Issuu on Google+






Pages magazines stocked in the Bryan Center racks. At that time, the clever title elicited a chuckle from me, but nothing


more. I did not even pick it up. I was a freshman, scared to be



labeled as self-segregating and eager to distance myself from

Michelle Fang

Bernard Jiang

my Asian background. As silly as this viewpoint seems in retrospect, it is a sentiment that a surprising number of Asian-American


Derek Mong

Derek Mong

Andrew Wang

Dukies share. One girl in my freshmen dorm expressed that

Rosalie Yan

she could not afford to befriend any Asians if she wanted to


get in to a “real” sorority. Another friend stated that she felt

Patrick Yan

like the only one in her group of friends who occasionally felt self-conscious about her entire group being Asian. If you are an Asian at Duke, perhaps you have felt this


Sophia Kwon

Erica Lee

Erica Lee

way, even if you are at least bold enough to be holding this magazine. Just know that you are not alone. That is why we’re bringing Yellow Pages back this



Patrick Yan

Rosalie Yan

semester! Its presence on campus is so important, whether you are Asian or not. For Asian-Americans, it is a way to share in the bicultural experience together; for non-Asians it is a way to better understand it. Ever felt ashamed for


not speaking your parents’ native language? Writer Mai

David Myung Hoon Choi

Nakamura understands that. Curious about how outsiders feel

Michelle Fang

when visiting China for the first time? Take a look at Anna

Helen Ho

Lieth’s article on DukeEngage. Looking for a laugh? Check out

Bernard Jiang

“YouTube Asian Invasion” during your study break.

Sophia Kwon

I hope with the revival of this Asian-American focused

Anna Lieth

magazine, we can begin to open a new channel of

Derek Mong

communication and expression that is so needed at Duke.

Mai Nakamura Andrew Wang


Patrick Yan Rosalie Yan Linda Yi Jack Zhang


Michelle Fang

Linda Zhou


Helen Zou















^.^ ^.^ o自自o






LNY 2010 Patrick Yan





















Sophia Kwon

GOT ASIAN? YP Executive Staff

ME, MYSELF, AND I David Myung Hoon Choi










NO PAIN, NO GAME Andrew Wang





Photo courtesy of Boris Lau

By Derek Mong

GLOBALIZING THE HYPHEN Thirteen hours into flight, I watch sympathetically as a

immigration documentation for my family before

mother’s sweaty hands grip the armrests of her seat as

we taxi to our arrival gate. In the raw-sounding

our United Airlines jet shakes violently over the depths

tones of Cantonese Chinese, the flight attendants

of the Pacific Ocean. Just then, the captain announces

announce, “Ladies and gentlemen, we would like to

the weather conditions in preparation for our final de-

welcome you to Hong Kong International Airport.”

scent. Disoriented infants in the arms of their watchful

Making my way onto the jetway, I am immedi-

parents cry as the airplane banks over a pool of cumu-

ately met with the oppressive humidity of the tropics,

lus clouds—what I now know to be a sign of a pending

a stark contrast against the dry, pressurized air of the

typhoon. As the flaps of the plane move aggressively

cabin. Although not my first time at this airport, I none-

upwards, overactive imaginations run wild as the wings

theless experience culture shock as we pass through

flex forcefully in the wind. Seatbelt comfortably tight-

customs. Strange smells, unfamiliar dialects, and foreign

ened, I notice a young businessman sighing as he peers

signs never fail to cause me anxiety and an intense long-

anxiously out the window—probably thinking about his

ing for home. Perhaps the only recognizable aspect of the

family at home in Washington D.C. While a terrifying

terminal is the smell of hand sanitizer: it is the era of the

experience for him, this scene is all too familiar to me.

Swine Flu and, as foreigners, we are the prime suspects

Unexpectedly, the plane descends beneath the

in an investigation. To the health officials, we are the

clouds, revealing a stunning view. Cargo ships carry-

unknowing carriers of invisible, biological weapons.

ing tons of merchandise appear like mere ants upon

greet us. For a moment, I stare amazed into the sea of

landscape. As the turbulence becomes more bearable,

homogenous complexions. Born in Madison, Wisconsin

I discern a forest of skyscrapers in the distance, juxta-

and raised in Potomac, Maryland, I am what others af-

posed against a background of shimmering grass-cov-

fectionately call the stereotypical “A.B.C.”, or American-

ered mountains. As the aircraft glides onto the runway,

Born Chinese. I sport all of the physical characteristics of

my father, seated beside me, scrambles to complete the

an Asian—shiny black hair, almond-shaped eyes, and a

3 3

Exiting the airport terminal, a crowd of alien faces

the glimmering ocean, and lush tropical islands dot the


it strange to find a majestic Bud-

carry the values, beliefs, attitudes, and

dhist temple just blocks away from a

tongue of an everyday American. Al-

bustling, one-hundred story financial

though I was once teased for my Asian


features since they were, admittedly,

The juxtaposition of the ancient

strikingly different from those of my

with the modern is exhilarating to me,

American friends, I quickly developed

because in some ways, Hong Kong ac-

a sense of pride for being different, for

curately personifies my own develop-

my uniqueness. Yet, looking at this

ment and the seemingly contradictory

crowd of faces challenged my dis-

aspects of my own identity. Being an

tinctly American sense of individuality.

