Asian Avenue magazine - August 2014

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asian avenue magazine

Connecting Cultures Linking Lives

August 2014 Volume 9 Issue 8

“I Believe� is the way of the Choki Art School of Bhutan


Street Eats: Take a food tour of Saigon, Vietnam


Ring Pocket

launches online fashion accessories by Korean artists

Miss asian american colorado

Agnes pham

COLORADO CHINESE LANGUAGE SCHOOL First Day of School: August 17, 2014 Class Time: Sundays Extra curriculum class: 1pm - 2pm Regular class: 2pm - 4pm

School Location: Thomas Jefferson High School 3950 S. Holly St. Denver, CO 80237 (I-25 & Hampden) Duration: 14 week semester

Colorado Chinese Language School offers intensive Chinese language class for those interested in business or conversational Chinese in listening or speaking. CCLS is the only Chinese language school in Colorado that offers students to learn either traditional or simpliied Chinese characters.

2014-2015 Scholarships

Scholarships are available for Denver Public Schools’ students. Availability is limited in certain classes. For qualiications, visit Candidates must submit applications for consideration by August 30th to CCLS’s P.O. Box 3232, Littleton, CO 80161 or email:

For more information, contact us at or (720) 466-1454 or visit our website:

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Dear Asian Avenue readers, There is still time to get those summer vacations in! Our staff writer Mary Schultz has great recommendations for foodies interested in a Saigon food tour, as well as those who love the outdoors with her kayaking expertise. This issue we feature the 2014 Miss Asian American Colorado, Agnes Pham, a student at Regis University. On July 12, 2014, she was crowned with the one-year title and will complete a community service project as well as represent Asian American women during in this coming year. She shares about her experience in the leadership program and aspirations for the future. We also interview the first and second runner-up, Lena Chhay and Brenda La, and this year’s Miss Enriched Kayla Park. These bright young women are looking forward to giving back to their communities and using the skills they’ve learned in the program to apply in other parts of their lives. Our spotlight highlights a good friend of the magazine, Sum Cong Nguyen, who was a 2012 Asian American Hero of Colorado award recipient. At the age of 76, he recently received his Master of Business Administration, becoming the oldest graduate of Colorado Technical University. And did I mention he was a straight A student? Congratulations to Sum, who exhibits amazing perseverance and dedication, and shows younger generations it is never too late or too difficult to further your education. Do you want to be in the Ring? Ring Pocket invites you to learn more about its Korean fashion and accessories, now available in the U.S. All of the company’s artwork and merchandise are 100% handmade. Ring Pocket empowers everyday individuals by providing opportunities to become the faces of Ring Pocket as models. Models find their own individuality and uniqueness that nobody else has! Hence, the fashion company is hosting a casting call at Denver’s Larimer Square on August 9 and 10. Learn more at That same weekend is the annual Boulder Asian Festival on Pearl Street and the AsiaXpress Tennis Tournament held at Gates Tennis Center. Learn more about the festival at or sign up for the tournament at Other upcoming events include Taste of Indonesia, Aurora’s Global Fest and the Taste of Colorado. Experience the rich diversity and plethora of cultures Colorado has to offer! Enjoy the amazing food and traditional performances that will take place at these festivals. We hope to see you! Happy reading, Annie Guo, President Asian Avenue magazine

asian avenue magazine

staff & support

Publisher & Founder: Christina Yutai Guo President: Annie Guo Senior Designer: C.G. Yao Designer: Jonathan Nguyen Staff Writer: Patricia Kaowthumrong Staff Writer: Mary Jeneverre Schultz Staff Writer: Brenda Velasquez Photographer: Trang Luong Intern: Monica Lin Intern: Akemi Tsutsui Intern: Mai Choua Lee

advisors group

General Counsel: Michael C. Song Patty Coutts, Donna LaVigne, Nestor J. Mercado, Sum C. Nguyen, Alok Sarwal, Peter Warren, John Yee, Nai-Li Yee, George N. Yoshida

contributing writers

Harry Budisidharta, Wayne Chen Denver Art Museum, Aurelia Jareno Grinstead, Kaylin Shioshita, Binh Tran

contributing photographers

Daniel Huynh, Saigon Street Eats, Dao Than

on the cover

2014 Miss Asian American Colorado Agnes Pham was crowned on July 12, 2014 at the Miss Asian American Colorado finale show. She shares about her experience in the leadership program and plans for the future. Photo by Dao Than


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To submit story ideas, letters to the editor or event calendar listings, e-mail Asian Avenue magazine (ISSN 1932-1449) reserves all copyrights to this issue. No parts of this edition can be reproduced in any manner without written permission. The views expressed in articles are the authors’ and not necessarily those of Asian Avenue magazine. Authors may have consulting or other business relationships with the companies they discuss.

Published by Asian Avenue Magazine, Inc. P.O. Box 221748 Denver, CO 80222-1748 Tel: 303.937.6888 Fax: 303.750.8488 Asian Avenue magazine is in association with the Colorado Asian Culture and Education Network.


August 2014 | President’s Note

Harry Budisidharta

Think Smart.

Criminal Cases | Domestic Violence | DUI

(303) 377-3474 2012 Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year Recipient Awarded by the Arapahoe County Bar Association & Asian Pacific American Bar Association




Find Inside >>


Table of Contents

6 7

Event Calendar Spotlight Sum Nguyen becomes oldest MBA student at Colorado Technical University



Cover Story: 2014 Miss Asian American Colorado Agnes Pham is a student at Regis University with a bright future

Inside Story Through promoting art, Choki follows a way of “I Believe”

Travel Streets of Saigon food tour features mainly seafood dishes

Ring Pocket opens up shop for Korean fashion and accessories

Kayaking from Vietnam to Wyoming


UST singers perform international tour and visits Colorado




Book Review The Madwoman in the Volvo by Sandra Tsing Loh

August 2014 | Table of Contents



Legal Column: Redestricting What is the UN? And what do that do?

Feature Filipino woman conquers Mount Kilimanjaro by training on Colorado 14ers

A humbling lesson in parenting


On Scene


Dragon Boat Festival celebrates 14 years as Colorado’s largest pan-Asian event

Vietnamese students travel to Dallas for annual UNAVSA leadership conference

Nisei War Day Service at Fairmount Cemetery honors veterans

Sherry Cree fundraises for cancer research and rappels off side of Denver building

26 27


National News Art At the Mirror: Reflections of Japan in 20th Century Prints Chinese Idiom “Like Attracts Like”


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upcoming events Phenomenal Women Retreat Saturday, August 9, 11am to 5pm

The Brittany Hill 9350 Grant St, Thornton, Colorado 80229 Cost: $56 students; $75 general; $90 at door For more info, visit or contact As mindful, intelligent, beautiful and phenomenal women, we deserve a day well spent to ourselves. Take a day to rejuvenate yourself from the stress of our lives as the Fortitude Foundation presents the first annual women’s retreat. There will be yoga, workshops, motivational speakers, inner/outer beauty bar, networking fun with other professional women of Colorado and so much more! A continental breakfast and banquet lunch will be served, silent auctions and gift bags. Casual/yoga attire recommended.

16th annual AsiaXpress Tennis Tournament

mances from across the globe, a colorful parade of national flags, and cultural exchanges through food and drink. Stop by the world reading room to discover an international literary piece. Visit the Main Stage to see community groups perform dance and theater pieces. The evening heats up at 6 p.m. when featured performers take the stage; take in an exciting show while tasting international beverages. Event organizers are bringing people together from around the world who call Aurora home. This event is about creating a day where heritages are recognized and celebrated for the beauty they bring to the city. Aurora is a place where you can hear 10 languages and enjoy flavors and foods from Ethiopia to Vietnam just by driving a few blocks through town.

