Thick Dumpling Skin

[It's what's on the inside that counts]

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ShameLESS at the OCA Convention

A few weeks ago I had the honor to moderate the “ShameLESS: Tackling taboos in the APA Community" panel at the OCA National Convention in LA with a few amazing speakers. Even though I played the role of the moderator, the discussion took off without any moderation and was extremely inspiring despite the heavy subjects.


 The speakers spoke at length about the intersectionality of all the different “taboo” topics in the Asian American community, such as eating disorders within the Asian American community that’s covered here on this site, and how they’re all related to each other. From youth depression and suicidal thoughts, child sexual abuse and domestic violence, to incarcerated members of our community, the issues are cyclical, because in some way, they’re all different forms of outlet. The only way for us as a community to break out of the cycle is to use our voice and speak up about these issues. If we’re ashamed of these issues ourselves, how can we begin to face them and deal with them? 

Therefore I want to use this post to highlight the work of the speakers in hopes that you’ll take the time to learn more about the work of these organizations: 

Khmer Girls in Action

Khmer Girls in Action is a community-based organization whose mission is to build a progressive and sustainable Long Beach community that works for gender, racial and economic justice led by Southeast Asian young women.

Peer Health Exchange

Peer Health Exchange’s mission is to give teenagers the knowledge and skills they need to make healthy decisions. We do this by training college students to teach a comprehensive health curriculum in public high schools that lack health education.

Our vision is that, one day, all teens will have the knowledge and skills they need to make healthy decisions.

Amity Foundation

Amity Foundation is dedicated to the inclusion and habilitation of individuals, children, and families marginalized by homelessness, poverty, addiction, crime, racism, sexism, trauma, and violence.

Amity is committed to research, development, implementation, and dissemination of information regarding community building.

Remembrance, Resolution, Reconciliation, Renovation, Restoration

Let’s continue to build. 

- Lisa

Filed under khmer girls in action peer health exchange amity foundation oca oca national convention

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On Our Radar: Kulap Vilaysack’s Origin Story

LA Actor/Writer/Comedian Kulap Vilaysack is currently raising funds for her documentary Origin Story:

In my directorial debut, I explore my tangled family tree to find out who I am. When I was 14, I took my father’s side in an argument and my mother replied, “Why are you defending him? He’s not your real dad.” Twenty years later, I’m finally ready to learn what that means. 

Origin Story is a feature-length, international quest with stops in Los Angeles, Minnesota, and Laos to meet the biological father I never knew. On the road, unforeseen revelations strike as hilarious or heartbreaking, rarely in between. An avid comic book reader with a vigilante character named after me in the DC Comics universe, I must summon the courage of Katharsis, because each question is another step out on a limb. 

Origin Story is a deeply personal but universally relevant tale of immigration, conflict, addiction, and personal responsibility. Interviewees in the film include my extended family, husband Scott Aukerman, and close friends like Sarah Silverman, Casey Wilson, June Diane Raphael and Howard Kremer.  

Watch the trailer, and if you can donate, visit their IndieGoGo page.

Know something that should be On Our Radar? Contact us!

Filed under Kulap Vilaysack documentary origin story

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Do You Read Healthy Living Blogs?

Help a PhD student in Toronto out! 

My name is Alexandra Rodney and I am a PhD student at the University of Toronto. As part of my dissertation research I am looking at why people read healthy living blogs. I am interested in the reasons people start reading them, how they use the information on them and how their lives have changed since starting to read them.

As part of my dissertation research I am searching for healthy living blog readers to interview about why they read healthy living blogs, and how they use the information on healthy living blogs.   I am looking to interview people in Canada or the United States who would like an opportunity to present their thoughts about how they use healthy living blogs. We can arrange a time and method for conducting the interview that suits their convenience. The  interview has been designed to last about 45 minutes to an hour. Interviews can be conducted in-person (for those who live in or near the Greater Toronto Area), or via phone, Skype, Windows Messenger, or Gmail video chat.  Please contact Ali at if you are interested.  Interview participants will receive a $20 Starbucks card in consideration of volunteering their time for this study. More information about me can be found at my website at

Filed under healthy living blogs study body image

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GIRLS Star on Eating Disorders and Body Image

(Photo from

Actor Zosia Mamet recently wrote about her experience with these subjects for Glamour Magazine.

Here’s how I think of my eating disorder: I’m an addict in recovery. We’ve brought other addictions into the light; we’ve talked about them, dissected them, made them acceptable issues to discuss and work out. We need to treat eating disorders just as seriously. (What’s different about eating disorders, of course, is that you can’t just avoid food for the rest of your life. You have to eat to live.) Nobody is addressing the fact that so many women wake up in the morning, look at themselves in the mirror, and, out of habit, attack what they see. Maybe that’s not an all-out disorder, but it’s certainly the seed of one. I read a study once that said that more than a third of casual dieters develop pathological eating habits (and of those, up to 25 percent wind up with an eating disorder). Of course, not all of those people will end up deathly ill, but obsession—and doesn’t every diet require some degree of obsessing?—is a slippery slope. Did you know that only one in 10 people who are suffering gets proper treatment? And that eating disorders have the highest death rate of any mental illness?

Read the full article here.

Filed under zosia mamet actor eating disorders body image body love girls

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R.I.P. Robin Williams

Photo: Ken Hively/Los Angeles Times/

It’s really hard to know the “right” thing to say about death - I know this firsthand because my own father passed away, two years ago today, and the mourning/grief process has been complex and difficult to summarize.  

The news of Robin Williams is shocking, upsetting, and still new.  When it comes to suicide, I think we as a society still have a lot to learn.  Depression and addiction are very real (I myself have struggled with both) and it’s important to acknowledge that we’re all in this together.  How to write about a subject like this isn’t something Lisa or I are experts on - and we know the risk of suicide can increase during coverage on this topic.  However, this is also a good time to change common misconceptions about mental health. 

We encourage everyone - not just those of us feeling vulnerable - to check out these resources, compiled by The DART Center:

Active Minds empowers students to speak openly about mental health in order to educate others and encourage help-seeking

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is the leading national not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research, education and advocacy, and to reaching out to people with mental disorders and those impacted by suicide.

The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network strives to assure that each member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.

IMPACT: The LGBT Health & Development Program’s mission is to conduct translational research taht improves the health of sexual minority people and to increase understand of hte development of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The International Association for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to preventing suicidal behavior, alleviating its effects and providing a forum for academics, mental health professionals, crisis workers, volunteers and suicide survivors.

The Jed Foundation’s mission is to promote emotional health and prevent suicide among college and university students.

The Suicide Prevention Resource Center is the nation’s only federally supported resource center devoted to advancing the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention.

The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth. 

Hug to everyone and ourselves,


Filed under suicide depression mental health robin williams death