Asian-American living in the United

I was different from the locals there,

States, I am in a constant state of flux

but, judging by their superficial first-

and change, continuously trying to

impressions, I looked exactly like them.

find my niche in the world. This seems

Soon, I faded into the background. I

to parallel the city as it seeks to rede-

became one of them.

fine itself in the changing global at-

Throughout the next few weeks, I

mosphere. Back home, I am told that I

would sample the exotic ingredients of

should cherish and embrace my Asian

Chinese cuisine, shop at the infamous

heritage, yet I cannot help but feel

Narrowly walking the line between Asian and American, I am merely a tightrope walker, intricately balancing the values and ideals of both my Asian background and American upbringing

Photos courtesy of Derek Mong

short, though respectable, heightâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;yet

attached to my American friends and ideals. Daily, I am being reshaped into the conventional notions of an American college student, but each time I look into the mirror, I am reminded that I am not exactly like them. Like the city, I am at the crossroads of two

briskly pass by. It is a reality that I

different cultures: a contradiction of

cannot swallow, a mystery better left

political ideals, economic values, and

unresolved for my own sanity.

lifestyles. Just walking down a street in the

To me, globalization is the process through which the world becomes

city, I am immediately taken aback

more interconnected and adapts to

street markets in the central district,

by the homeless children begging for

the changing demands of the twenty-

climb the iconic Victoria Peak, and

pennies with which to buy their next

first century. On a large scale, it is the

visit scores of relatives, both familiar

meal. In a city of economic prosperity,

mechanism behind the development

and not. Each year, almost religiously,

the prevalence of poverty is perturb-

of cities like Hong Kong; on a personal

my family embarks on a pilgrimage

ing. Young men my age reside in

level, it is the process that shapes

to Hong Kong to visit extended fam-

inhospitable living conditions and

individuals like myself. Globalization

ily and old friends that I communicate

are victimized by a society so focused

has made it possible to form multiple

with only occasionally via phone or

on consumerism that it loses sight of

identities and allegiances, to live life

webcam. Despite the frequency of

humanity. Witnessing their unfortu-

as a contradiction. Narrowly walking

nate circumstances, I cannot help but

the line between Asian and American,

feel guilty knowing that somehow,

I am merely a tightrope walker, intri-

our histories share a common thread.

cately balancing the values and ideals

As a member of, arguably, the most

of both my Asian background and

consumer-driven society in the world,

American upbringing. While I may

I realize that I am indirectly a con-

have checked â&#x20AC;&#x153;Asian-Americanâ&#x20AC;? on my

tributor to their suffering. Perhaps if

college applications, I realize that I am

the American demand for cheap goods

really neither Asian nor American, but,

and services was not as high, his pain

rather, the hyphen in between, striving

could be reduced. Suddenly ashamed

to link two divorced worlds and two

to look him in the eyes, I speed up and

distinctive identities.

these trips, I am still always dazzled by Hong Kong. Once a British colony, Hong Kong fuses the cultural traditions of China with all of the modern-day spectacles of a world-class city. There, it is not unusual to see a street market vending cheap, often illegal, goods stationed directly outside of a luxurious shopping mall selling designer wares; nor would I consider SPRING 2010


4 4

LNY 2010 Lunar New Year is one of Dukeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s largest cultural shows, celebrating Asian culture through student talent. This year, Duke welcomed the Year of the Tiger with performances ranging from traditional guzheng music to Korean rock bands; from hip-hop dances to ethnic tribal dances. Opening with a memorable lion dance, its amazing vocal and musical performances had the crowd in awe the entire night. 5 LNY 2010 PHOTO ESSAY


100 6

DukeEngage in CHINA Illustration by Scully7491


I grew up in semi-rural North Carolina.

