Quarterly update

Sunday, April 13, 2014

1.     News about the book

2.     A last minute plea for support for a film supporting women and girls in India

3.     Summary of my writing over the last quarter or so

4.     Bonus poem

FACEBUDDHA:  TRANSCENDENCE IN THE AGE OF FACEBOOK AND THE OTHER SOCIAL NETWORKS

Happy Spring!  Thank you so much for subscribing to my occasional newsletter.  Last time, I mentioned I was looking for an agent for my book on the psychology of social networks through a Buddhist lens – and this time, I have good news!  I do have an enthusiastic and skillful agent for FACEBUDDHA:  TRANSCENDENCE IN THE AGE OF FACEBOOK AND THE OTHER SOCIAL NETWORKS.  Of course, there’s no guarantee that a publisher will get behind my book, but I remain enthusiastic about the message of my book:  that real-world relationship is powerful, complicated and rewarding.  While social networks might be a route to relationship, and an important tool in this shrinking world, we need to understand how this tool influences our minds and hearts for good and ill.

THE WORLD BEFORE HER

FACEBUDDHA also contains a memoir of relationship; one of the topics near and dear to my heart is the relationship between men and women.  Many of us were deeply affected by the Nirbhaya rape and murder case in December, 2012.  This brought the world’s attention to violence against women in India.  This problem is hardly isolated to India, of course – we all have a lot of work to do to make the world safe for women and children.

I recently saw a brilliant documentary by Indian Canadian director Nisha Pahuja that can make an important difference on this issue.  THE WORLD BEFORE HER (rent or buy on iTunes, also available on DVD) has won critical acclaim and was shown on PBS last fall.  Pahuja highlighted women’s identity and safety in India through the stories of both beauty pageant contestants and more conservative Hindu fundamentalists.  Modernity and globalization bring challenges to India’s traditional culture, triggering defensive and violent reactions against women, and even by women, in the name of religion and culture.  This on top of a long history of violence and discrimination against women.

Pahuja is in the last day of a Kickstarter campaign to take the film across India and hopefully be a part of changing the mentality that leads to female infanticide and other forms of violence.  She has reached her initial goal, but more funding will help bring the film to more villages and cities.  Please consider making a donation before 8 pm PT today (Sunday).

BLOG POWER!

My top Psychology Today blog posts from the last year can be found here.  I entered into several cultural conversations this year, on Asian American issues and also on social networks.  From a psychological analysis of Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld’s controversial book THE TRIPLE PACKAGE (Underscoring Amy Chua), to Katy Perry’s bizarre cultural appropriation at the American Music Awards, to hashtag activism – blogging continues to be engaging.  I hope these writings stirred your interest.

I just completed my other blogging gig for my beloved Center for Asian American Media’s film festival.  All my “Memoirs of a Superfan” entries from this year can be found here.  The festival is a kind of meditative retreat for me:  the whole world comes to our doorstep here in San Francisco, and I get the opportunity to take it all in.  The festival always spurs thoughts and personal growth.  This year, I found issues on my mind about relationship mirrored in film, naturally.  The festival inspired writing on relational cultural theoryrelations between Tibet and Chinadoppelgangers, alter egos and relationship as revolution, and film as a shamanic journey.  The Great Star Theater in Chinatown inspired wistful writing about intimacy, and musician Cynthia Lin inspired writing about zombies smileyangry

BONUS POEM

Manga-Bangalore

Nov 2nd, 2012

The world beats in Bangalore;

My young girl cousins love Subway and Anime,

And spout Japanese phrases,

Cowboy Bebop their lingua manga.

Like children everywhere,

they complain their parents don’t understand them.

Like children everywhere,

they are inventing their own language

and creating identities that don’t hew

to the shape of an ancient, but timeworn, culture.

The call of India seems in part a din,

Something to wrestle with as much as love.

Growing up is always a struggle;

escape, always on the mind.

So NarutoOne PieceFairy Tail and K-On

give them homes when Bharat’s four walls

can’t hold their spacious souls –

Homes for the heroines they yearn to be –

the heroines they are.

They carry their own compasses,

unknown to parents, class, or clan.

They want to go to peace,

but they travel through war,

I have hope their journey

won’t suffocate.

Their hearts beat universal time,

and they need to breathe.

THANKS SO MUCH!  STAY TUNED FOR MORE NEWS!