Rest in peace, Keon Enoy Munedouang, aka The Minority Militant

Me and TMM in 2009

Me and Keon in 2009

(Edit 5/10/16: People have asked how they can help Keon’s family. There is a GoFundMe page here. Please support this veteran, patriot, hero, and artist by supporting the family in giving Keon the Buddhist ancestral farewell that he deserves.

About Keon’s anonymity: Everyone at the Banana Conference knew Keon by name, but he chose to use only his moniker online in order to separate his activism from his future work as a novelist. Keon never completed his novel. His family has approved the release of his identity so that this hero can leave the world proudly and to get recognition for his immense contributions to the Asian American blogosphere and the many people he influenced.

Edit #2: Thanks to Slanty, who found an archive with Keon’s old work. Behold! The Minority Militant! See Slanty’s wonderful tribute here.)

I was heartbroken this morning to hear that my friend and colleague The Minority Militant, Keon Enoy Munedouang, has died. One of his friends e-mailed me, and I called his cell phone. It’s been confirmed by his family: one of the greatest bloggers for the Asian American cause has left us. I’m heartbroken–crying both inside and out. There are not many bloggers in the Asian American blogosphere who told it like it is. Minority Militant was one of a kind. He was fearless in his delivery, always getting to the heart of the matter rather than relying on the dogma and slogans and political correctness that drive many of the other bloggers out there. You’ll hear of V3Con in the Asian American blogosphere these days. What people don’t know is that V3Con came from the Banana Conference. The Banana Conference was started by Lac Su, whose favorite blogger was The Minority Militant, a fact that Lac proudly declared at the very first conference. The Minority Militant was the original inspiration behind the biggest Asian American blogger conference in the world today.

I remember meeting TMM for the first time. He was a strong, tall guy, a dude with swagger, proud of his service in the U.S. Navy. He was Laotian, and I used to joke with him that my own darker-than-the-average-Chinese skin made us like brothers. TMM was a fierce defender of what was right. He hated political correctness, and he was outspoken to a point that it sometimes got him in trouble. His writing voice was hilarious. He called out everyone. He attacked the foundation of racism. He was one of the few other bloggers interested in the importance of Asian American literature in either fighting or reinforcing racism. Who will ever forget the “Chickencoop” where TMM put offenders? “Into the chickencoop with you!” Who will ever forget “Asian pornstars that America is lovin’ long time?” He had a stream of female porn stars that changed every week, and he set the entire blogosphere on fire when he chose Keni Styles as his last representative!

At the Banana Conference, I remember how they had a panel of us that represented political outsider bloggers (I don’t remember what they called us). It was me, TMM, Bicoastal Bitchin, and Larry from Asian American Movement. As one of the few black sheep of the AA blogosphere, it was great to have real colleagues. Along with Sylvie from the AntiSocial Ladder, we were all blog buds. TMM was there for us, and we were there for him.

His work was inspiring to us all. TMM had some personal and financial issues during the last few years, but he never stopped working hard at whatever he was doing. He would call me from time to time, and I was always impressed by how TMM lived such a genuine life. He never expected anything from anyone; he just wanted to contribute. He loved this country, he loved writing, and he loved being himself. He was among the most genuine people.

I’ve just listened to my podcast with TMM from 2008. If he affected your life in a positive way, please take some time to remember who he was and what he gave to this country and to the rest of us. TMM should know that he didn’t live in vain. Rest in Peace, Brother.

Other tributes to Keon:

Little Laos on the Prarie: To My Brother Keon

Yomyomf: RIP Minority Militant

Jimmy J. Aquino: Rest in power, the Minority Militant, a.k.a. Keon Enoy Munedouang

Reappropriate: Rest in Peace to Minority Militant, Asian American Blogger

29 thoughts on “Rest in peace, Keon Enoy Munedouang, aka The Minority Militant

  1. Wow… that is sad news. I remember the original Banana Conference (in LA, as I recall). I remember TMM’s blog and I remember him of course from the legendary Fighting 44s. he was always a straight shooter.

    Sorry to hear of this, he was one of the originals.

