ASIAN OUTLOOK volume XXVI, issue 4
Exclusive Interview with Clara C Inside!
Volume XXVI, Issue 4
contents OUTLOOK 2
featured 4 | Richard Aoki The Yellow Panther | Adam Mei
column 6 | First Love| Her Min
editorials 8 | Life in the Dark | Rasheequr Rahman 10 | Masculinity in Qurestion | Dale Gao 12 | Obsolesce | Saruta Siriwatanakul 14 | Beautiful Bangladesh | Yusef T. Ahmed 16 | Racial Profiling During the Boston Marathon Bombing | YaeJin Oh
arts & entertainment 19 | “Gentleman” Is Mother Father Awesome | Dale Gao 21 | The Objectification of Women in PSY’s “Gentleman” | Amy Zhang 22 | So You Wanna Make a Pink Film? | Ritesh Kadam 24 | A Personal Journey with Jafar Panahi | Jacob Shamsian 28 | Chattin’ with Clara C
conscience 34 | Michelle Chang 36 | Randy Singh 36 | Amir Merke 37 | Karen Tong 38 | Jinhua Hu 39 | Farhan Hussain
Cover image sources: http://dub.washington.edu/djangosite/media/icons/pubs/mouse-cursor-icon.jpg http://static8.depositphotos.com/1435560/948/i/950/depositphotos_9485859-Black-musical-note.jpg http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_rDzyWJWws-Q/TEsuoFaP8iI/AAAAAAAAAAM/bErNA6bNGhY/s1600/Fist.png http://treatyourselfsandiegodotcom.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/black-heart1.gif http://www.clker.com/cliparts/4/c/v/F/x/v/elephant-silhouette.svg http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-08U9GIHYWb4/UHWBsP0Ew6I/AAAAAAAAALE/tnVgjHhlTsI/s1600/running+icon.jpg http://openclipart.org/image/800px/svg_to_png/170979/camera_icon_estilizado_nofeet_nohandle.png
letter from the editor...
ith finals week upon us and the campus-wide outbreak of
Spring fever and Senioritis, our staff put together a lighter issue of Asian Outlook for you all to enjoy during studying (or partying) breaks. Highlighted in this issue is our interview with Clara Chung, a musician from Los Angeles. While the interview is very light-hearted with anecdotes featuring popular YouTube stars, such as Ryan Higa, David So and David Choi, it took place at a more serious event— the East Coast Asian American Student Union conference. Speakers at the conference included, Norman Mineta, Curtis Chin, Dilawar Syed, Richard Lui, Gregory Cendana and Mia Mingus, and workshop topics included the DREAM Act, microaggressions in Asian America, domestic violence, disability justice, kawaii iconography, bamboo ceiling, intersectionality, LGBTQ AAPIs, and more. The speakers and workshop leaders were all very inspirational and called for more Asian American activists to step up and continue fighting for progress. They also emphasized the importance of marginalized groups coming together to fight interrelated forms of oppression—racism, sexism, homophobia, belief-based bigotry, etc. Richard Lui from MSNBC asked the crowd, “Where is the Asian American Al Sharpton?” and hoped that one of the thousand plus attendees would go on to be that leader. The serious speeches and workshops were broken up by entertaining performances by Clara C, Jason Chen, David So, ILL-Literacy, Taiyo Na & Magnetic North, Ellen Kim, Aye Hasegawa, and numerous performances from student groups, but the call to action was loud and clear. Although this issue was intended to be light-hearted and entertaining, I hope you will also take note of some of the more serious articles, such as “Masculinity in Question”, “Richard Aoki: The Yellow Panther” and “Racial Profiling During the Boston Marathon Bombing,” and by extension, take note of some of the more serious issues in society. Mutual understanding, respect and equality are goals that we should all continuously work towards, regardless of whether or not we personally feel affected. Aggression in any form, micro or otherwise, and including, but not limited to, racism, sexism, homophobia, and belief-based prejudices or profiling are cancers that we should all work to treat and prevent. Even if we do not personally suffer from these forms of oppression, our neighbors, friends, and loved ones may. Therefore, it is important for us all to band together and continue to view our society as a work-in-progress that we can reconceive, reform, and refine with the impractical, but worthwhile, goal of perfection. Please study hard, have fun, and enjoy our articles. PS. If I have inspired some curiosity about the ECAASU conference or want to know more about any of the workshop topics or issues mentioned above, please contact us for more information and to be notified about next semester’s weekly meeting times. Kayla Natrella Editor-in-Chief, Spring 2013
asian outlook executive board Spring 2013 editor-in-chief conscience editor copy editors
secretary business manager publicity managers
Kayla Natrella Claire Chang Adam Mei Joe Park Saruta Siriwatanakul YaeJin Oh Alena Kim Jun Hao Zhang Rudy Kuang Susi Ngo Dale Gao Kitrena Young Her Min Farhan Hussain Jinhua Hu
editorial policy Asian Outlook is the art, literary and news magazine of the Asian Student Union of SUNY Binghamton. Originally conceived and created to challenge, redefine, reimagine and revolutionize images and perceptions associated with Asians and Asian Americans, Asian Outlook also serves as an outlet for marginalized groups whether by ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and/or political affiliation. All matter contained within these beautiful pages do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial board. Asian Outlook reserves the right to edit submissions and publish work as deemed appropriate. Prospective contributors are encouraged to discuss their work with the editors prior to submissions. Articles may be submitted as an e-mail attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org. All artistic and literary pieces may be submitted to email@example.com.
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Vol. XXVI, Issue 4
The Yellow Panther By Adam Mei
On March 15th, 2009, a man named Richard Aoki committed suicide by a self inflicted gunshot wound.
or anyone unfamiliar with the name, he was a revolutionary activist and one of the earliest members of the Black Panther Party. Despite being an Asian American, Richard Aoki attained the position of Field Marshal and helped teach, train, and arm members of the Black Panthers. He immortalized himself by being a critical component in the struggle for social justice while transcending racial barriers. Now you might be asking yourself, “Why should I care about some guy that died over four years ago?” The answer to that question falls upon Seth Rosenfeld and his recent claims that Richard Aoki was secretly an FBI informant the entire time. Outrage spread like a forest fire, as many people were left wondering if Richard Aoki’s legacy would stand fast, or become ashes in history. Richard Aoki was born in the year 1938 and he was only three years old when the United States entered World War II. His family was forced to relocate to internment camps along with thousands of other Asian Americans, many of whom had been living in the US for multiple generations. In the years following the war, Aoki attended Merritt College where he befriended Huey Newton and Bobby Seale, the founding members of the Black Panther Party. Aoki served eight years in the US army where he was trained in small arms and sharpshooting. After being honorably discharged, these skills became the foundation to his position as Field Marshal in the Black Panthers. Aoki is said to have provided the Panthers with their first weapons. Police brutality was running rampant in their communities and he taught them how to use those weapons and keep the police officers in check. He continued to lead strikes and speak out against the social injustices during his time with the Black Panthers, but Rosenfeld claims that Aoki was working with the FBI the whole time. In his book, Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals and Reagan’s Rise to Power, Seth Rosenfeld uses 30 years of research and redacted documents released by the FBI to assert Aoki’s involvement with the FBI for 16 years. The documents were released under the Freedom of Information Act and over 200 pages of the 300,000 pages of redacted documents mention Aoki’s involvement as an informant. These
documents along with the words of the now deceased former FBI agent, Burney Threadgill, strongly support Rosenfeld’s accusation. Despite all of Rosenfeld’s research, there are many that believe his evidence is not strong enough to make such an accusation. Critics of Rosenfeld almost all agree that a more thorough investigation is needed before accusing Aoki of being an informant. “No investigation, no right to speak” is often quoted from Mao Zedong. It simply means that without a proper investigation, any claim you make is nonsense and should be disregarded. The many documents released by the FBI were all heavily redacted, which means many different sources were combined to make a single document. These redactions can often conceal the truth or manipulate the integrity of the original document and many people doubt its validity. Other critics mention the FBI’s use of hanging snitch jackets on important members of an organization in the past. The FBI could be making Aoki out to look like a snitch to create fear and doubt about revolutionaries and social movements. These critics look beyond the FBI’s words and would rather believe the actions that were carried out by Aoki himself. Training members everyday at the crack of dawn, leading protests and movements, and passing down a socialistic ideology do not seem like actions that benefit the FBI in any way. Ultimately there are three responses to Rosenfeld’s claim. There are those who simply agree with him and completely believe the FBI’s documents without a doubt. There are those who simply disregard everything Rosenfeld says, unwavering in their support of Aoki. Finally, there are those that do not take everything at face value. They acknowledge the claim of Aoki’s involvement with the FBI, but believe actions speak louder than words. Richard Aoki’s actions toward social justice have shaped his legacy which has dubbed him the title of “The Yellow Panther.”
