#DoGood: Freelancer, Dreamer, Fighter.
Word on the street is that there's a Lao American Renaissance occurring. Okay, maybe not. Maybe an "awakening" better describes the growing refugee-rooted Lao American community. Many Lao Americans have been making a splash in a pool of many fish and people are starting to reel in what we have to offer. Reeling in with a ripple effect is Krysada Binly Panusith Phounsiri (most call him "Binly"), a first-generation millennial Lao American author, dancer, community organizer, and engineer from San Diego, CA. I was able to connect with him and learn about his work and what fuels his drive and passion to build in creative and community spaces. Most recently, he led the team behind the Lao American Writers Summit, a national gathering of Lao American creatives and organizers. Read on to learn about how this Lao American renaissance man is making moves and doing good.
What are three words that best describe you?
Freelancer. Dreamer. Fighter.
What's a day in the life of Binly?
My current day in the life as it's been for the past year: I wake up sore from a night of training` or from some dance-related event` while getting hit with a million emails between the 5-7 hours of sleep I had. Then I hit the drive to work at the biotech company I'm currently in. The work is hectic. Often times, I'm usually coming up with ideas to test or do analysis on certain segments of prototypes, or I'm in the lab doing more hands-on experimentation or characterization of sub-systems I'm responsible for. In between the breaks at work, I'm communicating with folks who are helping me organize my Crew's Anniversary Dance Event, or some booking / hashing out details of a near-future photo shoot with clients or friends, or booking a community event for my poetry readings, or posting some of my work on Instagram, or just something. Then after work, I hit Breaking practice or go to meetings. This month has been real busy for the summit, so I've been meeting with my local team a lot to set up the gallery for the event. Then when I hit home, I eat, drink whiskey / wine / beer / Ovaltine, and then hammer out a session of Street Fighter 5 or Call of Duty if time permits. If I'm in my creative mood or in-between a photo gig, I'm either trying to write a poem or editing photos from a photo shoot that I just finished during my nights. All while having good music playing around me.
What does "Het Dee Dai Dee" mean to you? And, how is it relevant?
It truly means what it says - Do Good, Receive Good. It's a great approach to life. I believe it more and more as I get older. To me, life hits with many challenges and struggles. If you focus on doing good, as your bare minimum in how you treat people and your day to day, good things will come. If you do great, great things will come. It's relevant to me because I intend on treating people around me good. I hope that the work I do, the art I create, and the way I dance, makes people feel good at the very least. I hope that the impact of those things are good. I don't expect goodness to return, but it does complete that circle.
How are you doing good for yourself? For others?
I try to keep myself in check. I train my mind, my body, and my psyche to give me the strength to endure long days which have become a lot more normal in the recent years. I do my best to give people the respect that they deserve. They don't have to give me anything, but again, at the very least, I'll try and make sure I won't be the problem in any situation. When it comes to creative work, collaboration with good intentions is key for me. Staying healthy in all wavelengths is something I strive for.
What's a quote/philosophy you live by? How has this worked for you?
Love Fiercely and Love Fearlessly. My Poetry Teacher, Marcos Ramirez said that to us in the most important poetry class I've ever taken. I live by this. I resist the negative by fighting back with love. It needs to be without fear that I love what I do, the lifeforms around me, and love what I believe in. I must love fiercely; my passions must be met with conviction and the tenacity behind projecting that energy to the world.
What's a challenge that you face on your journey to becoming a leader? What are some social expectations you have to overcome?
There are many challenges ranging from dealing with people to learning how to quickly adapt to sudden harsh changes of the situation at hand. Even with the recent occurrences of moving many projects and events forward, there have been a lot of discussions, changes, and shift in moods. I have to learn how to accommodate, communicate, and motivate the teams I work with. I have to be considerate of people's needs while truly focusing on the work we must accomplish. The dialogue throughout the day shifts from talking about engineering specifications, failure modes in designs, how to adjust leg patterns or sweeps to make a Bboy's footwork look better, how to better represent Lao American artist works, etc. Through all the range of conversations, I learned that you not only must grasp the bigger picture as a leader. You must be willing to experience the elements of the bigger picture. Relating to experiences and people is so important in whatever you do.
For social expectations, I have to be aware of who I am in the context of what is around me. It's a little funny, but I do feel like a lot of folks expect the moon and the stars after I've given a world of information and support. I have to be tolerant of people's behaviors and attitudes so that I know how to motivate people and drive them positively with the amount of conflict. There are times when you know there may be two or more people who don't want to work together, you have to be able to be a center point of energy to get people amped to continue working. A leader has to take the hits. Accountability and Responsibility of everything, without thirsting over obtaining credit.
How do you motivate others to do good?
Some of this was what I said above. On top of being understanding of people's struggles, experiences, and personalities, you have to be radiant in your presence. Your presence has to be such that they're happy to be working. The labor is shared. You give them the ambiance they need to stay productive. I try to do this with the folks I work with anywhere. If I'm practicing and training real hard, it's because I want to share that kind of dedication with my crew. We all put it down in the circle we train at, the energy is shared. Then we can start opening dialogue about what looks good, what doesn't look good, etc. You reinforce what you like and what you do your best to drive where you feel the priority is when it comes to getting work done. Always give your team members props when they deserve it. You give everyone neutral attention; no favoring of people allowed. Give people a reason to fight the good fight.
Who is your greatest role model and why?
Bruce Lee originally was my greatest role model. I learned from him in so many ways. One of those things is to take what I like, and reject what I don't. Over the years I've learned from so many people, fictional characters, ideas, aspects of nature, and especially music. The universe can give so much, and I'm doing the best I can to soak it all in to release in the creative ways that I can.
If you were in a break battle with your all-time nemesis, what would be your ultimate finisher?
I approach battles in terms of reacting to the music and how it weaves into my approach of an attack. The moves come second, it's more of what I want to deliver conceptually. Whatever happens, if I am battling someone I really want to smoke, everything I do must hit with calamitous intention to my opponent. That is for sure.
Want more of Binly? Check out his work below.
Instagram/Twitter: @bboylancer & @snappilots
Tell us how you're doing good! Share your story and tag TI on social with the hashtag #DoGood.