Ken Choy received awards and fellowships for his performance art work.
Excerpt from ODE TO A BUTTERFLY
I am a fucking Asian gay male in love with a fucking white gay male—oh God,
the pressure. I despise everything, well not everything, about him: his morals,
his arrogant assessment of the world at large, his discrediting of any and all of
my opinions, his congenital predilection for catsup, salt, and sugar in his tea,
his impenetrable notion of love as controlling yet distanced affection, his
diatribes read decrees regarding any subject he does not know, his inherent
phobia for household chores, his hard thickness plunging into my
submissiveness without the benefit of lubrication. Danger is no Vaseline,
danger is using Jergen’s hand soap, danger is me calling him my lover. My
midwestern 23 year old, arrogant asshole beer guzzling farting burping chest
haired balding bastard dominatrix is Oh God—my lover. Another Oh God—I’m
sounding like him—Oh My God, I can’t find myself inside myself, maybe that’s
because he’s always inside of me, figuratively speaking of course. Why can’t it
be soft and tender with feeling, birds chirping in the air as they waltz together in
the light streams of spring nectar warmth and petals of roses and and daffodils
sprinkled as we walk, no stroll, as we stroll down the trail of eternal bliss to the
Sleeping Beauty song—why does it always have to be white boy Devo du nah
nah n–nah du nah with him. I feel like it’s 1900s San Francisco Angel Island
Gold Mine Railroad era every time we have sex. Conquer the yellow peril and do
their land of milk and honey, while milking it with your own white honey rivers. I
wish I could just exclaim stop pushing me the fuck away, stop pushing into me—
Reciprocate! And I’d say don’t you see—that’s how your father treated you. I don’t
want to have urse my verbalization skills indicative of the walking paddle ball
game boing boing boing that I consequently am does not enable this walking
paddle ball game boing boing boing any relief from self indignation! What give
and take provides is safe; the danger is losing yourself in this state of mind.
How could he be my lover when I don’t know who possesses him or who
from inside the depths of unalleviated shit cramps—Fuck Mylanta, Fuck
Immodium whatever the fuck it is, Fuck Prep H, Fuck Jergen’s hand soap, Fuck
me. Am I living a lie—I’ve turned into the stereotype I always hostily protested
existed, the ubiquitous image of the Oriental subservient faggot. Rice Queens
hear me now—It’s all because of you/ I’m feeling sad and blue/You went
away/Now My life is just a rainy day/I love you so/How much you’ll never
know/You gone away and left me lonely. (Hums) Koto music interlude.
Tea, Master? Get your shoes, master? Master me, Master? I don’t want my
morality and self–esteem dressed in a virginal white kimono bowing my head
into the eternal bliss of servitude. He wants that—I’ve been providing. When do I
“provide”—how can I provide an image of myself when I’m playing a state of
Koto music interlude.
I’m sitting at home when I hear this radio report about Orientals being quarantined again
like in World War II. Then all these newspapers say that they’ve caught most of them,
rounded them up, and killed them. So I hit the low road to Japan, like a Korean in Brooklyn,
and now I hear that the gook police are looking for me. (she takes out a clipping) "County
calls Quarantine—Oriental Fruit Flies.”
Chuck Norris’ Son
I want to be young again. I’m too old now. Just too old. I want to be young again so I can be Chuck
Norris’ best buy out of all the Amerasians. He befriends me and together we fight the bad guys and
win. And at the end, he gives me a big hug and holds me like a father.
OR the father he really is. Cuz him and my mom—they got together and had me. But Chuck didn’t
know this. Cuz he saw this bracelet he gave her on this charred body. So he thought it was her. So he
goes back to America, and Mom has me, but then she dies. But Chuck comes back and together we
fight the bad guys. And win.
And at the end, he gives me a big hug even though his shoulder’s been riddled with bullets. And then I
can move on to Indiana Jones. And we can beat up those yellow slanted eye gooks and blow up their
whole villages and stuff like that because the last thing on our mind is international relations.
And even though it could be my cousin or brother we blow to bits, it doesn’t matter. Cuz I’m with Indy
now, and that’s who I want. I don’t want to be with those Asians who murder you and eat your intestines
and rape your children. All the Amerasians will be free thanks to guys like Sylvester Stallone, Arnold,
and my Dad, Chuck Norris.
I don’t want to be Asian—the only reason I want to be Asian is so I can be Chuck Norris’ son.
Hello. My name is Penny Pang. And this is the evening news. How does that sound?
I think I need more chest placement. Getting that Connie Chung churr is tough. You
probably already guessed—Yes, I am an actress. Being an Asian actress is
calculative. It requires a tremendous amount of dillusionary rationalization. It’s totally
synaptical inductus vegetatus. But its de facto survival. Because I’ve done bit parts
as Vietnamese tortured woman, a Polynesian in distress, a Laotian slave in need,
and a Japanese teenager, never mind that I’m Chinese. I’ve done the obligatory
Flower Drum Song and was in the chorus of Madame Butterfly at a community
theatre. I mean, where do you get your motivation when you’re told to clack your
hands together while this fat woman sings, “Happy Talk.” I mean, ‘Bali Hai,” it’s not
‘Bali Hai,” it’s not even Bally Reno. It is Bally Huron South Dakota. It’s totally tokenus
de thespus de facto. I mean, what else is there for Asians today: it’s the case of hack
it off or tuck it under to be in M. Butterfly. Tear those testicles off. It’s kind of like
institutional castration. To be an Asian actor these days is to volunteer to be a
eunuch: no testicles, no morals, no fiber. De facto.
Hello. My name is Penny Pang, and I don’t know who I am. I don’t know what you
want, what you think of me. Being an Asian actress is desperative. It takes a
tremendous amount of cerebral strategy. It is totally consentus [unheard] De profesio
ad nauseum… But it’s de facto survival. Because I’ve been relegated to reincarnates
of France Nuyen adopted in America, a female Charlie Chan with a speech
impediment, an Oriental Juliet stuck in a gang war, and Suzie Wong catalog number
162, and a Connie Chung wannabe. And I’ve dealt with bowing until I’ve been bowing
parallel paralyzed to the flavor asking “You likey fried rice or eggroll.” And serving tea
ceremonies until I have acidic menstruation. And I’ve died so many times I’m
suffering from mental rigomortis. But when you sanction the hierarchial keg of
habitative Clorox and whip our cultural identity into palatable pureed Amerasian and
expect a Pavlovian pidgin accented response, where is de facto survival? It’s sort of
like industrial defecation. It’s all about what’s disposable and what’s dominateable.
“Hello. I am an Asian woman. And you can beat me.” How does that sound?
Familiar? Do I need a little bit more chest placement or do you need more lubricant
and handcuffs. If you probably guessed I’m an actress, you guessed that I’m pretty
pissed off because it’s totally human sterilization. All I want is a chance for
professional equality without having to jeopardize myself and my morals and my
fiber. Asians are human beings too, entitled to respect, and it’s high time that the
industry begins to realize this and see us for who we are.