S5E1: Unity March, Shinzo Abe’s Assassination, Sri Lankan Debt Crisis, and Twitter Sues Elon

Aaron: [00:00:00] And then my grandma, she um. I think as part of a result of  Japanese colonization or occupation of China, she had to learn Japanese in school. So like she knows the numbers, like ichi, ni, san

Gerrie: [00:00:12] She’s not a weeb or anything like that.

Aaron: [00:00:14] No, no. [laughter]

Aaron: [00:00:28] Welcome to the Politically Asian podcast. We’re just two Asian American buds talking about politics and the Asian-American community in hopes of getting more Asians to talk about politics today. We’re coming at you live from Brooklyn, New York. My name is Aaron Yin. My pronouns are he/him. And you can find me on social media at @aaronflarin. That’s a-a-r-o-n-f-l-a-r-i-n and my co-host.

Gerrie: [00:00:58] Hey, my name is Gerrie Lim. My pronouns are they/them, and you can find me across the internet at @gerrieyaki that’s g e r i e y a k i. Yeah. I-it feels like it’s been like a minute since we’ve, we’ve done this.

Aaron: [00:01:14] Yeah. Yeah.

Aaron: [00:01:15] I miss it.

Aaron: [00:01:16] I’ve missed it.

Gerrie: [00:01:16] I’m a little rusty.

Aaron: [00:01:17] It’s good to be back. Yeah. It’s good to set up the microphones again and the webcam. No, no, it’s good. I mean I’ve, we’ve talked before this recording, but it’s good to, I guess, see you on the camera again and be doing all this.

Gerrie: [00:01:31] Yeah.

Aaron: [00:01:32] Yeah. All right. So for the listeners, you know, normally this is the spot where we do Hot Take Hot Pot. But this time and maybe in the future, we’re trying a new segment temporarily called Practice What You Preach. The idea behind this, I was the one who suggested this, but it’s a, you know, Gerrie and I, we talk a lot about politics, but I think it’s also important to do the the the praxis part, right, doing things in real life and practice whatever big or small thing that may be, whether it’s like an event you went to or like an update on someone we work with or just something action-oriented. So maybe our listeners, they talk about politics, but they also do stuff. That was the idea of my head because, you know, there are so many like. There are so many podcasts already, even Asian politics-related ones that talk a lot about politics but don’t really get involved with stuff. And I’m like, Okay, I think that’s one way we can kind of be different is by also telling people about our real life stuff that we do and that kind of thing.

Gerrie: [00:02:37] Yeah, yeah. I feel like that’s fair. You know, one thing that was kind of hard about Hot Take Hot Pot was just thinking so hard, which I felt like I was a philosophy major. And at a certain point, it started to feel like homework. But as I was  filling out… just taking notes on what I was going to say. Like I was like, oh, this is actually like also homework in a way, but it’s a little better, so.

Aaron: [00:03:07] Yeah, it’s a little better. Yeah. And so, you know, being the one who suggested all this, I’m like, I have to be the one who starts it. So. So my update for this week is: I started taking Chinese classes again.

Gerrie: [00:03:24] Yay.

Aaron: [00:03:26] Yeah. And, but specifically with a lot of the former Jing Fong restaurant workers that I organized with. So it’s a class at the Chinese Staff and Workers Association. It’s a very informal class. There’s like a volunteer teacher and it’s a whole bunch of the workers plus like me and plus a few other people. And we’re all just talking in Chinese, reading some articles related to workers organizing, whether that’s in the form of a dense kind of article or a nice little allegory story. But, yeah, we just started. I just went last week, and I would say it’s really funny being in a class with lots of really old people and really lots of young people. I’ve never had that in my life, but yeah, it’s great to have another way to really know the workers and really know the people you’re organizing with beyond a superficial level.

Gerrie: [00:04:22] That’s really interesting that it’s also older people. I guess I was kind of under the assumption… When I hear oh, like this Asian person doesn’t know how to speak their ancestral tongue, I kind of always assume it’s a younger person. So it’s interesting to hear that there are older people in your class.

Aaron: [00:04:43] Oh, I see. Okay. They know how to speak Chinese really well. They’re very—

Gerrie: [00:04:47] Okay.

Aaron: [00:04:48] This is okay. So. Yes, let me just—

Gerrie: [00:04:51] They’re just hanging out.

Aaron: [00:04:52] It’s like, well, it’s like hanging out. It is really, really fun. I’ll say that for me and you know, other people who are not that good at Chinese, it’s a way to relearn it. And I say for the workers, it’s more like talking to them more about like..organizing in other struggles. It’s almost like we’re reading socialism text in Chinese a little bit, so it’s more of like the theory part of it because we do a lot of day-to-day stuff, but it’s tying the struggles in to like larger worker’s movements and other stuff. So I say for them it’s more just to hang out and learn more the organizing aspect a little bit in a text kind of way because they do a lot of in real-life stuff. But yeah, their Chinese is really, really good already.

