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Ronny Chieng Challenging Racial Ideas About Asians In the U.S.

Bathshall, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Standup comedian and Third Culture Kid (TCK) Ronny Chieng has been bringing attention to asian culture ever since he started his career as a comic in 2009 in Melbourne, Australia. Chieng has gained popularity in recent years with his Netflix special and his role in the movie “Crazy Rich Asians.” He also now makes frequent appearances on “The Daily Show” with Trevor Noah.

FUNG BROS., CC BY 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Growing up a TCK

According to his official website, ronnychieng.com, Chieng was born in his parents native country of Malaysia. After his birth, his parents brought him to New Hampshire, U.S., where he spend his younger childhood. His parents then took him to Singapore, where he would spend the rest of his adolescence. As we can see, Chieng was clearly a TCK and very culturally diverse. However, it doesn’t stop there. After graduating high school, Chieng decided to go to Australia to get his bachelors of commerce and law as well. He then decides to do a few open-mic-nights while living in Australia. And now he is doing standup on tours around the world.

Chieng from a fans point of view

Brandon Yoshida, a Japanese-American from Denver, Colo., has met Chieng and is also a huge fan. Yoshida says “I actually met him in an airport when I was flying back from Japan. I just kind of walk up and say how big of a fan I am and he lets me sit and talk to him for a while before his flight boards. I told him that his comedy means a lot to me because I never got to see asians on screen when I was little. He was like ‘Ya dude, that’s why we have to push for it. Don’t let people tell you how to be just because of your race. Don’t feed into that, it’s BS,’ and I had an existential crisis after that.”

After being asked which acts (of Chieng’s) were his favorite and why, Yoshida showed and explained these clips:

Yoshida says “I love Ronny Chieng because he’s not afraid to talk about the racism that all types of asians encounter in America. And he does it in a way that’s funny, but somehow serious. Like, yes! Thank you! I feel like asians don’t feel as though they have a right to speak on racism here. Obviously other races have it worse, but it still shouldn’t be overlooked and it shouldn’t be tolerated. But it is, in the U.S. we are somehow more accepting of racist comments being made about asians than any other race.” Here’s another example of this:

Chieng paving the way

As we can see, Ronny Chieng isn’t afraid to speak his mind. As Brandon says, the Asian community in the U.S. often feels silenced in conversations about racism. Chieng shows us that we can have a voice on these topics and still be well received and respected. One of his main focusses in show business is getting more Asian representation in Hollywood. According to Karen K. Ho’s article “Crazy Rich Asians Is Going to Change Hollywood. It’s About Time” on Time.com, the movie “Crazy Rich Asians,” is the first modern story with an all-Asian cast in about 25 years. As we can see, Chieng is promoting asian representation and pushing through cultural barriers to do so.

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