Taste of Indonesia Democratic & Cultural Celebration – Food Bazaar Sunday, August 24, 12pm to 2:30pm

Food Bazaar 12pm to 3:30pm Free Show in Auditorium 12:30pm to 2:30pm Central Park Recreation Center 9651 E. Martin Luther King Jr Blvd., Denver, CO For more info, visit or contact

Sponsored by the Arcinda - The Arts & Culture of Indonesia, join us for the 69th Indonesian Independence Day celebration family event. There will be music, songs, and dances from throughout regions including Java, Sumatera, Sulawesi, Nusatennggara. The event will also welcome Arcinda’s new leader and the choir will sing patriotic songs.

Children’s Buddhist Etiquette Camp

Saturday, September 6, 9am to Sunday, September 7, 12pm

Denver Buddhist Culture Society 2530 West Alameda Ave., Denver, CO 80219 Cost: $80 Registration deadline is August 18. For more info, contact 303-935-3889.

Weekend of August 9-10

Gates Tennis Center 3300 East Bayaud Avenue Denver, CO 80209 Cost: $15 Juniors; $25 Singles; $30 Doubles For more info, visit Rain or shine - join the annual AsiaXpress Tennis Tournament! Players of all ages are welcome to participate. One free lunch voucher per person per day while still in draw.

Aurora’s Global Fest

Saturday, August 23, 12pm to 10pm

Aurora Municipal Center 15151 E. Alameda Parkway, Aurora, CO Cost: Free & Open to the Public For more info, visit Aurora’s Global Fest promises stunning cultural music and dance and delicious ethnic eats and drinks. Fantastic flavors, cultural experiences and artistic expression abound at Global Fest. Eventgoers will experience a diverse array of perfor-

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August 2014 | Event Calendar

Sum Nguyen graduates with

Master of Business Administration


The graduation ceremony for Colorado Technical University honored nearly a thousand students at the Bellco Theater in the Colorado Convention Center on Saturday, June 21. Most notable was one of the graduating students, Sum Cong Nguyen, who will turn 77 years old in November. While CTU celebrates 50 years of being established and having more than 70,000 alumni, Nguyen is the oldest student to graduate from the institution. With great applause and admiration from the audience, he walked across the stage and received his Master of Business Administration (MBA). Nguyen, who is Vietnamese-American, shared that he had good achievement in his courses. From the beginning to the end of his graduate career, he maintained all “A’s” and received only one A-. He is indeed a great role model for his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, and said to inspire the young generation in general. Nguyen was a former officer in the Armed Forces of the Republic of Vietnam. He escaped Vietnam in 1975 to avoid Vietnamese communist revenge and look for freedom. Now he resides in Aurora, Colorado. During the past 39 years in the United States, he has continued to rise in his own new life and also participate in various community activities. While much of his time went to working and taking care of his family, he never quit on his road to education. In 1979, he graduated with an associated degree in electronics technology; in 1986, he received a Bachelor of Science in electronics engineering technology, and now he has graduated with a Master of Business Administration. Nguyen is a recipient of the 2012 Asian American Hero of Colorado award presented by the Colorado Asian Culture and Education Network. He is the first Vietnamese American to run for city council at large in Aurora. On three occasions, he has received community service awards from the Asian Education Advisory Council of Denver Public Schools and was honored twice with a certificate of appreciation from Abraham Lincoln High School. He has had particular interest in working with young people in education. So for nearly 20 years, he has collaborated with Professor Ba VoVan, Professor Quang Nguyen and Ms. VanTrinh Tran, coordinator of the Multicultural Outreach Office of Denver Public Schools, and teacher Mr. Toan Tran to support and encourage students to pursue their education. Nguyen showed by example that age can be overcome in higher education and he wishes to still further his education if his health allows. In the afternoon of his graduation day, Nguyen’s children organized a party to celebrate their father’s success. Nguyen had feelings of thanks for his good friends, including a representative of former Vietnamese Prisoner of War in Colorado, Mr. Thuyen Tran, Mr. & Mrs. Binh Tran, Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Bat, Professor Ba VoVan, Mr. Toan Tran, Ms. VanTrinh Tran, and Ms. Lilly Hue Truong. Nguyen said he wishes the spirit of the graduation ceremony is deeply spread to students and the younger generation as a symbol. It is a reflection of the persistence it takes to overcome all difficulties such as age, and to encourage younger generations to always strive for a better future. Photos by Toan Tran,Tuyet Trinh Nguyen, Danh Nguyen

By Binh Tran

Nguyen celebrates with his wife Anh Lam and his family at his graduation party.

On Sunday, June 22, Nguyen’s family hosted a graduation party for him at the home of his oldest daughter, Suong Nguyen, and sonin-law Phuc Nguyen.

Spotlight | asian avenue magazine



shares the culture and art of Bhutan Contact: 303.517.7424 |

Choki is a local Denver non-profit organization founded with the mission of protecting the cultures and traditions of the most sacred places left in the world. Choki wants to accomplish a world of “I believe,” with the purpose of sharing the traditional arts from the world’s poorest communities, by revealing to the developed world the beauty that these secluded cultures have to offer. The Kingdom of Bhutan is the last true Kingdom left in the world. Bhutan is a small country located between China and India, counting on a small population of only 741,822 people. Also known as the “Land of the Thunder Dragon”, “Kingdom in the Clouds” and “The last Shangrila”, Bhutan’s landscape is only rivaled by the beauty of its people. Bhutan’s culture differentiates from the rest of the world because it is the only one that does not measure its success by a percentage of economic growth, but rather by their commitment of keeping all citizens happy via its measurement of “Gross National Happiness” and inner development. Bhutan is a country where life is respected and honored, as well as it is a place of mystery and wonder where Monks are placed in high standing positions in government, giving strong moral and spiritual support to its people. Choki supports the only private institution in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan that offers training on traditional arts and crafts. In addition, the school serves as an orphanage providing free tuition, food and lodging to the most disfavored youths of the region. The limited resources make it difficult for students to continue their training. As a consequence, some of them cannot pursue their education and there-


August 2014 | Inside Story

fore strive to follow their dreams by going to work in local factories for low wages. Choki seeks to find economic sustainability for the school and its students. Beyond this purpose, the traditional arts will be valued and preserved by future generations. Pride in Bhutanese children artists is unequal to any other; heart and mind work together to create art that is beautiful beyond measure. Choki wants to create the invaluable opportunity of maintaining Bhutanese traditions alive, and to protect future generations of artisans while preserving hundreds of years of extraordinary culture. Choki believes that art serves as communication for the improvement of society, social relationships and consciousness, and that it contributes to a greater understanding of human experience. Our goal is to subsidize traditional artists from distressed backgrounds so they can do what they love, and to help raise awareness of their communities and cultures internationally through their creations. From cosmic mandalas of incredible measurement, to detailed wood carvings with local symbolism, and raw silk scarves made by hand by extraordinary women. These pieces are offered to the public with all proceeds returned to the artist’s communities for sustainable development projects. Art is the most beautiful invention of mankind; it is the universal language of life and a reflection of self for the artist. We believe in the creative powers of the people, as much as we believe that they must be supported. For more information on how you can be a part of Choki, visit to learn about ongoing projects.

Mandala art

Wanna Ring With Us? Ring Pocket to bring hand-crafted accessories and more to the U.S.