Gerrie: [00:05:35] Okay. I was like, why..? Yeah. Okay, that’s cool. What inspired you to, what inspired you to do that?

Aaron: [00:05:42] The group I’m with is Youth Against Displacement, and also, like Chinese staff, we always think about ways to organize better, like externally, like strategy wise, but also like how can we do better as a group? And there’s always been a little divide between the Jing Fong workers or home care attendant workers who only speak Chinese. And a lot of people like, you know, like I speak Chinese, so I can talk with them, but some people don’t. So we’re trying to kind of bridge that language gap. We used to do English classes, but that didn’t work out so well. So now we’re doing the flip side where we were having workers learn more English. Yeah, but now we’re doing the flip. We’re like, Okay, no, let’s just beef up our Chinese so we can talk more.

Gerrie: [00:06:23] Yeah, yeah, that’s. That’s really cool. So it’s Mandarin, right?

Aaron: [00:06:27] Yeah. Yeah. Mandarin.

Gerrie: [00:06:29] Okay. Yeah, that’s awesome.

Speaker3: [00:06:30] Yeah.

Aaron: [00:06:31] Neat, though. Yeah. I mean, a downside is some of the workers mainly speak Cantonese. So there is a little bit of transition as well. Like they know how to speak both, but prefer one over the other. But yeah, it’s, it’s fun so far. 

Gerrie: [00:06:46] Okay, cool. So like, if our listeners wanted, could they come to this class and like at any proficiency level and join? Or is this like a cult, quiet thing secret…secret organizer?

Aaron: [00:07:04] Unfortunately, it is more of the latter right now because it just started. I guess anyone who’s been organized or like honestly, like if you came out to the picket line, you could probably come to the class afterward.

Gerrie: [00:07:15] Okay.

Aaron: [00:07:16] Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay. Gerrie, what’s been up? What’s going on?

Gerrie: [00:07:23] I was originally going to be like, oh, I read this book. But then I was like, Fuck, that’s more thinking. Yeah. So I think one thing that I’ve been doing lately is, I’m trying to get to know my neighbors, which sounds really basic. I feel like, but I’m really… The 4th of July. My partner and I just watched the fireworks from our roof, and we did that last summer. And it’s just a really good way to meet the neighbors because we have a pretty good roof. So everyone goes to the rooftop on the 4th of July. So we got to meet everyone. And that was really good. Obviously, you can’t just go balls deep and be like, so “what do you guys think about capitalism?” You can’t.

Aaron: [00:08:06] [laughter]

Gerrie: [00:08:07] Not going to go into the deep end, but like we were just we’re just kind of like edging a little bit. Like what, you know, like, how much are you paying on your rent—. 

Aaron: [00:08:17] Did you say edging?

Gerrie: [00:08:17] And like, how long have you been? Yeah, like, getting to the edge, you know? Okay?

Aaron: [00:08:23] [laughter] Yeah, okay. Sure.

Gerrie: [00:08:27] And yeah, I was just, like, kind of asking like, “hey so how much, how much are you paying on your lease? Like, what’s your rent? Because ours went up like, 700 and—”

Aaron: [00:08:38] Whoa.

Gerrie: [00:08:39] Yeah, some of the shit in this building is really stupid. Like, the elevator probably goes out every other at least once every other month, which isn’t so bad. But when you’re above, like, the third floor and the stairs are really narrow, it’s a problem. What if one of us broke our legs? Like, how would we, you know, how we get out? Yeah.

Aaron: [00:08:59] Whoa, wait. That’s really, really good, actually, talking to your neighbor. I don’t even talk to my neighbors, but my building is, like, really big. But that’s like, you’re basically doing tenant organizing right now. That’s like the foundation of it really, isn’t it? 

Gerrie: [00:09:14] I don’t want to put labels on it. [laughter] But yeah, no, it’s just really good. And like, I know my neighbors across the hall from me are, they’re in the DSA. So I know they’re definitely familiar with just like all that. And we, we talk a little bit more about like a little bit more organizing based stuff. But beyond that, like, it’s just like.

Aaron: [00:09:37] Oh damn, yeah, they should be helping you reduce that rent increase. That’s. Ah, you. Wait. Your neighborhood’s also Crown Heights, right?

Gerrie: [00:09:48] Yes, it is. Yeah.

Aaron: [00:09:50] There’s, like, Crown Heights tenants union, like my partner’s in there and like—

Gerrie: [00:09:54] Oh.

