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asian avenue Connecting Cultures Linking Lives

March 2017 Volume 12 Issue 3

interview with

aurora mayor steve hogan

STOries of resilience: Refugee families start new lives in Colorado

TRAvel to Marvelous


Restaurant peek

Pho 99


CHINESE RESTAURANT 2000 S. Havana St. Aurora, CO 80014 Tel: 303.745.1373

Open Hours: Monday-Sunday 11am-9:30pm Closed Tuesdays


Taiwanese Style Braised Beef Noodle Pickled Cabbage with Pork Pot Seaweed Shrimp Dumpling Soup Northeastern Steamed Bun Pan Fried Pork Dumpling Pan Fried Buns with Beef S teamed Twisted Roll Hot and Spicy Beef Pot Fried Leek Dumplings




BUFFET All-you-can-eat crab!



Please present this coupon with your Club Monarch card to the buffet cashier.

*MEAA0317C1* Must be 21. No cash value. Gratuity not included. Limit one per person. No copies accepted. Not valid with any other offer or cash discount. Other restrictions may apply. Not valid for ineligible Team Members of Monarch Casino Black Hawk. Management reserves all rights. Expires 3/31/2017.

You bet it’s fun. P.O. Box 9 | 488 Main Street | Black Hawk, CO 80422 | 303.582.1000 | Bet with your head not over it. Gambling problem? Call 800.522.4700.

For more information call 720-873-6243 or visit our website today at: William Schoolcraft, MD • Eric Surrey, MD • Debra Minjarez, MD Robert Gustofson, MD • Jennifer Brown, MD

Dear Asian Avenue readers,


How time flies, we are now at the first quarter of the year! As we look forward to Spring, we are kicking off our 9th Annual Asian American Heroes of Colorado Awards. We are calling for nominations for our unsung heroes in our community! Please nominate deserving individuals at or visit our Facebook page for more details! Speaking of heroes, our cover story this month features immigrants and refugees in Colorado and how they struggled through various difficulties and adversities to successfully settling their life here. These immigrants have worked their way up from the bottom, with almost nothing to start of with. Their resilience and success is something we should all learn from. Take for example, our Restaurant Peek this month features Pho 99, a Vietnamese restaurant set up by Ivy Ngoc Ha, a refugee who fled Vietnam at the age of 13 and eventually settled in Colorado. Come try their delicious pho, grilled rice bowl and grilled vermicelli bowl! Their five spice beef noodle soup, aka Bun Bo Hue is native to Central Vietnam and a seasonal special right now! We are also happy to feature City of Aurora’s Mayor Steve Hogan in this issue. Mayor Hogan speaks on how diversity is important to this unique city, future plans for Aurora and also share advices to prospective business owners here. He also reveals his hobbies and his favorite Asian cuisine! We hope our readers enjoy reading our magazine this month and let us all enjoy more winter activities before spring arrives! Christina Yutai Guo, Publisher Asian Avenue magazine |

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March 2017 | Publisher’s Note

asian avenue staff & support Publisher & Founder: Christina Yutai Guo President: Annie Guo Senior Designer: C.G. Yao Copy Editor: Jaime Marston Cook Editorial Director: Samantha Quee Marketing Manager: Joie Ha Staff Writer: Patricia Kaowthumrong Staff Writer: Mary Jeneverre Schultz Photographer: Trang Luong

contributing writers Gil Asakawa, Yijing Chen, Jia Yue Huang, Amy Ng, Tom Shieh, Stacey L. Shigaya, Fion Wan

contributing photographers Gil Asakawa, Takashi Okamoto

on the cover Burmese families in Colorado learn English and adjust to American lifestyles as their children grow up in the US. This photo is part of a permanent digital collection at History Colorado by Angela Buckley.

subscriptions To subscribe, e-mail or visit A oneyear subscription is $25 for 12 issues, a two-year subscription is 40 for 24 issues. Please make checks or money orders payable to Asian Avenue magazine. For details about special corporate or group rates, please call during business hours: Monday - Friday, 9am to 5pm. Shipping/handling included.

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editorial To submit story ideas, letters to the editor or calendar events, 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 | Asian Avenue magazine is in association with the Colorado Asian Culture and Education Network.





Event calendar



Interview with City of Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan




Who are Colorado’s Asian refugees? Why have they come here and what does their future hold?

Refugee families start anew as they resettle in Colorado.



President’s Executive Order Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States



Tidbits on visiting marvelous Maldives



What is the model minority myth in the field of technology?


Kaleb Vardon is an all-star in sports, music and academics



Make it at home: Korean Bibimbap



Enjoy the summer rolls and pho bowls at Aurora’s Pho 99



Why not getting what I want is good for me?




Record crowd attends Day of Remembrance

“Persona Non Grata” and Director Cellin Gluck received with full house

Kodo sounds off in Denver



How Asians see and manage emergency funds


The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin




The up-and-coming Asian fashion stars of YouTube

On Scene


Denver organizations celebrate the 2017 lunar new year

Asian Avenue Magazine, Inc. P.O. Box 221748 Denver, CO 80222-1748 | Tel: 303.937.6888 E-mail: | 6 March 2017 | Table of Contents

Find us @AsianAveMag



events upcoming Norooz Persian New Year Celebration

Instructors from Alliance Française de Denver will engage young ones with a French story, song and activity. Activities included with museum admission.

Sunday, March 5, Begins at 6pm

Glenn Miller Ballroom, University Memorial Center, 1669 Euclid Avenue, Boulder, CO 80309 Cost: Free for CU students, $10 community members

Joomchi: The Art of Paper Felting Anew

Wednesday, March 15, 12pm - 1pm

Denver Taiko

Friday, March 10, Begins at 7pm

Purchase tickets at: For more info, e-mail The Norooz Persian New Year Celebration at CU Boulder is recognized as the largest event observing the holiday in Colorado. There will be a performance by Bijan Mortazavi, internationally-acclaimed violinist and singer, and his band, followed by an open dance floor with DJ Qumars! A beautiful Haftsin table will also further commemorate the cultural relevance and meaning that Norooz offers. Light refreshments, including Persian chai and pastries, will be provided.

The Learned Ganesha of Cambodia Tuesday, March 7, 6:30pm - 7:30pm

Schlessman Hall, North Building, Denver Art Museum 100 W 14th Ave Pkwy, Denver, CO 80204 Cost: Free; RSVP required by e-mailing

Join the Denver Art Museum as Dr. Peter Sharrock of London University explores the history of Ganesha, the great, cultivated, elephant-headed Hindu god capable of solving all problems, long loved by merchants, scholars and writers, and worshipped before all major undertakings as the lord who removes snags and encumbrances. Literate and blessed with the high intelligence of elephants, he has a rounded paunch, a broken tusk and his vehicle is a cunning rat. In medieval Southeast Asia, he was welcomed by the Buddhist Cambodian and the Cham peoples who venerated this benevolent form of Shiva ‘Badhreshvara’ at the vast forest temple complex of Koh Ker, and in 12th century Angkor Wat.

Broomfield Auditorium 3 Community Park Rd, Broomfield, CO 80020 Cost: $20 Purchase tickets at: Denver Taiko, founded in 1976, is a nonprofit organization comprised mostly of third, fourth and fifth generation Japanese Americans honoring their cultural heritage through the exhilarating performance art of taiko. The group ranges from energetic and talented teens to accomplished veterans. In keeping with the tradition of the music, Denver Taiko has become known for its own unique performance style and personality.

Invitation to Ikebana: Modern Saturday, March 11, 2pm - 3pm

Denver Botanic Garden 1007 York St, Denver, CO 80206 Cost: $44 general admission, $39 members Ikebana is a Japanese expression signifying the respect and appreciation towards nature. Japanese observe life through the arrangement of plants. During each class, participants receive hands-on instruction to put together an arrangement to take home. The class is conducted by Akiko Buckmaster and assistant Lois Krause. Akiko Buckmaster, born in Japan, is a master teacher at Ohara Ikebana School. She has been teaching Ikebana in the Denver area for forty years.