Ring Pocket

is an online fashion accessories platform where you can get your very first pick of the 100% handmade accessories from our individual artists in Korea. With the wave of K-pop and K-drama, there has been a hightened attention on everything Korean, including fashion, so it was the perfect timing to bring Ring Pocket to the United States. The name Ring Pocket means, “to keep in a circle,” which reflects our concepts that make us so much more than just a fashion retail store and here’s why: At Ring Pocket, we believe in empowering people through fashion. How? We empower individual artists in Korea who are extremely artistic, skilled and crafty, by creating a platform where they can showcase and sell their pieces of “artwork” as we call it. The artists are handpicked by our Merchandise Director at Korea’s fashion districts where generally people would have to do the leg work to find the one-of-a-kind piece that they love; but we bring it right to you. When selecting the artists, we make sure their style and pieces reflect the natural beauty of traditional Korean art in some way because we want to play the role as the ambassador of Korean beauty. We also empower everyday individuals by creating opportunities to become the faces of Ring Pocket as models. Through this experience they find their own individuality and uniqueness that nobody else has. At Ring Pocket, we believe in connecting and communicating with people. By bringing together individually-operated artist, ordinary people as models, we continuously connect and communicate with people—in Korea, in the United States, and in all of the other countries where we will bring our Ring Pocket Casting and our accessories. We also believe in creating a community around Ring Pocket. By using fashion accessories as the medium, we strive to connect people from all around the world and create a global “Ring Pocket Community!” Last but not the least, we believe in having fun. What good is all this without the fun factor? We are working hard to make your Ring Pocket experience fun for you and this is only possible through your honest feedback. So connect with us, communicate with us and be in the Ring so we can be as good as we can be! We are less than a month away from launching our website,, but in the meantime connect with us on our social media pages: @Ring Pocket on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Have fun, be fashionable, be YOU. Ring Pocket casting call on August 9 and 10 at Larimer Square in downtown Denver! Please visit Ring Pocket FB page and join in the Ring! Inside Story | asian avenue magazine


UST Singers Serenades Coloradans By Aurelia Jareno Grinstead

For more information, visit, or contact the tour manager at


August 2014 | Inside Story

From the oldest running Catholic university in Asia, the acclaimed “The University of Santo Tomas Singers” (UST) visits Colorado as part of their three-month concert tour in the United States. Founded in 1992 under the baton of founder and conductor Professor Fidel G. Calalang Jr., the group is on its 27th international tour which has garnered numerous local and international awards including Choir of the World-Luciano Pavarotti Trophy in 1995 and 2010. “The group’s mission is to represent our country, the Philippines, and be ambassadors of goodwill through the art of choral music,” said Dr. Lynnette Velasquez, former member and president of the choir. The choir visited 15 states during their three-month tour which included a week stop in Colorado. The choir performed in Rialto Theater in Loveland on June 2; Crosswind Community Church on July 4; and Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church on July 6. Their performances were well attended, not only by Filipinos but people from all walks of life in the community. All concerts finished with a standing ovation from the audience. “They are truly amazing. They made me proud to be a Filipino,” said Lorna, a supporter of the concerts. A clinic in choral technique was also held at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church on July 6 which was attended by 32 musicians. Professor Calalang shared a few techniques and choral art that the UST Singers use. While in Colorado the singers also visited the magnificent Red Rocks Amphitheater, Garden of the Gods and Colorado National Park.

Being part of the choir requires dedication and discipline. “Studying while on tour is not easy,” said Eunice, one of the choir’s soprano singers, studying her second year in medicine. The choir said that part of the money that they make from this tour will be used for their expenses on their international competition in Europe next year. It was indeed an incredible experience to watch this talented group perform and get to know them personally. While in Colorado the singers where accommodated by host families who enjoyed free rock house music from their adoptees. The singers sang everywhere they went including their visit to the second annual Filipino American Friendship Day picnic hosted by PASCO and FACC at the Clement Park. Andre and Don said that their favorite part of the tour was seeing the happiness on their audience’s faces and the impact that their music brings. The thought that they will leave something behind and take something with them enriches their experience. Two days—is all it took for host families to fall in love with their adoptees. Tears were shed and lots of hugs were thrown before their bus left for Utah, their next concert destination. Dr. Velasquez would like to thank the host families, coordinators, volunteers and everyone who gave their time to support and make the UST singers feel at home. She believes that the singers made an impact on those that heard their voices and left a soft spot on everyone’s hearts that met them.

Book Review

The Madwoman in the Volvo: My Year of Raging Hormones

Reviewed by Mary Jeneverre Schultz


s a renaissance woman, who is trying to balance a family, relationships and a career, then figure out the menopausal phase of her life, author Sandra Tsing Loh attempts to understand and share her findings through her recent book release. Sandwiched between caring for a 93-year-old father and raising a couple of girls, Loh expressed amazement on the “modern” woman. “I started menopause when I turned 46 and experienced extreme mood swing,” she said. “I couldn’t get through the day.” In her quest to find answers, she found solutions that did not work. Cutting alcohol, reducing sugar and caffeine or walking was found in general advice from physicians and self-improvement books. “They did not work for me,” said Loh, contributing editor to The Atlantic. Every day, it is estimated 10,000 Baby Boomers are retiring from their careers throughout the United States. That statistic is translated to an estimated 48 million women are in the menopausal age bracket – 45 to 60. By 2015, half of the female population in the United States will have reached menopause, according to research by Dr. Christiane Northrup, a leading authority in the field of women’s health. Loh is part of a generation that she dubs “Generation Triple M” (Middle-Aged Moms in Menopause). It’s an historically unprecedented phenomenon: at 48 million members, middle-aged women are America’s largest demographic group, and they are simultaneously juggling caregiving, work, and relationships while going through the change. Summary of book With candor and wit, the book begins with the end of her marriage and ends with her 50th birthday party. She shares her encounters with Facebook as she monitors her daughter’s activities. In the process, she witnessed a 10-year-old bully, attempting to tackle her daughter’s problem head-on. Other stories include caring for her father and his marital troubles, her attempts to diet and dire efforts in de-cluttering her home in California. She discusses family, relationships, friendships between women, her career, the delights of procrastination, the perils of overreaction, and the fear of aging, yet find hilarity in it all.

Title: The Madwoman in the Volvo: My Year at Raging Hormones Author: Sandra Tsing Loh Publication Date: May 2014 | Price: $25.95 hardcover ISBN: 978-0-393-08868-7 | Page Count: 283 pages

About Sandra Tsing Loh Writer and performer, she is the host of the syndicated show The Loh Down on Science and the author of five previous books. Her work has appeared in Best American Essays. In addition to having been a regular commentator on NPR’s Morning Edition and PRI’s This American Life, she has performed two solo shows off-Broadway. She lives in Pasadena, California. Learn more about Sandra Tsing Loh on her website at

Fan reaction Personally, Loh wishes she had a book like this as she approaches mid-life. While the primary focus is directed to female readers, she shared male readers appreciate the thoughtful insights. “Yes, this book is about midlife meltdown,” said Loh. She hopes readers will walk away with a key message. “Go mad for a moment.” Loh said there’s a notion for women to do too much anyways. “A woman is working full-time, keeping marriage fresh and vacillating between way too many roles,” she said. Book Review | asian avenue magazine


Like many Miss Asian American Colorado (AACO) participants, Agnes Pham had doubts about joining the leadership program. But in the end, Pham says it was one of the best experiences of her life — and that’s not because she was named 2014’s winner at the seventh annual Miss Asian American Colorado Leadership Program.