Aaron: [00:09:55] Yeah, you should join that, or I can link you up after that. My partner is actually writing a letter to her landlord about reducing the rent increase because, you know, this is happening all over New York City right now.

Gerrie: [00:10:05] So, yes, wait, I saw her Instagram and she said she successfully negotiated it down. True or false, verify?

Aaron: [00:10:11] Yeah. I can double-check, but as far as I understand, the last time I talked with her about this, she was sending the letter so I can double-check. But yeah. Yo, I think, like getting to know your neighbors and then you can form a group chat and then write a letter because this is getting to know your neighbors is so, so valuable, especially when the rent is increasing literally by like high three figures.

Gerrie: [00:10:36] Yeah. I do like living in this building. This is the first time I’ve ever really gotten to know my neighbors. And even without being like an official tenant union, we do have some things that we do to take care of each other. Like there’s a little memo board and the entry of our building. But also we generally have the practice of delivering packages from like, you know they always get dropped off in the front. Yeah, we try to bring them up to whoever’s if it’s on the way or unit because like shit gets stolen, right?

Aaron: [00:11:10] Like, oh, that’s really nice.

Gerrie: [00:11:12] Yeah. Yeah. So stuff like that.

Aaron: [00:11:15] That’s good. Okay, that’s good. So. So next week, you know, I could literally just ask you, like, what’s the name of one of your neighbors, and how’s that going? That would literally be progress. That’s cool, though. Wow, that’s exciting. Yeah. I hope you negotiate that rent down because that’s a huge—

Gerrie: [00:11:32] We already signed the lease so it’s unfortunate. 

Aaron: [00:11:34] Ok, nevermind. [laughter]

Gerrie: [00:11:34] But like, but like next year, right? Because yeah, yeah. Next year, we just kind of had to go with it because it was just we didn’t want to move and it was based on like our neighbors who just moved in what they signed on their lease. Right. What were the landlords able to get? So yeah. Yeah.

Aaron: [00:12:00] Wait, is your landlord like a big company or just like a person who lives nearby?

Gerrie: [00:12:05] Oh, no, it’s definitely like a big person. It’s not someone who lives nearby. 

Aaron: [00:12:14] Yeah, yeah. 

Gerrie: [00:12:16] We don’t like them.

Aaron: [00:12:17] Yeah. It’s like that TikTok you shared with me of that Asian guy, the Asian dad who bought his son a Tesla.

Gerrie: [00:12:25] Yeah, yeah, yeah. He owns, like, a laundry machine or something like that.

Aaron: [00:12:29] Yeah, well, it’s a laundry machine inside a 27-unit building that he bought, and he’s the landlord guy.

Gerrie: [00:12:36] Yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay.

Aaron: [00:12:37] Yeah. Okay. Got it. Time to write those letters— That’s really cool, though. That. That’s really exciting.

Gerrie: [00:12:43] Yeah.

Aaron: [00:12:44] Okay, so this week, you know, we have no guest, but so what we’re doing this time is more of the Asian political news roundup style episode. Now, there have been a lot of events that have happened since we last had an episode, so we’ll just talk about a few of them and that’s it. So the first one we have is this thing called the Asian Unity March in D.C. I think formally it was just called Unity March, but it’s mainly for AAPI to gather in D.C. and March. I’ll kind of leave it there. Okay. Gerrie, what were your immediate thoughts when you saw this? What did you love about it? What did you not like about it? Anything.

Gerrie: [00:13:34] So I. I saw it before they marched. And, like, I didn’t really understand what they were trying to do. I don’t really… And even now, afterward, perusing through the website, I don’t really understand the purpose and connection to the… what were you trying to march for? I guess. And then you said AAPI, but I was looking at the organizers. I don’t think there’s a Pacific Islander person. I will say they did get South and Southeast Asians like, okay, let’s just not rain entirely on the parade. Rain entirely on their march.

Aaron: [00:14:24] Kala gave a speech there.

Gerrie: [00:14:25] And I’m like, My last note is this: like you mentioned Kala was there, but for the most part, I feel a lot of the people, at least on the front page of the website, were for institution-based credibility, if that makes sense. Not necessarily frontline organizers. You know what I mean?

Aaron: [00:14:54] Oh, yeah, oh, yeah. Hot take, Gerrie. Hot observation.

Gerrie: [00:14:57] It’s not hot. You can’t have a hot observation.

Aaron: [00:15:00] That’s just what I’m seeing. Yeah.

Gerrie: [00:15:06] Spicy eyes. I don’t know. What did you think?

