3 months ago
#FightthePowder and #DotheRightThing

bobaguys:

Boba Guys and Gals,

It’s Day 15, which means we are officially half way through our Kickstarter Campaign!

The overwhelming support to our Kickstarter campaign really touched our hearts. When we saw that we hit 33% of our goal within three days, Bin and I did a little “Happy” dance. If we reach our goal, we just might have to bust out a whole special number!? =)

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Today, we wanted to answer one FAQ: why did we make our Kickstarter about #FightthePowder and #DotheRightThing?

For those who don’t know, it is a reference to an awesome movie called Do the Right Thing by Spike Lee. It’s a provocative movie that everyone should see as its themes are still relevant 25 years later. We had to re-watch it a couple times before we decided to integrate it across our campaign. We knew that reintroducing the phrase “Fight the Powder” in today’s vernacular could potential ignite unnecessary controversy across the internetz. That’s why we want to explain ourselves now.

Do the Right Thing spoke to Bin and I because it shares the same passion for social change. It’s a funny, yet authentic portrayal of race relations in the 1980s. I was only eight years old when the movie came out, but I remember watching it on VHS at a neighbor’s house. While some of the dialogue was way over my head, I remember it affected me deeply— it was one of the first times I saw Asians in mainstream cinema. The Asian immigrant store owners in the movie reminded me of my family’s situation—we ran one of the only Chinese restaurants in our little township of Woodbridge, New Jersey.

I am the first to admit that I am very fortunate when it comes to racial discrimination. I can only recall a few select instances in my childhood where I was on the receiving end of explicit racial prejudice. Most of the time, I heard silly one-off comments like “Hey Jackie Chan!” or “What are you going to do, Bruce Lee?” Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee were/are still heroes to young Asian Americans, so if that’s what people wanted to call me, so be it. There are a lot worse things to be called than a Drunken Master tyke.

Two of my best friends from childhood were Italian and Hungarian. It is through them that I experienced true racial and ethnic discrimination. They endured the full gamut of racial epithets and I was often present to empathize with them. Even as a kid, I found it unfair to insult a person based on the color of one’s hair, family possessions, or even what they brought in for lunch—these are things out of my friends’ control. Although it wasn’t exactly a conscious decision, I developed an acute awareness of social and economic division.

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Fast forward twenty years later, I meet Bin and find out we share a similar point of view. This time it’s flipped. In a city where 1/3 of the population is Asian American, we can easily fall prey to reverse discrimination. We hear tinges of it when people comment about the diversity of our staff (i.e. 70% of our staff are not of Asian descent). Our team are the best, most loyal employees in the business—it is disappointing when people think they cannot make a good drink simply because of the way they look. As we wrote two years ago, Boba Guys is our way of sharing our culture with the world. It’s not about being Asian American, Taiwanese, or Chinese. It’s about bridging cultures.

One of the biggest hurdles in bridging culture is helping people understand the boba scene. In our opinion, the boba and tea industry is a bit clandestine and insular. We felt this when we started Boba Guys and met with potential suppliers. One supplier laughed at our face when we said that the future of boba lies with transparency and quality ingredients. He (the CEO) proceeded to say we were being naïve and foolish. We still think about the conversation to this day. The CEO happens to run one of the biggest industry conglomerates today.

The massive menus and endless combinations of flavors also make the whole experience very intimidating for people who are new to boba. It’s hard to know who to trust and what to drink, especially if everything looks like a colorful powder. That’s why we care so much about transparency. If people can see how we make things or the ingredients we use, it makes the experience more palatable.

We’re not here to stick it to the industry, but we are very intentional about our campaign. In order to change perceptions, we have to disrupt things a bit. We use the traditional Taiwanese brown sugar syrup method, but we also use Straus organic milk. We sell world-famous Sunny Hills Pineapple Cakes from Taiwan, but we also make Hong Kong toast with a buttercream topping instead of the typical can of condensed milk. The disruption may be uncomfortable for some, but better for the whole. By bridging cultures, you get crazy new creations like horchata boba or milk tea with chia seeds.

So we hope that explains why we chose to use the hashtags. #FightThePowder is our call to challenge the status quo and #DotheRightThing. Thank you for joining us in this mission!

Cheers,

Andrew

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3 months ago
NZABAMWITA: “I damaged and looted her property. I spent nine and a half years in jail. I had been educated to know good from evil before being released. And when I came home, I thought it would be good to approach the person to whom I did evil deeds and ask for her forgiveness. I told her that I would stand by her, with all the means at my disposal. My own father was involved in killing her children. When I learned that my parent had behaved wickedly, for that I profoundly begged her pardon, too.”
KAMPUNDU: “My husband was hiding, and men hunted him down and killed him on a Tuesday. The following Tuesday, they came back and killed my two sons. I was hoping that my daughters would be saved, but then they took them to my husband’s village and killed them and threw them in the latrine. I was not able to remove them from that hole. I knelt down and prayed for them, along with my younger brother, and covered the latrine with dirt. The reason I granted pardon is because I realized that I would never get back the beloved ones I had lost. I could not live a lonely life — I wondered, if I was ill, who was going to stay by my bedside, and if I was in trouble and cried for help, who was going to rescue me? I preferred to grant pardon.”
Portraits of Reconciliation

NZABAMWITA: “I damaged and looted her property. I spent nine and a half years in jail. I had been educated to know good from evil before being released. And when I came home, I thought it would be good to approach the person to whom I did evil deeds and ask for her forgiveness. I told her that I would stand by her, with all the means at my disposal. My own father was involved in killing her children. When I learned that my parent had behaved wickedly, for that I profoundly begged her pardon, too.”