Miss Asian American Colorado agnes pham

Article by Patricia Kaowthumrung Photos by Dao Than


August 2014 | Cover Story

2014 Miss AACO: Agnes Pham “I was terrified of this program because it was so different from anything that I had ever known, but it ended up being one of the best experiences of my life,” says Pham, a 20-year-old Vietnamese-American student at Regis University. “I am, of course, still the same person, but I am beyond grateful for the ways the program changed me. I can say confidently that I am a better person after the program than I was before it!” Pham and 12 other young ladies ages 18 to 25 from Asian American Pacific Islander communities in Colorado came together for the four-month-long leadership program, where they participated in empowering workshops, community service projects, personal development activities, networking events and more. “When I first heard about the Miss AACO program, I almost immediately declined because its aspects of the finale show, the networking, the exposure to the community,” she says. “It terrified me, and I knew that I would feel uncomfortable if I joined. But I realized that a true leader is not afraid of being uncomfortable because being uncomfortable opens you up to new experiences, which ultimately makes you a better person. I joined in the end to become a better person.” For the program, Pham took on a service project involving fostering literacy in the community. A Colorado native, she is currently studying biochemistry at Regis University. “I want to attend medical school and become a doctor, but I also see myself maintaining some sort of presence within the community and volunteering,” Pham says. The Miss AACO program culminated at the finale show on July 12 at the Auraria Campus’ Tivoli Student Union. Pham scored the highest in the program overall, which ranked participants for their service projects, participation, leadership, interviews, on-stage Q&A and talent performances at the finale show. Pham’s talent involved speed finger painting. While appearance is not a factor in the program’s

judging, it is a common misconception about Miss AACO, according to Pham. “My least favorite part [of the program] was the fact that people continually mistook us for a beauty pageant,” Pham says. “I still get that a lot, and while it underrepresents all of the good things that this program does for its members and the community, I see it as an opportunity to share with others abou what this great program truly is.” A New Beginning Many changes were incorporated into this year’s Miss AACO, including the most significant change in the program’s leadership since its foundation seven years ago. Dao Than, 2011’s Miss AACO, joined Annie Guo, Miss AACO founder and director, as the program’s new president. Than, who graduated in fall 2013 with a degree in biochemistry and a minor in fine arts, has participated in Miss AACO yearly since 2011. After her win, she returned to served as a “big sister,” or mentor to other participants, and on the planning committee, an aspect of the program that encourages women to develop organizational skills to lead and design the program as they see fit. Than says Miss AACO has led her to many great opportunities. For example, she currently serves on the planning board for Uplift Internationale’s annual charity gala after volunteering for the gala with Miss AACO. One of most valuable things Than acquired from participating in Miss AACO is self confidence. “In the months before joining Miss AACO, I was going through a very dark period of selfdoubt,” she says. “I had no idea what I was doing in life or even what I wanted to be doing. Joining Miss AACO completely turned that around. I was able to find things that I was good at, and I was taught how to use those skills to help people. Miss AACO really fostered the belief that every woman is beautiful in her own way.” Under Than’s enthusiastic leadership, the 2014 Miss AACO program endured a few changes, inMiss AACO | asian avenue magazine


cluding modifications in types of workshops and volunteer projects, the addition of new titles and a benefit gala event. “Everything was focused on our three key principles of leadership, service, and individuality,” Than says. “The biggest change we made was the logo. We got rid of the sash, crown and pageant look and made our logo into something that we really are — flames! We are girls on fire!” While Than is unsure if she’ll resume her role as president in 2015 (she plans to attend to medical school), she is proud of all the 2014 participants and how well the program went this year. “Of course my heart will always be with AACO, and I will always be a part of it somehow, but I want to give someone else the chance to take the lead,” Than says. ‘Girl on Fire’ While Pham learned many things during Miss AACO, including professionalism, leadership and service, what she really took with her at the program’s end was the belief that she could make an impact.

“This program teaches Asian American women that not only are they fully capable of addressing the needs in the community, but it shows them how to articulate their ideas and approach service in a practical and effective manner,” Pham says. Her favorite part of the program was spending time with the other candidates and becoming a part of the Miss AACO family. “There has been so much support, love, and encouragement between all of the candidates, and each of them were so inspirational and talented,” Pham says. “It was a privilege to serve the community and develop myself with them.” Pham says her greatest inspirations are her parents and friends, and says her Vietnamese upbringing has encouraged her to approach projects practically and realistically. “At the same time, I am extremely passionate about the beliefs and motivations behind these projects,” she says. “That desire to change the world and make literacy universal, for example, is the impetuous, free-thinking American in me! “Being Vietnamese also helps remind me of

Lena Chhay

Brenda La

First Runner-Up

Second Runner-Up

Miss Unity


the challenges that other people face, not only in Vietnam, but everywhere in the world,” Pham says. “There are so many people who are disadvantaged, who receive less than they deserve, and that acts as a constant motivation for me to work hard and attempt to change their circumstances.” Pham has many hobbies, including playing piano, reading, drawing, painting, running, baking and babysitting her nieces and nephews. It’s her personal philosophy that “the more things you do and try, the better you are as a person.” Pham also has a passion for eating, and because she truly enjoys everything, it’s impossible to choose a favorite food. “Unless coffee counts, in which case, coffee trumps everything,” she says. Pham’s advice for other young ladies seeking success is: “Never be afraid of opportunities to change yourself.” “I am still in disbelief about my crowning, but I feel overwhelmingly grateful for all of the support that my fellow candidates, AACO family and friends have given me,” she says. “I hope that this year I can prove myself worthy of them!”

Lena Chhay, a 21-year-old CambodianChinese American student at University of Denver, joined the Miss AACO program to meet other women with common passions. “I am happy to say that my expectations were far exceeded because all of the candidates this year were kind, amazing and beautiful leaders,” she says. Chhay, who wowed judges with her spoken word performance at the finale show, launched a Miss AACO service project focused on educational access. She started a high school mentorship program centered on sisterhood, as well as leadership training and community engagement opportunities. A native of Westminster, Chhay is working toward degrees in international studies and political science and minors in business administration, Chinese and psychology. A Daniels Fund Scholar, she also helped establish Kappa Phi Lambda Sorority at DU, an Asian-interest cultural sorority, and likes to travel and play tennis. Chhay’s Cambodian background has influenced her life in many ways. After visiting her long-lost aunt in Battambang, Cambodia and witnessing her optimism despite her poor living conditions, Chhay was inspired to bring her and millions of other people living under the poverty line a better life. “I am constantly inspired by strong individuals who have overcome struggle, then dedicated themselves to selfless causes afterwards,” says Chhay, who names Bill Daniels and her parents as her heroes. “My parents are survivors of the genocide in Cambodia. My father works two jobs, and my mom works 12-hour days 6 days a week at our donut shop — Tasty Donuts. “For them to have gone from refugees living in poverty to business owners, it’s incredible. Their work ethic and dedication to my sisters and me inspire me every day,” she says. In the fall, Chhay will study abroad in Chengdu, China and apply to an MBA program at DU. She would like to work toward a career as an U.S. Ambassador for U.S. Department of State. August 2014 | Cover Story

Miss Impact

Brenda La, who’s ultimate goal is to empower others, says the Miss AACO program taught her the importance of self worth, teamwork — and the power of being an Asian American woman. “The Miss AACO program is so much more than what other people see from the outside,” says La, a 19-year-old Vietnamese-Chinese American student at the University of Colorado Boulder. “It is a program that empowers women, helps us find ourselves and offers a safe haven for so many of us. We have the power to break molds. Unyielding support for each other is a guarantee, and I love that about the program.” Like many other participants, La joined Miss AACO to step outside of her comfort zone. The program helped La explore herself further and doubt herself less, she says. “This sisterhood is something I will always treasure,” La says. “I love my Miss AACO girls! My favorite part of the program was of course getting the opportunity to bond with some of the most amazing people in Colorado: the candidates, the committee, the judges and the sponsors.” “Passion in people inspires me the most; it is contagious,” she says. “I really look up to my parents. They are two of the bravest and strongest people I know. They push me to be a better and stronger person. I have learned everything from them.” La is a Colorado native who loves to read and play guitar in her spare time (she gave a beautiful singing and guitar-playing performance at the finale show). She also enjoys writing excerpts to her novel and splurge on all types of movies. A business student, La would like to run a business someday that is modeled to give back to the community. “My ultimate goal, though, is to have the ability to empower others — be a catalyst for kindness in the world,” says La, who initiated a service project focused on helping underprivileged communities. La’s advice for other young ladies seeking success is: “Believe in yourself, and be true to yourself. You have the power. You are you, so let you be you. No one else can do that for you.”