Lower Level Lecture Room, North Building, Denver Art Museum Purchase tickets through DAM by calling 720-913-0130. Costs: Free for Asian Arts Association members, $10 general admission

To artist Sammy Seung-min Lee balancing two modes of art making: one is bookbinding, and the other is joomchi, a traditional Korean technique of beating papers to create collages; mimics the symmetry of life. Both processes involve paper and are intensely time consuming – book making requires 3D engineering, building maquettes, and fabricating multiples; joomchi calls for equally laborious hours of pounding and kneading to record creases, crinkles, and lines in layers of papers. However, narratives are “written” and “bound” in book making, while stories are “released” and “deconstructed” in joomchi works. Through the materiality of paper, discover stories embedded within its subtle, often unnoticed details.


March 24 – April 9

The Aurora Fox Arts Center 9900 East Colfax Ave., Aurora, CO 80010 Cost: $16- $37 Purchase tickets at: Miscommunication leads to crossed signals and culture clashes in this whip-smart comedy from David Henry Hwang, the Tony and Obie Awardwinning writer ofM. Butterfly. Hwang’s Chinglish is the snafu-filled story of a naïve American businessman who’s trying to conduct an important deal in China. He quickly learns just how much he doesn’t comprehend: His translators are unreliable, his consultant may be a fraud, and he’s captivated by Xu, a beautiful, seemingly supportive government official who talks the talk … though it’s unclear what she’s actually saying. The Aurora Fox presents this regional premiere of Hwang’s “deliriously funny” (Los Angeles Times) comedy about mistranslations and stranger-in-a-strange-land manners mishaps.

StoryTime with French Alliance at Denver Children’s Museum March 13 and 27, 11:30am - 12pm

Denver Children’s Museum 2121 Children’s Museum Dr, Denver, CO 80211 Free with museum admission For more information, visit It’s a special StoryTime with a French flair! Events Calendar | asian avenue magazine


Aurora mayor steve hogan values diversity When you enter Mayor Steve Hogan’s office, you are greeted by a variety of decorations from around the world: two intricately painted Chinese scrolls, an almost life-size wooden sculpture of a fisherman from southeast Asia, and a scarf from Adama, Ethiopia delicately wrapped around the neck of a plush moose head. Just like the decorations in the Mayor’s office, the city of Aurora is also full of cultural diversity. “Here in Aurora, when you drive down the street, you see ten different kinds of international restaurants. When you walk into a grocery store, you see people of various races and ethnicities in their national clothing. When you arrive for a meeting in City Hall, you hear at least three different languages,” said Mayor Hogan. It is important to Mayor Hogan for the people of Aurora, and the whole of Colorado, to understand why diversity is so important to this city. “We are at a point in time in this country that expansion and diversity is essential, valuable and worth protecting,” said Mayor Hogan. Born and raised in Nebraska, Mayor Hogan attended the University of Denver. He was an intern in the Colorado State legislature during his college years in 1968 and 1969. He was also an intern with former State Representative Bob Jackson from Pueblo, whom he felt was a good and patient teacher. As an intern, he was exposed to various tasks, from answering letters and returning phone calls to researching on bills that had been introduced for consideration. All of this sparked his interest in politics. Mayor Hogan was also inspired by politicians such as Representative Tom Grimshaw and Representative Dick Lamm, who went on to become the Governor of Colorado. “I have the desire to address the issues at the moment,


March 2017 | Focus

By Samantha Quee and Joie Ha

Photo by Daniel Alejandro Leon-Davis for the I Am An Immigrant Campaign

to be involved with the community, and to solve problems. Politics is serious business, particularly in a city the size of Aurora with nearly 350,000 people (approximately half the size of Denver). There are always challenges, but that does not mean we cannot have fun while we address the issues. Politics is for those equipped to guide others, solve problems, and help people look toward the future,” said Mayor Hogan. Having served as Aurora’s Mayor since 2011, the light rail and commuter rail projects are examples of his many contributions to the city. He also played a key role in starting the Office of International and Immigration Affairs, which is currently thriving. “The State of Colorado has recently approved the Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center project, ten minutes from Denver International Airport and opening in late 2018. This will not only change tourism in Aurora but in Colorado as a whole,” said Mayor Hogan. Mayor Hogan also highlighted that Aurora is a less expensive city to live in than Denver, as well as being very welcoming to people interested in establishing small businesses. He also has some precious advice for people who want to be more involved in the Aurora community. “People planning to open small businesses in Aurora should reach out to City Councilmembers, State Representatives, and State Senators. They should take initiative and find out what is really going on where they want to get involved,” the Mayor shared. When asked about his hobbies, Mayor Hogan shared that golf, baseball, and football are his top three favorite sports. Due to his busy schedule, he has very little spare time to practice. Instead, Mayor Hogan actually enjoys spending his time on airplanes. “Being on the plane has now become a strange hobby, because it is the only time that my phone doesn’t ring, I can’t receive

email, and I can finally read and relax,” said Mayor Hogan. When he does take a break, Mayor Hogan spends time with his wife, children, and grandchildren. “Most of them are grown. For generations, my family has progressively moved further west.” Mayor Hogan is married to his wife Becky, who was born in Seoul, Korea and came to the United States at the age of six months, adopted by a family in Oregon. “Becky was adopted at such a young age, she was raised like any American child. She did not have the chance to visit Korea until we went together in May 2015. We do watch Korean movies and she enjoys Vietnamese food!” When asked about his own culinary preferences, Mayor Hogan insisted that a good steak dinner is important to him. He loves to go to the Summit Steakhouse on South Havana in Aurora, and also enjoys Italian food from time to time. “My favorite Asian cuisine is Thai, but I enjoy many other types of food, too.” Clearly, Mayor Hogan is a well-rounded and diverse individual. Aurora is lucky to have him at the helm.

Mayor Hogan’s desk features a photo with his wife, Becky. City of Aurora Mayor Hogan | asian avenue magazine


No one leaves home unless home chases you fire under feet hot blood in your belly. - Home by Warsan Shire

This boat, Huey Fong, was packed with 3,000 people fleeing Vietnam to a refugee camp in Hong Kong.

Refugees AND IMMIGRANTS: past, present, and future Who are Colorado’s Asian American refugees? Why have they come here and what does their future hold? Abigail Seang - Cambodia Abigail Seang is like a living example of the William Shakespeare quote, “though she be but little, she is fierce.” A fighter at heart, Abigail never faltered in her journey to escape the 1975 genocide in wartorn Cambodia. Initially married to General Phenarek Norodom, Abigail lived in the capital city of Phnom Penh with her husband. When the Khmer Rouge Communist forces encroached on Phnom Penh, the general was immediately called away to duty. They agreed to meet in Thailand if


March 2017 | Cover Story

they were unable to contact each other during the war. At 22 years old, Abigail already had four children: two boys and two girls, but lost her youngest newborn daughter. Saddened by such a loss, and realizing that the city was no longer secure, Abigail packed her things and fled with her remaining three children. Safety and freedom were elusive and foreign concepts to Abigail and her family; the Khmer Rouge found them and forced them into a labor camp. Her time in the labor camps was grueling. Day after day, she would dig trenches and work in the rice fields under the blistering sun with hardly any food. The Khmer Rouge believed that the whole country should be returned to agriculture. They aimed to execute all of the teachers, politicians, and anyone that