Sources: http://www.npr.org/2012/10/03/161408561/did-man-who-armed-blackpanthers-lead-two-lives http://kasamaproject.org/repression/1169-1richard-aoki-panther-andrevolutionary-1938-2009
Vol. XXVI, Issue 4
FIRST LOVE H
ow many people are falling in love now?
How long does it take for you to fall in love? Some people may say I am in love with my girlfriend or boyfriend and our relationship has lasted for a long time. On the other hand, some may say, I have never had a significant other. The answer will be different for different people. So how about this question: Have you ever suffered from being in love or by the people who you loved? Almost everyone will say yes. Some people will value those memories, but for others, it is so painful that they would rather forget about it. For me, I also have a love story. I do not knowwhy but my first love came late. When I was 23 years old, I returned to school from my military service. I felt I was lacking in academics, and so I strived to be a better student. I joined a volunteer group named KOICA, Korea International Cooperation Agency. Since I focused on helping international students to adapt in South Korea, I had no time to look around. Also, at the time I had to work three different part-time jobs. As a result, I could not make many friends. One day, however, I attended a group dinner and I met a girl. She wondered why I spoke politely to her yet acted mean and rude at the same time. For fun, I suggested that if she texts or calls me once per day, I would speak to her comfortably. I did not think she would because there was no reason to follow up on my proposal. However, she actually texted or called me once a day. Eventually, I gave up using the honorific speech to her and our relationship quickly became closer. After I finished work, I would meet her whenever I could and we called each other frequently. One day, she called me and said she wanted to get some fresh air. Even though I was working at that time, I hoped to do something for her. I asked my manager if I could go home early. So, she and I met at the Han River, which is famous in Korea for being a popular date spot and tourist attraction. Since I had to go back home and take a shower, I was late one hour. Although she was a little sulky, she led me to the Han River anyway. Then, she revealed her gifts. I was surprised at what she brought: a bottle of wine, wine glasses and even a mat to sit
] 랑 사 [첫
By Her Min
on. By chance, I thought to bring some grapes and cherries as if destiny had planned to bring us together. The view was so beautiful. In front of us, there was a boat that went around the Han River and the light shined on us. At that moment, I thought she would be my fiancée someday. As time passed, my love for her grew deeper and deeper. Eventually, I got a chance to confess to her. She was running in an election to be the president of the university’s student union. Since I was also participating in a competition, I stayed at school after classes. As a result, she and I were able to spend a lot of time together preparing for our events. One night, I bought ice cream for her and we met in front of the University Union building. The timing was perfect. We were surrounded by darkness, and only the streetlight shone on us. The wind blew lightly, branches swung gently and no one else was there. In the middle of the street, we stared at each other softly and lovingly. Everything was perfect. I wanted to tell her how I felt and she seemed like she was waiting for me to say something. The words I wanted to say tried to come out but I could not do it. I wanted to say, I love you. However, I was afraid that she might refuse my proposal and I would lose her. I was really scared she would leave me. In the end, I said, “You should go to your room, and get ready for your election.” I felt like an idiot. She even gave me one more chance because she said, “I’ll see you off at the library.” Foolishly, I declined her hint and let her go. As a result, I missed my chance and she left forever. To this day, I still have difficulty confessing when I meet a person I like. However, I will strive to propose to her because I do not want to regret it later. Love might be painful, but if I have one more chance to fall in love, I am not going to hesitate. I will fall in love without any hesitation. One of my favorite adages for love is, “Love is what makes you smile when you are tired.” So guys, do love and be loved again.
Photo Source: http://500px.com/photo/5006525
â€œHave you ever suffered from being in love or by the people who you loved?â€?
Photo by Kihong Kim
Vol. XXVI, Issue 4
Life in the Dark By Rasheeq Rahman
A snapshot of the brutal lives of young women in the Bangledeshi sex-industry.
ust a few hours away from the capital of
17-yr old prostitute holding out an empty pack of Oradexon.
Bangladesh, Dhaka, is the district of Faridpur. Along the banks of the Padma River, is a huge fort-like building which houses about 800 sexworkers. The living conditions are a mess; it is a terrible environment, high in pollution. It’s unfortunate that most of those 800 prostitutes are just teenagers like us. And even worse, a good number of them are not even teenagers. Yet, life over there is probably like life on a different planet. As a matter of fact, the life these girls lead can’t even be called life, but rather “existence.” And even though it’s no prison, it’s like they are prisoners over there. The series of unfortunate events they have to go through every single day is more than ‘miserable.’ And this is how it is for many unfortunate souls in Bangladesh throughout the whole nation. A very few choose this life out of desperation, but most of the other ones are forced into this trade. From the rural areas of the country, young girls are sold by their families for a very little amount of money, which on average is just around $200 to $300. Is this what a young girl who has yet to experience the gift of life worth? My books for just this semester cost me more than this! Some girls’ stepfathers or stepmothers, and even sometimes biological parents sell their own children in exchange for a little amount of money to support themselves, whereas in other cases, the girls are promised jobs, marriages, and a better future. These innocent girls don’t have the slightest hint that they are being deceived into a world of misfortune? The men then sell them to pimps across the country. According to UNICEF, the number of underage girls being used in the sex-industry in
Bangladesh is around 10,000, but other sources estimate the number to be as high as 29,000. They are made to live in extremely poor conditions: very small rooms, with no light or windows, often sharing those rooms with other prostitutes. They are required to have intercourse with their customers a minimum of 4 to 5 times each day, which sometimes escalates to even 15 times a day for some. And yet, after going through all this torment, they only manage to make around just a dollar or two each day. They are beaten up, raped, and tortured in many other ways. The story just gets sadder; they don’t even get to keep the money for themselves. Most of it is handed over to an older lady, who is usually their mistresses or madam. This lady, once a former prostitute, is now in charge of a number of girls. The sex-workers are forced to take a pill, known as ‘Oradexon’, which helps increase their weight. They look
According to UNICEF, the number of underage girls being used in the sexindustry in Bangladesh is around
healthier and more mature. This is done in order to ensure that the girls appear to be old enough to qualify for prostitution, because the legal age of prostitution in Bangladesh is 18. And secondly, their customers prefer the girls to have ‘curves’. This pill results in a lot of negative side-effects, such as headaches, stomachaches, and skin rashes, among others. These pills are usually used by farmers to fatten their cattle. This is what the girls are forced to consume. There is no way out. Their pimps, or madams/ mistresses force them to take it, otherwise, they are deprived of food. If they don’t consume it, they don’t gain weight, and as a result, they lose customers. Each pill only
costs around a couple cents and can be obtained without prescriptions. The sewage lines of these areas are said to be blocked by used condoms among other trash. This adds to high pollution level in the area. However, many customers prefer to have unprotected sex. The girls don’t have a choice, but to expose themselves to the risks of STDs. Many sex workers in Bangladesh are HIV positive. They give birth to children in those very same brothels, who are at high risk of being HIV positive as well. Whereas most daughters of those sexworkers follow their mothers’ footsteps, some of the sons go on to become pimps as adults. Many sex-workers carry a sense of optimism, that maybe one day, they will be able to come out of this darkness, send their children to school and lead decent lives. But most of them have given up on their hope, as they are aware that others frown upon them for their profession and they will not be accepted back into society. They cannot get married, or get a good job, so they feel that there’s no going back. It’s like a one-way ticket to hell. Many only hope that God will take them away, and put them out of this misery, while others have taken their own lives. This dark world of theirs offers nothing but excruciating pain, but still they have to helplessly bear with it every single day. Prostitution is legal in Bangladesh. There are about 100,000 sex-workers throughout the nation. And even though there are laws against child prostitution and sextrafficking, very little is being done by the local government. Sometimes even the police sexually exploit the sex-workers. As unfortunate as it may sound, this is how things will continue to go on. It is highly unlikely that these poor girls will ever escape from this tormenting cycle and will continue to live in the so-called ‘dark world’. Sources: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/apr/05/sex-workers-bangladeshsteroid http://www.buzzfeed.com/gavon/30-tragic-beautiful-photos-of-teenageprostitutes http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prostitution_in_Bangladesh http://digitaljournal.com/article/297040 http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/03/19/bangladesh-prostitutionidINDEE82I04I20120319 http://au.ibtimes.com/articles_slideshows/316082/20120319/bangladeshsteenage-prostitutes-turn-to-steroids-for-survival-photos_4.htm http://www.freeendlessinfo.com/2012/03/brothels-in-tangailbangladeshgirls-tear/#.UXC0T2ey3fE http://www.ibtimes.com/bangladeshs-teenage-prostitutes-turn-steroidssurvival-photos-554715
Vol. XXVI, Issue 4
By Dale Gao
Asian American men have long been portrayed by the U.S. media as guys with no game.