There are so many people who are disadvantaged, who receive less than they deserve, and that acts as a constant motivation for me to work hard and attempt to change their circumstances.” – Agnes Pham, 2014 Miss AACO

Kayla Park

Miss Enriched

Kayla Park was named “Miss Enriched,” a new award given to the most-improved and developed participant in this year’s Miss AACO program. The a 20-year-old Korean-American student at the University of Colorado Denver says the leadership program and support from fellow participants helped her move outside her comfort zone. “I learned to be confident in who I am, even if that means being my wacky self,” Park says, “I learned leadership skills that I could use in my school involvement. I learned to stand up for what I believe in and really fight for it.” Park’s service project focused on anti-bullying. “Being a victim of bulling from 3rd grade to my senior year of high school I was too scared to take a stand,” Park says. “But after joining Miss AACO I felt the need to educate people on how to handle bullying and encourage people that they don’t need to go through it alone!” Park, who volunteered at last year’s final show, joined Miss AACO to gain more leadership skills. She also noticed how close all of the participants were and thought the program seemed fun. “My favorite part of the program was getting close with all the girls,” she says. “They taught me how to be myself, and they loved me for me. Gaining the sisterhood is the best part of Miss AACO.” Park plans to graduate with a double degree in biology and psychology with a minor in chemistry and attend nursing school. A California native, Park enjoys going to events, hanging out with friends and being active in the community. She loves attending dance events and babysitting. Her advice for other young ladies is: “Be yourself. Enjoy what you are wanting to do. Don’t let people push you down.” Miss AACO | asian avenue magazine


Vice President Whitnee Nguyen and President Dao Than

Finale Show July 12 2014

Mr. AACO Performance

Judges: Chris Jose, Jinny Kim, Lillie Ben, Dr. Ranee Shenoi and Victor Nguyen

Kayla Park (Miss Enriched), Agnes Pham (Miss Asian American Colorado and Miss Network Savvy) and Lena Chhay (Miss Unity, First Runner-up and Miss Talent)

Candidates open the show in cultural attire with 2013 Miss AACO Thuy Trang singing “Rather Be”

Group Photo: 2014 Miss AACO candidates, Mr. AACO men, committee and alumni 16

August 2014 | Cover Story

Congratulations to the 2014 Miss Asian American Colorado Leadership Program Candidates

Miss AACO | asian avenue magazine


Food tour in Vietnam educates tourists and visitors about culinary delights By Mary Jeneverre Schultz Photo Credit: Saigon Street Eats


s Vietnam is evolving into the “goto” destination of southeast Asia, tour companies and food groups are bracing for the high increase of tourism. Total international arrivals in six months reached 4,287,885, increase 21% over the same period last year, according to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism. Saigon Street Eats, created by expat American, is building her food tour company based on these increasing numbers of tourists. “Our main aim is to demystify certain parts of daily life in Vietnam. Most visitors are trapped in the main tourists’ centers of Vietnam because that’s where English is spoken,” said Barbara Adam, owner of Saigon Street Eats. “Venturing Crabs are part of the seafood tour. into local areas can seem quite daunting if you don’t speak Vietnamese.” Vietnamese food, with influences from France and China, brings in fish sauce, rice and aromatic herbs such as lemongrass into the flavors, making it a culinary surprise for those, who are not used to so many infused seasonings in numerous entrees. Highlights Barbara started her food tour company with husband, Vu, hoping to lure more English-speaking tourists from United States, England and Australia to the area. Both tours allow visitors to peek into the local life and eating alongside with them throughout the walking tours. The format differs from most food companies.


August 2014 | Travel

Flavors line up on the restaurant shelves.

“We are an ‘un-tour’ kind of tour and we want our guests to feel like they’ve been hanging out with friends, who’ve been showing them the best parts of their town,” Adams said. However Adams warns their tours aren’t for everyone. “They’re for people with a sense of adventure, who are interested in diving into the local culture and eating what the local eat,” said Adams, adding the food is totally fantastic. Prices and hours Plan about four to five hours, depending on the tour. The morning tour is estimated to be about five hours while the evening tour runs about four hours. “It all depends how quickly people eat and how much they talk.” Adam said. At time of publication, rates cost about $55 to $65, depending on the type of tour. Check the website for updated prices.

Street vendors cook food in the market areas throughout Ho Chi Minh City.

Future plans The tour company plans to offer additional food tours throughout Ho Chi Minh City. “There’s such an amazing variety of food here, including many regional specialties from around the country,” Adam said. If you are planning to visit Ho Chi Minh (formerly known as Saigon), visit Saigon Street Eats at Mary Jeneverre Schultz loves Vietnamese food after her visit to Vietnam back in 2008. Tweet her @Jeneverre.

Over-sized prawns are succulent with a little work to peel.

Golden Shanghai Asian Restaurant

● The Best Chinese Restaurant by 710 AM Restaurant Show ● The Best Chinese Restaurant by the 1430 KEZW Restaurant Show ● Voted 2007 Top 100 Chinese Restaurant in the US

1412 S. Parker Rd. A-134 Denver, CO 80231 (303) 743-7666 (303)743-9079 (303)743-8210 Saigon Food Tour | asian avenue magazine




Kayaking Kayaking through Halong Bay,Vietnam allows visitors to visit small coves and islets throughout the islands.

Mary Jeneverre Schultz Asian Avenue magazine

Exploring a lake through a kayak is an ideal way of seeing nature up close. In a kayaking excursion, beginners learn how to get in and out with style, basic paddle strokes and the importance of wearing a life jacket. According to kayaking statistics, this sport is the fastest growing outdoor sports in the US. It is believed that more than two million people are into this fun and adventurous sport, many more are expected to join as kayaking gains more and more popularity. As a beginner, learn how to kayak through a reputable kayaking company. Around Jackson Lake, located in the Grand Teton National Park, kayaking is a more leisurely cruise around the lake, taking time to enjoy the natural woodland surroundings and posing for occasional photographs. Kayaking excursions are offered throughout Asia, especially through the Southeast countries of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. But if you can’t make the 15-hour plane trip to Asia, consider an eight-hour drive to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Lake Jackson, inside the Grand Teton National Park, offers the perfect environment for beginner kayakers. For $279 a person, O.A.R.S. offers a two-day, overnight camping, kayaking excursion throughout Jackson Lake. Participants meet with experienced tour guides at a docking area inside the Grand Teton National Park. A park fee of $25 is required before entering the national park. Kayak guides will direct participants to park their vehicles at overnight parking areas and suggest using the restroom facilities before the adventure begins in kayaking. A kayak allows one to quietly explore an estuary, an islet or cover, while enjoying breathtaking views that can’t be seen from shore.


August 2014 | Travel

Tour operators will suit up beginner kayakers with a life jacket, ensuring it is a good fit. Then, a push-off into the lake will get participants excited to start the morning off using their whole body rather than the arms to paddle throughout the lapping waves. Two hours into the 15-mile-long glacial lake, a lunch is set up on one of the islands. Carry mosquito repellent because the islands around the lake are full of it. Two more hours of kayaking brings adventure travelers to Grassy Island. O.A.R.S. is the only approved operator that can camp on this island. While beginner kayakers set up their tents, the guides set up camp and begin preparing an elaborate dinner. Camp set up includes a discussion of bear, make-shift toilet, kitchen, washing facilities and bear cans designed to hold products with scents. Before dinner is served, an evening kayak allows visitors to view wildlife sightings such as bison, deer, elk, buffalo and maybe a bear. After a leisure breakfast and maybe a hike throughout the island, kayakers prepare to pack everything, even trash so nothing is left behind. After kayaking for about an hour, another island stop is scheduled to take in the sights. Several hours of kayaking lead travelers back to Signal Mountain to celebrate the final moments of this water activity. Instead of driving back to Denver, kayakers opted to drive back into Jackson Hole and relax at the Bentwood Inn before the eight-hour drive. Mary Jeneverre Schultz has kayaked on Curacao, Halong Bay, Vietnam and Jackson Lake, Wyoming. Follow her on Twitter @Jeneverre.