By Joie Ha and Samantha Quee was considered “educated.” Abigail soon accepted the crushing reality that she and her children may not make it out alive, especially considering that her husband was a general of the opposing side. One day, the Khmer Rouge soldiers took Abigail into the woods, surrounded her and brandished their weapons threateningly. Abigail was somber, convinced that this would be a death walk, that this would be the last time she saw her children. The soldiers began asking her questions: who was she, who were her parents, where did she live, who was she married to? Each question was more forceful than the last. Abigail had no choice but to lie. In that moment, she was no longer Abigail Seang, wife of a proud general. She became someone who was born elsewhere, loved another, and was faithful to

the regime. After what felt like an eternity of questioning, Abigail succeeded in building an alternate identity and was sent back to digging trenches. Out of necessity, Abigail quickly switched to survival mode. There was no time to sleep, to cry, or to spend time remembering her past. People were constantly dying around her, so she soon became desensitized to the endless tragedies. However, there is one moment that she remembers distinctly: one of the first times she saw the cruelty of humanity. Abigail’s task for the day was to cut branches from nearby trees. She had climbed to the top of a tree when she spotted two Khmer Rouge soldiers dragging a victim into the forest. Terrified, Abigail gripped the tree tightly and willed her body to stop shaking and remain silent. Hearing the man scream and beg, she watched him die as the soldiers beat him with their hands until he stopped moving. Abigail notes that the soldiers rarely used their weapons to murder innocent civilians; they suffocated and beat them to death instead. During her time in the camps, Abigail was forced to remarry in the name of the Khmer Rouge regime. Her new husband was a fellow laborer, and although they suffered through hardship together, she did not have love for him. When the war ended, she left her second husband and continued her search for Phenarek. Her love for him had kept her alive, and her hope of finding him had kept her resilient. She traveled for four months on foot with her children until they reached a Thailand refugee camp. Although she was reunited with her parents and some siblings, she never found her husband no matter how hard she searched. Eventually, Abigail and her family were granted asylum in the United States where she has continued to persevere. Though English was difficult to grasp at first, she successfully learned the language. Abigail has never forgotten those that helped her along the way to safety. She has sent money back to Cambodia and tried her best to visit and help those that had made her journey possible. Although Abigail has remarried and settled into a new life in America, she will always remember her first husband, Phenarek

Abigail Seang, a refugee from Cambodia, escaped the 1975 genocide of the Khmer Rouge. Right: Abigail with her daughter, Rebeckah Pau.

Norodom, who shared with her a fairy tale love that she will always cherish. Ivy Ngoc Ha - Vietnam When you look at Ivy’s cheerful demeanor, it is hard to tell that she was actually a refugee from the Vietnam War. The way she jokes and laughs makes the tragedy seem so distant and foreign. Even when she talks about sharing a boat with the founder of Sriracha hot sauce, David Tran, she does so with enthusiasm and humor. Ivy was 13 years old and living in Saigon when things started to change in Vietnam. There was a slow yet certain movement of the North Vietnamese Communist ideology spreading to the south. Soon, schools started teaching Communist propaganda and encouraged students to report their families if they were traitors to the Communist cause. Eventually, Ivy dropped out of school. Desperate to make a difference, she considered running away to join the guerilla fighting forces, but there was always a risk that the Communists would discover her betrayal and murder her family. She was willing to die for the cause, but she could not risk the lives of her parents and siblings. Ivy’s father had previously escaped from the Cultural Revolution under Mao Zedong in China, so he immediately knew that it was time to run. The government was adamant in making it known that Chinese minorities were not welcome. If they tried to escape, they could be captured and killed. If anyone of Chinese descent wanted to leave Vietnam, they had to bribe government officials in gold or US dollars. Ivy’s father was able to raise enough money for his children

and wife, but was forced to leave Ivy’s grandmother behind. The family then joined thousands of people waiting for the next leg of the journey at the rendezvous point. A few hours later, a line of large semi-trucks arrived and everyone fought their way on board. Once everyone managed to scramble into the truck, the door slammed with a bang and the refugees were thrown into pitch darkness. Families began to shout for each other, hoping that their loved ones had made it on board. After they reached the docks, there was another mad scramble to get onto the boats - some even jumping into the harbor when the boats departed. At this point, Ivy recalls that she no longer felt fear, just an incessant need to survive. Ivy was aboard the boat Huey Fong, which was only meant to carry 1000 individuals. However, in an ironic act of greed, the Communist officials took enough bribes that the boat was loaded with 3,000 refugees. The boat was packed and looked like a scene from a post-apocalyptic movie. There was barely any room to lie down, and if someone got up in the middle of the night, his or her spot would be taken and he or she would be forced to sit or stand until morning. If anyone died on board the boat, they would throw the body into the sea to prevent the spread of disease. The Huey Fong was set to land in Hong Kong. However, after accepting thousands of unexpected refugees, Hong Kong was at capacity and refused to take anymore. The Huey Fong was forced to stay at sea for 28 days, making international headlines as the refugees lived a month with limited resources on a packed and filthy boat. Only the immi-

Refugees and Immigrants | asian avenue magazine



Ivy Ha’s sisters are seen in this photo on the bottom right.

Ivy Ha, a refugee of the Vietnam War, now lives in Colorado.

Ivy Ha with her family at the Grand Canyon.

nent arrival of a deadly typhoon convinced Hong Kong authorities to finally accept the refugees. Ivy and her family continued to live in a Hong Kong refugee camp for several months. Surprisingly, Pritishe recalls this portion of her journey as her happiest time. Local factories recruited refugees for cheap labor, so she was able to work every day and earn some money. Ivy happily recounted that these companies even provided their workers with lunch! Ivy and her family eventually found a sponsor in Colorado and began their journey to the US. Ivy recalls arriving in Colorado at night and being surprised at the streetlights lining the highway even though very few cars were driving – this was clearly a place of abundance! Ivy has held a multitude of jobs since arriving in the US. She has been a hairdresser, liquor store owner, real estate agent, and is now the proud manager of Pho 99, a Vietnamese restaurant in Aurora. She is grateful for her chance to live in America and hopes that more peace may be spread across the world, as the wounds of war are too great and no one

should bear them. When asked if she misses home, she responds, “Not really. Colorado is my home now.”

They are all members of the Youth Program at The Asian Pacific Development Center (APDC) in Aurora where they spend few days each week in recreation-

March 2017 | Cover Story

Hopes for the future Priti Koirala, Nepal Hai Ne Say Moo, Thailand Pek Ei, Myanmar Mu Cheet Cheet, Thailand

Audrey Hepburn once said, “I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day, and I believe in miracles.” Priti Koirala, Hai Ne Say Moo, Pek Ei, and Mu Cheet Cheet are young girls who moved to the US as refugees a few years ago when they were barely 10. Despite their unique backgrounds, these girls exuded such happiness and optimism during our interview, their gratitude and joy was palpable. Priti Koirala is currently a student at Aurora West Middle School, while Hai Ne Say Moo, Pek Ei, and Mu Cheet Cheet are freshmen at Aurora West High School.

Priti Koirala (bottom right) and her family fled from Bhutan to Nepal to the US.

Hsar Kee Lar (mother), Paw Ka (sister), Mu Na Paw (grandmother) front row: Hai Ne Say Moo, Gay Gay Poe, and Poe Cho (cousins) al or learning programs, or simply doing their homework. They recall moving to the US as being intimidating, but at the same time are extremely grateful for the opportunities and freedom they get to enjoy here. “Back in the Karen refugee camp in Thailand, there wasn’t much in the way of technology so I would often go to the lake to fish and swim. There was also dirt everywhere, and no cars on the roads. We first moved to Bangkok for an interview and health checkups, and then waited for several months before our applications were approved. When I first came to the US, I didn’t even know how to buckle my seatbelt,” said Hai Ne Say Moo, chuckling as she recounted her first few moments in the US. Hai Ne Say Moo moved to Colorado with her entire family, including her parents, three sisters, and one brother. Her grandparents are still in the refugee camp in Thailand. Also from a Karen refugee camp in Thailand, Mu Cheet Cheet recalls living on a hill and walking to school. “I was amazed when I saw the ocean for the first time from the plane on the way to Colorado. My house in Colorado is so different from the place I used to live. They gave us toys, a TV, and my own bedroom. I nearly cried when my brother received his first bicycle.” There are about seven million Karen people living in Myanmar, half million Thai-Karen whose ancestral villages are

When I first arrived, I thought there would only be white people in the United States. I also thought the houses would look the same, but it turned out that it is very diverse.