Aaron: [00:15:13] Yeah, ok. When they didn’t even march yet. I remember a long time ago when we first saw this and I think you messaged me or I messaged you and we were like, Oh, this does not look. I was like, okay. It’s Asian people trying to replicate the March on Washington that, you know, MLK and other Black people did. And I’m like, okay, this is like, okay, I’m a little worried about too much, just like borrowing and, you know, appropriating. I was a little worried about that. But yeah, I think the main thing is like, I mean, on their website, they— I’m, I’m scrolling through it right now. Again, they do have this entire page called Equity Platform. I think it looks okay. Like they’re asking for you know, people to pass legislation around like undocumented AAPI members, strengthening the right to vote, protecting workers’ rights, culture section, reproductive health care, sex. All right. It happened during the Roe Roe v Wade decision. Yeah, I would say looking at the website, it looks like they have some clear goals for the March. But like I think at least at a PR marketing level, I was very also confused about what we were doing. It felt like just stop Asian hate at a march level, like stop it, stop, don’t stop. And the platform makes it a little clearer. But yeah, I think there’s definitely a bit of a disconnect on the communication. Yeah. Uh, my other thoughts are just that like, I think it could have been publicized a little better just because all of the initial articles are always talking about like, oh, like this is going to be a huge turnout. We’re expecting 15,000 people to show up. And then you look at the actual march and it’s like maybe like 200, 300. And it’s a lot of institutions like you were saying, which, you know, I yeah, it’s like. You know, what am I trying to say? It’s like it’s not bad to have institutions, but it’s definitely more important to have people who are not part of, like, nonprofits and other, you know, large—. 

Gerrie: [00:17:24] Paid protesters. [laughter]

Aaron: [00:17:25] Basically, organizers that aren’t really committed to radical change like your representatives. But yeah, um.

Gerrie: [00:17:35] I guess there was a little union representation, I think.

Aaron: [00:17:39] Good. Yeah.

Gerrie: [00:17:39] The mention of workers’ rights and I was there some of the people and I think there’s a couple of unions on their, their page. So there is that.

Aaron: [00:17:52] That’s good. Yeah. But yeah. Yeah. Not to be a certified hater. There was, there are good things. It’s good. I think it’s good that it happened overall. It’s good that they have a platform and it’s good that they had they address a bit of the class element within the Asian diaspora. You know, having worker’s, workers’ rights class. Yeah. So, there are… I just don’t want to come across like a huge hater. Yeah.

Gerrie: [00:18:20] It’s just like when the #StopAsianHate protests, you remember, like when Andrew I think it was. Andrew Yang, right? Or like this question. Mark Yep. Yes. I feel like that got way more press coverage than like this, you know. I mean.

Aaron: [00:18:36] Yes, as much as I mean, it was probably because Andrew Yang was running for mayor at the time and,

Gerrie: [00:18:42] Oh yeah, I forgot. [cackle]

Aaron: [00:18:42] —You know, like the whole New York City mayoral. Yeah.

Aaron: [00:18:45] Yeah. I’m sure if—He went to this, it probably wouldn’t matter. But no, back then, you know, everyone was paying attention in New York City so much. Yeah.

Gerrie: [00:18:54] It is day 180 under Eric Adams’ reign. I can’t remember what life was like before.

Aaron: [00:19:00] Yeah, exactly.

Gerrie: [00:19:02] Oh, my goodness. But yeah.

Aaron: [00:19:04] I think it’s a start. I’ll say that trying to be, yeah, the most positive words I can say, it’s a start. There were some good elements and hopefully over time it’ll shape up to be something more targeted and larger. Yeah. And more frequent, you know, so people don’t just go to the march and then do nothing until the next March.

Gerrie: [00:19:25] A yearly march to D.C. by Asian people. Okay. Well. Uh, the next, the next topic on our agenda. Well, this one, this one’s, I feel like kind of hard to miss, really, is the assassination of Shinzo Abe, which yes, I think I found that out on Twitter or something. And I was like. Whoa, no. What does this mean? Yeah, I could not believe it.

Aaron: [00:20:01] Yeah. I’m getting my news of political assassination through memes that that was…

Gerrie: [00:20:06] Yeah, yeah. Oh, my God. I feel like I kind of, Half of me kind of just wants to read the funny tweets that we were, like, sending each other. But I want to say that we do not condone the assassination in any shape or form, but also we’re not going to be sad about the death of a fascist. So let’s just start the segment off with that.

Aaron: [00:20:30] Yeah, I was going to say, you know, I feel the same way about Shinzo Abe’s death. I imagine that’s how I’d feel if Queen Elizabeth died or if Henry Kissinger finally died. I’m like, okay.

Gerrie: [00:20:43] You’re still alive.

Gerrie: [00:20:44] No way.

Aaron: [00:20:45] I thought Kissinger is still alive? Okay. Let me Google this real quick. [typing] Henry Kissinger. Oh.