Steven and Hien Herreria attempt kayaking teamwork through Halong Bay in Vietnam.


O.A.R.S. Grand Teton National Park Jackson Hole Visitor’s Center essentials/visitor_centers.php Bentwood Inn

United Nations: Who are they and what do they do? This month, I will talk about the history and purpose of the United Nations (UN). The UN was founded on October 1945, right after World War II ended. Pursuant to its charter, the UN is responsible for maintaining international peace, developing friendly relations among nations, promoting human rights, and fostering social and economic development. The UN’s headquarters is located in Manhattan, New York City, although it maintains offices in Geneva, Nairobi, and Vienna. Its system is based on six principal organs: the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the Secretariat, the International Court of Justice, and the United Nations Trusteeship Council. In addition to these six organs, the UN also manages the World Health Organization, World Bank Group, UNESCO, the World Food Programme, and UNICEF. The Secretary-General of the United Nations is the de facto spokesperson and leader of the United Nations. The UN Charter does not explicitly define the responsibilities and obligations of this position, which has allowed past Secretary-Generals to take a very active role in international diplomacy. The Secretary-General serves for five-year terms that can be renewed indefinitely, although no former Secretaries-General have served for more than two terms. This position is currently held by Ban Ki-Moon of South Korea since 2007. As part of its mission to maintain international peace, the UN can send peacekeeping forces to unstable regions in order to maintain peace and enforce the terms of peace agreements. Since the UN does not have its own military force, the peacekeeping forces are composed of troops from UN member countries. The UN has received mixed reviews regarding its peacekeeping efforts. In 2005, the Human Security Report noted a decline in the number of wars and human rights abuses, and attributed this decline to the involvement of the UN. However, the UN has also been criticized for its failure to prevent various genocides

(1970 Cambodian genocide, 1994 Rwandan genocide, etc). Much like any other bureaucracy, the UN is also hobbled by inefficiency and corruption. In 2004, the UN came under severe criticism for the way it administered the Oil-for-Food program. This is the program that was designed to allow Iraq to trade oil for food. An independent investigation found that this program was rampant with corruption and that many UN officials were involved with the corruption. Many people have called for the UN to reform itself, but nobody can agree on how to do it. The UN has played an important role in our world and will continue to shape our world for many years. I encourage all of you to visit the UN’s website and learn about them (


Harry received his law degree from the University of Colorado Law School. He has his own law firm and is the current president of the Mile High chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League, the oldest and largest Asian American civil rights organization in the United States. In 2012, Harry was awarded the Outstanding Lawyer of the Year Award by the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Colorado and the Arapahoe County Bar Association. He also received the 2012 Mayor’s Diversity Award for his advocacy work on behalf of the refugee community. In 2014, he was selected to be on the Colorado Rising Stars list by the Colorado Super Lawyers magazine. For questions or comments, contact Harry at

You’re invited to attend a

Say Cheese!

Candidates Forum Colorado’s 6th Congressional District Andrew Romanoff and Michael Coffman

Monday, August 25, 2014 6pm to 8pm Asian Pacific Development Center 1537 Alton St, Aurora, CO 80010 Moderated by Fox 31 Chris Jose

Election day is on November 4, 2014. If you live in areas of Littleton, Centennial. Aurora, Brighton, or Henderson, you may be in this district - and your vote counts! For questions or to RSVP, e-mail

This forum is sponsored by: Mile High Japanese American Citizens League

Asian Pacific Development Center National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum - Colorado

8000 E. Belleview Ave. Suite E15 | Greenwood Village, CO 80111 (303) 770-8870 |

Colorado Asian Culture and Education Network Legal Column | asian avenue magazine


Sandra Gonzales Madrid stays in shape by climbing a fourteener throughout Colorado during her weekends and days off from work as a nurse. At 42 years old, Madrid never dreamed she would ever try to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, a height of 19,340 feet. “We knew it would be a huge accomplishment for us to climb one of the seven and the highest peak in Africa,” said Madrid, referring to her husband, Leonard, as part of the “we.” Fears and Trepidation Madrid feared altitude sickness during the climb. Altitude wasn’t the only obstacle on the climb. Temperatures fluctuate wildly as they journeyed through five climate zones, including jungles, rainforests and desert mountain conditions. At the higher elevations, temperatures hover in the 40s during the day, plummeting to as low as 20 degrees at night. She also felt she would hold the team back. “I was worried about the trek being too difficult and beyond my capabilities; I was worried that I would be too slow for the group and even my husband,” she said. “I’ve never done anything like this before.”

least five days. Unlike Everest, Mt. Kilimanjaro is friendlier because it doesn’t require special equipment or skills beyond physical fitness. “It was a great crew from Colorado,” said Kedrowski, adding the Madrids prepared well by climbing 14ers throughout the state. Madrid’s husband learned about the trip when Kedrowski posted the information on Facebook. Participants included colleagues and friends of Kedrowski from Colorado and California. Before the expedition began, participants traveled more than 30 hours, including layovers to Nairobi. Madrid shared the layovers average nine hours, making the trip long. The trip started June 21 and ended for most by July 4. Kedrowski plans to schedule next year’s adventure during the same time frame, coming home in time for the Fourth of July weekend. The Climb The first three days included hiking six to eight hours at a time. “The pace is slower,” said Madrid, adding she carried a daypack holding her jacket and snacks while porters carried tents and camping supplies. At the end of the expedition, Madrid shared the climb was getting

Filipino woman summits Mount Kilimanjaro this summer Mary Jeneverre Schultz Asian Avenue magazine

Under the leadership of Dr. Jon Kedrowski, the author of Sleeping on the Summit: Colorado Fourteener High Bivys, (January 2013 issue) the Madrids signed up for the trip back in October, fully committed to partake in an African adventure. “When this opportunity came up, we both jumped at it,” said Madrid, who completed the five-day trek (two days of hiking and three days of safari). Expedition to Mount Kilimanjaro For the first time, Kedrowski, who climbed Mount Everest in 2012, led a team of 12, adding it was his first one in Africa. He plans to lead this trip annually under N.O.D. Enterprises. As a leader of the group, Kedrowski hired guides, porters and cooks from Kenya. His responsibilities include planning, logistics of hotels, setting up an itinerary and establishing a training program for all participants in preparation for this climb. The $5,000 inclusive adventure covers permits, hotel accommodations, food and drinks during the trek and incidentals. Mt. Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa. Uhuru Peak towers at 19,340 feet. The most common route, the Marangu Route, demands at


August 2014 | Feature

harder. However, Kedrowski shared the team took five to seven hours to summit the mountain while it takes an average of eight to ten hours for those living in lower altitude cities. “The team was really strong,” Kedrowski said, adding a majority of members live in the mile-high city. The higher the team climbed, the louder the winds, turning into a small roar. With 40 miles per hour winds, the sounds were making it difficult to sleep. Lack of sleep and exhaustion were affecting the team members. Madrid recalled two team members were crying from pain, unsure if altitude sickness was the source. One team member was carried down the mountain due to severe pain. Reminiscing, Madrid shared it was a painful but amazing trip. “My husband and I didn’t talk about not summiting,” Madrid said. “We always talked about being able to reach the peak and how great it would feel to reach the highest mountain in Africa.” Interested in this once-in-lifetime experience? Dr. Jon Kedrowski is planning next year’s adventure. Visit his website at for more information and his blog about the adventure. Mary Jeneverre Schultz is still trying to figure out how to climb a 14er in Colorado. Follow her on Twitter @Jeneverre.