relationship, who would you date? How much would ethnicity have an effect on your decision? Would you care if the person was Asian? Asian males are more often emasculated than men of any other race. Because of their portrayals in various movies and television shows as impotent nerds lacking sexual prowess, people often hold misconceptions of Asian American men. Men of this demographic have been “culturally castrated” by pop culture and have often been victims of these negative connotations of being asexual. Prominent Asian American characters in pop culture are rarely seen while flipping through the channels on the television or while sitting in the movie theater watching a film. Until recently, there have been almost zero Asian American males in romantic leads. Even in movies like Romeo Must Die, which featured Jet Li as the romantic lead, the idea of having an Asian man kissing the leading lady was unappealing to the audience and so it was not included. Asian American men are also absent from the porn industry as a result of their incorrect socially imposed reputations for being asexual and “under-endowed”. For Asian American boys, this perception may have a detrimental effect on their development. The self-esteem of boys decreases from the association between race and masculinity. According to Yul Kwon,
who participated in Survivor: Cook Islands, he would often see Asian American actors who were typecast to know how to fight or figure out complex algorithms, but not how to pick up a date: “When I was growing up, I was very much influenced by what I saw, and more importantly what I didn’t see, on television. Whenever I saw an Asian American man on television, he was inevitably a kung-fu master who could
kick ass but he couldn’t speak English, or a computer geek who could figure out algorithms but couldn’t figure out how to get a date. And for myself, I really think I internalized a lot of these images.” Yul Kwon is not the only Asian American male who has internalized these images. When these are the primary images of Asian American men in mainstream media, many boys internalize them and, subsequently, their self-esteem suffers.
y In Question Asian American boys and their ideas of identity. Not only would the emasculation affect an individual’s love life, but his work life as well. Despite a higher percentage of the population with bachelor degrees in comparison to other ethnic groups, Asian Americans still have difficulty in mobility within their career paths. Because employers don’t see Asian American men as masculine enough to be leader material, Asian males are not often seen in top positions. This barrier preventing Asian Americans from the top positions is often referred to as the “bamboo ceiling”. Despite these negative stereotypes, views toward Asian American men are constantly changing. The introduction of new Asian faces in sports, politics, the Internet, and pop culture has recently begun to help garner the support needed to repel the association between Asian American men and a lack of masculinity. The growing prominence of Asian American men in non-stereotypical roles in popular movies and TV shows, such as “Walking Dead”, gives hope that we will start to see more masculine and realistic images of men in popular media.
Jet Li as Han in Romeo Must Die.
Wong Fu Productions, a popular how White guys are able to get Asian YouTube channel among the Asian girls whereas Asian guys fail to get a American community, tackled this issue White girl. At the end of the video, Wong Fu implies that White men “get girls” more easily because they have more confidence and assertiveness and suggests that it is up to the individual to develop these attributes. What Wong Fu fails to address, however, is the detrimental effect that the through their short film “Yellow Fever” emasculating representations of Asians in 2006. The protagonist questions in mainstream American media has on
“. . .I really think I internalized a lot of these images.”
Sources: http://www.asian-nation.org/asian-man.shtml http://www.wbez.org/series/race-out-loud/ asian-american-men-less-likely-dateinteracially-102033 http://bitchmagazine.org/post/isnt-he-lovelyfear-and-loathing-of-asian-american-malesexuality http://www.racialicious.com/2007/06/26/thewords-of-asian-american-men/ h t t p : / /w w w. t h e a t l a n t i c . c o m / b u s i n e s s / archive/2012/05/why-do-asian-americans-havethe-worst-long-term-unemployment/257806/ http://www.shrm.org/hrdisciplines/diversity/ articles/pages/asiansfacebambooceiling.aspx
Vol. XXVI, Issue 4
Are CITES’ efforts to protect and preserve endangered species becoming obsolete and facing extinction? by Saruta Siriwatanakul
The illegal trading of endangered animals make up a substantial percentage of income for many small developing nations.
March, the 16th conference of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) of Wild Fauna and Flora was held in Bangkok, Thailand. The conference marked an impotent effort to save yet another 343 new species that have been added to CITES’s I and II appendices. This accounts for more than 33,000 endangered species that are facing extinction. The organization is doing its best to protect various endangered wildlife ranging from elephants, rhinos, great apes, tigers, lizards, turtles, snakes, birds to a myriad of plants. However, demands for these animals are growing and trade of endangered species has been increasing. According to sources from the Economist, an estimated 25,000-30,000 elephants are killed every year in Africa from a mere population of 400,000. The illegal ivory trade appears to have doubled since 2007 and increased more than threefold since 1998. The issue at hand is clear: illegal trading of endangered species is becoming a serious ecological predicament that needs immediate attention! Many countries have agreed to impose stricter restraints on illegal trading. Kenya has claimed it plans to notify and ask the UN Security Council for support in a war against technologically advanced international crime syndicates. These international bandits have built their defense on superior weaponry and tools that allow arlier in
them to escape arrests and prosecutions. While many countries are willing to support CITES’s efforts to protect endangered animals, other nations are combating the mission and fighting a vicious battle against the organization. During the conference, CITES placed eight countries on notice for negligence. These states include Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, and the biggest markets of illegal trading: China and Thailand. Despite CITES’s mission to raise awareness and concerns over endangered species, no country was charged with negligence—all of the eight states were able to escape sanctions after drafting action plans and resolutions. In addition to the draft resolution, China attempted to file a complaint against the organization for cultural bias. CITES, like many international bodies, is facing enforcement problems. The issue is a problem that occurs in virtually all third-world markets where access to endangered species like native African Elephants and Asian Cats is essentially unrestrained by domestic laws. The illegal trading of endangered animals make up a substantial percentage of income for many small developing nations. The problem of actual power of the organization is called into question. How much can CITES do to protect these animals? To what extent does its authority hold? Can it force changes in domestic policies? Many uncertainty rose as discussion of punishment transpired.
CITES protest in Thailand.
