Get to Know a Hyphen Blogger: Cynthia Brothers

April 13, 2010


This week, we're highlighting blogger Cynthia Brothers. You know Cynthia as our intrepid events blogger, the one who gives us the scoop on all the happening Asian American events happening across the nation and gets us to contemplate actually putting on a clean shirt and leaving the house to be social.

Cynthia was born in Seattle, lives in New York City, and currently works in social justice grantmaking. She has paid the rent as a social work researcher, food stamps outreach coordinator, and espresso flunky in fields such as immigrant civic engagement, mental health, and customer resentment. She is also member of the Action Council of the Coalition for Asian American Children & Families (CACF), the nation’s only pan-Asian children’s advocacy organization.   

Cynthia has performed internationally with the Tribes Project and been published in the International Examiner and Mavin Magazine. In her free time she partakes in copious napping and sabotages other people’s karaoke songs. Cynthia first got mixed up with the Hyphen crowd by guest blogging the 2008 NY Asian American International Film Festival.  

CBruhs and her pals AZNHeartthrob & Sherdizz also blog in a much more inappropriate manner over at BiCoastal Bitchin. Check out this clip of her writing skills from a February 2010 BcB post in which she tackles Gwyneth Paltrow's blog of GOOP and how it is possible for one to make Chinese herbal references très annoying.


Gung Hay Fat Choy from That Annoying GOOP Lady

This weekend is the New Year, so get ready to clean house, stash red pockets, and have random white people scream “Gung Hay Fat Choy!” at you. Kinda like Gwyneth Paltrow here. You may have heard of GOOP, her pretentious lifestyle newsletter that is choc full o’ helpful tips on the best $5000 spas, organic flax seed salads, and how to maintain a skeletor figure.

In GOOP’s latest "Year of the Tiger" issue -- Gwynnie, with the help of some fancy New York White lady who is an “expert” and “scholar” in Chinese herbal medicine, acupuncture and “ancient texts” -- offers sage advice on the meaning behind Chinese New Year and some other mystic Chinky stuff for your harmony and chi and blah blah New Age blah (Lainey Gossip also has a great commentary here).

GOOP provides a recipe for congee (what, no pork or fish skin? ILLEGAL!), some random tea, and a um…an essential oils and salt bath. BATHS? Chinese people don’t take BATHS. Maybe a squat in a basin yeah, but certainly not a wasteful, dirty bath in a big ass tub with some salt and milk -- which is for food, not your warrrshing.

And what’s up with this Black Sesame and Goji Berry Tea recipe?

• 1 cup black sesames

• 2 Tbsp goji berries, rinsed

• 3 cups water

• Brown sugar (raw, unprocessed)

Is there SUGAR in that? That sounds pretty tasty. Anyone who’s had real Chinese herb remedies knows that in order to be effective -- instead of wussy shit like berries and brown sugar (ugh, hippies!) -- there’s got to be some combo of animal hoof, tree bark, or dried root and taste like a burnt bike tire with a gritty swampwater texture so bitter and pungent you gotta plug your nose and chase it down with a handful of raisins (if you’re lucky). SUGAR?!? WHERE DID THIS BITCH GET HER LICENSE, IN CANDY GUMDROP LAND?

And this is just precious:  

Meditation : The Inner Smile

Smile, going back to a moment when you felt truly happy and content. Bring that feeling up into your whole body and then use this same smile to smile at yourself. You can choose an area that is giving you trouble: is it your digestion, your back or your shoulder? It could be used step by step for your entire body from your fingers to your toes, or directed to a specific problem area. Every time your shoulders feel tight, smile at them. Try to smile all day and see how you feel.

Hmmm….this really is nothing like the advice I’ve received from my fam or doctor when I complain about aches and pains. It usually goes along the lines of: SUCK IT UP. Life is hard. It’s probably due your dirty habits like drinking cold things and staying up late and disobeying your Ma. Here’s the cure: go sweep the floor with a tiny broom until those aches melt away. Also, if I walked around New York “smiling at myself” all day I’d either wind up punched in the face or involuntarily committed to Mt. Sinai.

So, I guess my point here is don’t let some hi-falutin’ celebrities tell you how to celebrate your shit, even if they study “ancient texts” and speak Chinese better than you do. You can’t polish a turd…and after all, goop is just a fancy word for turd. Happy New Year BCBers!


Sylvie Kim

contributing editor & blogger

Sylvie Kim is a contributing editor at Hyphen. She previously served as Hyphen's blog coeditor with erin Khue Ninh, film editor, and blog columnist.

She writes about gender, race, class and privilege in pop culture and media (fun fun fun!) at and at SF Weekly's The Exhibitionist blog. Her work has also appeared on Racialicious and Salon.