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The Asian American Psyche
Jonny Kim was interviewed earlier this year on the Jocko Willink podcast. Jocko opens the conversation by reading his personal recommendation letter that he wrote for Jonny for his Harvard Medical School application back in 2010.
After reading this letter for seven and a half minutes, Jocko then welcomes Jonny to his show, and this is Jonny’s response:
“Thank you for having me here. It’s an honor to be here and thank you for the kind and generous, and also undeserving words.”
From the YouTube comments:
“A Navy SEAL, a doctor, and an astronaut walk into a bar...And they're all the same guy.”
From his official NASA biography:
Dr. Jonny Kim was selected by NASA to join the 2017 Astronaut Candidate Class. He reported for duty in August 2017 and having completed the initial astronaut candidate training is now eligible for a mission assignment. A U.S. Navy SEAL, Kim completed more than 100 combat operations and is the recipient of the Silver Star and Bronze Star with Combat “V”. Kim was commissioned as a naval officer through an enlisted-to-officer program and earned his degree in mathematics at the University of San Diego and a doctorate of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
This guy is literally going to the Moon, and I can’t really think of anyone else as deserving. The four and a half hour podcast interview with Jocko reveals a childhood of domestic abuse, of being a scared kid, and his incredible journey.
Culturally, Asian Americans have a particular challenge in America. The High Expectations Asian Father and Tiger Mom are memes that are, for the most part, disturbing in their cruelty. It’s something inherent in Asian cultures that gets magnified by the fact that our parents “made it” to the land of opportunity.
How dare you squander that.
Asian parenting “tough love” is a complex topic. Much of it is a deep rooted and complex relationship with shame. You’ve probably heard of the concept of “face” in Asian cultures. Face or 面子 (miànzi) is a concept that they say is not easily translated, so most Westerners don’t fully understand it. My explanation has turned into an entirely new blog post because the topic is too complex.
Back to Jonny Kim.
Undeserving? No way, dude. You’re the definition of Awesomeness.