in Thailand, and smaller groups of Karen living in India and other Southeast Asian countries. Many of them have fled from Myanmar to escape persecution and discrimination by the Burmese government. There are about 140,000 Karen refugees living in camps in Thailand, and about 50,000 Karen refugees that have resettled in the United States, Canada, Australia, and some European countries. Pek Ei’s family moved from Myanmar to Malaysia to Colorado. Pek Ei says, “My dad moved to Malaysia to support our family and and then the rest of our family joined him. Once there, we started applying for asylum in the United States.” She remembers, “When I first arrived, I thought there would only be white people in the United States. I also thought the houses would look the same, but it turned out that it is very diverse.” Priti Koirala, whose parents fled from Bhutan to Nepal, did not know how to read Nepali when she lived in Nepal. Before she had a chance to learn, she moved to the US. Here, she found it difficult to adjust in school. Priti Koirala says, “It was difficult going to school, but after just a year I had a better grasp of the English language and things improved.” Many Bhutanese citizens were deported from Bhutan during King Jigme Singye Wangchuk’s ethnic cleansing in the 1990s. As Nepal and Bhutan have yet to implement any agreement on repatriation, many Bhutanese refugees have since resettled to  North America,  Oceania  and  Europe under the auspices of the  Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Seeking better education and freedom, the parents of these four girls endured various adversities before settling in Aurora. Now, the girls feel that they are part of the community, they are thriving in school, and they treasure the many opportunities they have. Mu Cheet Cheet says, “We are grateful to have our Youth Program director at

As a young girl, Mu Cheet Cheet lived in a Karen refugee camp in Thailand before coming to Colorado.

On the left, Pek Ei with her brothers (above). Pek Ei’s family are from Myanmar (below).

Refugees and Immigrants | asian avenue magazine


APDC. Mr. Habakkuk has taught us many things during our weekly activities. As a refugee, I also understand the importance of treasuring what we have.” Pek Ei, who is a straight-A student in school, enjoys reading books. Priti Koirala and Hai Ne Say Moo are more musically-inclined. Priti Koirala enjoys Bollywood dancing, and Hai Ne Say Moo is a

fan of K-pop music. Mu Cheet Cheet is more sporty and plays volleyball during her free time. Pek Ei says, “I love books related to adventure and fantasy. When I read a book, I put my whole mind into it and my imagination just flows. I also get to learn more vocabulary.” During their free time, the girls are also

actively involved in their community as volunteers for events like the Colfax Marathon, for example, and delivering free food baskets to refugees in Colorado. The girls also hope to be able to visit their hometowns someday and to contribute back to their homelands in their own way.

From left to right: Hai Ne Say Moo, Priti Koirala, Pek Ei and Mu Cheet Cheet

Hai Ne Say Moo

Age: 15 Karen refugee camp, Thailand “My dream is to be a music producer. I am into K-pop, I love playing the guitar, and I love to sing!”

Priti Koirala

Age: 13 Kalpana, Nepal “When I grow up, I want to be a pediatrician. I don’t like seeing people suffer and I want to help them.”

APDC’s Youth Leadership Academy (YLA) provides comprehensive out-of-school programming including one-on-one mentoring, tutoring, life-skills training and cultural acclimation as well as a character-building leadership track to help students thrive academically and socially in order to prevent involvement in delinquent, high-risk or criminal activities, such as gang involvement or substance abuse. The YLA is unique in its provision of life and social skills education, including English language instruction and liter-


March 2017 |Cover Story

Pek Ei

Age: 14 Myanmar “I hope to study medicine and become a family physician or medical scientist. Many people in Myanmar, especially in rural areas, don’t have their medical needs met and this is what I hope to change!

Mu Cheet Cheet Age: 14 Karen refugee camp, Thailand “Doctors save lives and I want to be one!”

acy, in addition to its academic-focused education—critical components to ensure refugee and immigrant youth are successful in school, have high levels of self-esteem and self-efficacy, and are prevented from becoming involved in gangs and other high-risk behavior. Through increasing self-esteem, academic achievement and decreasing delinquency (such as substance abuse), the YLA prevents vulnerable refugee and immigrant youth from getting involved in criminal or violent activities. Visit for more information.

President Trump’s Executive Order on

Immigrants and Refugees President Trump signed an executive order on January 27 that indefinitely suspends admissions for Syrian refugees and limits the flow of other refugees into the United States by instituting what the President has called “extreme vetting” of immigrants. On Jan. 27, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order (EO), “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” Asian Avenue magazine spoke with various refugee resettlement agencies, attorneys, and non-profit organizations in Colorado to learn how the EO impacts the immigrant and refugee communities in Colorado. Q: What are the major provisions within the EO? The EO indefinitely barred Syrian refugees from entering the United States. The EO suspended all refugee admissions for 120 days, although there is a provision stating that exceptions can be made on a case-by-case basis by Secretaries of State and Homeland Security. After 120 days, refugee admissions will resume only for nationals of countries where Department of State, Department of Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence have jointly determined that additional procedures are adequate to ensure U.S. security. The EO reduces the number of refugees that can come to the United States for Fiscal Year 2017. Instead of 110,000 refugees, the US will now only accept 50,000 refugees. The EO imposes a 90-day ban on entry for all nationals of seven predominantly Muslim nations (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen). Q: What is going on with all the lawsuits surrounding the EO? Numerous lawsuits have been filed by civil rights groups to challenge the validity of the EO. On Feb. 3rd, a Federal District Court in Seattle issued a nationwide restrain-

ing order blocking parts of the EO from going into effect. The US Department of Justice immediately filed an appeal with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals asking them to cancel the restraining order. On Feb. 9th, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the appeal by stating that “the Government has not shown a likelihood of success on the merits of its appeal.” This means that the restraining order is still in effect until further litigation. Q: What is the status of the EO now? As of Feb. 17th, major parts of the EO are blocked by the courts. The refugee resettlement program is not subject to the 120 day moratorium. We can still accept refugees and immigrants from Syria and the other countries listed on the EO (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen). However, the EO still reduces the number of refugee admission from 110,000 to just 50,000. This provision is already in effect. Furthermore, on February 16th, President Trump announced that he will rescind this EO and issue a new EO that will “comprehensively protect our country” and address the constitutional concerns raised by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. We do not know how this new EO will affect the immigrant and refugee communities. Q: What does this mean for refugees that are currently in the vetting process? The EO states that the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security will review the refugee resettlement process and implement additional procedures to ensure that those who are

approved do not pose a threat to the US. The fact is that refugee applicants already have the highest level of background and security checks of any category of traveler to the United States. They are subject to intensive biographic and biometric security check. Multiple government agencies, federal law enforcement, and intelligence communities work together to continually review the security screening to make sure that the refugee applicants do not pose a threat to the US. Any additional screening will create more delay for the refugee applicants and will cause them to live in unsafe and unstable conditions for longer periods of time. Q: How does the EO affect refugees from Asia? Even though major parts of the EO have been blocked by the courts, the remaining parts of the EO still negatively impact refugees from all over the world, including Asia. By sharply reducing the number of refugee admission into the US, it means that refugees overseas could see their chances for resettlement in the US either considerably delayed or altogether disappeared. It also means that it will be harder for refugees that are already living in the US to bring their family members over from the refugee camps. Q: How can I learn more about the refugee community in Colorado? To learn more about the refugee screening process, please visit To learn more about the refugee community in Colorado, please visit us/cdhs-refugee. Christmas in the Philippines

Refugees and Immigrants | asian avenue magazine




The Maldives have always been at the top of my bucket list for travelling, so when my husband (then my fiancé) asked me where my ideal honeymoon destination was, I answered “Maldives!” without much hesitation at all. Southwest of Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean, the tropical nation of Maldives is made up of 26 ring-shaped atolls, themselves composed of more than 1,000 coral islands. We embarked on our honeymoon trip last November right after our wedding banquet, which was the perfect timing to visit the beautiful country. The dry season for Maldives lasts from November to April. The days are warm and sunny and average from 77-84 degrees Fahrenheit. Since we had our wedding in Singapore, it was just a mere four hours flight time to reaching Maldives’s one and only international airport - Ibrahim Nasir International Airport. After we cleared customs, we hopped onto our hotel’s speedboat. The short 10-minute ride to our hotel was mostly a breeze. The sea was a little choppy that day, which made me nauseous. For people who tend to get seasick like me, it is always better to prepare ahead of time and bring the right candy or medicine along for the ride. Some resorts offer a seaplane ride instead of a speedboat ride, as some resorts can be more than one hour away by boat. The seaplane rides can be more expensive, with prices starting at $150 USD each way. The view that greeted us upon arrival at our hotel was absolutely gorgeous. I immediately understood why Maldives is one of the most popular honeymoon destinations. Once I stepped onto the jetty of our hotel, the brilliant white sands, clear turquoise water, and vibrant coral reefs took my breath away. We could even see different fish and marine animals in the water.


