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Jeremy Lin has done what I, as a kid, never thought was possible -- he is a Chinese-American who has entered the mysterious realm of cool. Though he is tattoo-free and yet to date a Kardashian, Linsanity has swept the world! Just last week, Lin out-scored Kobe! It doesn't get much cooler than that.

Some people have argued that Lin is just a guy and not a god, and that he is only getting attention because he is Asian.  I say, "What's wrong with that?"

Growing up, I didn't have many Chinese-American role models. I couldn't relate to the hardships of ancestors from China. I was simply trying to be an official citizen of the adolescent nation of cool while riding out the waves of teenage angst. My American-born cousins graduated from U.C. and were hired for good office jobs, but did nothing that could really be considered "cool." For the time being, I traversed mountains of schoolwork as another brainiac member of the model minority, a tradition as old as chop suey.

Jeremy Lin continued this tradition too, first at Paly High, then Harvard. Today, he could easily snag a good job with a Wall Street window office, marry a pastor's daughter -- Asian, of course -- and ride into the sunset in an un-cool but fuel-efficient hybrid. Instead, Lin has put this life on hold to play his heart out on the court.

The model minority remains as such because there have been few role models who have gone against this perceived ideal life. Jeremy Lin is one of those few. He has refused to settle for a safety net of stereotypical expectations. Instead, he is climbing an unpredictable road in search of greatness.


Lin became his own role model by defining life by his own terms rather than following the norm. On the court, Jeremy can simply be himself. He challenges Asian stereotypes by being aggressive, passionate and goofy. He is just a guy, an Asian one, putting his heart and soul into a job he's crazy about, and modeling that it's okay for Asian kids to do the same. And that, in itself, is pretty darn cool.

With a Perspective, I'm Rebecca Leung. 

Rebecca Leung teaches English at Mills High School in Millbrae.