bigWOWO interviews The Minority Militant

Happy Thanksgiving!

I had the fortune to interview The Minority Militant a couple nights ago. Listen to it here (around 33 minutes):

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or download it here.

You can also visit Minority Militant’s blog at I check his blog every day.

I was looking forward to this interview for a long time, and TMM did not disappoint.  He’s a veteran from the American Navy, and because my grandfathers were both military veterans, I was psyched about interviewing a guy who is both a veteran AND an activist.  Plus I got a bonus–not only is he a veteran AND an activist, he’s also a novelist!  In other words, he does just about everything that interests me on the Asian American front!

On this podcast, he talks about immigrating from Laos, growing up in Chicago, joining the military, and becoming an activist.  Check it out, and check out his excellent blog.

The only bad thing about this interview is this: Around 27 minutes, I made a joke about how ghetto my podcasting technology is.  It was actually worse than I thought, and you’ll hear this in the fluctuating volume levels.  I’m now on the market for some more reliable technology.  But the interview itself is still really good, so I still highly, highly, highly recommend it, even if it means that you have to fiddle with the volume control on your iPod.  We don’t hear many first person accounts from Asian American veterans, and this podcast is an excellent introduction to a great real-life story.  I hope it inspires you.

Oh…and I also referenced the Frank Chin movie, which you can find at

13 thoughts on “bigWOWO interviews The Minority Militant

  1. Good interview towards the end. The audio does go in and out, but it was interesting to hear more about the MM. Definitely include him in our next board meeting and he can bounce off ideas on us.

  2. Jaehwan: I didn’t know you were an antiwar protestor. That’s really cool. Were you part of a specific antiwar organization? Was this for the invasion of Iraq, the Terror War, etc?

    You all touched upon a lot of interesting issues in the podcasts. It’s always good to hear from voices like SE Asian Americans and working class people, who often get marginalized.

    What are you doing with all these podcasts that you’ve been making– other than posting links to them on this website or F44s? Spreading the word and disseminating them for greater access is important. Like a central online archive of the podcasts such as Fallout Central had. You never know who is listening and can be reached out there.

    Militant Minority: Since you are a writer, have you ever considered going to grad school to get an MFA in creative writing? I don’t know if the military would pay for grad school but it could be something to look into.

    An MFA program would be good because you are immersed in a community of writers that can help improve your craft and let you make connections to advance your writing career. If not an MFA program, then hooking up with some community of writers can be really beneficial, as you probably know.

    For a writer, I think one important thing is having a job that isn’t too demanding on your time and allows you to devote your energies to your writing–yet still be able to pay the bills. Getting a proofreader or editing job in the publishing industry would be nice, but it’s not a requisite.

  3. James,

    I’m looking forward to having TMM at our next board meeting!


    I don’t know what to do with all these podcasts. I definitely have to get up to date with how it works. I’ve just been recording them, but I know there are a lot of other ways to get the word out. We should talk about that next time. We really do need to get the word out. I know that I should be getting them on to iTunes, but I haven’t had the time to look into that. If you see any tech tips, let me know. I really do need to get this done at some point.

    It was actually the 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia. They actually halted the bombing the day before, but we’d already all mobilized in DC so we marched anyway! It was a multi-day event though. We handed out flyers one day in NY, and then we marched on another day in DC. That anti-war protest brings back memories. Wow.

  4. Thanks for the support, guys. I’d love to be part of the next round of podcasts. Regarding Larry’s suggestion on an MFA program, I think we’ve come to a new age in media technology. The direction I’m going with writing might just exclude the traditional publisher and literary agent route. I think this era will be run by the readers and not the gatekeepers. I might not even attempt to publish it through an agent anymore. I’ll just do it myself. I do workshop every month or so with a fiction writing group and we give each other very constructive feedback. Sure, there might be the conventional mindset that there is a stigma attached to self-published works, but there are plenty of success stories. I won’t buy into all of them. But I’d just rather do that and have absolute control over every aspect of the process. I could care less about profits.