The only realistic punishment CITES can impose (if at all) is trade sanction. But eve n t h a t s e e m s a l i tt l e out of reach. One of the world’s leading economic superpowers, China, is on the other side of the fence. Unless the European Union, the International Monetary Funds, the World Bank, and other international economic organizations can come to an agreement to enforce trade sanctions on countries that are violating CITES’ mission to p r o te c t a n d p r e s e rve
endangered animals, trade sanctions will never be in effect . While CITES should be applauded for its unyielding efforts to combat giant economic powers like China and many developing countries like Vietnam and Malaysia, realistically, it can only achieve so much. Trade sanctions, as mentioned earlier, will be CITES’ last resort if it is at all possible. The prevailing problem is growing numbers and rate of extinctions among plants
and animals, but the heart of the solution lies within CITES’ ability to enforce restrictions. The only way to protect these endangered species is if every state abides by the rules either by self-enforcement through domestic policies or by pressure from the international community through CITES. The second option implies commitment problem. That is, in order for CITES to fully reach its absolute power to protect endangered species, it needs
credible authority and credibility demands control and power, which are only plausible if every state is willing to give up power and allocate it to CITES. Sources: http://www.economist.com/blogs/ b a ny a n /2 0 1 3 /03 /e n d a n g e r e dspecies-trade/print http://www.cites.org/eng/cop/16/ inf/index.php http://www.cites.org/eng/cop/16/ prop/index.php h t t p : / /w w w. b b c . c o . u k /n e w s / science-environment-21797361 http://media.salon.com/2013/03/ thailand-cities.jpeg3-1280x960.jpg
Vol. XXVI, Issue 4
Beautiful Bangladesh By Yusuf T. Ahmed
Bangladesh is a place where life is not lived, but celebrated.
continent in this world. It is comprised of countries, which one way or another majorly help our world to function. On one side you have China; the most populated and biggest economic powerhouse on this side of the Atlantic. There is Thailand, notorious for well, obvious reasons. There is India, to an extent, Pakistan, the Middle East and lest we forget the former Soviet bloc. But people tend to forget that jewel in the crown which makes all the other diamonds shine: Bangladesh. Please do not judge our country by the recent news and political unrest being so highly profiled in the news nowadays. Like all stereotypes, the negligent percentages of the 170 or so million people who are creating unrest are giving the country a bad name. If you want to know more about it then googling, “political unrest Bangladesh 2013” is sufficient but please do not let it deter you from this article. The region that is Bangladeshi was once part of the nation in India; it is obvious why it is referred to as the Indian subcontinent even to this day. Geographically, Bangladesh “was” for lack of a better word, paradise. I use “was” because my country was once truly heaven on earth. That region of land, essentially a delta, was formed due to accumulation of soil by three rivers; the Ganges which brings in soil all the way from the Himalayan mountain range which Mount Everest belongs to, the Brahmaputra and the Meghna. This uncanny accumulation has produced the world’s most fertile land. Hindus and Buddhists were the original
inhabitants of Bangladesh. Even though Buddhists comprise of less than one percent of the present population, Buddhism has left quite a large footprint in our history including the Grand Monastery of Somapura which is a UNESCO heritage site. Islam came before the turn of the last millennium and became the predominant religion in the 13th century. Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital city, is actually known as the City of Mosques with 600 official mosques and many more off the books. In 1971 we gained our independence from Pakistan after a nine month long war from March to December. The war was a culmination of events after the 1947 Indian independence and partition. In fact, International Mother Language Day was essentially created by the U.N. because of a movement by students in Dhaka in February 21, 1952. On that day the Pakistani army fired upon peaceful protestors, Bangladeshis who wanted Bengali as the official language of Bangladesh, formerly known as East Pakistan. This and many more events culminated into the Independence War of 1971. You are what you eat. Food in Bangladesh is essentially spicy, flavorful and exotic. Honestly, above anything else and I literally mean anything, including my family, I miss Bangladeshi food. Having bland American food makes me miss it even more. Our curry tends to have a lot of either tomatoes or mustard with chili and chili powder. In Dhaka one can find many Mughal foods like naan, kabab and the ever famous biryani. If you do not know what biryani is, you should search it. I mean now. If you have not had proper biryani in your life then you have not experienced real food. Mashed
Photo by Farhan Hussain. Panoramic view of Dahka, the capital of Bangladesh.
food is also a specialty in my country. We mash well, practically everything, including: potato, fish, onion, tomato, chili and most other edible foods. The staple food is rice and fish. Fish is one of the most common items cooked. We have them so much that a phrase was created, “bhate mache bangali” which means you are Bengali by rice and fish. Bangladeshis like to celebrate. Our weddings tend to be very extravagant and fanciful. Normally there is an engagement, a festive and colorful celebration called “gaye holud”, a formal wedding and
then the reception. All four of these combine together to form a typical big fat Bengali wedding. Other than weddings we also have many other religious and cultural holidays and festivals. We have the two eids, Eidul-fitr and Eid-ul-azha, which is the equivalent of Christmas in Islam. Eid time in Bangladesh is usually spent with family and friends. We have Ekushey boi mela otherwise known as the Ekushey Book fair and last but not least, Boishakhi mela which is celebrated every 14th of April on Noboborsho, or Bengali New Year. As you can see Bangladesh is
a place where life is not lived but celebrated. In recent news you may have gotten a lot of bad buzz about Bangladesh but please do not let it cloud your judgment. We are a happy and hospitable nation. I mean, our people have been voted as one of the happiest people in the world. The clothes which you are wearing were probably made by the hands of a Bangladeshi. We even gave this world a day to celebrate their own and all the other languages. This world owes a lot to my small nation. I just hope I did my part to make you understand the beauty of Bangladesh.
Vol. XXVI, Issue 4
Racial pro f during the marathon b After being injured during the bombing, Abdulrhaman Ali Al-Harbi was tackled down into the floor for appearing â€œsuspiciousâ€? while running for his life.
filing e boston bombing
By YaeJin Oh
here are always those people that are friendly and caring.
The mouths on their pretty faces speak melodic words of tolerance and friendship, musical notes of peace and love in their lilting voices. But when there is trouble, suddenly they are gone. In fact, they might even be some of the first to point their sharp little fingers at you. I have a friend like that. Her name is America. So what happens when a country like America, supposedly proud of a multicultural heritage intertwined with the pursuit of new beginnings and freedom, becomes scared? That is a question that a mortified Saudi Arabian university student can easily answer. A 20 year old man attended the Boston Marathon to encourage runners and watch the race. All was fine until the bombing began. Like everyone else, he began to run to safety after an explosion shredded part of his body. However, unlike everyone else, he was tackled to the ground by another bystander and interrogated for hours on a hospital bed while groups of officers, agents, and two K9 units aggressively invaded his apartment in search of evidence. His roommate, another university student, was pushed to tears after being questioned
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for five hours. When asked, the bystander claimed the student looked “suspicious” because he was running away—running away from an explosion that had just ripped a hole in his body. The student was dismissed as a witness the day after, with a U.S.
The Saudi Marathon Man, Abdulrahman Ali Al-Harbi
official telling CNN that, “He was just at the wrong place at the wrong time,” which is funny because you could say that about pretty much everyone else there. The police department will tell you different things. He was suspected for so and so reasons. They have reported that he smelled of explosives, but so did everyone else who was hit by the bomb. At the crux of it all, there is one blaring detail that made him stand out against all the others in the few fateful moments of chaos. He is a Saudi national, and it shows from the complexion of his skin. One can argue that it is not a matter of racism, but of common logic—that being too politically correct will affect investigations of terrorism links (terrorism that is mostly coming from radicals in the Middle East). It is valid reasoning, except this is where the window gets foggy and bias blooms out the other side of the frosted glass. If the terrorists had turned out to be Middle Eastern, there would have been reverberating echoes of ‘I knew it’ bouncing from border to border within
the states. But when the FBI released images of the racially ambiguous faces of the Tsarnaev brothers, reporters on MSNBC began using the term “mass murderers” as opposed to “terrorists”. The switch from “terrorist” to “mass murderer” upon realizing that the suspects were not Middle Eastern implies that people consider Middle Eastern-ness as a defining aspect of what is means to be a terrorist. According to Oxford English Dictionary, a terrorist is a person who uses violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims. Even the FBI’s Code of Federal Regulations defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives” (28 C.F.R. Section 0.85). Nowhere in any credible definition is “of Middle Eastern descent,” or even “Muslim”, included in the designation of a terrorist; yet, nonetheless, when nothing about the story of the Boston Bombing changed except the ethnicity of the suspects, MSNBC began calling the crime a mass murder instead of an act of terrorism. As part of the white majority, maybe you will live with the fear that another bombing or hate crime will happen. However, you can rest assured that you will not be stopped at terminals or tackled to the ground like the Saudi Marathon Man because of the color of your iris, the white of your skin, or the light reddish brown of your hair. You will never have to stand on the other side of the picket fence where all the protective measures are suddenly facing against you, and you become part of a collective group of “guilty until proven innocent”.
