Writing

a selection of quotes from longer articles, essays and posts I have written

Commentary

We learn about Ethan’s backstory and hidden struggles with being gay, too, in Love, Simon — a backstory that’s never explored for Elliot in Alex Strangelove. While we learn early that Elliot’s father threw him out because he was gay, we never hear much more of that story. That’s upsetting, particularly since LGBT youth homelessness is a serious issue: The Williams Institute at UCLA Law has found LGBT youth are significantly more at risk of experiencing homelessness, and while it’s not mentioned in Alex Strangelove, LGBT youth are also at significantly higher risk for suicide.

These are real issues, and that Alex Strangelove (and Love, Simon) barely acknowledged such problems is disturbing. These films are normalizing LGBTQ stories and celebrating the successes of equality movements, but they’re choosing to obsure the realities of being LGBTQ in today’s society. For heterosexual, cisgender audiences who have never personally dealt with these situations, films like Alex Strangelove are probably their few glimpses into these life stories, and failing to include social issues erects a facade that LGBTQ suffering is a thing of the past.

“And now, Alex Strangelove,” self-published in Leo Ji Stories, June 23, 2018

Commentary

Abstracting away the experiences of queer people of color — and instead upholding a white, masculine, normatively attractive man like Nick Robinson’s Simon Spier as representing the ideal of the gay man — contributes to a white cisgender heteronormative hegemony by moving society in a direction where only gay men performing (or overperforming) traditional masculinity are considered “acceptable.”

“Dear Simon: Who gets to be ‘Everyone?’ Love, Leo.” Asian American Sexualities, April 22, 2018

Commentary

I’m worried that this casting decision reinforces an idea that characters can only be played by Asian actors if the characters are Asian stereotypes — but as soon as a character becomes “relatable,” she can suddenly be played by an actor of any race.

“The spotlight shines on Northwestern student theater — for lack of diversity,” self-published in Leo Ji Stories, October 24, 2017

Analysis

The changes to journalism in 2017 follow the trend since 2006, based on data published by the Pew Research Center. Advertising revenues have crashed to a third of what they were 10 years ago, and circulation revenues haven’t made up the difference. There’s less money in the journalism industry in 2017 than in 2007.

“The future of journalism?,” North by Northwestern Year in Media 2017, Dec. 30, 2017

Analysis

When particular voices are not present in newsrooms and editors’ meetings, important nuances about entire communities are lost. Changes in city zoning requirements might shut down a community center vital to an immigrant community. The reorganization of bus routes would affect the ability of poorer neighborhoods to reach better-paying jobs.

“Technology + Journalism = ?” Leo in America, Jan. 26, 2018

Personal

I didn’t touch upon how my life was shaped from birth by the complexities of three systems of law, immigration policy and notions of nationality and citizenship; how I spent many hours of my life in embassies and consulates and breathed the abstractness of territorality; how the colour of a tiny, 52-page booklet would determine how fast I passed through airports; how my spelling of “colour” and “recognise” would prompt unwanted responses, ranging from passive-aggressive commentary and hate-filled ridicule.

“Multiplicity,” self-published in Leo in America, Aug. 1, 2018

Personal

And yet: I don’t know how to make friends, and I don’t know how to manage when they go away. I don’t know how to love myself in a way that isn’t destructive. I don’t know to recognise when I’m hurting until it’s too late, or reach out for help until it’s almost unsalvagable. I don’t know how to live my life in a way that it’s not a struggle to convince myself to get out of bed every morning; that today will definitely be a better day than the last; that the world is a beautiful place definitely worth saving.

“The things we’re not taught,” self-published in Leo in America, July 22, 2018

Reader Service Analysis

But, according to the report, residents of Greek-unaffiliated housing in a Neighborhood would not have access to Greek houses, since they lack sufficient space for Neighborhood-wide facilities.

The report does not describe how the relationship between Greek organizations and Neighborhoods would work.

“Everything you need to know from the new report on the undergraduate residential experience,” North by Northwestern, Jan. 18 2018

Enterprise Reporting

Speculation continues about where Amazon might put its second headquarters, as the company has not made any formal announcements after releasing its list of 20 candidates on January 18, 2018. But there is reason to believe Amazon might be the next company to come to Chicago, as the city meets many of the Seattle-based company’s criteria for HQ2. If so, the online retailer will be the latest in a long string of companies that have decided to call the Windy City their next home.

“Would Amazon come to Chicago?” Leo Ji Stories/Business Reporting, March 14, 2018