Dandelion School, I felt completely

My family owns a farm, and my

unable to give these kids what they

only claim to “diversity” is that my

needed most. Their problem was one

father is German-American. Despite

that I could not solve with a logical

all that, the biggest differences I

argument. The forty boys and girls

encountered during my Duke Engage

in my class were extremely lucky

stay in Beijing were not cultural, but

to be in school at all—their parents

rather, socioeconomic. Sure, when I

were migrant workers, and in China, a

walked down the street in the Daxing

child had to go to school in the city or

district of southern Beijing, people

county where his or her parents had

would stare at me openly and yell

permanent residence. With Beijing

“hello, hello, hello,” in English. The

growing so quickly, the government

kids I taught laughed at me when I

is reluctant to give out many new

couldn’t remember the names of the

permanent residence authorizations;

Four Great Classical Novels. Yet, none

nonetheless, migrants continue

of that affected me nearly as much

flowing into the city, where there

as when the kids asked me why I

are far better jobs. The schools are

wore different clothes each day and

not equipped to absorb all the new

whether I washed my hair more than

students, and the city does not have

once a week.

the revenue to build new schools. The

In spite of the three years of

Photos courtesy of Alice Mao



system creates a cycle where children

world-class Duke education I had

are unable to obtain good education

under my belt when I arrived at the

and end up in jobs very similar to the

DukeEngage in CHINA ones their parents worked. I couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t

whose family owned a restaurant

after graduation define who I was.

fix it for them, so I had to settle for

next to the school and whom we often

None of those things were of use to

teaching them English, a skill that

found studying behind the cashier

them. I began to define myself by

might increase their opportunities to

counter; Yuan, who kept saying he

how well my English lessons went

break the cycle.

wanted to marry me even though I

or how quickly my students were

was six years older, a foreigner, and

progressing. If I was not being of use

on that sweltering hot day in May,

When I first walked into Class 1

his teacher; Shao, who wrote about her

to them, I felt I did not have a place

I was afraid I would not be able to

dream to go to college but probably

being there. But make no mistakeâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;I

tell the kids apart. I need not have

never would, and so many others. I

learned from them as much as they

worried, because each of them made

ate cafeteria food with the kids whose

learned from me. They patiently

a place in my heart through their

cost of living added up to less than

listened to my faltering Chinese and

daily shouting matches over the class

one U.S. dollar per day. We washed

taught me new word after new word. I

our hands in water that you needed

will never look at education policy the

to boil before you drank, and learned

same way again, whether it is here or

in classrooms where the only cooling

in China. I know where to find the best

systems were simply fans.

popsicles in Beijing. But the biggest

The kids asked why I wore different clothes each day.

From the first day, those kids

lesson I learned was that no matter

showed me that my Duke Engage

where you go in the world, no matter

basketball, their lively playground

experience was not about me. No

how different the culture is, there are

games, and their faltering recitations

longer did I allow details such as

people who need you, who will be

of passages from the English textbook.

where I came from, how much

I got to know Qin, whose parents

I knew, or what job

were disabled and relied on her; Ding,

I would take


your friend, and who will teach you things you never knew you needed to learn.


8 8

Photo by WallpaperMe

CAMPUS SPOTLIGHT by Helen Ho & Jack Zhang


Photo courtesy of Linda Zhou

This edition’s campus spotlight

focuses on a new group on campus that addresses the notion of being an Asian American student at Duke. HAVE YOU EVER BEEN MISTAKEN FOR

another Asian student in class? Do you feel that Asian Americans are at a disadvantage when it comes to the

The Duke Asian American Working Group with input from Multicultural Center staff

Ultimately, the hope is that the group

Greek system? Do you wonder why

specialist Vivian Wang, arose the idea for

will allow students interested in Asian

there is no Asian American recruitment

a student driven initiative to investigate

American issues to engage with each


Asian American issues and hold sustained

other in a more sustainable way than

conversation about Asian American

just going to scattered events. While

identity. Thus, DAAWG was born.

many focus on the cultural and social

The Duke Asian American Working Group (DAAWG) is an initiative of the Multicultural Center to promote sustained

Despite being a new group, DAAWG has

aspects of the Asian American experience,

engagement with Asian American topics

wasted no time. It published a newsletter

DAAWG hopes to complete the picture and

on campus. While there is a plethora

in January and has already held several

examine the political and personal identity

of student organizations that cater to

events, such as “Growing UP Asian”,

aspects as well—complementing, not

primarily Asian American students

a forum relating the Asian American

clashing with, what already exists at this

on campus, these groups tend to focus

experience to clips from the Pixar movie

institution. Noting the lack of continuity in

on cultural promotion and hosting

“Up”. Its most recent event was the Archive

events addressing Asian American issues

social events, leaving the more difficult

Dive, during which DAAWG-ers sifted

(despite the clear interest), DAAWG seeks

questions of identity and politics relatively

through records of past Asian American

to become the centralizing point for any


movements and student activism on

dialogue that already exists on campus.