There’s no two ways about it – being a parent is a humbling experience. Generally, I think I know what I’m doing. Be fair, but be consistent. Give your kids a helping hand but don’t do everything for them. Love By Aurelia Grinstead them unconditionally. For the most part, that covers about 80% of anything I ever face. Unfortunately, that leaves about 20% of the time where I can make a complete idiot of myself. A perfect example – the case of the unlocked bicycle. A few days ago, I was in charge of delivering snacks and drinks to my son Tyler’s junior varsity tennis team. Also, I knew that Tyler had a doctor’s appointment right after the match so the timing would be pretty tight. Smart logistical dad that I am, I decided that on my way to the tennis match, that I should pick up Tyler’s bike which he rides to school every day, which would save us the time of having

Bike Locks and Beatles Music Make For Good Parenting Lesson

him pick up the bike before we could make it to the doctor’s office. Way to think ahead dad! I should have been a professional chess player. Anyways, as I pull up to the bike racks, I see Tyler’s bike, sitting in the bike rack, without a lock on it. You may ask, well, why doesn’t he have a lock? That’s a logical question, but my answer would be, the bike did have a lock. It was wrapped around the frame of the bike. Tyler apparently decided that he’d forego the whole I have a theory on teenagers. My theory is that all teenagers, in their developmental years, have skulls so thick that it crowds out 99% of any brain matter that would normally be there. I believe this developmental stage is called, “Boneheadia Screwupity”. As I make my way to the tennis courts, I approach Tyler and feel it is my fiduciary responsibility to bring up the unlocked bike situation.

By Wayne Chan

Me: Ty – how can you not lock up your bike, especially when you have a perfectly good bike lock right on the bike? Tyler: I dunno. Me: I mean, you have this expensive bike – how can you be so careless not to lock it up! Tyler: I’ve left it unlocked all year long and no ones ever taken it. How can you be so sure that someone will take it? Me: Because I did the same thing in high school and somebody swiped my bike!!! As I said, being a parent is a humbling experience. But let me end this column on a very happy note. This is kind of a big deal for me. First, besides Tyler, we are also the parents of Ethan and Savannah. The three of them are triplets and they are 16 years old. Beyond that, Ethan and Savannah are autistic. They don’t speak much but they are terrific kids. Second, I love the Beatles. So, last night, I took all three kids to a Beatles tribute show - I knew Tyler would love it, but to be honest, I only took Ethan and Savannah because the tickets were inexpensive and I didn’t have anyone to watch them at home anyways.

They’d never expressed any interest in the Beatles that I could ever tell. I just figured it would be a nice night out with the kids while Mom was away on business. When the show started, Savannah started bobbing her head, and stood up and started dancing and singing - she knew the words to “Hey Jude”, “Can’t Buy Me Love”, “Get Back” and many others. This is coming from my daughter, who normally doesn’t say more than one or two words at a time. Of course, I play the Beatles in the car a lot when I’m driving them around, but I really had no idea that she would pick up on that. She sang along with many of the songs, with a big smile on her face. Tyler and I were on each side of her and we kept looking at her, amazed. I can’t tell you how blown away I was in seeing her like this. I will never underestimate her again. At one point, she sang the words to “Blackbird”. Blackbird singing in the dead of night. Take these broken wings and learn to fly. Fifteen words that mean so much more to me now. And that truly is, a humbling experience.

Feature | asian avenue magazine


Colorado represents at the annual UNAVSA conference in Dallas The Union of North American Vietnamese Student Associations (UNAVSA) is an organization with the mission to empower the next generation of Vietnamese leaders with a passion for service, propensity for leadership, and self-awareness with the intent of advocating for progress in the North American Vietnamese community. Its vision is to be a model organization developing proud connected self aware leaders as a means to create a united and thriving Vietnamese community. The 11th annual UNAVSA Leadership Conference (UNAVSA-11) was held July 24 - 27 in Dallas, TX. The conference aimed at taking the best of the past decade of conferences to build towards the future of the organization. This conference marked the beginning of a new decade with new goals and new leaders. Themed “Together, Let’s Fly,” throughout conference, attendees were challenged to push themselves to the edge of their potential in the hopes that they will come together and fly into a new decade of the UNAVSA community. The conference engaged attendees with keynote speakers, entertainment, workshops and a culture show. Each year, the Collective Philathropy Project is a national initiative to collaborate and provide charitable funds to a selected beneficiary. The southwest region, known as SWUVSA, includes Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and Utah. In 2010, Vietnamese Student Association (VSA) representatives from the University of Denver, University of Colorado Denver, and University of Colorado Boulder established the regional network. The southwest region has since grown with more than 50 representatives attending this year’s conference. For more information, Photos by Daniel Huynh

Colorado Dragon Boat Festival hosts 14th annual cultural weekend The Colorado Dragon Boat Festival (CDBF) finished another year of exciting races, cultural performances and tasty food vendors during the weekend of July 19-20. In the Hong Kong style races, first place was awarded to PASCO Fighting Dragons, Phantom Dragons, and Agua Libre. In the Taiwan (flag catching) style recreational races, first place went to the teams: Lightway Lightening, CH2M Hill Dragons, PASCO and CU Boulder Asian Unity. During the weekend, festival goers were encouraged to participate in the first ever CDBF selfie contest (pictured on right). Using social media


August 2014 | On Scene

platforms Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, the hashtag #CDBFselfie and #CDBF2014 were used, generating more than 100 submissions. The top 12 photos were chosen by a selection committee, then voted on by the public to see who would win gift card prizes. Among numerous community vendors, the Colorado Alliance for Health Equity (pictured on left) hosted a booth at the festival to provide health screening tests and assist attendees in Affordable Care Act questions and insurance enrollments. Each year more than 100,000 people attend the two-day festival. For more information on the festival, visit

Honoring Our Heroes This year on Memorial Day, May 26, hundreds of thousands of people celebrated the dedication and sacrifice of our military and veterans. The 68th Annual Community Memorial Day Service in particular celebrated the 33,000 Nisei who served in both World War II and the Korean War. The service was centered around the Nisei War Memorial located in Fairmount Cemetery. Everyone in attendance was reminded of the noble and brave actions of the highly decorated 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the Military Intelligence Service. Ron Abo made a heartfelt and inspiring speech giving details of his father’s journey through his life. In particular, he highlight his service with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Abo demonstrated the numerous reasons why Japanese American Nisei have earned such high respect. Throughout the service, guest speakers spoke of the hardships and difficulties Japanese Americans went through in combat and at home. Despite racism and discrimination, and with the help of Colorado Governor Ralph Carr surrendering his political career, Nisei were able to prove their loyalty to the United States and serve the country they called home. Families were able to make floral tributes to their passed loved ones and celebrate the sacrifices they made.

By Kaylin Shioshita

Following the ceremony, everyone else in attendance was also allowed to make their floral tribute to the Nisei War Memorial. In wake of the 70th Anniversary of D-Day, this year’s Nisei Memorial Service reminded everyone of the tremendous actions and heroic efforts of the Japanese American Nisei.