KAMPUNDU: “My husband was hiding, and men hunted him down and killed him on a Tuesday. The following Tuesday, they came back and killed my two sons. I was hoping that my daughters would be saved, but then they took them to my husband’s village and killed them and threw them in the latrine. I was not able to remove them from that hole. I knelt down and prayed for them, along with my younger brother, and covered the latrine with dirt. The reason I granted pardon is because I realized that I would never get back the beloved ones I had lost. I could not live a lonely life — I wondered, if I was ill, who was going to stay by my bedside, and if I was in trouble and cried for help, who was going to rescue me? I preferred to grant pardon.”

Portraits of Reconciliation

5 months ago

I really love this black and white photograph (I have a printout taped to my wall at work) and recently I asked my Japanese friend to translate the text.

It reads, "To India in Search of Le Corbusier."

After some digging, I found the Open Hand Monument Le Corbusier built in Chandigarh, it’s 26 meters tall! The Open Hand (La Main Ouverte) is a recurring motif in Le Corbusier’s architecture, a sign for him of “peace and reconciliation. It is open to give and open to receive.” It represents the give and take of ideas.

1 year ago 1 year ago 1 year ago
If you light a lamp for somebody it will also light your own path. Cite Arrow Buddha
1 year ago

The idea that a for-profit company like Boba Guys donating it’s most profitable earnings (grand opening!) runs counterintuitive to capitalism and business in America. But the key underpinning of a capitalistic society is the freedom to enter into any bargain willingly and sell your product for whatever price you wish / can find a buyer for. Boba Guys is content to sell our goods for the low price of personal satisfaction gained through philanthropy. If we learned anything from our 6-month stint writing for GOOD Magazine it’s that “doing good is good business”.

We are happy to announce that our first profits donation is going to Little Brothers SF: a San Francisco non-profit combatting Isolation and loneliness among the city’s Elderly.

1 year ago
The racist chants finally get to Balotelli.
He gives a rare interview to CNN, and his comments lead every sports page in Italy. The next time a soccer stadium echoes with monkey calls, he will take off his jersey and leave the field. All those years ago, at the pitch across from his house, he felt like he belonged. Now every monkey chant is pushing him away.
Boateng walked off in an exhibition game. This is different. Milan needs a win to secure a place in the Champions League, and its star player has drawn a line in the sand. The game is in two days, and Italy focuses on a single question: Will he or won’t he?
When The Beautiful Game Turns Ugly

The racist chants finally get to Balotelli.

He gives a rare interview to CNN, and his comments lead every sports page in Italy. The next time a soccer stadium echoes with monkey calls, he will take off his jersey and leave the field. All those years ago, at the pitch across from his house, he felt like he belonged. Now every monkey chant is pushing him away.

Boateng walked off in an exhibition game. This is different. Milan needs a win to secure a place in the Champions League, and its star player has drawn a line in the sand. The game is in two days, and Italy focuses on a single question: Will he or won’t he?

When The Beautiful Game Turns Ugly

1 year ago
"We enter a little coffeehouse with a friend of mine and give our order. While we’re approaching our table two people come in and they go to the counter:‘Five coffees, please. Two of them for us and three suspended’ They pay for their order, take the two and leave.I ask my friend: “What are those ‘suspended’ coffees?”My friend: “Wait for it and you will see.”Some more people enter. Two girls ask for one coffee each, pay and go. The next order was for seven coffees and it was made by three lawyers - three for them and four ‘suspended’. While I still wonder what’s the deal with those ‘suspended’ coffees I enjoy the sunny weather and the beautiful view towards the square in front of the café. Suddenly a man dressed in shabby clothes who looks like a beggar comes in through the door and kindly asks‘Do you have a suspended coffee ?’It’s simple - people pay in advance for a coffee meant for someone who can not afford a warm beverage. The tradition with the suspended coffees started in Naples, but it has spread all over the world and in some places you can order not only a suspended coffee, but also a sandwich or a whole meal.Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have such cafés or even grocery stores in every town where the less fortunate will find hope and support? If you own a business why don’t you offer it to your clients… I am sure many of them will like it. (via Mind Boggling Stories)

"We enter a little coffeehouse with a friend of mine and give our order. While we’re approaching our table two people come in and they go to the counter:
‘Five coffees, please. Two of them for us and three suspended’ They pay for their order, take the two and leave.

I ask my friend: “What are those ‘suspended’ coffees?”
My friend: “Wait for it and you will see.”

Some more people enter. Two girls ask for one coffee each, pay and go. The next order was for seven coffees and it was made by three lawyers - three for them and four ‘suspended’. While I still wonder what’s the deal with those ‘suspended’ coffees I enjoy the sunny weather and the beautiful view towards the square in front of the café. Suddenly a man dressed in shabby clothes who looks like a beggar comes in through the door and kindly asks
‘Do you have a suspended coffee ?’

It’s simple - people pay in advance for a coffee meant for someone who can not afford a warm beverage. The tradition with the suspended coffees started in Naples, but it has spread all over the world and in some places you can order not only a suspended coffee, but also a sandwich or a whole meal.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have such cafés or even grocery stores in every town where the less fortunate will find hope and support? If you own a business why don’t you offer it to your clients… I am sure many of them will like it. (via Mind Boggling Stories)

1 year ago
The Abhaya Mudra (“mudra of no-fear”) represents protection, peace, benevolence, and dispelling of fear. In the Theravāda, it is usually made with the right hand raised to shoulder height, the arm bent and the palm facing outward with the fingers upright and joined and the left hand hanging down while standing. The mudrā was probably used before the onset of Buddhism as a symbol of good intentions proposing friendship when approaching strangers. The gesture was used by the Buddha when attacked by an elephant, subduing it as shown in several frescoes and scripts.