In this submission by Shaun S. (not to be confused with our staff writer Shaun Yeoh), we see a different side of Asian Service. Volunteering at Marathons is very Asian. With all the community-service hungry college applicants, you shouldn’t be surprised if you see that 3/5 of the staff at a Marathon is Asian. Well, here goes!
It’s well established that White people enjoy running marathons. (Marathons are large milestones in White peoples’ lives). However, they are large events to coordinate and run. This is where Asians come in: volunteering to register people, seting up stations, cleaning up the trash runners throw on the ground, and the most sought after job — handing out cups of water or gatorade to runners as they go by.
On the surface, this may look like a microcosm of colonialism, with Asians serving White people for no pay. However, closer inspection will reveal that the Asians volunteering are part of a club or community service organization that sees the marathon as an opportunity to serve. Nevermindthat the marathon ‘community’ consists of people who buy expensive shoes every other month, go to pricey marathon training clinics and have sufficient free time to go running all the time — there’s community service hours to be earned and college resumes to pad.
Since there is little time to talk and so many participants, there isn’t much you can say to them that will leave a lasting impact. ”Thank you” will suffice. ”You are what makes this event” will leave them glowing until a runner fumbles the water cup into them. Really, the best you can hope for is that an Asian person will talk in casual conversation about volunteering at a run. You should then talk about your experience in one, and how the water station volunteers looked like an oasis. It will not sound disingenuous to use the words “hero,” “saint” or “Jesus.”
Thanks for the submission, Shaun! Stay tuned for Saturday’s post as well.
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