Sources: h t t p : / / w w w. f b i . g o v/s t a t s - s e r v i c e s /p u b l i c a t i o n s / terrorism-2002-2005 http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/comment/2013/04/ the-saudi-marathon-man.html http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/apr/17/us-muslimsfear-profiling-boston http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/22/brian-kilmeaderacial-profiling_n_3131294.html http://theconservativetreehouse.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/ abdul-rahman-ali-al-harbi1.jpg?w=640
is Mother Father
by Dale Gao
Whether PSY is a “one-hit wonder” or not is debatable and everyone is entitled to his own mother fathering opinions.
ine months have passed since the
upload of PSY’s infamous video,” Gangnam Style”, but recently, the Korean pop star has uploaded a new music video proving he is not just a one-hit wonder in the United States market. Extremely popular in South Korea, PSY has certainly built a reputation for himself here in America too, and continues to do so with his eccentric new single, “Gentleman”. In less than 2 weeks, the video accumulated over 200 million views since its upload on April 13. On the day of its release, “Gentleman” set a Youtube record for the most views that day, beating out other highly viewed videos such as Justin Bieber’s “Beauty and the Beat” and Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance”. The song has also spread and gained fame across the globe, breaking records and topping charts in many countries. Although “Gentleman” has similarities to “Gangnam Style” (ie. the titles both begin with the letter ‘G’ and both songs were sung by PSY), there were new gags, lyrics, and epic-ness that will leave viewers wanting more. You will laugh your caboose off after seeing how ironic the title of the song is in contrast to the K-pop star’s antics in his music video. As you watch PSY’s troll-like behavior, you will see how far he is from being a “Gentleman” as he plays tricks on girls until he meets a girl who is just as tricky.
This is not a video to show your kids, so viewer’s discretion is advised… unless they are not advised and you want to show them something funny, catchy, and inappropriate. Such antics include, but are not limited to, him: • touching the bust of a female-shaped mannequin, o How naughty PSY! • increasing the speed of someone’s treadmill until she was propelled to the floor, o She should’ve run faster! • pushing the bottom of his date’s coffee cup, o Aw, now you got her chin wet! • pressing all the button in the elevator when someone is in need to go to the bathroom, o I bet he pooped his pants! • farting in his hand and cupping over a library patron’s face o Haha! Looked like it smelled horrible! • kicking the ball in a kid’s soccer game out of the field, o How evil PSY! • pulling a girl’s bikini string while she’s sunbathing, o How perverted PSY! • pulling the chair away from his date, o I bet her butt hurt!
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PSY being a mother father gentleman in the MV.
For those familiar with Korean pop music, you probably noticed that the main dance move in “Gentleman” was taken from the popular Korean girl group, Brown Eyed Girls’ hit song, “Abracadabra.” One of the members from Brown Eyed Girls, Ga-In, was also featured as the leading actress in the music video. Yeah boys, type that into your Google search tonight. Those familiar with Korean shows will also notice members of the Korean variety show “Infinity Challenge” in the music video, as well. Their actions such as two guys swaying on top of PSY, holding in their bladder, and offering someone his hand only to pull her back down, were just as hilarious as PSY’s. Not only was “Gentleman” funny to watch, but the song was also catchy to listen to. Although his singing may sound like there was cursing involved, the meaning and lyrics show otherwise. If you were not familiar
with the artist, it would not be surprising if you were pulled in by the new single after being caught off guard by hearing PSY’s “mother-father” as motherfucker. Listeners may even confuse PSY’s “Wet PSY” with “Westside.” With such witty wordplay, who would not be charmed by the song? Whether you understand Korean or not, PSY will have you addicted to the song once you hear it. Eventually, you will have already illegally downloaded this song onto your iTunes without noticing.
Sources: http://www.billboard.com/biz/articles/news/digitaland-mobile/1557489/psys-gentleman-hits-70-millionviews-in-three-days-sets http://www.kpopstarz.com/articles/25310/20130418/ psy039s-european-invasion-039gentleman039-no-1across-the-continent.htm#m8IEsQ4JLBQK6zIV.99
The ObjectifIcation of Women in PSY's "Gentleman" by Amy Zhang
The MV for PSY’s new single portrays various scenes where the singer harasses a number of women.
“Gangnam Style,” Psy is again on top of the media’s radar as his new “Gentleman” song has over 212 million views and counting since its release on April 13. A great similarity between the two songs is their catchy dance moves: the awkward horse steps everyone has probably learned or seen in Gangnam style and the thrusting of the hips in “Gentleman.” The sexual imagery in “Gentleman” is not lacking like most other trending music videos. But what makes “Gentleman” so wrong is its depiction of women as objects of entertainment beyond the sexual pleasure of men. They are humiliated in acts of mere entertainment. The scene that is particularly demeaning is when Psy pulls out a chair to sit a woman down, but pulls it away when she is about to sit. As she falls to the ground, an onlooker helps her up only to push her back down. This follows a moment of laughter from both of the men. What makes this upsetting is the objectification of women. They are shown as objects that are not only sexual, but objects that could be thrown around and laughed at. The song title, “Gentleman” is meant to be ironic because what Psy does to women is in no way “gentleman-like behaviors.” By making the girl fall, pulling her down the second time, and then laugh at her is beyond necessary. This emphasizes the vulnerability of women and shows it is acceptable to disrespect women with the belief that it is only for fun. Psy probably did not intend to portray women this way, but it just shows the amount of female objectification and the amount of inaccurate views of women that are proliferating the web. The sexual images of women in the media will not disappear as it attracts viewers and makes the media more exciting. However, the amount of stereotypes and disrespect towards women can certainly be limited. ith the success of
Vol. XXVI, Issue 4
So You Want to Make a
? By Ritesh Kadam For the uninitiated, the Pink film, or ‘Pink eiga’ in Japanese, is a genre of low-budget softcore pornographic films originating in Japan in the 1960s.
n the age of high-definition big budgeted Japanese
adult films, the Pink film genre has become a lost art. For the uninitiated, the Pink film, or ‘Pink eiga’ in Japanese, is a genre of lowbudget softcore pornographic films originating in Japan in the 1960s. Part erotica, part sexploitation, these films have become an iconic part of Japanese cinema. Pink films were defined as much by their cat-and-mouse game with government censorship as they were by the actual content of the films. In the aftermath of World War II, the Japanese films pushed the barrier in regards to sexuality in films. In response, the government enacted a series of laws to stem the tide of sexual expression in Japan. The sexuality and nudity present in these films were not necessarily the problem. For years, European erotic and art house films were released in Japanese theaters to great acclaim. Rather, the nudity and sexualization of Japanese actors were
seen as taboo by the government. Before the 60s, Japanese erotic films were largely produced and distributed through underground production companies. While this method avoided the watchful eye of the censor, it resulted in low production values and runtimes of around an hour. The cheap look of the films became an intrinsic trait of the films. Over the years, the budgets and shooting conditions of these films improved. Nonetheless, the overall look and feel of a proper Pink film felt low-budget. The low production values also allowed production companies to crank out as many as fifty films over a year. These companies were more concerned with avoiding conflicts with the Japanese government than they were with the production quality of the films. Much of the censorship centered on the sexualization of the actors. In particular, the government restricted exposure of the actors’
bodies, especially the genitals. In the 1950s, several Japanese filmmakers pushed the boundaries in regards to nudity in Japanese films. In 1956, this cumulated in the iconic counterculture film, Crazed Fruit, by Ko Nakahira. Similar in themes to Nicholas Ray’s Rebel Without a Cause, this controversial film drew as much controversy for its scintillating poster as it did for the actual movie itself. Rather than hurt the genre, the controversy surrounding the censored genre raised awareness over these films. Eventually, the government rescinded several of its censorship in the face of a rapidly changing Japan. However, it put its foot down in regards to genital exposure. Nonetheless, crafty Pink film production companies would easily sidestep this restriction. Directors would strategically place objects in the foreground to obscure any banned body parts. This object could be a candle, a vase, a wine bottle or, my favorite, a half-eaten jelly donut. Other production companies addressed this issue during post-production. Editors would digitally impose a black box or a mosaic on the required areas. This video technique would eventually become an iconic component of traditional Japanese pornography in the decades to follow. This restriction forced directors to be creative in how they shot their sex scenes since conventional close-ups of genitals were forbidden. Ironically, the censorship surrounding Pink films gave its trademark style. Directors were forced to stimulate and arouse its viewers without resorting to prolonged closeups. The framing of the sex scenes gave the films a voyeuristic feel. Directors would often film through windows or doorways as though to make viewers feel they were casual observers to the event. The restriction on genital exposure also affected the pacing of the film. Pink films could have as many as ten different sex scenes. The initial sex scenes were usually very tame in regards to nudity and sensuality. The latter scenes, however, would usually test the boundaries of government restrictions through risqué shots. Many directors saw the Pink film as a platform to spread political message. Prominent Pink film director, Koji Wakamatsu, would
