Rastaman in Kenting, Taiwan
Here is the latest submission from Cameroonian film maker, Kelly Jackson.
LamChxp was born in Brooklyn, New York. He is now an up and coming rapper in Taipei.
This is another episode from Tony Quander and his crew. They are a strong representation of what the hip-hop scene is like out here in Taipei. This event was hosted by a company in this region called Level Up. Everyone had a great time.
Kelly Jackson is an up and coming film maker living in Bangkok, Thailand. He is originally from Cameroon. The films he creates are always done from a unique perspective mixing African culture with the nuances he has picked up from Thai culture. It makes for a brilliant mash up. Above is the link where his films can be viewed. Please enjoy!
After 17 years living abroad, Martin Williams is a veteran when it comes to life in Asia. His background is very different from most anyone else I have interviewed up to now and most people you will ever meet. He is a business man and his insights are fascinating. Listening to him talk is exciting, primarily because he’s bold enough to say certain things. The work he does is kind of like the work Will Smith was doing in the movie Hitch. If you’ve never seen this movie, Hitch is about a guy who coaches his clients on how to meet and attract the woman of their dreams. As he put it, Martin has always been a student of human relationships and human sexuality. He has translated that in Asia, to studying the dating scene and the different types of relationships.
We talked about how race expresses itself in the dating scene her in Asia; in East Asia and Southeast Asia. We talked about how White culture and Black culture differ when it comes to relating to the opposite sex and how these differences affect us living in this part of the world. The business he runs is totally online and it is related to a topic that some people love and some people hate. His work is related to picking up women and specifically here in Asia. His clients are usually American men who are the kind of people who are insanely shy. He helps them to improve their confidence when meeting and talking to women. . Martin gave me a basic run down of the courses he teaches and how he teaches them. Part of what Martin teaches includes a relationships course and a course on female sexual psychology. He teaches them techniques that help them get the things they want out of their relationships, whether that’s casual sex or serious dating and everything in between. Martin gives the impression that he gets a sense of satisfaction from helping these young men ‘come out of their shell’ so to speak. He gets mixed reactions when people hear about what he does. Some women have called him a misogynist and some have even implied that he has promoted rape in the past. For him, all of this is totally natural and not controversial at all. He sees it that way because he sees it through the lens of other peoples’ cultures.
An Interview with the Author Richard Bess
Interviewer: Can you tell me your name?
Author: Sure, I’m Richard Bess.
I: Where did you grow up and where do you live now?
A: I grew up in Southeast Queens, a section of New York City. Right now, I live in the north part of Taiwan, in the capital Taipei.
I: When did you first travel abroad and what made you decide to leave the US in the first place?
A: Well, when I was in the 8th grade, many many years ago, our school took us on a school trip to Canada for like 2 days if that counts. But really, the first time I traveled abroad was when I was 17 years old. I went on a school trip to Paris and London. Each for 5 days if I remember correctly.
I: Apart From Taiwan, where else have you traveled?
A: Well, I got my TEFL certificate in Barcelona, in Spain in 2004. I lived there for about 2 months. My first actual teaching post was in southern China. I lived in a city called Shenzhen for 2 ½ years. I taught in the Netherlands for almost a year and South Korea for a year. After that I was home for a while. I visited Africa twice. The first time I was on vacation in Senegal. After that I was on a business trip in Ghana for about 2 weeks. The company I had founded with some other people in New York was trying to develop tourism to Ghana. The year after that I started traveling again. I went back to Beijing to study Mandarin. I lived and taught in Hanoi in Vietnam for almost 8 months. I lived in Japan for a little over a year and a half. After that I came to Taiwan.
I: Can you tell me some of the differences you’ve noticed between there and where you’re from?
A: Sure! One, Taiwan is a lot more of a homogeneous place, even in Taipei. Culturally and ethnically there’s really just one thing happening here. For me as an English teacher, the rat race doesn’t exist here. Back home where I’m from, making ends meet is a source of stress. The cost of living here is more than reasonable and that makes life here all the more enjoyable. Being a foreigner here, I’m treated with a certain level of privilege and I can’t complain about that. The other thing I’ve noticed is a culture of denial among the parents here. For example, where I teach, there are quite a few kids with developmental issues like autism or Asperger syndrome. The parents don’t even want to acknowledge that there is a problem because they may face shame. So they just ignore it. The kids never get the help they need.
