I was in high school when I first started to hate Panda Express.
Before then, I didn’t give much thought to Panda Express. After all, it was Chinese food and, at the time, I didn’t like any food that was non-American. Blame it on my teenage rebellious phase, but Chinese, Japanese and other Asian foods were for my parents and therefore uncool.
Thankfully, sanity prevailed and I started embracing all different types of Asian and non-American food. Despite this, I still thumbed my nose down at Panda Express. “It’s not authentic,” I complained to my parents, like I had any authority on what authentic Chinese-ness was supposed to be like. Me, the Chinese-Indonesian American girl who dropped out of Chinese school and got the “banana” insult more times than I could count, deciding what was authentically Chinese? Please.
Image credit to mojosavings
My parents thought I was ridiculous and told me so as they continued to get Panda Express takeout biweekly. My dad, the guy who liked Chinese food so much that he went to the only Chinese restaurant in Italy for his honeymoon trip, loving Panda Express? Are you kidding me? But a funny thing happened over time. As I started eating Panda Express more and more, I started really enjoying it.
And that brings me to this Buzzfeed video making its way around the internet:
If you look at the YouTube comments, a lot of people are hating on the younger kids who turn their noses up at Panda Express, especially when contrasted with the older generations who seem to enjoy the taste of Panda Express and may even find it authentic.
Nonetheless, I found myself sympathizing with the younger generation who hadn’t had time to let the food grow on them. Maybe, like me, they saw Panda Express as a reminder of their failures to be “fully” Chinese as part of the Chinese American label. Or maybe I’m just projecting.
Panda Express was founded in 1973 by a father-son Chinese American duo from Pasadena who started off with a single restaurant called Panda Inn. When I discovered this, I stopped saying ‘Panda Express is fine if you just pretend it’s American food.’ I finally acknowledged it for what it is: true Chinese American fast food.
While it is true that Asian Americans don’t receive enough time to shine on mainstream media, we are far from silent. In fact, there were quite a number of Asian stories that went viral this year.
Comedy duo, The Fung Brothers decided to highlight 25 Viral Asian stories of 2013. If you watch this video and don’t quite know what they’re talking about, have no fear! As it turns out, we’ve written about many of these viral stories. Watch the video then click the links below for a more in-depth look at the Viral Asian stories of 2013.
Kenichi Ebina won America’s Got Talent. Japanese Dancer Kenichi Ebina Wins America’s Got Talent (READ HERE) “Months ago, Kenichi Ebina’s audition performance for America’s Got Talent went viral. Ebina stunned the judges and viewers nationwide with his “dance-ish” performance that included the robot, some gasp-worthy matrix moves, and entertaining martial arts…”
K-pop got popular. KCON 2013 | Proof That Kpop Is Not Just For Koreans (READ HERE)
“The stage was covered with Caucasians, Latinos, African Americans, and various other non-Asian folk. Not only did East Asians show their presence, but Southeast Asians and South Asians did as well. Fans who clearly stated they were not Korean were singing every single word of their favorite songs and impressively showcasing the intricate dance moves to these songs. Yes, these fans took time out of their lives to memorize lyrics to Korean songs without actually knowing Korean. Now that’s dedication…”
Linsanity came out in theaters. Linsanity Coming To A Theater Near You (READ HERE) “Although many of us may have gone linsane back in 2012 when third-string guard, end of the bench player, Jeremy Lin became a new sensation, many fans and even sports professionals did not know much about him. Director Evan Jackson Leong and his crew began documenting Lin’s journey in basketball way before all the hype of Linsanity pushed him to stardom…”
Man sues wife for being ugly/ Family photo was fake. Horrible Reaction To ‘Man Sues Wife For Ugly Children’ Hoax (READ HERE) “According to multiple sources, a Chinese man named Jian Feng was “horrified” when his beautiful wife gave birth to an ugly child. He suspected his wife of an affair because he could not see how the two of them could create the child. After tests proved that it was in fact their child, the husband discovered that his wife had undergone surgery before they met…”
Indian woman won Miss America. Miss America Makes History with First Indian American Winner… But Not Without Racist Haters (READ HERE) Top Five Reasons Nina Davuluri is Awesome (READ HERE) “But not long after the coveted crown was placed on her head, Davuluri, who performed a Bollywood fusion dance routine for the talent portion of the competition, quickly became the focus of discriminatory and racist comments on various social media platforms. The 24-year-old aspiring doctor was referred to, among other things, as “Miss 7-11,” “Miss Al-Qaeda,” and as a “terrorist.” Some expressed their disappointment that an “Arab” who had performed “Egypt dancing” won Miss America, just days after the 9/11 anniversary. Some even retorted that a Miss America winner “should have to be American.””
