Underneath my yellow skin



About Me

My name is Minna Hong, and I’m an old, cantankerous, bisexual Taiwanese American woman who wants you to get off my lawn. I am fond of long walks on the beach on moonlight nights—oh wait. This isn’t an OKC personal ad, so scratch that. I hate walks, stars, and sand, anyway. What I like  is gazing at my navel and writing posts based on the lint I find there. I write about politics, identity, and pop cultural, among other things, fending off two inquisitive black cats who go by the names of Raven and Shadow, as I do*. I also write fiction. My fiction/author website is www.minnahong.com. It’s very much a work in progress, as is this site and, indeed, my life.

What I don’t like is people telling me what I should write about, even if those people are on ‘my’ side on an issue. I cannot include everyone in every issue, and I have no intention of doing so. I am writing from my perspective about issues that interest me, and while I’m always interested in discussion and debate, I am not interested in being lectured or pontificated at. I am speaking solely for myself. I am NSFW—actually, I’m not really safe for anywhere, so proceed at your own risk. This is me, no-holds-barred, in all my unvarnished glory.

double trouble
Shadow (L) & Raven (R)

In my spare time, I practice taiji (tai chi), and my favorite is the Sword Form. Yes, I’m a woman who likes weapons, so be very afraid. I also like to play video games to unwind, such as Dark Souls (I and II, currently playing III) and Binding of Isaac: Rebirth/Afterbirth. I am a voracious reader with mysteries being my prime genre. I also love musicals, and I’m currently obsessed with Les Mis (only with Philip Quast, Colm Wilkinson, and Lea Salonga. In other words, the 10th anniversary cast) and Hamilton—as to the latter, who the hell isn’t? I have two black cats, the aforementioned Raven and Shadow, who are litter brothers and have been with me ten years since they were nine months old. They like naps, treats, and scritches, but only on their own terms.


About the Website Name

I wanted a name that was widely accessible, raised questions, and still retained my cultural identity. That’s a lot to ask from a name! I thought of several that I liked, but none quite fit the bill. Then, I thought of Banana Peeled  (not taken), and it was so close to what I wanted, I was tempted to snatch it up. It wasn’t quite right, however, so I played around with it until I threw on the ‘A’ before it. Perfect! A banana is a derogatory term for someone who is ‘yellow on the outside, white on the inside’, AKA a white person inside Asian skin. I’ve been called that once or twice in my lifetime, plus I struggle with what it means to be a second generation Taiwanese-American woman. I’ve been told I’m all American and too American (by Americans and Taiwanese people, respectively), and I don’t like either of those descriptions. Yes, I’m mostly American. How can I not be? I was born and raised in suburban Minnesota, and I’ve only been to Taiwan a handful of times. Yet, I have to deal with very Taiwanese parents, and I’ve been instilled with very Taiwanese ideals. They may not be visibly apparent, but they’re there.

Peeled implies that you’re getting what’s underneath the surface, which is what I try to do with my writing. One of my strengths as a writer is to convey the guts of a situation without prettying it up. I’m not above turning a pretty phrase or two, but I prefer plain language to flowery euphemisms more often than not. In addition, I have a million thoughts racing in my mind at any given time. The only way I can deal with them is by writing about them, sometimes compulsively. I’m rarely satisfied by any one given piece I’ve written, always convinced that there’s more I can say on a topic. It’s why I’m notorious for writing thousands of words in one post. I’ve had writing friends joke that writing a 2,000-word post is ‘pulling a Minna’, and I wear that distinction as a badge of honor. There are a few topics I’ve written about time and time again, and I have no doubt I will continue that tradition on this blog.

I added the ‘A’ because Banana Peeled sounded too generic. ‘A Banana Peeled’ implies an individual. One banana peeled—me. Once I had all three words, I knew that was it.


*I also like footnotes. A lot. Expect to see many of them in my posts.