March 2017 | Travel

By Samantha Quee

Though I was eager to start the various water activities offered by our resort, I remembered that it was time for lunch. We opted for the all-inclusive package, which meant that our resort stay included access to buffet meals throughout the day. We also enjoyed cocktails and various beverages at the bars located throughout the island during non-meal times. There were different themes to the cuisines each day, which meant that we experienced a myriad of flavors during our stay. We opted for the beach villa accommodation, which meant that our room was located right on the water with access to our own private beach. Some people prefer to stay in the water villas, situated on stilts over the turquoise waters of the lagoon. These villas are connected by a wooden boardwalk to the main beach or sometimes require access by speedboat from the beach area. We spent the next four days either at the beach, snorkeling, or feasting at the restaurants. Even though WIFI is readily available everywhere within the resort, we unplugged for this vacation. We also took part in other water activities such as night fishing, dolphin watching, and a delicious lunch on the sandbank. After tourism, the fishing industry in the Maldives is the island’s next major industry. We had the chance to go island hopping and the fishermen we met were returning from a fishing trip. We saw the largest fresh tuna we had ever encountered! We had a wonderful time in the Maldives, and even though the trip was pricey, I felt that the magnificent view of the sea, the soft sand beaches, and the marine life we saw more than made up for it. We cannot wait to be back in the Maldives again.




Where are the Maldives?

Maldives is officially known as the Republic of Maldives and is a South Asian island country, located in the Indian Ocean. It lies southwest of India and Sri Lanka. The Maldives consists of 1,192 coral islands grouped in a double chain of 26 atolls, along the north-south direction, spread over roughly 90,000 km (35,000 square miles), making this one of the world’s most dispersed countries.

What currency IS USED?

The local currency is Maldivian Rufiya (MRF), $1 USD = 15.4 MRF. In the resorts, US dollars are the most common currency and most used for tipping and paying the bill. Euros and Pounds are also widely accepted.

How long should I visit?

A vacation of 5–7 days is perfect. There is only a single resort on every island and travelling to other islands is time-consuming and expensive.

What else is special about the Maldives?

Maldives is the lowest country in the world, with average elevation of only 5 ft. 5 in. above sea level. The UN’s environmental panel has warned that, at current rates, sea level rise would be high enough to make the Maldives uninhabitable by 2100.

Marvelous Maldives | asian avenue magazine


The Model Minority Myth in Technology By Fion Wan

What is going on and why is this happening?

A common stigma surrounding Asian Americans in the modern day society circles around the notion that we all excel in Math and Science, making us the “model minority.” Therefore, the expectation built upon Asian Americans in the workforce is that we all are doctors, lawyers, or something in the field of hard sciences. It’s not entirely wrong per se, just misconstrued. There has been an increase in trending industries, one being in high-tech, otherwise known as Technology. As Asian Americans start to break out of the traditional “doctor” career path, they are beginning to look in other promising and exciting industries. Technology has a particular draw to it given that it is an area of endless innovation, design, and possibilities. However, Asian Americans face a glass ceiling with its lack of diversity and discrimination still prevails, even in a progressive and fastpace industry. The Technology industry witnesses


March 2017 | Cultural Tidbits

a significant increase in Asian American employees year after year due to the rise of Engineers, Developers, and Business professionals. However, they still remain a minority group amongst their peers and colleagues. In the tech industry, 83.3% of whites hold Executive (highest level) positions in the organization compared to the 10.6% that Asian Americans encompass. When looking at the other Professionals (jobs like computer programming), whites represent 68% of the industry versus 19.5% of Asian Americans.1 The case study “Minorities and High Tech Employment” by Dorrissa Griffin, Kristen Lauren High, Esqs, show that Asian Americans are successful and well-represented at staff and professional levels. The problem lies in the executive levels, where they are barely present. As a whole, there are as many Asian American as white professionals, but the gap significantly separates on these levels.2

Asian Americans have always been viewed as the “model minority,” where they study, get good grades, work hard, and obtain a successful, stable career. In most cases, management and leadership qualities were never an area of focus in this perception of “success.” The fundamental idea of success for Asian Americans versus other ethnicities differs, creating a this gap that we see in the tech. As a result, the industry follows the trend and looks past the quiet programmers or engineers when they begin to consider employees for leadership roles.

What can be done to change it? Asian Americans in the Technology should begin speaking up and taking credit for their work. They are the minority group who have proven results and will be able to change the game for all others still facing biases, stereotypes, and discrimination, setting the stage for success across the industry. With the “model minority” tag on their backs, they now hold a power to set the precedence for all other minority groups facing obstacles in the industry.





ome children excel in sports, some in music, and some in academics. Kaleb Vardon, a 7th grade student at Creighton Middle School, is an all-arounder and does well in everything he tries. Thirteen-year-old Kaleb holds the position of first chair violin in his school’s orchestra, he is a member of the youth team at the climbing gym, Earth Trek, he snowboards with his parents almost every weekend during the winter, and has also received the Presidential Award from former President Barack Obama upon his graduation from 6th grade last year for his outstanding academic achievements. We spoke with Kaleb, who is a Filipino-Burmese American, on how he juggles his studies and his many extracurricular activities and hobbies. Kaleb says, “First of all, I make sure that I love the things I do. With the help of my mom and dad, they guide me in the way I should go. Also, if I do not juggle things properly, I do not get a chance to do the things I want to do. That’s why I have to make sure that I keep up with my studies and work hard.” Indeed, the well-rounded and self-sufficient teenager has a packed but extremely fulfilling schedule. He practices rock climbing roughly eight hours each week, attends private lessons for violin, and goes snowboards each week, all on top of handling his first year in middle school. When asked about his favorite hobby, Kaleb revealed that it is impossible to just settle on just one. “Honestly, I can’t choose. It’s hard because each gives me a different outlet. Playing music

helps me express myself. Rock climbing gives me mental and physical strength. Snowboarding lets me experiment test my limits. I am always evolving.” While Kaleb excels in math, science, Spanish and music, he enjoys math and music the most. He says, “Math allows me to enjoy learning the rules, and then apply them in different ways. Music has different rules, which allow me to play freely. The two activities keep me balanced.” Other than his rock climbing coaches, cousin Michael and good friend Brett, one of Kaleb’s other sources of inspiration is his mom, Rejill Vardon. She says, “I rarely had to worry about his grades at all which is amazing. He wholeheartedly enjoys his classes, teachers, friends and coaches, which makes it really easy for him to keep his grades up, excel in his other activities and still have a social life. He loves what he does.” Kaleb remains humble and enjoys hanging out with his friends, playing video games and watching television. His mom says, “Kaleb is very much like any teenager of his age, but his interests in non-traditional activities do give him a different perspective on life. Rock climbing, for instance, is very much an individual sport. The more he reaches, the stronger he gets. In life, he will learn that if he tries he can reach his goals.” Despite excelling in his various interests, Kaleb feels that his future ambition is a hard one to decide. He has yet to choose a path that he wants to follow. For Rejill, she trusts that Kaleb will choose what makes him truly happy. One thing is sure - the future is bright for this rising star. Rising Star | asian avenue magazine


