 a group of guerrilla fighters called the Khmer Rouge overran the government of Cambodia.  Led by a man named Saloth Sar, aka Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge was a communist group modeled after Stalinist and Maoist ideals.  When the Khmer Rouge took over the country many Cambodians were happy with the change.  After all the old Cambodian regime was corrupt and ineffective.  However Pol Pot was dismayed to find that Cambodian society continued as usual; conducting commerce, practicing religion, and all the other things that went against his communist ideals.  To change this the Khmer Rouge implemented a revolutionary program called “Year Zero”, which would go down in history as the most radical and controlling revolutionary program ever devised.

The idea of “Year Zero” was based on the idea of “Year One” during the French Revolution.  During the French Revolution, the idea of Year One was the institution of a program that not only reformed government, but sought to reform culture and society as a whole.  This included the adoption of a new calender (with the date of the Revolution as “year one”) changes as to how people spoke and dress, and limits to religious worship.

Pol Pot’s “Year Zero” took the ideas of the French Revolution to a new extreme.  The policy of Year Zero would be wide-sweeping and so radical that it’s difficult to believe it actually happened. Like the French Revolution, a new calendar was adopted with the date of the revolution as “year zero”.  However Pol Pot not only sought to reform the calendar, but to change history itself, as well as every single aspect of Cambodian culture and society.

  • To change Cambodia’s history, the old history of Cambodia had to be erased.  This was done by murdering all Cambodian’s who were educated.  Even being able to read and write, or wearing glasses, marked one for death.  With the remaining population uneducated and ignorant, the state could could create its own history in any way it saw fit.
  • Stalinism and Maoism sought to transform the nation into an industrialized modern state (Stalin’s Five Year Plans, The Great Leap Forward).  However Pol Pot sought to do the exact opposite.  His plan was to de-evolve Cambodia back into an agrarian feudal state.  All industrialism was banned.  All modern technology was banned with the exception of military weapons and state controlled radio.
  • Believe it or not, cities and urbanism was banned.  All cities and towns were emptied of residents.  Major cities became ghost towns overnight.  The people were forced to move to agricultural communes (forced labor camps) where they were to work as peasant farmers for the state.
  • In the Soviet Union, China, and North Korea the use of forced labor camps was used as a punishment.  Under Pol Pot labor camps were the status quo.  The entire Cambodian population was divided up and forced to live in the thousands of communal farms throughout the country.  It was a truly classes society as the entire population was forced to live as peasant farmers.
  • All commerce was banned.  All food was collected by the state, all food was distributed state.  It was illegal to grow your own food, make your own clothes, build you own shelter, etc.  Even something as simple as picking a wild fruit was considered commerce, which was punishable by death.  As a result of the policy, hundreds of thousands died of starvation and famine.
  • The Khmer Rouge sought to reform society at its most basic levels.  Religion was banned. Literacy was banned. Music and entertainment was banned.  All holidays were banned. Families were banned, with families being broken up and exiled to different parts of the country to prevent each other from meeting again. Privacy was banned; everyone was force to eat together and sleep together as a commune. Marriage was banned, and married couples were broken up.  The state dictated what you wore, what you ate, even when you had sex and who you had sex with.
  • Language was reformed, with certain words, phrases, and gestures being banned.
  • All people were forced to work 12-18 hours a day, everyday with the exception of a few days off for New Years. Most time not working was spent attending communal indoctrination sessions.
  • All contact with the outside world was severed. All foreign trade was banned.

After only 4 years of Pol Pot’s Year Zero program, around 2-3 million Cambodians died from starvation, disease, exhaustion, or execution.  This amounted to 1/4th or 1/3rd of the country’s total population.  The Khmer Rouge regime ended in 1979 when it picked a fight with Vietnam.  Pol Pot had gained control of the country primarily with Vietnamese help.  During the revolution most of the fighting was done by the Vietnamese Army while the Khmer Rouge acted as auxiliary and rear echelon units.  In 1979 due to a dispute between Soviet back nations (Vietnam) and Chinese back nations (Cambodia), the Khmer Rouge declared war on Vietnam and attempted an invasion.  The invasion failed miserably, and Vietnam responded by utterly destroying the Khmer Rouge regime.  Pol Pot and what was left of the Khmer Rouge retreated back into the jungle in hopes of restarting the revolution.  He would die of natural causes in 1998.  The Khmer Rouge itself was officially disbanded in 1999, with most former Khmer Rouge leaders being granted amnesty for their crimes.

(Source:, via vteck)