Wednesday, July 11, 2007
The Asian Hall of Fame
As many of you may know, two of my greatest passions in life are (1) being a proud Asian-American man, and (2) baseball.
So naturally, it should come as no surprise that several years ago, I decided to start my own Asian Baseball Hall of Fame in my apartment. Over the years, I (and my devotedly understanding wife) have been spending my daughter's future inheritance on amassing a collection of rare autographed baseballs and cards from Asian baseball players.
I'm especially proud of my collection of items signed by Masanori Murakami. Many Asian-Americans tend to believe that the appearance of Asian baseball players in the Major Leagues is a recent phenomenon. However, back in 1964, Murakami came over from Japan to be a star relief pitcher for the San Francisco Giants. Unfortunately, due to a contract imbroglio, Murakami went back to Japan a year later.
The other highlight of my collection is based around Ichiro Suzuki, the current Seattle Mariner of Japanese descent who quite likely will end up in the Hall of Fame as one of the greatest players the game has ever seen. Period!
In last night's MLB All-Star game, Ichiro had the performance of a lifetime. He went 3-3, hit a 2-run homer, and was named the games Most Valuable Player. Needless to say, all over the world, Asian and Asian-American hearts swelled with pride.
In a way, the fact that many of us were so overjoyed to see Ichiro perform brilliantly on a national stage is partly why I originally decided to pursue my own personal Asian Hall of Fame. In my mind, I'm creating this collection as a legacy for my daughter.
Despite her inevitable assimilation into mainstream "American" culture, I want her to always be proud of her Asian heritage. I want her to have Asian heroes (and heroines) that she can always look up to. And I want her to see that if she looks hard enough, she can find inspiration from Asians in many venues...sports, art, literature, music. Anything!
But more than anything else, I think I've chosen this particular method of honoring Asian sports heroes as a way of battling mainstream media's portrayal of the emasculated Asian man. Not only do I want her to look at her father as a severe rebuttal to this sadly infuriating image but also I want her to see (in her own living room!) that many more examples exist.
What do you think? Am I a little nuts? Do any of you do anything similar? How do YOU help instill a sense of "Asian pride" in your children?