EPISODE 4: Rejecting Upwardly Mobile Asian-American Politics, Taiwan and the WHO, and guest Wilfred Chan.
This episode is about the politics of the Asian diaspora.
We explain why we named our podcast Time to Say Goodbye and update one another on quarantine pickling (to Maangchi or not to Maangchi?). We then tackle the more serious topic of Asian American politics: How might we move beyond “seat at the table,” professional-class concerns and embrace an “internationalist” perspective that looks to Asia?
Andy tells us about his new book, published just last week, which leads to a brief discussion of scholarly trends and why Asian history—that of China and India, in this case—deserves to be studied not only through the lens of tradition and culture but also political economy.
In the second half, we speak with Wilfred Chan, a freelance reporter, contributing writer at The Nation, and activist based in New York. Oh, and Andy’s former student! Check out Wilfred’s writing on the 2019 Hong Kong protests and the Lausan 流傘 collective, New York City’s “essential” food couriers, and the WHO’s costly discrimination against Taiwan.
1:20 - We answer the burning question of why we’re called Time to Say Goodbye. (Spoiler: Jay loves old-people karaoke; Tammy felt outvoted; Andy just didn’t want to be fired.) Plus disquisitions on authentic YouTube cooking.
9:43 - The last thing the world needs is another podcast, so why us? We assess the state of Asian America and explain why we’re in favor of swerving left.
16:46 - Everyone nerds out in honor of Andy’s new book, Tea War: A History of Capitalism in China and India. Also: the academy’s renewed interest in capitalism, the eighteenth-century French Physiocrats, Jay and Andy’s debate-team credentials and how Agamben (an Italian philosopher) got dunked on.
33:40 - Wilfred tells us about his journey from Seattle to New York to writing for CNN in Hong Kong, and how he got politicized.
53:00- We ask Wilfred about the “false choice” familiar to many within the Asian diaspora—between criticizing anti-Asian racism and blindly defending the governments and corporations in Asia (China, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, etc.).
Time to Say Goodbye is a podcast—with your hosts, Jay Caspian Kang, Tammy Kim, and Andy Liu. We launched this thing because, like you, we’ve been sheltering in place and wanted an outlet for our thoughts on the coronavirus, Asia, geopolitics, and Asian Americans.
A short introduction to your hosts:
Jay Caspian Kang is a writer-at-large for the New York Times Magazine and the author of the forthcoming book The Loneliest Americans.
E. Tammy Kim is a magazine reporter, a contributing opinion writer at the New York Times, and a retired lawyer. She co-edited the book Punk Ethnography.
Andrew Liu is a historian of modern China. He wrote a book called Tea War, about the history of capitalism in Asia. He remains a huge Supersonics fan.