Backwards: Big Little Man by Alex Tizon

Photo credit: @jadeohh

Photo credit: @jadeohh

This is a memoir of Alex Tizon's struggles being an Asian Man in America---being placed in a box of countless stereotypes he debunks throughout the book. One stereotype he talks in length of is the idea that Asian men are effeminate, lacking a backbone. He unfolds the cultural context of the Asian Man against the backdrop of modern, western culture. There is a vast chasm between the idea of strength in Eastern and Western Culture. Western Culture tends to view aggressiveness and brashness as strengths in a man: someone who knows what he wants and how to get it; someone above 6'0" with stamina and physical brawn. 

In contrast, the Eastern idea of strength is completely backwards: it was the idea of self-control, knowing when to hold your tongue, placing others above yourself, humility, and giving others the credit for your own work.

Isn't it always ironic that the littlest dogs bark the loudest? Think about that for a second.

I think about such self defense arts like Karate, in which the first lesson taught is to never use it on anyone, unless absolutely necessary. Self-control, self-assessment, and your surroundings is taught first before learning how to block kicks or punches.

I mention all of this because I was talking to my younger sister one afternoon on my way home from work and I recounted to her how difficult a certain situation was for me that day. I explained I had been blindsided by worthless accusations made against me, only to find that a few days later the Accuser was found to be lying. Although I felt vindicated, I also felt angry, and my immediate thought was to show how indignant I was by interacting with my Accuser in a cold, non-forgiving way.

"Kingdom Living is hard, Guads," she started. "Everything is backwards, but that's how you gotta live out the Gospel." No one ever wins when the goal is to settle the score.


Like old Eastern ways, so is Kingdom Living, I guess. Everything Jesus said was so backwards: if you want to live life, you must lay it down; the first shall be last and the last shall be first; whoever finds his life will lose it, whoever loses it for my sake will find it; turn the other cheek; take off your coat and offer it, too; love your enemies; pray for those who persecute you; if you want to be great, learn to be a servant of all... and the list goes on and on and on.

I fail, time and time again. Even though I had a resolve to do things differently from that time moving forward, I failed again. I doubt that if I practice this everyday, it'll come easier. 

But it wouldn't hurt practicing anyway, right?