Speaking about furloughs as forced experiences of temporal disjunction (between UCLA time and home time), I thanked Jacob for his insight into how trans-temporality applied to my present circumstances. Though intending to narrowly focus this directory’s commentary on the productivity of thinking Lau’s trans-temporality and Holiday Time together, an email alerting me to an upcoming forum on the current “campus climate” sponsored by the Asian and Pacific Islander Coalition intervened in those plans (and lengthened the writing time) by bringing local, national, and transnational histories to the forefront.
By “campus climate,” I refer to that cyclic return—coincident with the advent of exam season—of anti-Asian verbal sentiment lying dormant for who knows how long in UCLA’s basement (bathrooms), bubbling up into public spaces such as Bruin Walk and the internet two years running: see http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/14/alexandra-wallace-racist-video_n_835505.html and
The university has called this lashing out at Japanese-speaking and Vietnamese female students “isolated” acts, and we could imaginatively fill in the details of that speculated narrative: these acts of poor judgment were likely committed by stressed-out individuals (of who knows what race, sexual orientation, or gender) who blame Asians for their perceived and real worries over not doing well in the short term—those upcoming essays and exams—and the long term—their post-baccalaureate futures.
Holiday, we must remember, refers as well to times of off-duty “rest and relaxation” that were the flipside of the on-duty deployments of U.S. troops to Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos during the so-called Cold War period. The slur calling Vietnamese female students “white-boy worshipping wh***s” reminds us of the U.S. military occupations of Asia (e.g., Okinawa and the Philippines), the infrastructural support of U.S. troops by “ghost” bar workers, and the white supremacy that remains partially congruent with the militarized spread of U.S. capital into those same former “theaters of war” qua Asian consumer markets. The surplus of time to indulge in off-duty, non-working pleasures—that which I’m associating with “holiday time”—has never quite felt like a holiday for others working in nail salons, electronic factories, sex work, childcare, eldercare, and other occupations requiring intimate labors on the part of women of color. As we become more service-oriented in our economy, what may be resented—and voiced as slur against Asian/American women—is the feminized situation of having to give our intimate labors—our good feelings and non-progressive, non-upward-bound time—to serve someone else’s holiday. Tis the season of thinking such temporal convergences for women, men, and transitioning women and men, of all races.
— Rachel Lee