Gerrie: [00:20:52] I’m about to find out he had three hearts. Oh, my God. Yeah, he’s still alive. 99 years old.

Aaron: [00:20:57] Oh ninety-nine. He’s going for the triple digits, most likely. But yeah, right. I’m just, my reaction to his death is more like Shinzo Abe. That’s more like. Huh. It’s like it’s over. It’s like that kind of feeling. Okay. I was curious. Well, no. First, how did you feel about this besides what you said earlier?

Gerrie: [00:21:23] Dude, that’s…This is how I found out that he was no longer the Prime Minister. Not like, “he was assassinated, obviously, he’s not the Prime Minister,” but I didn’t realize he had stepped down. I kind of just had it in my head that he was still in power, which after doing a lot of research, in a way, he still kind of was.

Aaron: [00:21:42] Yeah, yeah, yeah. I remember reading about him stepping down because of health issues, but I literally do not know the name of the current prime minister in Japan.

Gerrie: [00:21:52] Oh yeah. Same could not. Yeah, I was, you know, I was more sad about the other Japanese death that happened that day. The creator of Yugioh died and he was only 60. I was like, all are supposed to live really long. Like, what? What is this?

Aaron: [00:22:08] I would vote for him for prime minister any day.

Gerrie: [00:22:11] Oh, 100%.

Aaron: [00:22:15] Hey, if you’re still listening to this podcast right now, thank you for making it this far. Just want to do a quick shoutout. Sorry, a quick plug. If you like our podcast, please take a few seconds on your phone to go to Apple or Spotify and click five stars. That really helps us out. And if you really want to support us also, you can feel free to donate on Patreon @Patreon.com/PoliticallyAsian, we’re currently raising money to provide episode transcriptions, get a video editor, and more. All right. Back to the episode.

Aaron: [00:22:53] Yeah, I was…No, that death was really depressing. It did make me think a lot about Yugioh. But, yeah, I was kind of curious. Did you talk to any family member like your mom or dad about this? Did they have any reactions about it? I’ll say I want to talk to my grandparents about this. I literally talked to my grandma yesterday, but just forgot to mention it. But like, my grandpa’s dad, I think either, you know, when Japan and China were fighting each other. I think he was involved in that. And then my grandma—

Gerrie: [00:23:30] World War Two.

Aaron: [00:23:31] Yeah. Yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah. My yeah. My grandpa’s dad, I guess. My great grandpa.

Gerrie: [00:23:37] Okay.

Aaron: [00:23:38] And then my grandma, she, I think as part of a result of, Japanese colonization or occupation of China, she had to learn Japanese in school. So, she knows the numbers, like ichi, ni, san

Gerrie: [00:23:51] She’s not a weeb or anything like that. [laughter]

Aaron: [00:23:53] No, no. Yeah, that’s funny. But yeah. So I think both of them have had their lives really impacted by Japan during WWII and slightly after. So I’m really curious about what they think. But yeah, I was wondering. Any family reactions on your side?

Gerrie: [00:24:13] No, not so. My grandparents on my mom’s side passed away recently, so I have no more grandparents on that side. Yeah. And then my grandma, my dad’s side is the only one that’s left. I didn’t have an opportunity to ask. I think I had called my mom the day after, and I was like, “oh, my gosh, did you hear about the former prime minister?” And she was like, “Yeah, like, that’s really wild. Anyway, here’s this new song by BTS.” I was like. Okay, cool? So I’m going to go ahead and say no.

Aaron: [00:24:49] Yeah.

Gerrie: [00:24:49] But I wouldn’t be surprised if maybe either she doesn’t want to talk about it or she just doesn’t know because the Philippines was also very heavily impacted by, like, Japan’s, you know, imperial streak during World War Two.

Aaron: [00:25:06] Yeah, yeah. No, I mean, the last time I went to China was in fall of 2018. Every Chinese TV has one channel dedicated to historical dramas between China and Japan. There’s always one. There’s always one channel dedicated to just these dramas of Chinese soldiers fighting Japanese soldiers. So there’s definitely a lot of I would say, anger or resentment or a reminder of that. Yeah. There’s always one TV show like Imperial China, some emperor or some, you know, some drama, you know, 40 episodes season or whatever. And then there’s a similar one. But for World War Two, essentially.

Gerrie: [00:25:50] Wait. So to be clear, this is a soap opera, like a C drama about World War Two, specifically the Japanese impact on China.

Aaron: [00:26:01] Yeah. I’ve seen it every single time I’ve gone back. There’s always one channel. It’s like always there. Yeah. Oh, yeah. Anything else you want to mention while we’re on this topic?