BIBIMBAP RECIPE: Korean Rice Bowl Ingredients (3 - 4 servings) Prep time: 35 mins Cooking time: 55 mins

MEAT AND MEAT SAUCE • 3.5 ounces (100g) minced beef • 1 Tbsp soy sauce • 1 Tbsp sesame oil • 1 tsp brown sugar • 1/4 tsp minced garlic VEGETABLES AND OTHER INGREDIENTS • Mildly seasoned spinach • Mildly seasoned bean sprouts • Shiitake mushrooms • Carrots • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt • 3 - 4 servings of steamed rice • 3 - 4 eggs • Korean seasoned seaweed, shredded (cut long and thin) • Cooking oil to cook the meat, mushrooms, carrots and eggs BIBIMBAP SAUCE • 2 Tbsp. Gochujang, the spicy miso of Korean cooking • 1 Tbsp sesame oil • 1 Tbsp sugar • 1 Tbsp water • 1 Tbsp roasted sesame seeds • 1 tsp vinegar • 1 tsp minced garlic 20

March 2017 | Chef’s Menu


ibimbap is delicious and easy to make. Many Korean people are familiar with how to make it, having learned from their families. It is also one of the first few Korean dishes that non-Korean people tend to try. The best part about Bibimbap is that you can tweak the ingredients to whatever you want, and it will still taste heavenly. Even though Bibimbap sauce can be found in Asian supermarkets all around, this recipe for homemade Bibimbap sauce is one that all Korean food fans will love!

1 Prepare and cook ingredients.

• Marinate the meat for about 30 mins. while you are working on other ingredients to enhance the flavor. Mix the minced beef with the meat sauce listed above. Add some cooking oil into a wok and cook the meat on medium high to high heat. It takes about 3 - 5 mins. to thoroughly cook it. • Mix the Bibimbap sauce ingredients in a bowl. • Spinach and bean sprouts per linked recipe. • Rinse, peel and julienne the carrots. Add some cooking oil and 1/4 tsp of fine sea salt in a wok and cook the carrots on medium high to high heat for 2 - 3 mins. • Clean/rinse the shiitake mushrooms and thinly slice them. Add some cooking oil and 1/4 tsp of fine sea salt in a wok and cook the mushrooms on medium high to high heat until they are all cooked. • Make fried eggs.

2 Put the rice into a bowl and add the meat, assorted vegetables, seasoned seaweed, Bibimbap sauce and the egg on top of the rice. Then serve.

3 Mix the ingredients well in the bowl and enjoy!


Pho 99

When you walk into Pho 99, you are greeted by the smell of fragrant beef soup full of herbs and spices. Pho, a traditional Vietnamese beef noodle soup, is tasty all year long but especially comforting during cold days. After a brisk and chilly walk to the restaurant, I was pleased to dig into my steaming bowl of Pho. Owner Ivy Ha explains how the pho broth must be simmered with beef bones, meat, herbs, and spices overnight in order to create the best soup. Brewing for several hours gives the soup real flavor. She relies on this tried and true method of creating a rich and detailed taste, instead of using artificial flavors. When you order a bowl of pho, the hearty portions include tantalizing soup, soft rice noodles, your choice of meats, and green and white onions. A plate of fresh basil, beansprouts, and limes comes on the side that you can use to garnish your soup to your own taste. You can also use Sriracha hot sauce and hoisin as dipping sauces for the meat or to spice up your pho. Part of the beauty is the customization. You can add all types of vegetables to your bowl

and change up the soup with all the sauces present on the table. Although pho is the specialty of this restaurant, they sell a variety of other items, too. The Combination Grilled Rice Plate and Combination Grilled Vermicelli Bowl are also very popular, topped with Vietnamese grilled shrimp, pork, or beef. The bowls also come with a few crunchy egg rolls and a fried egg. Bun Bo Hue, the five spice beef noodle soup that is native to Central Vietnam is a seasonal special right now, and comes highly recommended. This spicy treat is incredibly flavorful with a delectable balance of spicy, salty, sweet, and sour. It definitely packs a punch! The bowl has a base of thick noodles and is topped with fresh onions. It also includes beef shank, pig’s knuckle so it’s not for the un-initiated. Don’t worry, you can order it without those toppings too! A plate of fresh vegetables that includes lime wedges and sliced banana blossoms come on the side that you can add to your Bun Bo Hue, too. If you’re looking for an authentic and savory spicy dish, this is the one for you!

Pho 99

1080 S. Havana St. Aurora, CO 80012 Tel: 303.344.0752 22

March 2017 | Restaurant Peek

By Joie Ha

Sample MeNU FOR 2 Vietnamese Summer Rolls $3.95 Small Meatball Pho $7.45 Bun Bo Bue $10.95 Avocado Boba $4 Appetizers also abound at Pho 99. They offer a large variety of starters from edamame to fried dumplings. My personal favorite is the summer rolls, or goi cuon in Vietnamese. These include shrimp, grilled pork, soft vermicelli noodles, and a variety of vegetables all wrapped in rice paper. Make sure to end your meal with a sweet boba smoothie. There are many flavors to choose from, and the drink is topped with a dollop of whipped cream. The avocado boba is made fresh and makes for a surprisingly refreshing drink! When asked why Ivy chose the number 99, she explained, “the number 9 in Chinese means longevity and I hope it will bring us and our customers good luck!� Try their new $9.95 lunch special, which includes a medium pho bowl, one spring roll, and a soft drink!

Why do pho restaurants include numbers in their names? Oftentimes they are lucky numbers. In some Asian cultures, the number 8 is associated with wealth or prosperity. Repetition is considered desirable (i.e. the Beijng Olympics started on 08/08/08). Some symbolize an important date in Vietnamese history or the owner’s personal life. For example, Pho 67 could stand for 1967, the year the owner fled Vietnam during the war.

Pho 99 | asian avenue magazine


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

pattern of self-reference as I evaluate the bigger picture.

6 It provides me the freedom to de-

tach from material things, with the willingness to change. I can trust a greater power and higher source of wisdom for all that I need.

7 Challenges reveal our true charac-

ter and integrity in our response. Can we act positively and maturely when things don’t go our way?

8 People are watching. This situation

provides an example and testimony for others on how I move forward from disappointment.

By Tom Shieh

Why Not Getting What I Want is Good for Me Last year, I began working on a commercial real estate deal. I came up with this brilliant structure and offer that would have been a grand slam on the acquisition of a building. I had a large national bank renting out the 1st floor, the 2nd floor was already partially filled, the 3rd floor was completely occupied, and my business would come in to take over the 4th floor. Not only would I save money on rent, but I would generate cash flow, build equity, and immediately increase the value of the building. On top of that, our company had an agreement with the mayor of the city to provide us a tax incentive, among other potential deductions. I was extremely excited. I flew out several times to meet with brokers, appraisers, bankers, inspectors, and other various parties involved. Over the course of a year, I had countless calls and conversations to get things set up properly. I meticulously submitted all the necessary paperwork and jumped through all the necessary hoops. Finally, the day came last week to sign the official agreement. To my disappointment, things did not work out. I tried my best with various approaches, but the seller didn’t sign when it was time to execute.

An entire year’s worth of work went down the drain, with no building to show for it. Have you ever had life situations work out that way? “If only … I could have, I should have, I would have.” It can be such a deflating feeling. However, I’m truly convinced that sometimes not getting what I want is good for me. As a father of three young children, I can certainly attest to this when they ask for ice cream and candy every day. Reflecting on my situation during a run this week, I came up with 10 reasons why not getting what we want is exactly what we need.

I There’s something greater and better in


Struggle triggers deep reflection, prayer, and pondering – the seeds of greatness.


Lastly, this develops my muscles of gratitude in realization that I lack nothing for genuine joy.