  2. I’ve been broken up about this all day. I think of all the Asian American bloggers, he had the hardest life. Most Asian American bloggers are extremely privileged. TMM started at the bottom of the socio-economic chain and blogged from the bottom. He never lost sight of who he was. Nor did he allow his situation to put out his fire. He was fierce until the end.

    It’s so sad that he left us so early. It was way too early.

  3. “I’ve been broken up about this all day.”

    I didn’t know him personally but I felt a connection. I am feeling pretty sad. Wished things had been different. Such is life.

  4. Yeah, I remember him blogging about his family’s financial difficulties and almost losing their house (or maybe they did). I remember other struggles that I won’t mention now. Most people think of Asians of being somewhat privileged, but TMM never grew up with any advantage. He will truly be missed. So young.

  5. This is just awful. TMM was definitely one of a kind – I had always hoped that he would reactivate his blog and his material was never the typical stuff found on other blogs.

    He was especially significant because 1, he was a SE Asian blogger and there aren’t many of us out there, and 2, he came from a place that wasn’t about the tired trope of Asian privilege. His writing was as real as it got.

    Very sad.

  6. My deepest condolences. May I ask how it happened, or would such info be better kept private?

    Was there anything that could have been done to help him with this troubles?

  7. “Was there anything that could have been done to help him with this troubles?”

    I’m sure, in retrospect the might have been something. But a lot of his worries were economic. Not worrying only about himself but for his folks too. From what I gathered from his blog (before he discontinued it) he started to get somewhat depressed. He was gone from the internets for quite a few years, never to return. I’m assuming things got worse after he stopped blogging. I’m not sure if he ever had a Facebook page or not. Sometimes it helps to have an outlet.

  8. He was such a great person. I only met him once, and even twenty-four hours after learning of his passing, the tears are still coming. There aren’t many people who cared as much as he did.

    I don’t think there was anything that could have been done, Sengge. TMM was a unique person. In many ways, his understanding of life was far beyond ours. I’m listening to that podcast, and what comes out most clearly is how gentle he is. He never let anyone off the hook, but you can hear the compassion is his voice. So sad that a gentle soul left us so early.

  9. RIP and condolences to his family.

    What happened to him? I followed him for a little bit before he went dark.

  10. I’m at a lost for words or have to much to say. But what I’m capable of saying right now is that we have lost a good one. And I feel guilt. The “what ifs”, “what could I haves”, and “how soons?” Militant and I kept in touch, and he was one of a few who I reached out to when I lost my father about four years ago. He understood everything I was feeling at the time–and seemed like he was the only one. Damn…

    I’ll leave with this:

    “I blog because I feel no one speaks on behalf of me. Therefore, I’m a militant in that regard. I’m a minority because the minority I’m lumped in with also doesn’t speak up for me. I am by no means a “model minority” and take offense to that term. Hence, I am The Minority Militant. I care deeply about humanity. I am brutally candid. I am relentless about racism. I cuss like a foul-mouthed sailor. I only use words 95% of the English speaking world understands. I love sarcasm as an alternate medium of communication. And really, I could give a flying monkey-fuck what you think about my opinions. Surveys, standardized tests, and questionnaires make me gag. I firmly believe intellectualism cannot give you all the answers, just a few pieces of the puzzle. The rest is up for discussion.” — TMM

  11. Wow, sad to hear the news. I didn’t know much of him, though he seemed like a righteous dude, blazing a path we all continue to walk. I hope he’s found his peace.

  12. Coming out of hiding to offer my condolences. The Minority Militant was a trailblazer and one of my favorite bloggers. He will be missed.

  13. Wow, everyone is coming out of hiding! Thanks, Lac, RiceCakeRabbit, and Leon. I guess this shows how much Keon was loved.

    So I just updated the main page with an update. Keon’s identity is now public so we can all know who he was. There’s a GoFundMe page here:

    If any of you can help out, his family would appreciate it. Funerals are very expensive. They’re trying to raise $7,500, but I’m not even sure that covers it all.

