Imagine one day that you show up to work and you expect everything to be normal. Why wouldn’t you? You work hard, you’re honest, you give nobody a reason to club you to death with a hammer. The problem is, someone out there doesn’t like you. They don’t like you for the color of your skin. They don’t like you because they perceive you a threat to your own community. Why? Because the media painted people that look like you as a bad guy.
You may think the victim I’m describing is black or brown, perhaps someone from the LGBTQ community or a woman. No, the victim I’m describing is Thang Kheong Ng, a 61-year-old Asian man who, along with Tsz Pun and Fufai Pun, also Asian men, were hammered to death at a Brooklyn restaurant plainly named Seafood Buffet. Their crime? Being Asian…and men.
That last part’s important because the motives of the killer, a white male named Arthur Martunovich, age 34, deliberately sought out innocent Asian men to murder because of a movie he saw and the perception that he’d heard that Asian men were abusive to Asian women. He saw himself as a white savior, a protector of Asian women and the hero that he thought our community needed and never asked for.
Sure, you can read all the grisly killing details in any major New York City article, including an in-depth analysis of Mr. Martunovich’s mental health status (a significant factor) but the Asian and male part is what irks me because it’s the most important part and it constantly gets glossed over.
Asian men have a particular target on our backs that’s unique to only our group. The media doesn’t care because current politics don’t really feature danger toward Asian men as sexy buzzwords. If anything, most people feel sorry for the victims because they were immigrants, but their being immigrants had nothing to do with why they were killed. In the 21st century, it’s still okay and under the radar that Asian men are constantly smeared as wife-beating assholes. Some Asian feminist groups haven’t done us any favors by reducing or ignoring the problem. I mention Asian feminist groups because Asian men feel isolated in our struggles and this particular corner of Asian activism feels only half concerned. Yes, it’s a hate crime, but society needs to understand that it’s a unique hate crime and an incident that should put a spotlight on the everyday danger toward Asian men.
Mr. Ng and both Mr. Puns could’ve been me. This story resonates because I can’t tell you how many times some white macho douchebags thought they were entitled to come up to me and tell me how they’re taking all our women (which, let me make it clear, women belong to nobody) and why they felt it was their duty to kick my ass. I also wonder where these douchebags get their ideas from, because they certainly didn’t pull it out of thin air. Was it media? Was it a couple of scumbag Asian women with daddy issues that whispered to them that Asian men need to be hurt? I can only to tell you from my personal experiences that the motives that led to the murders of Mr. Ng and the Puns are not unfamiliar with me.
I’m constantly disappointed in the mainstream media and constantly disappointed by many Asian feminist groups that these particular motives aren’t spoken. I suspect that being straight men and being Asian have put us in a strange combination of two groups that American society often overlook and are believed to be “privileged”. Yes, as a male, I do get some benefits my way by society, but I’m not a white male and to be really honest, white women have a lot more privilege than I do as an Asian male. When you put any color besides white before the word male, my gender doesn’t mean much and it certainly doesn’t give me much protection. Yes, I might not be raped, but I’m a target for being hammered to death because some white guy wants to be a hero for Asian women.
The topic’s uncomfortable for many reasons, but if the victims’ death were to have any meaning, perhaps it could be used to illuminate an unspoken problem. We should start a dialogue about: 1.) The emasculation of Asian men have often led us to bullying and in this instance, being murdered. 2.) More Asian feminists should speak up about violence against Asian men as often as they should about other men or Asian women. There’s a bad reputation that Asian feminists don’t care about Asian men. Here’s your chance to defend us, because silence sends a message that Asian men deserve our struggles and that feminists don’t care. 3.) Mainstream America, particularly liberal mainstream America, should stop using the term “black, brown, Muslim and gay” as though those are the only four groups that matter or if they matter more than other oppressed groups (let me give a shoutout to disabled and vets too because liberal America often times ignore them as well). Mainstream America shouldn’t cherry pick who gets empathy and who doesn’t. 4.) The Model Minority culture in Asian diaspora has enabled this problem and Asians, as a community, should stop believing that we should never rock the boat and that problems like these are “small issues”. Asians have problems just like every other community and “saving face” and “don’t get into other people’s business” should be replaced with caring about our own communities.
In about a week, this story will be buried on the internet. The families of Mr. Ng and the Puns will have to cope with the senseless loss and the bizarre reason their loved ones were murdered. It’s time to wake up Asian diaspora. Asian men are oppressed too. Stop marginalizing us as assholes who beat our women and have small dicks. Asian women with daddy issues, keep your pain to your therapist and don’t let that fester into toxicity that could send some white guy trying to hammer me while I’m eating at a buffet. The fact you’re reading this viewpoint from me on this D-list website and not through some fancy high-paid reporter from the New York Times says everything wrong about society. People need to start caring about Asian men.
If you like my snarky and unique observations about Asian diaspora, please consider buying my novel Asians Don’t Date on Amazon. Thank you.