often find himself fined for repeatedly violating censorship laws. Rather than hurt his reputation, these fines would raise the awareness and notoriety of his films. Not unlike many of Stanley Kubrick’s films, Wakamatsu’s films, often set in pre-World War II Japan, interwove themes of sexuality, violence, and militarism into one cohesive message. The 1970s saw the rise of the Roman Porno, short for ‘romantic pornography.’ These films seamlessly blended sex and romance in order to appeal to the mainstream. These films were often
as controversial for their storylines as they were for their sexual content. A typical Roman Porno could involve an adulterous housewife, an abused female prisoner or an overbearing dominatrix. The integration of sex and violence against a background of sexual empowerment became a cornerstone of the Roman Porno. The entry into the mainstream also came with better production values. The rise of television and foreign films had increased competition for major Japanese film companies. In response, major studios began to produce Pink films, a genre lacking domestic competition. Many purists felt that the increased budgets and mainstream appeal went against the principles of a Pink film. Eventually, the introduction of the VCR led to the rise of the traditional Japanese adult video genre in the 1980s. Furthermore, the collapse of the Japanese housing bubble in the 1990s sent shockwaves through the country. Once enjoying
clockwork growth, many of Japanese companies, including film studios, flirted with or underwent bankruptcy. These two factors would relegate the Pink film to a niche. Luckily, you can also make your own Pink film. Here are some tips to make sure your film is authentic to the tenets of the Pink film. First, make sure to block genitals with an object in the foreground. Try to vary the object obscuring the viewer’s point of view. Initially, obscure genitals with a lamp. Then, use an electric fan. Ideally, the object in question should get progressively smaller as the film progresses. An alternative is to use post processing tools to blur the genitals. Depending on what you are aiming at, Windows Movie Maker’s mosaic is usable but Apples’s Final Cut Pro X allows you to select the grain and consistency of the mosaic. It’s best to film on a 16 mm film but post processing film grains are available for digital videos. Have at least five sex scenes in a one hour movie. Add a sex scene for every fifteen minutes over one hour. Try to film through a door or window as to make the viewer feel like a creepy voyeur. Don’t use a handheld camera unless you have a stand for it. A stationary camera is in the spirit of the genre. Don’t bother with proper lighting. Use natural lighting or candles. This will keep the budget down and give it the traditional Pink film feel. If you’re stumped, don’t be afraid to watch some movies in the genre for inspiration. Now go out there and make some Pink films. Some of us are counting on you!
Vol. XXVI, Issue 4
A Personal Journey with Jafar Panahi Through Iranian A taste of the Iranian New Wave. Movies
around Wikipedia pages about the Cannes Film Festival prize winners, I noticed a small green, white, and red flag by one of the names. Jafar Panahi. The White Balloon. For some reason, it never occurred to me that the country my parents left for America could have a thriving film culture. But Jafar Panahi, according to Wikipedia, was the real deal. He has won numerous prizes for his movies on the international film festival circuit, including The GoldenW Lion at the Venice Film Festival for The Circle in 2000, a Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival for Offside in 2006, and, at the Cannes Film Festival, the Camera dâ€™Or for best first feature in 1995, for The White Balloon. So I checked out a DVD of The White Balloon from my local library. Watching it, I felt profoundly entranced. The story is fairly simple: a young girl is given money by her mother to buy a goldfish and asked to return the change. On her way, the girl is beset by several characters who try to trick her into giving them money, including a tumbling
By Jacob Shamsian
Jafar Panahi striking a cool pose for the camera.
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For some reason, it never occurred to me that the country my parents left for America could have a thriving film culture.”
snake charmer. Throughout the film, she loses money, tries to recruit help in regaining it, and loses it again. I was hooked. Later that year, a movie called No One Knows About Persian Cats (2009), directed by Bahman Ghobadi, hit cinemas. The movie is about a duo of musicians and their band, Take It Easy Hospital, who try to get visas to play a concert in London. In Iran, rock music is banned (the movie’s title, though, is inspired by Iran’s ban of cats and dogs in public), and although they can perform outside of the country, the bureaucratic government makes things difficult. Take It Easy Hospital is not allowed to receive visas unless they get more people, making the entire trip much more expensive. The film then moves on to explore the underground, clandestine music scene in Iran. We see the vibrant soul of Iran,
burdened by the constant threat of oppression. We see footage of house parties, not dissimilar from the kind you would see in Binghamton. The major difference, though, is that the cops finding alcohol at a party in Iran has much bigger consequences than the same happening here. A death metal band, forbidden by the authorities, is forced to practice in a barn in the middle of nowhere. A rap artist, also forbidden to make music by the authorities, sneaks into a building under construction on the weekends, where no one can hear him. The White Balloon made me interested in Iranian cinema, but No One Knows About Persian Cats made me realize how important it was. Persian Cats was banned in Iran, as are all of Panahi’s films. It was around this time that Certified Copy, by renowned filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami,
premiered at Cannes. Kiarostami, as it turned out, was Panahi’s and Ghobadi’s mentor, and a leading figure of what is called The Iranian New Wave. Certified Copy (2010), interestingly, was Kiarostami’s first non-Farsi film. It was in English, shot in Tuscany, and starred Europeans. Heavily influenced by Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise (1995) and Before Sunset (2004), Certified Copy followed a man and woman who, at first, appear to be strangers, but as their conversation progressed over the course of a day, it appears that they may or may not have had a deep and complicated past together. It is a rich, delicate film, but it did not feel “Iranian.” To explore, I watched Kiarostami’s most-acclaimed work, Close-Up (1990). Based on true events, the nonchronological movie is about a man who pretends to be Mohsen
Makhmalbaf, a popular Iranian filmmaker, to befriend a family in Tehran. As part of his deception, he tells them that he wants to make a film in their house and obtains money from them for supposed funding. Further delving into the idea of the artificial and the real, Kiarostami restaged many scenes and occasionally inserts himself into the film and the drama, which was still ongoing in reality. For example, Kiarostami was granted permission to film the impostor’s trial and, while there, partakes in the legal discussion. Close-Up is the DNA of the Iranian New Wave manifest, an outright masterpiece. Like Certified Copy, it took advantage of the camera’s objectivity to subvert the audience’s expectations of what is “real” in the movie. I learned later that Kiarostami also wrote The White Balloon as well as another acclaimed Panahi film, Crimson Gold (2003), a devastating portrait of modern Iran and its economic inequality. That same year, Panahi was in the news a lot. In February 2010, the Iranian authorities denied him the right to leave
the country and speak in a panel “Iranian Cinema: Present and Future. Expectations inside and outside of Iran” during the Berlin Film Festival. In March, Panahi was arrested on charges the government would not disclose. In May, he was released after a one-week hunger strike. In December of 2010, Panahi was charged with “propaganda against the Islamic Republic,” among other things. His sentence was a twenty-year ban on filmmaking and a six-year imprisonment (he was later put under home arrest instead of imprisonment). The following year, This is Not a Film was smuggled into the Cannes Film Festival in a flash drive hidden in a cake. Skirting around the filmmaking ban the government instated on Panahi, it was shot with friend and fellow filmmaker Mojtaba Mirtahmasb. This is Not a Film, made during Panahi’s house arrest, has him showing us around his apartment and outlining scenes from the film he wanted to make before he was arrested. New York Times film critic A.O. Scott called it “a masterpiece in a form that does not yet exist.” Incredibly, not
only had Panahi succeeded in making a profound piece of art under such limited conditions, but it was a movie that advanced the ideas of the Iranian New Wave, controlling the camera’s objectivity in a way that made the movie an unclassifiable blur of fact and fiction. Earlier this year, Panahi finished yet another film. Sneaked into the Berlin Film Festival, Closed Curtain won the Silver Bear for best script. The most profound thing about This is Not a Film is how directly it addressed the perils of an autocratic Iranian state. The movie was shot completely within Panahi’s apartment building. As the cameras travel around the space, we see how confining his house arrest was. When I saw Panahi’s frame, near-silhouette, in front of the big glass door of his porch, containing a man broken and trapped in his plush home, I knew why my family had left Iran.
