I am talking with two friends in a cafe. One of them asks me to look at a picture on his laptop. I lean over and stare at the screen. Minutes later, when our attentions come back to the hot tea arriving at our table, we notice the other friend’s absence. At first we think he goes to the restroom. After a while, when he’s not coming back, we check everywhere, including the restroom, and can’t find him. We call his cell phone, and hear the ringing tone on our table from behind the canister with sugar packets. He disappears without taking his phone. That’s so unlike him. He brings his phone everywhere. If he intentionally goes away, he will surely take his phone with him.
I wake up and this is just a dream–a ghost dream, arriving right before Halloween. I ponder on this dream and wonder if there’s anything ominous in it. This disappearing friend is someone I know. Should I text this friend to see if he is OK? What should I say in the text? I certainly cannot tell the truth that I dream of him disappearing. He will no doubt laugh at my silliness. This friend is also a very conservative one. Any sign of women behaving differently than men will be considered as the indication of female weakness in his eyes. Nothing seems weaker than having an irrational dream or treating such a dream seriously. I certainly don’t want to appear weak. So I won’t relate this dream after all.
The Asian immigrant community in America is more conservative than other Asians, probably because of the insecurity, the lack of connections and social safety net, being minority etc. I have to say the very limited percentage of people working in arts and literary field is also the major reason for the conservative leaning. Most Asians here are engineers, scientists, and businessmen who desire stability more than anything else.
Actually being minority and being colored are the real shining points of this community because it makes us align with sympathetic ideas and social changes. When such an alignment takes the primary position, the conservative part is obscured and overshadowed. Without these shining points, what will become of us? I can’t and don’t want to imagine.