VOLUME 28 NO. 5 | JANUARY 24 - JANUARY 30, 2009

Oxen unite!
Obama, me, and our year of ox

Last updated 1-22-09 at 5:54 p.m.

Image by Stacy Nguyen

By Stacy Nguyen
Northwest Asian Weekly

The similarities between President Obama and myself are uncanny.

For instance, he is a person of color; I am also a person of color. He likes to play basketball; I’ve seen “Hoosiers” and “Glory Road.” Just as Obama and Oprah sat around listening to Kanye West’s 808s & Heartbreak album, I, too, debated the merits of keeping my love locked down.

Did you also know that Obama and I were both born in the year of the ox?

I can’t speak for Obama, but being an ox has given me a complex. My sister is a tiger — courageous, sassy, and magnetic. My brother is a monkey — brilliant and creative.

When I was younger, through a bad translation, my parents led me to believe that I was a hippo, the kind you find at the zoo — sluggish, stupid, lazy, and immensely fat.

My mom later clarified this, saying, “You are … something that is only found in Vietnam, so I can’t describe it to you so that you’ll understand. But basically you are a water cow.”

A water cow? So, still sluggish, stupid, lazy, and immensely fat?

She meant to convey that I am a water buffalo. In the Vietnamese zodiac, a water buffalo is equivalent to a Chinese ox.

However, Obama, our president, is an accomplished man who is not sluggish, stupid, or lazy. He isn’t “immensely fat,” either. Does this mean he is an exception? Or have my perceptions of the ox been wrong all these years?
Ox people are not social or party animals; they tend to be quiet when in a crowd.

It’s hard for me to imagine that Obama is a wallflower. Did you watch that episode of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” when he was on? After Ellen introduced him, he came out dancing … and he had some serious moves.
He can definitely get crunk with the best of them.

Ox people are capable of fearsome rages. Therefore, it is better not to cross an ox.

Speaking for myself, I do flip out on a daily basis. However, I don’t think my episodes are fearsome so much as they are funny — and a little sad.

I disagree here for Obama, as he appears to be a very even-tempered person based on his speeches and debates.

Ox people are observant. They have remarkable memories and are good at reporting on absolutely everything they observe.

So true! Hellooo? I’m a reporter. I report stuff all the time!

I’d speculate that this is true for Obama as well. He was president of the prestigious Harvard Law Review, a law journal. The amount of detail, information, and organization that would go into that kind of publication would make my head explode. Obama must have a spectacular memory.

Ox people often find that those who are close to them fail to understand them.

Um, the only reason why people don’t understand me is because I’m too brilliant.

I can potentially see this being an issue with Obama only because he is in a position that only a handful of other living people have been in — being the U.S. president. Forgive me for getting deep here, but I imagine that it’s easy to become psychologically isolated in that role.

Ox people sometimes labor long hours to accomplish little.

Never! That is, unless I’m doing it on purpose to manipulate someone else into helping me finish the work, of course.
Though I don’t know the man personally, I have a really hard time seeing Obama with this trait. Any politician who has reached those upper tiers within the U.S. government is a person who hustles. People like that don’t sit idle. They are ambitious. They are productive. (end)

Stacy Nguyen can be reached at stacy@nwasianweekly.com.


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