Shigemi ‘Sherry’ Cree rappels down a building to raises funds for cancer research Mary Jeneverre Schultz Asian Avenue magazine

To raise money for the Cancer League of Colorado, Japanese-American Shigemi ‘Sherry’ Cree needed about $1,000 for a chance to rappel down the World Trade Center building in downtown Denver. Over the Edge event occurred during the second weekend of July. Cree, one of the 120 participants, didn’t think it was a big deal and enjoyed going down the building. “It was fun,” said Cree, who was one of the first rappellers on Saturday morning. While Cree is close to her $1,000 goal, she is raising additional funds through her website link, donate.cfm. Her deadline is August 11, 2014. Cree was part of the rappelling team called “Vertically Challenged,” led by Julie Powell, who asked her to help with the fundraising event. Her team has raised more than $7,000. In 2013, Powell rappelled last year with a friend, who told her about the event. “ I found myself ready to rappel from 31 stories above the ground,” said Powell, whose father was diagnosed with cancer the day before the event. This summer event is one of four major fundraisers for Cancer League of Colorado, an all-volunteer organization of about 400. All funds stay in Colorado for cancer research and cancer patient services. The other three fundraisers include: Gala in May, Race for Research in August and golf tournament in September. Katie Richardson, co-chair of Over the Edge event, rappelled down a building five years ago. “It was the coolest thing in the world,” Richard-

son recalled. Her volunteer team of 60 assisted in the marketing, creating awareness and running the weekend activities for the event. Next year, Powell plans to have a team next year with at least 10 people, raising $10,000 for this event. “I would ask people to consider rappelling for someone they know who has lost their battle with cancer, or for someone they know who is currently battling this disease,” she said. The goal of Cancer League of Colorado is to raise more than $1 million this year. Last year, the organization ended up with $950,000. To help Cree with her fundraising efforts, visit www.denverovertheedge. com/Sherry_Cree/donate.cfm. For more information about this annual event, visit Learn more about Cancer League of Colorado at

On Scene | asian avenue magazine


Study finds Colorado is mostly happy; 5 metro areas in state rank in top 100

Jose Antonio Vargas, Immigrant Activist, Is Released by Border Patrol in Texas


n July 15, Jose Antonio Vargas, the former journalist who has spent the past few years crusading on behalf of fellow undocumented immigrants, was detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents and held for much of the day after trying to leave a Texas border town without a valid U.S. visa. Vargas, perhaps the best-known undocumented immigrant in America, had gone to South Texas amid a border crisis that prompted the White House to request $3.7 billion in emergency funding. He was unaware when he traveled to Texas of the extensive checkpoints in the area and let immigration authorities finally caught up with him. “As an unaccompanied child migrant myself, I came to McAllen, Texas, to shed a light

on children who parts of America and many in the news media are actively turning their backs on,” Vargas said in a statement following his release. He added: “I want to thank everyone who stands by me and the undocumented immigrants of south Texas and across the country. Our daily lives are filled with fear in simple acts such as getting on an airplane to go home to our family.” Vargas, who came to the United States as an unaccompanied minor from the Philippines, revealed his undocumented status in a 2011 essay published by the New York Times. In 2012, he appeared on the the cover of Time magazine as an immigrant activist. Recently, he detailed his life story in “Documented,” a film about the U.S. immigration debate that he wrote and directed. CNN aired it on June 29.


hat’s the conclusion of an “Unhappy Cities” study done by researchers from Harvard University and the University of British Columbia. The research compiled data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and adjusted it to factor in demographics, such as race, income, sex and age. Five Colorado metropolitan areas rank in the top 100 for happiness with Fort Collins/ Loveland ranked as the 38th happiest city in the U.S., Colorado Springs came in at 43 and Grand Junction ranking 65. Boulder/Longmont came in at 66, Greeley made the list at 89th happiest, and Denver slipped below the top 100 to rank 102 on the happiness scale. The unhappiest metropolitan area in Colorado was Pueblo, which was ranked 178 on the list of 318 cities. The study determined that the happiest parts of the U.S. include most of Louisiana and rural areas of Georgia. New York City was ranked as the least happy large city, with pockets of Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan and Pennsylvania ranking among least happy states.

5 Colo. cities among Forbes’ 30 best places for business


Lakers’ Jeremy Lin will return to original Linsanity No. 17

Asian American woman finalist for General Manager for San Diego Padres

in was introduced to the media and Lakers fans on Thursday with the team revealing he’ll wear No. 17 for Lakers this season. Lin wore No. 17 in his unexpected breakout season with the New York Knicks back in 2011-12. The Linsanity era was one of excitement and scrutiny as Lin went from a relative unknown to a star. The last Lakers’ player to wear No. 17 was Andrew Bynum in 2011-12. Is Lin’s number that big of a story? We’ll see.

ports Illustrated is reporting that Kim Ng is one of four finalists for general manager of the San Diego Padres. Ng is currently the senior vice president of baseball operations for Major League Baseball. She has been working in Major League Baseball since 1991. “You have to be persistent to break into this game, and you have to be really good to stay in this game,” says Ng in a story published by in 2011. “That takes a daily level of commitment.”



August 2014 | National News


ccording to Denver Business Journal, Denver ranks No. 4 on the latest Forbes list of the nation’s best places for business, released Wednesday, and Fort Collins comes in at No. 5. Greeley places at No. 20 on Forbes’ list of 200 U.S. metro areas, while Boulder comes in at No. 23 and Colorado Springs at No. 29. “Both [Denver and Fort Collins] feature highly educated workforces and strong net migration patterns,” Forbes’ Kurt Badenhausen reports. “Denver’s business and living costs are higher than any other city in the top five, but its diverse economy and significant outdoor recreational options continue to attract educated, young professionals.” Forbes notes that net migration into the Denver area has been among the strongest in the U.S. over the past five years. As for Fort Collins, “many high-tech companies including Hewlett-Packard, Intel and AMD have relocated operations to Fort Collins in part to take advantage of the resources of Colorado State University and its research facilities,” Badenhausen says. “Fort Collins has the highest level of high school attainment (95% of the adult population) and ranks ninth best for college attainment at 45%.

At the Mirror: Reflections of Japan in 20th Century Prints July 6–September 21, 2014

These contemporary prints reveal the changing styles and art movements developed by Japanese printmakers during a onehundred-year period. The variety of styles reflects the changing appearance of Japan as it embraced modern technology while paying homage to its cultural past. Focusing on woodblock prints ranging in date from 1901 to 2001, all prints in this exhibition were acquired by the DAM since 1970 to provide the collection with art-

works that demonstrate the continuation of a traditional Japanese art form into the 20th century. “Woodblock printing has been around for centuries,” said Ronald Y. Otsuka, exhibition curator and Joseph de Heer Curator of Asian Art at the DAM. “But that doesn’t mean that artists didn’t explore their own creativity and push the boundaries of this ancient art form. In the 20th century, they played with new subjects and topics that were relevant

By Denver Art


to a contemporary audience.” The exhibition will feature approximately 70 prints in the Martin and McCormick Gallery on level two of the Hamilton Building. Popular subjects such as landscapes, portraits and images of women will be represented along with a variety of woodblock printmaking processes. The 20th century also brought new work from families of printmakers, with each successive generation making their own mark.

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Denver Art Museum | asian avenue magazine



Like Attracts Like Birds of a Feather Flock Together This is said of people who fell into the same group because they are of a mind.

Chunyu Kun of Qi of the Warring States Period recommended seven virtuous scholars to King Xuanwang in a single day. The King, who was surprised by what Chunyu did, said to him, “As people say, it is hard to recruit virtuous scholars. You would be reckoned lucky if you could find one such person after traveling a thousand li. Now you’ve recommended to me seven of them in one and the same day. Don’t you think it is extraordinary?” “Not at all,” replied Chunyu. “As Your Majesty knows, birds of a feather flock together, and beasts of the same paws roam together. Also, if you try to find the medicinal herbs thorowax and balloonflower roots in a swamp, you would be looking for them all your life in vain. But if you go into the mountains, you can gather them by the cartload. Things of a kind come together, so do people of a mind. As for myself, who can be counted as a virtuous scholar, it is as easy for me to find virtuous scholars as it is to get water from a river or to get fire by striking a flint.”

- Anecdotes of the Warring States

Calligraphy by Harrison X. Tu Confucius Classroom in Denver




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August 2014 | Chinese Idiom




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Among all forms of happiness, none is happier than harmony. Among all enjoyments, none is more enjoyable than peace.



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