What about you? Is life how you had imagined it would be? Do you feel like you have “failed” time and time again? How are you still clinging to your dreams? Whatever your answers are to those questions, you are not alone. Sometimes not getting what we want is exactly what we need. Let’s learn to see our setbacks differently. Keep our heads up and keep moving forward! As Steve Jobs said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”

store. I’m blessed, protected, and highly favored.


This situation teaches me patience and the value of proper timing.


The temporary setback strengthens my perseverance; it tests my desires.


This challenges me to be better equipped.

5 Disappointment breaks my story and

Connect with Tom:, Better Living | asian avenue magazine


bookreview The Three-Body Problem Title:The Three-Body Problem Author: Liu Cixin Translator: Ken Liu Publisher: Tor Books (January 12, 2016) Language: English Paperback: 416 pages ISBN-13: 978-0765382030

LIU C The Three Body Problem by Liu Cixin is the first in the series of a sci-fi trilogy that contains so much more than it first appears. Filled with philosophy, history, alien invasions and more, The Three Body Problem packs quite a bit into 302 pages. The novel begins during the chaos of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. The complex social class system combined with the passionate Chinese Communist ideals of the time fanned the destruction of families, intellect, and reason. Readers follow Ye Wenjie, the daughter of a prominent physics professor, as she suffers through the horrors of the Cultural Revolution. During that time, intellectuals and scholars were seen as threats to the revolutionary cause. After being sent into the Chinese countryside for reform labor, Ye is recruited by the mysterious “Red Coast Base.” The story then jumps into the future, following Wang Miao as a string of suicides in an academic circle called “The Frontiers of Science.” Wang hesitantly comes into contact with members of The Frontiers of Science, and discovers a videogame that takes him into a world where each cycle of the day is unpredictable and each passing moment brings a surprise. The novel jumps from one point of history to another, references prominent theorists and historical figures, and frequently uses technical physics terminology. While the book can be a slow read at times, Cixin has carefully woven complex concepts into this novel. The blend of history and relevant scientific theories within The Three Body Problem will make the reader ponder the universe at large.


March 2017 | Book Review


Reviewed by Amy Ng

abouttheauthor Liu Cixin, born in June 1963, is a representative of the new generation of Chinese science fiction authors and recognized as a leading voice in Chinese science fiction. He was awarded the China Galaxy Science Fiction Award for eight consecutive years, from 1999 to 2006 and again in 2010. His representative work The Threebody Problem is the BEST STORY of 2015 Hugo Awards, the 3rd of 2015 Campbell Award finalists, and nominee of 2015 Nebulas Award.

Jenn Im: Jenn is a Ko-

rean American YouTuber who started making videos throughout college and today has over 1.8 million subscribers. Her content focuses on style, fashion, makeup, beauty, and occasionally throwing in a few travel vlogs when she goes to Beautycon and other YouTube hosted events. Her fashion is very versatile, ranging from girly chic to a grungy rock n’ roll look. Her videos are always aesthetically pleasing and fresh!



Weylie Hoang:

Weylie is a Vietnamese-Chinese American YouTuber that started in the early days of YouTube in 2007, but it was in 2010 when her viewings quickly escalated. She now has over 1.5 million subscribers and uploads weekly beauty or fashion videos. She posts a variety of content about skincare, hair, fashion, style, makeup, DIY, and holiday videos. She also gives viewers a look into her personal life with her other vlog account that features her boyfriend Wah @WahlieTV.

Chriselle Lim: A Korean American


Stars By Yi Jing Chen

Ever since YouTube started in 2005, there have been many people on the internet sharing their ideas, styles, how-to videos, and advice for others. In such a big YouTube community, there are interconnected circles of YouTube users that collaborate and create videos together based on similar styles and tastes. We have all heard of the biggest YouTubers, Michelle Phan, Promise Phan, and Ryan Higa… but have you heard of these YouTubers?

Claire Marshall:

Claire is a Korean American YouTuber. She was a freelance makeup artist that has worked with many designers for New York Fashion Week, and she creates many beauty and style videos. Her videos always have her own personal flair to her videography by adding her own handwriting as the captions and using unique angles to give the viewer a more personal perspective. She currently has 800,000 subscribers and has worked with beauty brands such as Sephora and Bite Beauty.



fashion blogger and YouTuber, Chriselle has made a name for herself in the fashion industry. She started her career as a stylist and has worked on many editorial shoots with celebrities and notable fashion books. She founded her blog that showcases her style, beauty and fashion musings. She has also worked with luxury brands such as Dior, Fendi, Gucci, Valentino, and many more. Her videography always has a chic touch to it, and whether it be in her own apartment or a look book shot in Paris, her videos are always original and stunning.

Karen Yeung:

Karen is a Chinese American YouTuber and blogger that has accumulated over 1.3 million subscribers since 2013. From making her YouTube videos, she was discovered by Michelle Phan and recruited to work as an IPSY stylist in May of 2015. Karen’s videos have a retro chic aesthetic, and she was able to collaborate with COACH for their Pre-Fall collection and be featured in social media advertisements. Karen says, “My style is influenced by the toughness of the city and the lax suburban lifestyle.”


Fashion | asian avenue magazine


2017 Chinese and Lunar New Year Celebrations Asian Pacific Development Center By Joie Ha

Christine Wanifuchi

Established 37 years ago after the influx of Vietnam War refugees, Asian Pacific Development Center (APDC) has consistently strived to provide the best resources for refugees and immigrants. APDC celebrated the Lunar New Year on Saturday, February 11 with a delicious family-style dinner catered by Min-J Asian Cuisine at the spacious Infinity Park Event Center. The event served as a fundraiser for the much-needed adult and youth programs at APDC. The night started with a moving speech from Christine Wanifuchi, the Chief Executive Officer of APDC for the past 10 years. Celebrating her last year with APDC, Chris-

Celebrating the 2017 Chinese Year of the Rooster, Denver-Kunming Sister Cities held a banquet with traditional Chinese food at the Empress Seafood Restaurant on Sunday, Feb. 12. Kunming is Denver’s eighth sister city. Mayors Federico Peña and Zhu Zhi-Hui formalized the relationship between the two cities in 1985. Shaolin Hung Mei Kung Fu performed a traditional lion dance throughout the restaurant to kick off the event. They also performed multiple martial arts demonstrations that wowed and impressed the audience. Yuan Nikki Koss, an energetic and charismatic teacher originally from Kunming, China hosted the dinner. While guests enjoyed the delicious food, Dr. Ming Li and Ms. Yue Ling Yu performed traditional Chinese songs: Dr. Ming Li played the Chinese two-string violin while Ms. Yue Ling Yu sang. Ms. Yue Ling Yu also treated diners to an impressive Tai Chi demonstration. The Denver-Kunming Sister Cities Committee gave away lucky red sheets of paper with calligraphy done by the Master Harber Chang. The Denver-Kunming Sister Cities Committee Chinese New Year Celebration also honored the dearly departed Hing Ryder who was a long time member of their committee.

Nathan Yip Foundation

The Nathan Yip Foundation transformed the McNichols Civic Center Building into a traditional Chinese night market on Jan. 28. In addition to the all-you-can-eat food bazaar, which featured Chef Darrel Truett’s (Barolo Grill) turnip cakes with Chinese sausage, Chef Dana Rodriguez’s (Work and Class) plum glazed pork belly steamed buns with kimchi, and Chef Troy Guard’s


March 2017 | On Scene

tine was surprised by multiple awards and commemorations. She was given the Community Garden Award by Dr. Rudolph Lie, the founder of APDC. She also received a proclamation from Governor John W. Hickenlooper that declared Feb. 11 Christine Wanifuchi Day! The event began with an energetic lion dance by Shaolin Hung Mei Kung Fu that weaved through all of the tables. Gamelan Tunas Mekar, an Indonesian orchestra, played traditional indigenous music from the island of Bali during dinner, and Ni Ketut Marni accompanied the music with a beautiful and intricate traditional dance.