City urges nearby Sriracha factory to shut down. Sriracha Factory Odor Causes Burning Eyes And Headaches (READ HERE) “Residents have filed several complaints about burning eyes and constant headaches due to the intense and painful odor emitted by the factory. One family in the area stated that they were forced to move a birthday party indoors due to the strong odor…”
The guys who brought us Rebecca Black’s “Friday” are back and have unleashed a song that may very well beat their first viral phenomenon. Alison Gold is the face of this new troll video “Chinese Food” where she sings about her love for, you guessed it, Chinese food.
The video combines the poor musical abilities of “Friday,” more than a handful of racist stereotypes, and lyrics that leave you wondering what sort of condition the creators may have been in while writing this trainwreck.
The music video was only released yesterday and it has already logged over one million views. It also has over four times as many dislikes than likes, but we have a feeling the producers don’t really mind that. Will it be able to beat its predecessor’s 60 million views? Time will only tell.
If you can endure watching the whole thing through, you may find yourself asking a lot of questions by the end of it. Why are there so many rainbows? Why is a 12-year-old singing about clubbing? Why on earth is there a giant panda bear?
Clearly, Ark Music Factory wanted to test out just how many inappropriate stereotypes they could fit in a tween pop song. As Angry Asian Man points out, “Mongolian barbecue, hot sauce, geishas and an extremely creepy panda man flying away on rainbow power. As you can see, you don’t need scantily clad women to exoticize and objectify Asians — kids can get in on the racist fun too!”
If you absolutely cannot bring yourself to watch the whole thing though, Time Magazine did a lovely breakdown of the entire video:
0:16: Now we see our protagonist, Alison Gold, who sing-songily describes her average day of bowling, clubbing, hugging and being hungry. She’s basically your average 13-year-old.
0:59: It appears as though “chow-m-m-m-m-mein” is something of a catch phrase for Gold, almost like R. Kelly’s “toot-toot” and “beep-beep” from “Ignition (Remix).” The first time she says it, she makes it rain; the second time, she brushes her shoulders off (always good to see the next generation paying homage to hip-hop greats like Weezy and Jay).
1:45: Now here’s where things take a turn for the even weirder. Gold’s fortune cookie says, “You will find a new friend.” So she turns around and sees a person sitting at a table by themselves, wearing a panda suit. The panda gets a fortune that reads, “You will find a new friend too,” which makes even less sense once you think about it. Also, options if you’re a young girl sitting by yourself in a restaurant and someone in a panda costume is staring at you:
1. Call your parents
2. Call the police
3. Not this…
2:12: Things seemed to be going well in the park, so Gold decides to bring the panda home to play Monopoly with her friends (kids playing Monopoly in 2013 has to be the most unrealistic part of this video, if every trend piece of the last five years is to be believed). That’s when we get the big reveal…
2:13: The panda is Patrice Wilson! He also “loves Chinese food, and some wonton soup,” the latter of which would be covered under the Chinese food pronouncement, but let’s not focus on that too much. He is apparently crushing a group of pre-teen girls in a game of Monopoly and Gold seems none too pleased about it.
Audrey Magazine is an award-winning national publication that covers the Asian experience from the perspective of Asian American women. Audrey covers the latest talent and trends in entertainment, fashion, beauty and lifestyle.