    I’ve been talking to his family, and I guess there’s something we didn’t fully know–Keon was financially fine when he passed. He was financially independent. His parents lost the house, but the sisters managed to get another house. They were eligible for a military funeral, which means that all costs would be covered by the military, but they opted instead to send him off according to Lao traditional customs, something which is truly befitting for a proud Asian American!

    Anyway, any help is appreciated. I just put some money in the donation box myself. Thank you everyone for coming here to leave some kind words to Keon!

  14. It doesn’t have to be that big of donation. Everything helps! Also, no pressure! Give as you can, as you see fit, whatever is appropriate.

    Also, as I mentioned in my edit to the OP, publicizing his identity is mostly to give the man the recognition he never got when he was here. Feel free to use his name. Keon was always someone who operated from the margins. Let’s not allow him to remain unknown. Let’s never forget Keon and what he did for the blogosphere!

  15. 35 is too soon. Sometimes my generation wishes that we could share with our children and grandkids the exploits of our Heroes and say to them, “see, he’s just there by the campfire. Now go ask him what happened with the…” and have their eyes go big like PHWOAR because they are in the presence of legends. I don’t know TMM but he sounded like a fighter, he sounded righteous, and it would have been swell if he’d be with us a little longer. This loss is keenly felt.

  16. Thank you for sharing the post and all of the information. He will be missed…

  17. Thanks, Adam! Thanks, Sengge!

    I just found this great tribute by Slanty:

    He wrote this too:

    AND…Slanty posted that you can see Minority Militant’s blog here:

    Slanty–I don’t think there’s a way to comment on your site–a big mystery has been solved. Lac told us you were in the audience. I thought Lac was just fooling with us, but I guess you really were there! Haha….I can’t believe I’m just learning this now!

    Thanks so much for your awesome tribute to Keon.

  18. Thanks for this bigwowo. Honestly, I remembered reading many of his posts and that he was an unapologetic writer but it took reading a couple of his pieces from the archive to bring it all back. We definitely lost a good one. I wish the best for his family, friends and fans.

  19. I’ve updated the OP with some of the other tributes to Keon.

    I’m really happy that people are remembering him. He definitely made an impact.

  20. B: Adam/Slanty – just wanted to say thanks again for the posts and all the information you posted and are posting – I hadn’t seen the Little Laos and Reappropriate posts yet. It’s great to see all the love being thrown Keon’s way.

    I turned off comments a while back so no way to comment out…Lac wasn’t pulling your leg though (makes me laugh and I needed that). I’m glad I got to see it and be there…

  21. The link for donations is having some trouble. Won’t allow u to put in correct expiration date for your credit card? Anyone else having problems, if anyone can send me another link to donate would be appreciated. I knew Keon back in the days also n altho it wasn’t the best of memories, i always respected him as a man n friend. RIP brother

  22. Hey Kam,

    Maybe try again, and if it doesn’t work, contact Go Fund Me. I see that people gave in the last 24 hours, so it should work. But with anything computer, there are sometimes problems that come up.

    Thanks for your comment!

  23. Adam/Slanty,

    It’s good to meet you! Thanks for everything you did for Keon. I know he was having a great time laughing with Lac about whether you really were in the audience, even though we thought Lac was fooling with us! I spoke to Lac on the phone, and he was laughing about that too.

    Anyway, Keon left us with great memories. He left a deep legacy. Rest in peace, Keon!

  24. Spent time with the family after the funeral. They are very appreciative of all the help and condolences from everyone. God rest his sole and may the family be comforted in this time of mourning.

  25. I’m just now finding this out and am completely busted up. I was lucky enough to work with Keon on a project in Chicago. He was a passionate, funny and complex individual. His in person demeanor was different than his blogging one, but the fire was always there. He challenged me to be a better and a prouder Asian American.

    I lost touch with Keon when I moved to California. Shortly after, he became quiet and recluse, and closed his blog down. I’ve been away for sometime from the blogosphere, but this has me nostalgic for the old days. No one could rip like the Minority Militant. The only reason I found this was because I was searching for an older post of his that was classic.

    RIP Keon. The Minority Militant was the realest.

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