Gerrie: [00:26:14] I mean, you know, we came out with an infographic for the assassination. And I had to do so much research for, for just like all the things that, you know, I didn’t even know Shinzo Abe wasn’t the prime minister anymore. So that’s kind of the frame from where we were working with. 

Aaron: [00:26:35] [laughter]

Gerrie: [00:26:36] And some of the stuff is just really wild to think about, like the fact that his. So he was like a part of that conservative Akatsuki. Yeah. But on top of that, 15 out of the 18 cabinet members that he has; I feel like if we knew Trump’s cabinet was of that level, you know what I mean? That would be so concerning. 

Aaron: [00:27:07] I was also thinking Trump.

Gerrie: [00:27:11] They called him that, they call him, “the Trump before Trump.”

Aaron: [00:27:14] Yeah. Yeah exactly.

Gerrie: [00:27:15] Yeah. Which is yeah not great. But and then the other note that I’ll leave with is like not to sound like an American™, but like a lot of the stuff that I was reading was like, you know, Shinzo Abe wanted to repeal that constitution or whatever the thing that they signed after World War Two that was like Japan won’t have like a military. It’s like an anti-war clause. But the way they kind of…”sneak” is a really aggressive word, but the way they kind of go around it is, they help the US with a lot of things like military action and stuff like that, especially under the guise of the UN, which is scary. Yeah. But to me it sounds like they’re building up their strength to eventually…once they get what they want, they’re going to cut out all the alliances and cut it off and stuff like that. That’s just the vibe that I was getting when I was reading about it.

Aaron: [00:28:26] Yeah. Like Japan 2.0, I guess. Yeah. The resurgence. I think you know more about this than I do. I literally only read the slides, so I will take your word for this.

Gerrie: [00:28:40] Yeah.

Aaron: [00:28:41] Yeah. I think also a quick plug at this point. If you haven’t watched Pachinko highly recommend on Apple TV, you know really talks about Japan occupying Korea you know which is you know you and I were both reading a lot of Korean people’s takes on Shinzo Abe’s assassination. But I think that drama really, really captures a lot. I’m like, whoa, I had no idea half of this stuff even happened.

Gerrie: [00:29:07] Yeah, I read the book, which was probably equally depressing. Yes.

Aaron: [00:29:13] Yeah.

Gerrie: [00:29:14] It’s just a heads up if you do decide to watch or read it. It is really depressing. And I feel like there’s like many, many content warnings on it, but I feel like I really learned a lot, like probably the most I ever have about Japanese colonization of Korea, so. Yeah.

Aaron: [00:29:31] Mm hmm.

Aaron: [00:29:32] Nice. Cool. Okay, let’s move on. I guess it’s like another international thing that happened. Sri Lanka a how I describe this basically since our episode on Sri Lanka with Chinook, which we highly recommend people check out for a 101 on what’s going on. Yes, the people of Sri Lanka basically overtook the prime, the president’s capital. And the prime minister and the president have since run away, I think resigned by the time we’re recording? Yeah, but yeah, there are tons of videos online of just how it was like January 6th at the White House, but not far right-wing. It’s so crazy. This is the second time we’re watching something like this.

Gerrie: [00:30:21] That’s a good point.

Aaron: [00:30:23] Yeah. What were your gut reactions when you heard about this?

Gerrie: [00:30:30] I was really impressed. I don’t know if that’ll happen, if we’ll see that in our lifetime here in the United States. You know what I mean?

Aaron: [00:30:45] Yeah.

Gerrie: [00:30:46] I think the most interesting aspect was this TikTok. So I cannot verify the sources, but this TikTok by @ChroniclesofViolence noted military and cops were class conscious and like helped this revolution, or at least  I was able to find a couple of articles here and there about the military not following orders in terms of quote, keeping the peace or cops weren’t arresting people and things like that. So I thought that was really interesting because like I’ve just been on this part of TikTok. They talk about how the law is like an extension of oppression and blah blah blah blah blah. So yeah, I thought that was… “Congrats?” Is that the right..?

Aaron: [00:31:38] Yeah. You know. Right, right.

Gerrie: [00:31:40] Congrats Sri Lanka?

Aaron: [00:31:42] Honestly. Yeah. I mean, I kind of wonder if that’s partially because even the military and the cops don’t have a lot of money right now. Like it seems. Like everyone is starving, right? Like, you know, just like limited food, water, gas for heat, like all the things that we read about before. So I imagine they are also suffering in terms of this, which may be why they’re united. But yeah, I do agree that it’s. It would be really hard for us as non-rightwing white people to do the same thing in America without probably repercussions because first cops are paid a lot in America overall. You know, I don’t know if it’s my city, but overall and so they really have an incentive to protect the capital and government right now. So I imagine some of us would probably get shot or die or something else. So yeah. You know. Yeah, it’s, it’s hard to imagine that. But maybe that’s also why it’s important to localize, why it’s important to organize locally with your tenants and other people first. So eventually that may happen.