I: Can you share a bit about your background and how you got into this line of work?
A: As far as my parents, my mother was a Jehovah’s Witness and she did missionary work. My dad was a member of the Nation of Islam for a long time. They were both well-read but ideologically they couldn’t have been farther apart. Like I was saying, I got my TEFL certificate in 2004 because I knew I wanted to travel and the best way to do that and keep a few bucks in my pocket to support myself was through teaching. Way before that, my father ran an after school center in Queens. I started working for him when I was 10 years old. Other kids from the neighborhood would come to our center when they weren’t doing well in their school subjects. It was our job to get them up to performing on grade level. My dad checked our lesson plans and gave us our salaries-me and my sister. I worked there until I went to college in upstate New York. I did some student teaching in college. I majored in history which I actually took as a teaching degree. My original intent was to take my history and go to law school because those are related fields of study. After college, I was tired of sitting in a classroom. That is when I began traveling.
I: How did you get into writing because I understand you’ve published a book about some of the things you just said?
The truth is, I got into it, then I got out of it and then back into it. My mom raised me on a lot of classical literature. She read me stories from the Bible. Shakespeare was my second language when I was a kid. I always had a passion for writing but I haven’t done very much of it. When I went to college my first major was journalism. I became disillusioned with that major because the rules of our school newspaper were much too rigid. It didn’t allow for much creative freedom in what you wrote. There were other reasons too but ultimately I got out of writing. I think maybe I had writer’s block for several years. After I turned 32, I realized I have all these experiences and very little to show for all the things I’ve seen and all the places I’ve been. I was down on my luck and I was sleeping on a park bench in Hong Kong. I was so bored and I was aching so badly for something to do, that I decided to write down my experience over the six months prior to that when I was living in China. I wrote everything that happened leading up to the time when I was living in the park. That’s basically what my book is about. I’ll give you the links to where you can buy it.
I: OK, thanks for sharing that. And links to buy your book are gonna go up on this site. Next question, how do you feel as a Black person living and working in this culture?
A: OK, well, I’ve lived all over Asia. Asian cultures are purported to be very old, and they are if you go to rural or remote places. Modern Asia is the youngest culture in the world. I think in most cases, modern Asians have abandoned many of their traditional values and they suffer from a bit of an identity crisis. What I also see in Asia that is troubling is that they believe in racial hierarchy, to one extent or another. In modern Asia, the belief has taken root that the lighter your skin is, the higher up you are on the evolutionary ladder and the darker you are, the lower down you are. Nationality also plays a huge role in the perception of status in Asia so being a Black American a lot of people often do not know what to with me. With that said, Taiwanese people are very humble and very kind. Everyone likes them.
I: Wow! Powerful insights, thanks! Moving ahead, what kinds of jobs do you see other Black people involved in there?
A: That’s a great question. Most of the Black Americans out here teach English. There’s a huge student community out here and they tend to be from places where Taiwan has some sort of a trade deal e.g. Gambia, Haiti, St. Vincent, St. Lucia. They mostly speak Chinese very well and it’s easy for them to assimilate. In Taiwan Black people can more or less, just talk to each other as Black people. Elsewhere, there is a noticeable and huge divide between Africans and Black people from most other parts of the world. I wish it wasn’t like this. It always makes me happy when I see brothers creating platforms like the one you are doing right now with Black Asia Magazine. The situation in other parts of Asia isn’t so rosy. You have a lot of young brothers in other cities in Asia who don’t have the education or the means to be upwardly mobile. So often times they are running into crime and jails and prisons and coming to make up a ghettoized or marginalized group in the cities in Asia. This rings especially true for our children who are being born out here. When you couple that with the mentality that is taking shape out here, it all makes for a pretty bleak-looking situation. The consciousness of the western world, which is extremely racist, is being picked up and supplanted to this part of the world. So if the western world dies, it means just the body dies. The mind carries on somewhere else. I like your blog because it’s spreading conscious thought. The consciousness of our people should permeate Black enclaves out here.
I: Damn! Alright, so, what’s next, coming up for the future?
A: For the moment, I’m still teaching. Now that I’m back into it, I just want to keep writing.