RE-SET EP. 005 - Would you buy the tomato?

MIINKAY: Sometimes I just wanna eat Chick-fil-a.

Today we know so many things that are wrong with our food system, pollution, oil, manufacturing, labor rights, etc.

So the first hurdle is even knowing that you can make better choices. Like for food - going to the local farmers' market is better than going to a large grocery because it helps your local community and it's easier to get organic produce.

BUT it's unrealistic to change your whole life so that you only buy from the farmers market. What if you want to make a recipe and you need a tomato? I would just go to the store and buy a tomato. But if I go to that, should I feel bad? Is it right for me to define my action by the actions prior? Like the show said, probably the big groceries employ cheap labor and exploit people so does that mean that by buying this tomato I am supporting the exploitation of people?

Amazon is a good example of that. They are known to exploit their warehouse workers. And yet it’s hard to let go of that prime membership. If you buy from Amazon, are you a bad person?

BELINDA: The mounting tape - Amazon vs the Hardware store. I’ve delayed buying this mounting tape I’ve needed for over a month now because I wanted to go to this hardware store near my house. I want to support local businesses, be a good citizen, and not leave a big carbon footprint. I really do.

There just hasn’t been a good time for me to walk the 10 blocks down to get it. I have been either too tired, overloaded with projects, or wanting to jump on my bike to wander around Golden Gate Park instead. It’s truly a complicated world we live in as humans. Traps set up for our failure.

Unintended consequences. We simply do not have the time to research everything we consume and contribute into the universe. There’s too many errands to run, commitments to fulfill, and other responsibilities to think of.

There are many nights where I cannot fall asleep because my mind is already racing with everything else I need to take care of. It’s a game we can’t win. This year in particular has been the most challenging I’ve ever gone through.

How am I supposed to make perfect decisions when shit is hitting the fan like this?

Live stream aired on Tuesday October 13, 2020 via Twitch

RE-SET EP. 002 - How has growing up Asian-American affected our mental health over time?

Miinkay: Even though it’s all about family, it’s really about self-sacrificing. It’s humble but superficial. A lot of pride but not rubbing it in other people’s faces. You’re supposed to be better than everybody else. You’re supposed to be rich and humble at the same time. How does that work?

My dad was very much about getting good grades, being a doctor, all the superficial standards for success. It’s very unhealthy. It creates a toxic mindset. You have to value yourself by how much money you make. Or how successful your kids are. Those are such superficial things. It fucked me up.

Once I had all that, and I got there, I realized this sucks. I realized this is not what it’s supposed to be. I was 25 or 26 and I had been working and I landed my first 6-figure job. That’s what moved me to LA. Then I realized this was bullshit. It was so empty and meaningless and depressing. Being so focused on money. There’s never an end to it because you can always have more money.

That’s been the biggest mental health hurdle: being satisfied with where you are. Both cultures are about making tons of money. Money centric attitude. Asian culture says make a lot of money by working hard and playing smart. American culture says make a lot of money by being clever and creating the next new things.

BELINDA: I feel like I had to build an armor to wear over my skin from being a child of immigrants. My parents moved here from Hong Kong when they were teenagers and had to work really hard just to feed themselves. They instilled a survivor mindset onto me early on in life.

Having grown up in a communist country themselves that was occupied by the British in their earlier years, they experienced scarcity in a way I never had to. I was born into a democracy where individualism is encouraged. The family-centric values from traditional Chinese society are held very loosely here. Having to live with two different value systems is honestly a lot to make sense of.  

Asian countries tend to be based on the collective unit over the individual self. Working for the family or the community instead of yourself. You don’t normally follow your dreams. My mom built my brain for war by giving me the 36 Strategies of the Three Kingdoms in graphic novel form when I was 5 years old. She also gave me books on filial piety around that time too.

You’re supposed to help the elderly and respect your elders. Individual thought is not encouraged. It’s very much built on power dynamics. You function inside a box. I had to pave my own way outside of this construct for my own sanity over time.

Live stream aired on Tuesday August 25, 2020 via Twitch