Photo Source: http://ilarge.listal.com/ image/1148292/936full-jafar-panahi.jpg
Vol. XXVI, Issue 4
By Kayla Natrella Interviewed by Claire Chang, Kayla Natrella & Kitrena Young
Clara C when I was browsing through YouTube videos. I had just watched Kevjumba, Nigahiga, and Chester See’s “Nice Guys Finish Last” music video and since I had never heard of Chester See, I wanted to check out some more of his stuff. You know how it goes. I started with Chester See and then a few clicks later I was listening to Clara C’s “Offbeat”. Have you ever listened to an artist for the first time and gotten that feeling like some little empty space that you didn’t know even existed just filled up? That moment when you just think: This. Yes. I know that you know what I mean. Well, listening to Clara C for the first time was that moment. And, of course, I had to listen to everything. I was just infatuated. So, a year or so later when I heard she was going to be performing at the East Coast Asian American Student Union conference (ECAASU), I had my ticket months and months in advance. Needless to say, I was hyped up for the performance. And Clara C did not disappoint. A little about Clara: Clara C started off as a YouTube star who began to receive a lot of attention after winning competitions such as, Kollaboration 10, ISA 09: Los Angeles and the KAC Media Creative Juice Night. She has released two albums, “Art in My Heart” in 2010 and “Esc.” in 2012. She was born in New York in 1987 to South Korean parents and grew up in Los Angeles. She graduated from UC Irvine with a BA in psychology with an education minor. Her website describes her music as “a synergy first heard of
of folk/pop/rock sound that when blended together creates a unique experience”. She is a multitalented musician and can play a number of instruments including, guitar, piano, melodica, trumpet, glockenspiel and flute. In our interview, Clara told us that she began to express an interest in music when she was only about four years old and started learning to play Sound of Music songs on a “99-cent keyboard”. She had also wanted to major in flute at one point! Although I have conducted interviews in the past, I was nervous and worried that the interview with Clara C might be awkward. My fears were unfounded. Clara Chung is an extremely down to earth, open and spirited person. After only a few questions, she had us side tracked, laughing, and just comfortably chatting. She’s one of those I-feel-like-I’ve-known-you-for-such-along-time-and-we’ve-only-just-met kinds of people. And the audience felt it too. Clara engaged the audience of over 1000 people, reaching out and personally connecting with every person in attendance. The crowd fell in love. She even dedicated her songs to some of the more outspokenly amorous of the attendees. When one man leaned over the balcony to get as close as possible, Clara playfully promised that she loved him and begged him not to jump. She even light heartedly agreed to an I-Pad marriage proposal from another infatuated crowd member. Clara brought Cali sunshine to cold, dismal, February New York City and everyone felt a little warmer for it.
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like, I had a surge of emotion and I just threw up a song. The song is more poetic than the way I’ve just described. I think I’m just really honored because a lot of people are using it for their weddings and that’s so special, you know? It’s like, this is your big day and I’m a part of it, so I’m actually—I don’t normally do weddings, but there is a couple that is doing a destination wedding in Hawaii and they wanted me to sing Fish, and stuff, and I’m like HAWAIIIII! COUNT ME IN! And so I’m going to that. So it’s definitely meaningful, not just for me, but for people everywhere. So you’ve also done a lot of collaborations—Joseph Vincent, David Choi, Dumbfoundead, and you’ve even done that video with David So. We were wondering, first of all, what is the most difficult aspect of a collaboration:
Photo still from Clara C’s ‘Fish’ MV
Many artists say that there is that one moment in their life when they are motivated to pick up an instrument or there is a muse who inspires them to start writing music. When was that moment for you? I think I was like four and I watched the Sound of Music and my mom bought me this like ghetto 99 cent keyboard and I learned how to play all the songs on that little keyboard—well they’re not hard, but it was super fun. So I think that was my moment. And then it just progressed from there? Yeah. I was that kid who had like every lesson under the sun—violin, flute, whatever. I was actually going to major in flute, but I’m pretty glad I didn’t do that ‘cuz don’t think there were many opportunities after that… Piano lessons, all that jazz. I was in band and I was teacher’s pet so he’d let me
play whatever the hell I felt like playing that day. So I was on saxamaphone, bassoon, bells…I was all over the place What was it like to grow up in LA? Did the LA music scene have an effect on your development as a musician in any way? LA’s definitely happening for music, so I think being immersed in that scene, and the entertainment scene… like seeing celebrities. They were in my backyard, practically, they’re everywhere. So I definitely grew up in an entertainment based world and growing up in LA is great. Sun. I come to NY and I feel like I’m starting to panic, like I have frost bite everywhere. So we were wondering about the songs you’ve written. Do you have a favorite? Yeah, they are all my babies, but I think Fish to me is the most meaningful song I’ve ever written. It’s one of those,
Well it depends. Songwriting is always tough. I’m actually not the biggest fan of co-writing because you’re taking on someone else’s style; you’re taking on someone else’s suggestions. And then you have to pad every suggestion of your own, like “Well, what if we did this…” My favorite people to work with are the ones who are like, “That sounds like crap. No, how about we do this.” Just, like, straight to the point. And then you also have to take on their ego and stuff like that. And, you know, a lot of times you’re not good friends with the person. You’re not really close, but you have to talk about such intimate things, such as song writing, so it’s like WOAH okay, this is weird. Sometimes it works really well. Like, with Dumbfoundead, me, and Jay Park, that popped out in an hour. We were all just in different corners of the room and we came back together after an hour and we had a song. And it did great. As far as like video collaboration, it’s always easy. Like Harry Shum, easy. David So, that was hilarious. I don’t know if you’ve seen the short, but that was the first time we met. So he was like “So, Clara here is the synopsis: I’m going to break into your house and I’m gonna be a little creepy stalker and you’re gonna shoo me out, right? So, he
Photo by Kitrena Young
goes, this time this is the scene when I’m going to break into your window and you Febreeze me away and I just want you to curse me out. And I go, “Okay.” And the first thing that comes to my brilliant mind is: “GET OUT OF HERE YOU FREAKING FAT ASS.” We cut and everybody was on the floor dying because David’s just like, “Oh, you call me a fatass now? We just met,” and stuff. I was in tears on the floor. You know, just like broke through all the walls of friendship. Now we’re like roomies, so it’s good. Did it take more than one take to push him in the pool? No everything was one. That pool was ice cold, like arctic chill cold. Good times. What are the funniest and most interesting experiences from your collaborations and/or tours? Oh tours, that’s a different story. Collabing, I’ll say the funniest thing that happened was Ryan was in my music video for the camel song—Ryan Higa— and he was drinking a red bull and we were watching play backs, and there’s this scene where we have to make it look like New Years. So our director was like, “Ryan here’s a handful of confetti. I just want you to like throw it in Clara’s face.” But, when he did it, it looked so pathetic, because confetti is supposed to be, like, everywhere, massive, but Ryan just goes pfft. There was a little, like, fart of confetti explosion, and in playback, Ryan was sipping and I guess he found it really funny, and I was in front of him. He does a spit take all over me and it’s sticky, it’s red bull. So yeah that was pretty funny. Collabing is always fun. And is there another one from your tours? Tour…Probably the pranks. Tour pranks are like a thing and David Choi is the one we toured with. It was a coheadline tour. He doesn’t really receive pranks very well, but there was this one time when David was sharing a hotel room with his manager and we always
Vol. XXVI, Issue 4
Clara C during her captivating performance at ECAASU ‘13
INTERVIEW/ know David is always on his lap top in his room. Everyone else is like, “Let’s go see the city! Let’s go! Whatever!” and David’s like, “No. I’m just gonna be chillin’.” So we rush into his room, me and my band, and we try to pick him up. Five grown-ass men and me. I’m actually stronger than I look, watch out. So we all pick David up and he does this thing where he turns into a rock, like Kirby-style. He used to wrestle. I don’t know, you can just picture him in a onesie or unitard. He just does this and we can’t pick him up. So finally we got another guy in and that must have done it. So we take him to the elevator and all the way down to the pool and we’re about to throw him in and he just goes, “STOP!” And we’re like, “Noooo! Let’s go! Let’s go!” And he says, “I SAID FUCKING STOP!” We’re like, oooh…okay. And we put him down and he ran away like HAHA. That was good. We all turn into really gross people on tour. I don’t mean like hygienically, I mean like dirty jokes. We just end up turning every song that we do on tour into, like, a gross, dirty version. Like,
David has a song called feeling so helpless and we’d just be like, “Feeling fallacious.” I don’t know why, it just happens. You try touring, you’ll turn into a dirty bird, too. Are you ever on stage and have an urge to sing those lyrics instead? I DO! But we’re not allowed. It’s like tour code. You don’t sing your dirty version out. Then it’s just soiled. My friend, Ross Ching, (He’s a really popular director. He’s done, like, Kina Grannis and Death Cab for Cutie, and some of my videos.), like, he calls my camel song “The Camel Toe” song, and it’s just never been the same for me. You just gotta watch what you say. Every time you perform you are just imagining... …camel toes! Yes!
