Come in my house; and if you open the closet door in the bedroom hallway, you'll see a row of diverse albums at the very bottom shelf.
Take out the tattered, white album with the gold bands on it, and flip it open. You'll see a photo of my uncles and father with puffy bowl-cuts, in ripped denim-vests, and skinny jeans. They're in poses way too familiar to any young Asian-immigrant boys of the 1980's. My scrawny uncle, who looked no different from now, was posed sidekicking my uncle Michael, who still thinks he's bad-ass. Both of their mouths were open wide, no doubt saying "WoOoooAH~" And then in the next photo, we see a couple more of my uncles and dad in famous Bruce Lee poses.
Back in the day, Hong Kong movies were a hit. Jackie Chan is
the shit, but back then, he was the shit-shit-shit. Hong Kong gangsters in long jackets, with slick hair (kind of like yakuza) and denim jackets were idolized by young Asian-Americans. Anything that could make the kids feel like kung-fu fighters, they took on.
My dad's friend from his workplace was once sporting the yakuza look and leading a group of young Asian Americans in committing petty-crimes. I'm not boasting- it sounds silly to me too, since I can't imagine the now silly, middle-aged man to be a rebel at all. He started out by finding a place for young Asian boys who migrated to America, so that they'd have a place to live. They were pretty much orphans in a sense. Anyway, they were always on missions to steal a trunk load of cassettes.
I'm getting off track: I'm supposed to explain how they always got into fights among other Asian men out of the silly inspiration to be "kung-fu fighters."
And my uncles and their friends often found themselves in fights with racist folks. Usually, they'd have a pack of little Asian men backing up one Asian man after one, big Caucasian guy starts calling him "gook" and "chink". So it's not exactly a fair fight, but I'm not going there.
Albums are keepsakes that you hold onto, and one day, your kids are going to flip them open, and ask you questions. There's a story behind every photo. Your chance to shine for the next generation to see, is just an album away.