Journal

Beating "The Man" by Being the Man

Rae and I are listening right now to Pacific Time on KQED (88.5 FM). I was excited to hear my voice used in the intro as the hook (in bold below)! They have posted a RealMedia stream and an MP3 of the show.

Here’s the text of my commentary tonight’s Pacific Time:

It was great seeing Yul win on Survivor because it’s so rare that we get to see images of Asian Americans as strong, capable leaders in the mainstream media. Especially for Asian American men, who are often shown as weak and effeminate or nerdy and socially awkward. Yul demonstrated that he has the intelligence, physical prowess, and social adeptness not only to stand toe-to-toe with The Man but to be The Man. And because Survivor is such a hugely popular show—you know that everyone around the water cooler on Monday was talking about who won—it’s important to have that kind of high media visibility to help change people’s misconceptions.

That said, Survivor is just a TV show. A true test of a person’s worth is often found when their decisions have real-life consequences. When Yul and I were both sophomores at Stanford eleven years ago, his best friend, Evan Chen, was diagnosed with leukemia. Evan needed a bone marrow transplant, and his best chance was to find a donor of the same ethnicity. Unfortunately, there weren’t many Asian-American donors in the database. I remember so well how Yul curtailed his studies that quarter, and put his energies into organizing bone marrow drives to find a potential match for Evan. His efforts went a long way towards raising awareness of this issue within both the Asian-American and mainstream communities.

Yul’s victory in Survivor was well-deserved and helped introduce a positive Asian-American role model to millions nationwide. For sheer entertainment value, it’s hard to forget his accomplishments on the island. But I’d rather remember his compassionate and tireless work in trying to save his best friend’s life. For Pacific Time, I’m Adam Tow in Santa Clara, California.

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5 thoughts on “Beating "The Man" by Being the Man

  1. Dmac says:

    Adam, wow, I just cannot place that voice with your person. Your voice doesn’t sound like I imagined at all. It’s not bad, or anything, just unexpected. Kinda reminds me of someone else…interesting anyway! It’s sort of like when I saw the pictures of the new Superman actor and I was like, “no way, he’s not masculine enough.” Then I saw the movie and the dude has a pretty low voice…and it worked. I imagined your voice a bit more “intellectual,” if that makes sense? Instead, it sounds way more edgy. Am I the only one who is surprised?

  2. i second that. i almost got a chance to meet adam last january, and …like dmac said – it’s not bad or anything, just unexpected…
    as an austrian, i’m also surprised to hear your professional life being described with “photographer, blogger and technology consultant”.

  3. I understand! Whenever I hear my own voice, even I’m like, “Is that really how I sound?” I think it’s common for everyone to feel a little strange listening to their own voice, no?

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