After-interview pic at ECAASU ‘13
Some of your fans want to find out more about you.
Clara C’s Favorites: Favorite things: Dogs. On my bucket list, number 23 is to be in a room full of puppies. Yeah, to like the neck. I want to be neck-deep in puppies. I probably should wear a poncho or something, but that’s one of my things. Noodles. I love noodles. Any kind—pasta, Chinese noodles, Korean noodles… I have so many favorite things! Disney character: Jasmine is hot! Jasmine has impossible proportions. She’s beautiful. They’re all pretty. Smell: Burning wood, like campfire wood. Like when there are brush fires, marshmallows, anything burning. I also love the smell of paint thinner, which I hear is not good for me. Desert: I make killer desserts. I make macaroons and my cheese cake is to die for. I have a secret topping and it’s perfectly legal. Biggest fear: I have a fear of spiders. It’s the one and only thing I’m afraid of. I’m not afraid of anything else—devils, anything, the dark, just spiders. Actually I have seen that clip of the spider that buried itself in the salt. That was cute. That was kind of cute. It’s probably because of the overdubbing, where he’s like, “Now you can’t see me!” That makes it just a little more likeable. Movies: Ooh! Ooh! GURL. They’re by genres, I’d say. Drama: “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”
Action: “Snatch”. People don’t really know about that, but if you a gangsta, you know about “Snatch”. It’s a really good movie. It’s directed by Madonna’s husband, Guy Richie. I think that’s his name. Yeah, it’s so good. It’s got like Brad Pitt, Jason Statham. It’s hilarious. Everybody’s like “The Matrix”, but I like (it fell under matrix’s shadow), “Equilibrium”. It’s with Christian Bale. It’s modeled after the book, “1984”. It’s about Big Brother controlling the world. Taye Diggs, I don’t know what he was doing in there, but Taye Diggs. “300”. I just saw “Warm Bodies”, “Warm Bodies” was really fun. It was refreshing, because every zombie movie’s like Raaaah! And I’m into the whole “Walking Dead” thing, so zombies are a hot topic in my brain. What about Harry Potter? OH MY GOD!!!!! I’m a hardcore potterhead. Like, the hardest core there is. Which house are you? Ooh guurrl. Gryffindor. Favorite Harry Potter character? Ron. Ron is a good one. I share Ron’s phobias.
Photo Sources: http://dailybruin.com/images/49065_web.ae.5.11.claracacn.picbo.jpg http://cdn5.mixrmedia.com/wp-uploads/ningin/blog/2012/06/clara-c-fish.jpg
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Mich hoto by
Lightning Bugs, and Frogs Oh pretty little lightening fly, why do you cry, why do you cry? I wonder what story you have to tell or what misery hath befell. And the cute little lightening fly, zoomed about, flickering here, flickering there, Creating a parabolic path for me to follow, I indulged the bug to see her reason to wallow And as we crossed the aromatic stench of the night-time bog, the sexy little lightening bug began to hover And as I drew nearer she couldn’t help but stutter and flew away in far more despair. And while confused and baffled I wondered, I stepped into the spot that she had hovered And not two feet away, by the heart-shaped lily lay, two fat frogs in love Their tongues nigh to tongue, their wart skin to wart skin and between the grins of a lover’s paramour lay a tiny fractured corpse of a dying lightening bug. And with wonderment and astonishment I thought out loud: “Oh love, how carnivorous you are…” By Randy Singh A star disappeared when the moon went away She escaped the night’s dark sky and sneaked off to the first cloud in sight She rested, embraced by the cloud and cried filled with joy The tears filtered through the cloud and hit the small people standing under People looked up in amazement and took out their cameras The rain came as a surprise because of the drought they were facing Word spread out about the cloud that brought rain, but paparazzi never came If only they knew that there was a star laying in the cloud, Perhaps this star would have acquired fame. She would shine in bright lights rather than in the darkness of the night, and finally this star would have no longer felt pain. By Amir Merke
To Kevin This is an excerpt from a set of letters that the author wrote to a person that she met briefly at a special seminar. They never formally know each other, and they only met two year later---in letters. I lied. Lie #1: This is not an email concerning college application. But if I am not a poor judge of character, I am quite certain that this is a favor that you will not refuse. I apologize for tricking you into reading this. Lie #2: Two years ago, I was there when you made your first speech. Those words lingered. And so I had spent the past two years thinking about those words. I called it “love at first sound.” Not that your voice is particularly attractive, and unfortunately, my attraction to guys with beautiful voices is regrettably weak. Don’t panic just yet, this is not a love letter. I don’t deny any possibilities of love, but for now, it’s not love yet. There had to be some reality to love. If I loved a man who wasn’t a man I thought he was, I didn’t really love him---did I? You could just be an expert storyteller. But there’s some answer that people must seek in life, otherwise they will always wonder about it. So I started this letter. But believe it or not, writing something like this is even more dangerous than a love letter. A love letter usually contains no more than rehearsed platitudes of love, but only when people converse so nakedly (without the embellishment of blinding passion and purposeful concealment) did they begin to realize they were not for each other. I am sure that you are finding this puzzling. So, why you? While love-at-first-sights were made legends in the standard literature, many refuse to believe this to be anything serious. Indeed! After all, how can I happen like someone who I have not even met? (And it’s quite probable that I will never meet him again. I am literally investing all my love in a straw man.) This irrationality is what worried them. But the logic is rather simple---who you are usually determines whom you will love in life. Plato said so---we are searching for our own type. You can be sure that’s him because you see in him the reflection of yourself. Instinct is too abstract to explain this phenomenon of love; the attraction is more fundamental. If he doesn’t possess these qualities that you want, instinct alone wouldn’t to ignite these chemicals or the pheromones that scientists have theorized so much about. Lie #3: Despite much of my strenuous effort (which I doubt), this does sound like a love letter. I promise I will start an academic discussion next time. By Jinhua Hu
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Dark Corners By Karen Tong I can't see love with my eyes. The four dark corners of my life closed in like a shark cage, only allowing enough space to breathe. sheltered but endangered, sentenced to live a fraction of a life. If I dared move, hungry mouths filled with sharp judgement would tear off my limbs. So I remained in the dark and in the safe because that was all I knew. Then heat from your warmth expanded my cage. My corners grew away into nothing. And though I stumble in the dark because I can't see, your warmth filled my air. One in a million, I was pushed out and muted in the crowd so I dropped to my knees and begged for courage as I crawled, searching. Your scent scatters in the wind, reaching and guiding me. When I found you, my hands felt yours. Harsh met gentle, cold met warm, and nothing became something. You raised me with your voice and in your words I felt your gentle smile. I still can't see love with my eyes, but now I can feel it
because I feel you.
â€œI Know Why the Caged Bird Singâ€? By ~emeraude58 @deviantart
“Stuck Inside a Camera”
Photo by Farhan Hussain
Vol. XXVI, Issue 4