Gerrie: [00:32:55] Yeah. I mean, okay, you know, I will posit this, this thought exercise is like what other option do they have? You know what I mean? Like you kind of mentioned like, oh, well, if we did that, we’d get shot. But like, what if you can’t afford to feed your family, if you can’t afford to keep electricity or the lights like what, you’re going to die regardless. What other options do they have? Like, I feel like here they keep us just above water, so.

Aaron: [00:33:21] Yeah. Yeah, yeah. I think I feel like, if we also had similar circumstances as in Sri Lanka, we would probably do that. But I agree we’re not at that level yet, but I think we’re starting to feel it right. Like this year was the first year, everyone’s like, oh, like I’ve talked to so many people where it’s like, my rent’s increasing by like $1,000 sometimes. Or I think it’s the start of where people are feeling that pressure and eventually realize it’s we can’t just be polite about this anymore. We got to organize, right? I don’t think we’re at that level of mass mobilization or even smaller mobilization just yet.

Gerrie: [00:34:03] Yeah. And I wonder why that is. I hate using the word stratification because I’m probably using it wrong, but the idea that as I mentioned, like this, you know,  keeping our heads above water is just enough. And it’s this idea of looking at another person and being like, Oh, well, at least that’s not me. You know what I mean? I wonder if in Sri Lanka, they don’t really like… Everyone’s at that same level, you know, or more often than not people are relatively within the same level. I worry that like that’s the case here is, it might be a while before people all realize that we’re all in the same boat.

Aaron: [00:34:53] Yeah, exactly. To keep using that rent example, right? I think more people are realizing they’re in the same boat now that everyone’s sort of getting all these rent increases. But I do think you know, it seems in Sri Lanka’s case there’s more of a class unity to it because very few people, it seems except for the president and the Prime Minister, are living large. So I think that really helps out. But yeah, class unity seems a little bit harder here in America.

Gerrie: [00:35:22] Yeah, I was thinking about this the other day and how like in Asian American groups or really any discourse, it’s always  this concept of success, right? Success. Success. Got to got to do it. So my parents are proud or it’s all worth it. And I feel this is the year that with inflation rates, you know, like people might finally understand that you… There’s no concept of success, right? They’re just going to move the goalposts and yeah, I hope, I don’t know, I hope we stop looking for that goalpost and then just start looking at each other instead.

Aaron: [00:36:03] Yeah, yeah, yeah. Year of the tiger. Year of no goalpost. And you want to bring up the last topic?

Gerrie: [00:36:14] Yeah. And our final story on our news docket. Surprise, surprise. Elon Musk backed out of the 4440— $4 Billion Twitter deal and Twitter is suing him. And yeah, Twitter suspects that he’s backing out because he’s a little broke since Tesla stock is kind of down. I feel like Twitter’s not super mad about not being owned by Elon Musk, but that’s just me. What do you think?

Aaron: [00:36:49] Yeah, I mean, I’m mainly glad because I do feel like based on all the news articles that were out initially, if Elon bought twitter, it would slowly turn more right-wing and, you know, give platforms to people who are more right leaning and right-wing. And so I am mainly glad about it from that aspect.

Gerrie: [00:37:17] Yeah, that’s fair. I feel like I’m, I’m trying to think like if a lot of this political discourse will happen on Twitter. It does, right?

Aaron: [00:37:25] Yeah, I think it does. Yeah. Yeah. Or like there are some pretty big, you know, political Twitter accounts that are just like calling out Elon or Trump…Ken what’s his name Ken Klippenstein.

Gerrie: [00:37:36] Oh, yes. Yeah.

Aaron: [00:37:37] He’s a reporter for The Intercept. I think he does really good work. Like right now, he’s investigating how a lot of Secret Service deleted their text messages on January 6th. And some of them might be like Donald Trump supporters.

Gerrie: [00:37:50] Oh, my god.

Aaron: [00:37:51] And at least one of his staffers is like high staff members for Trump used to work for a Secret Service. So yeah, Ken’s really doing good work. And also Lauren. Lauren Kaori Gurley. She’s the one who covers yeah. Now at Washington Post and she always covers the Amazon strikes and the Starbucks strike. So yeah, I think there is like some pretty good content out there for now on Twitter.

Gerrie: [00:38:19] Be honest: Did you think like they were actually going to go through with it?

Aaron: [00:38:22] I was going to say no, just because I think Elon has a pretty strong track record of saying very, you know, big visions and then not following through.