Denver-Kunming Sister Cities

By Joie Ha

By Samantha Quee

(Lucky Cat) dumplings, attendees also enjoyed a local cultural market, where they had a chance to visit a variety of shopping booths, including fortune tellers and Chinese calligraphy. The event bustled with festivities as the Shaolin Hung Mei Kung Fu School performed the traditional lion dance. There were also roaming performances of martial artists, stilt-walkers, aerial performers, and a world-record holding yo-yo entertainer. Sponsored by the Seattle Fish Company, this is the 15th year that the Nathan Yip Foundation held a Lunar New Year dinner celebration. The huge turnout of nearly 600 people meant that the foundation can continue its efforts to aid vulnerable children worldwide. Prior to his tragic death in a New Year’s

Eve car crash at age 19, Nathan Yip had been dedicated to helping at-risk kids better their lives. His parents, Jimmy and Linda Yip continued his legacy a year after his death with the formation of the Nathan Yip Foundation. With successful projects in China and other parts of the world, their focus for 2017 is on making a difference in Colorado. They plan to revamp a much-neglected science classroom in Eads, to better support teachers in the Montezuma-Cortez district by connecting them with a peer-to-peer professional development network, and to aid San Luis Valley schools in conducting home visits for students. Visit to find out how you can make a difference and donate to the foundation.

Record crowd attends Day of Remembrance The World War II incarceration of 120,000 people of Japanese descent still resonates with people today because of the rhetoric aimed at Muslims, and the rise of hate crimes against Muslims and recently, Jews. History seems to be repeating itself and Japanese Americans are raising the alarm. Over 500 people attended Mile High JACL’s Feb. 19 Day of Remembrance (DoR) program at History Colorado Center, an

annual event that commemorates President Franklin Roosevelt’s signing of Executive Order 9066, which led to the roundup of Japanese Americans along the West Coast and their imprisonment in 10 concentration camps scattered in desolate locations, with one in Colorado, Amache, that housed 9,000 during the war. EO 9066 was signed on Feb. 19, 1942, but the wave of anti-Japanese feelings had been mounting for decades, and

was rooted in anti-Asian movements that sparked the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. So Asian Americans know from history how seething resentment and prejudice against any minority, like Muslims or Latinos, can manifest over time. The DoR program usually attracts about 150 people; History Colorado’s lecture room was standing-room only this year because of President Trump’s immigration actions. 9News anchor Adele Arakawa emceed,

and Lane Ryo Hirabayashi, an Asian Studies professor from UCLA was the keynote speaker. He focused on the postwar resettlement of JAs in Colorado, and made many connections between JAs and the Muslim and Latino communities. Survivors of the camps in the audience spoke eloquently about their experiences. It was a thought-provoking program that gave attendees knowledge and historical context for current events. Article and Photo by Gil Asakawa

“Persona Non Grata” and Director Cellin Gluck received with full house Many of us are aware of the discrimination and dangers experienced by those of Japanese ancestry in America and by Jews in Germany during WWII. “Persona Non Grata” is a film that links the two ethnicities by telling the story of Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat working in Lithuania from 1939 to 1940. Sugihara issued transit visas to nearly 3,000 Jewish refugees, thus saving their lives as well as tens of thousands of the survivors’ descendants, a few of Articles by Stacey L. Shigaya

whom were in the audience. The Feb. 16th screening of the film at the Denver Jewish Film Festival, followed by a Q & A session with Director Cellin Gluck, was sponsored by the Japanese American Resource Center of Colorado and Sakura Foundation.

Kodo Sounds Off in Denver Powerful. Moving. Spectacular. Vibrant. Energetic. Those are some of the words the audience used to describe the amazing performance by Kodo at the Newman Center for the Performing Arts. The world renown Japanese taiko drum performers returned to Denver with two sold-out shows on Feb. 14 and 15. The 14 Kodo performers moved the audience with

their latest work, DADAN 2017, which offered a “bold new exploration of Japanese drumming traditions.” The energy of the performers bounced from their drums into the audience, which left many asking enthusiastically “When is Kodo returning to Denver?!” Sakura Foundation proudly co-presented the event with Newman Center Presents.

Photo by Takashi Okamoto

Mile-High Happenings | asian avenue magazine


Financial Workshop Kits

How Asians see and manage emergency funds By Jia Yue Huang As the Chinese idiom goes: “Save for a rainy day.” Most Chinese, Filipino and Japanese households have the habit of saving money for medical emergencies, job loss and other unexpected emergency situations. However, according to a study by the National Coalition for Asian Pacific America Community Development (CAPACD), a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. and California, language barriers and unfamiliarity with mainstream financial systems limit recent Asian immigrants’ access to financial resources when emergencies happen. According to a 2012 Pew Research Center study, only 63 percent of Asian Americans speak English proficiently. As a result, family members and friends become the main sources that recent Asian immigrants turn to for financial support when they encounter emergency situations. Here are some common ways Asians see and manage emergency funds: Common Trait #1: Have it but don’t want to use it In most Asian American households, the emergency funds is the last they want to tap into for unexpected expenses. Chinese- American Zhigang Sun, 50, a former media researcher at the University of Missouri says his family’s emergency fund comes from their savings accumulated over the years. Sun says his family has never used it, and see it as the family’s luck. “We make sure that we always keep a certain amount of money in savings. We usually try not to use it for purposes other than emergent situations,” Sun said. Common Trait #2: High reliance on family and friends The CAPACD report says: “It should be noted, however, that regardless of generation, friends and family remain a key source for helping individuals’ weather financial emergencies.” According to the CAPACD study, 40 percent of respondents regard friends and fam-


March 2017 | Feature

ily members as their main sources of emergency funds. Joyce Pisnanont, asset building program manager of CAPACD, says recent Asian immigrants’ dependence on family and friends is understandable. Their lack of trust in financial products and limited ability to have clear control and understanding over those products discourage them from using other financial resources. Common Trait #3: Credit cards often are a source The CAPACD study also found that credit card cash advances are the second most used resource that Asian Americans turn to for emergency funds. A study called the “Banking in Color” by CAPACD, National Urban League and National Council of LA Raza compared Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) with other community groups. It found that Asian Americans are more likely to use credit cards than Hispanics and African Americans. According to the study, “Sixty-one percent of all respondents had at least one credit card, with the highest access to credit coming within the AAPI community.” Here are three strategies families can use to better manage their emergency funds: Strategy #1: Set up long-term and short-term goals Pisnanont said 23 percent of survey respondents did not know where to get emergency funds or doubted if they could raise emergency funds at all. However, 14 percent of them said they needed emergency cash in the last 12 months. To better prepare financially for emergency, Smart about suggests you establish a long-term goal of three to

six months’ worth of expenses, and then set baby steps for how you plan to get there.” Strategy #2: Learn more about the financial system Overcoming cultural barriers is critical for Asian immigrants to diversify their sources of emergency funds. “Understanding the fundamentals of managing money and how the U.S. financial system works is critical to building a pathway to economic security and wealth,” Pisnanont said. She says there are a number of financial capability programs at schools, libraries, churches and online that immigrants can take advantage of as part of building wealth. Strategy #3: Choose a liquid interest-bearing account Most families simply put money into savings accounts as emergency funds. However, basic savings accounts don’t offer much return on interest and money to inflation. Although an independent retirement account is a good choice for long-term savings, it is not the best choice for emergency savings because of high fees and penalties for withdrawals. It’s a good idea to keep some savings in a basic savings account, and some in accounts that earn higher interest, such as a money market account, certificate of deposit (CD) or savings bonds. To learn more about emergency funds, take the free online Emergency Fund course at Financial Workshop Kits ( about emergency funds can be found under these kits: • Savings Through Tax Refunds • Income, Savings and Assets • Your Spending, Your Savings, Your Future


EXPIRES 3/31/2017




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Asian Avenue magazine - March 2017  

Cover: Refugees families in Colorado

Asian Avenue magazine - March 2017  

Cover: Refugees families in Colorado