    What do you guys think about that alternate route?

  5. Well I’ve got 2 books self-published, and I can say that I’m more than happy with the route I’ve gone. I’m a very direct person, so I don’t like middlemen taking my profits and I don’t answering to anyone.

    The tough part for you will be promoting your book and getting people to buy. I write magazine articles (online and print) and that is how I promote my books. Don’t ever pay for advertising. Free advertising is good, but when you are paid to advertise (as in getting paid for an article), that is the best form of advertising. Most online mags do not pay, but they will allow a link to your blog or Amazon listing.

    If you do self-publishing, then go with Create Space. They provide you with a free Amazon listing. Lulu is good, but that free Amazon listing sure helps.

  6. TMM:

    I was going to mention James, but it looks like he beat me to the punch! He already has two books in his name!

    I just finished reading a really good book by Jason Epstein on the publishing industry. It’s called “Book Business,” and the author was a bigshot publisher who dealt with the likes of Nabokov and Norman Mailer. See it here. It tells you everything about what has happened in the industry during the last generation. Epstein mentions self-publishing and print-on-demand, and while he’s somewhat ambivalent on it, he does say that it will help empower people who ordinarily would not get a shot. He doesn’t specifically mention Asian Americans, but I think we’re the kind of people he’s thinking about.

    The thing that I would worry about is exactly what James mentions, namely the publicity and promotion. If it’s a long work of fiction and you would like it to make a huge impact on society, it’s hard to compete unless your book is in every Borders and Barnes and Noble (Epstein has an interesting opinion on this too), and it’s hard to get it there unless you go through conventional channels. There are few people who can do this without selling out, so it’s a bit of a Catch-22.

    Maybe we could talk about this during our next teleconference.

    Congrats on setting up a fiction workshop. That’s definitely useful. Are your people mostly Asian? Are they activist? What’s the common bond? (Is there one?)

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  8. We’re pretty diverse. Started via the help of Craigslist last year. Most of them have degrees and full time jobs. So I guess it makes it all the more interesting. I also try workshopping at a Writing Center in the university I graduated from as well.

    I checked out some of Alpha’s work but don’t really have the spare change to buy them. I workout a lot so I’m sure it would be beneficial in some way or another. I checked out the link on Epstein. I’ve heard of people getting bought out by publishers after examining their success stories. But then again, that’s pretty rare.

    But with the decline of books sales at traditional outlets outside of BN and Amazon, and the widespread plunge of newspaper circulation sales, I’d put all my money — or what’s left in my pocket — on internet publishing via blogs, news sites, and e-books any day.

  9. Sweet deal. I’d like to set up such a workshop, but it’s hard…I’d need people to be both writers AND activists. It’s just my style. Is that asking too much? I think it’s awesome that you’ve made good use out of your university resources and Craigslist.

    Traditional publishing gets the word out faster, and it probably helps to have more eyes on what you’re writing. The cool thing about print-on-demand though is that there is no money out of pocket. So you could go write in, publish, and not worry about the finances.

    But the traditional route would be cool too.

    Hey, have you read Bananaboys? It was done through a really small press, but it’s a fun read.

  10. I totally fell you. I’ve never read BB yet. I’ll check it out. I used to be a writing consultant for the writing center at my university so it’s good to read other people’s work as well. But if you ever want to exchange pieces in the future, let me know.

  11. Thanks, MM!

    Here’s the BB site:

    You might have to go to Canada to get it. 🙁 But it’s great. Here’s a review:

    “This is absolutely a FANTASTIC book! I couldn’t put it down. After being sickened by other books about ‘three generations of Chinese women escaping the shackles of bond slavery,’ it is so refreshing to finally read this book about the Chinese Canadians/Americans in THE REAL WORLD TODAY. Thanks…”

    Thanks also for the offer to exchange pieces. I may take you up on that in the near future!


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