Gerrie: [00:38:32] Hmm. Okay.

Aaron: [00:38:33] Yeah. What about you?

Gerrie: [00:38:35] Um. Yeah. I didn’t think it was going to happen primarily for the same reasons. Yeah, he has a track record of not doing that and just saying, farting out his mouth and just doing whatever. The other half of me. And perhaps this is bad. Thought to follow. But, you know, do you remember when, the weird part of the pandemic when everyone’s like, oh my God, TikTok is going to be banned from the App Store. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Aaron: [00:39:07] Oh yeah.

Gerrie: [00:39:08] And then nothing happened.

Aaron: [00:39:10] Yeah.

Gerrie: [00:39:11] Microsoft was in talks to buy them to protect it or whatever.

Aaron: [00:39:17] Yeah, I forgot about that, yeah.

Gerrie: [00:39:19] And, and none of it, literally, none of nothing happened. Yeah, I kind of felt the same way. I was like, No, nothing’s going to happen to Twitter. They’ll be fine.

Aaron: [00:39:30] Yeah, yeah. Oh, yeah. Wow. I’m glad you brought that up. I completely forgot that happened, like, at all the whole 2020, 2021 era of Tiktok being a massive security risk. Everyone delete it. You know, ban it from the app store.

Gerrie: [00:39:44] Oh, my God.

Aaron: [00:39:46] Wow. Yeah, yeah. I completely forgot about that.

Gerrie: [00:39:50] Well, that’s true. You know, you speaking of like journalists, I think it was Taylor Lorenz. She did like a piece. I think I’m pretty sure it was her. She did a piece about that incident or like, oh, Tiktok is like a massive security, you know, whatever was like an operation funded by, like, Facebook.

Aaron: [00:40:18] Like a tech operation. Not like a psy-op kind of thing?

Gerrie: [00:40:22] No, Facebook paid people to insert this narrative of Tiktok’s a security risk.

Aaron: [00:40:28] Oh shit.

Gerrie: [00:40:29] Oh, right. Because think about, if you’re on Instagram these days how many videos get fucking shoved in your face. It’s because they’re trying to copy TikTok because they’re just like, damn what are they doing? What do they have that we don’t? You know, so, wow.

Aaron: [00:40:45] You know, to tie it back to earlier. That’s certified hate or behavior. I don’t know. Yeah. Number one hater behavior.

Gerrie: [00:40:52] Absolutely. Absolutely. But also kind of sounds like fan behavior because you’re copying the whole TikTok Fyp thing. Whatever.

Aaron: [00:41:02] Yeah. Yeah, I’m glad. Yeah, I’m glad the deal did not go through, but I guess we’ll see, because now there’s like a very long lawsuit that’s going to happen. So we’ll see.

Gerrie: [00:41:11] We’ll be fine.

Aaron: [00:41:13] We’ll be fine. Yeah.

Gerrie: [00:41:15] We’ll be fine.

Aaron: [00:41:15] Funniest thing about Elon not doing work, I think, is his tunnel project like the Boring Company. You know, he has dug like a…

Gerrie: [00:41:22] Flamethrower.

Aaron: [00:41:23] No, no, no. The Boring Company is like the one where he, like, digs underground.

Gerrie: [00:41:27] Oh, like, literally Boring. Like the other meaning of the word, ok. I didn’t know they did that.

Gerrie: [00:41:32] Boring. Yeah. It’s basically the highway, but underground it’s a tunnel. So it’s literally just tunnels connecting and people are like, Oh, this is gonna speed up traffic. But there are so many videos online of people going into the tunnel and there’s also just a traffic jam there. It’s so funny. 

Gerrie: [00:41:52] Is it a highway? A highway in the tunnel or..?

Aaron: [00:41:55] Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s supposed to be a highway, like a high-speed transit path. Right now. People drive in it, but in the initial videos, it was like the car would latch onto a platform and slide through really quickly. But it’s just really funny that like the vision and reality is just so it’s so it’s so funny to me.

Gerrie: [00:42:17] So disconnected.

Aaron: [00:42:18] Yes.

Gerrie: [00:42:18] So not good.

Aaron: [00:42:20] Well, well, okay. I think this is good timing because we’re at 42 minutes right now. So that’s actually really good. But those were all the news episodes we had. So yeah, at this point I’d say if you’re still listening, thank you for listening. If you want to support us, please give us five stars on Apple or Spotify. And also just check out our social media, Twitter, Instagram and if you have any suggestions, feel free to reach out over there or email at politicallyasianpodcast@gmail.com. All right. Well, we’ll see you next week with the new episode. Take care. Stay warm. All right. Bye.

Gerrie: [00:43:05] I like that. You said stay warm and it’s summer.

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