Duke’s campus. On a college campus,

For these reasons, DAAWG is open to

fund allocation for student organizations

where the population is constantly

everyone and willing to work with any

tends to reward cultural extravaganzas

changing, passing down history is difficult.

group to make this mission possible. It also

that are open to the rest of the campus over

DAAWG recognized this. In order to give

hopes to inspire students to delve deeply

dialogues about identity or community

themselves a better understanding

into what it means to be Asian American

building. This problem is exacerbated by

of what former student groups were

by connecting students with resources

a lack of institutional support for Duke’s

capable of and what difficulties they

(e.g., staff, faculty, classes, literature)

Asian American students. Unlike its peer

faced, DAAWG-ers dug through numerous

and each other on-campus and off (e.g.,

institutions, the Duke curriculum is devoid

boxes of flyers, scrapbooks and meeting

conferences, internship opportunities).

of Asian American courses and only offers

minutes. Reading through the articles and

a course focus on Asian and Middle Eastern

stories, it was clear that Asian Americans

the Asian American Working Group this

Studies. While the number of Asian

a decade ago faced many of the same

spring. The group will sponsor flunches

American students on campus increases

issues plaguing students today. While

and dinner discussions with faculty and

by the year, the institution has yet to make

it was comforting to see that DAAWG’s

staff. DAAWG meets twice a month at

changes to the curriculum.

efforts were not an isolated blip of Asian

the Multicultural Center to explore Asian

This trend is not surprising given that

The two founders of DAAWG—freshman,

Interested students are invited to join

American political activity at Duke, it was

American identity and create collaborative

Derek Mong, and junior, Jack Zhang—

also a reminder of how slow progress has

programming for the Duke student body.

met during the International House and

been on this campus. The need to air out

For more information, please contact Jack

Multicultural Center merger controversy.

Asian American issues and stereotypes

Zhang ( or Derek Mong ( dkm8@

From their preliminary conversations,

continues to be an issue to this day.



SAME MEANING, DIFFERENT LOOKS The relationship between emoticons and cultural differences in communication By Sophia Kwon

“There should exist a special

by the cultural differences in

that “cultural cues in different parts

typographical sign for a smile—

communication, which include

of the face are weighted differently

some sort of concave mark, a supine

using different facial features to

when interpreting emotions”.2

round bracket,” said Vladimir

interpret emotional information.

Nabokov, author of Lolita, during

Although research has discovered

in emotion interpretation between

an interview with The New York

that at least some emotional

subjects of Eastern and Western

Times in 1969. Forty years have

expressions are universal, there

backgrounds, the experimenters

passed and this, surprisingly, has

are “clear but subtle variations

narrowed the subjects of the study

become a reality. Now that the

regarding how people from different

down to Japanese and Americans,

Internet has become a fixture in our

cultures interpret emotions

and asked them to rate six different

daily lives, this typographical sign,

differently.” To substantiate

emoticons on a scale ranging from

called an “emoticon” can be seen

such a hypothesis, Masaki Yuki, a

1 (extremely sad) to 9 (extremely

everywhere—emails, chat rooms,

behavioral psychology professor at

happy). As Fig. 1 demonstrates,

and social networking sites such

Hokkaido University, and Takahiko

they found that the American

as Facebook. While emoticons have

Masuda, a cultural psychology

subjects rated “smiling emoticons

become a world-wide trend, they

professor at University of Alberta,

with sad-looking eyes as happier

appear to have different attributes

showed computer-generated

than the Japanese subjects did.”4

based on cultural backgrounds. For

emoticons as well as photos of

They also found that the Japanese

instance, the emoticon for a happy

different faces to people of various

rated “emoticons as happier when

face appears as “^-^” in the East

nationalities.3 Subjects were then

the happier locus [was] in the

and “:)” in the West. Recent studies

asked to decide what emotions

eyes,” whereas Americans rated

indicate that these typographic

were being expressed. As Yuki and

“emoticons as happier when the

differences can be lucidly explained

Masuda predicted, the study showed

happier locus [was] in the mouth.”2




After finding greater differences



To further explore cultural variations in emotion, Paul Ekman and Wallace Friesen of the University of California at San Francisco showed stress-inducing films to college students in both the United States and Japan. Each subject first watched the film alone and then watched the film again while discussing it with a research assistant of the same cultural background.9 Measuring the subtle facial muscle movements with a video recorder, they found that when subjects were alone, FIG 1. Perceived sadness and happiness of emoticons by Japanese and Americans (Yuki).

both the Japanese and Americans had “virtually identical” facial

Furthermore, Yuki and Masuda

are formed through individuals’

expressions.9 However, the result was

noted that these results are consistent

continual pursuit of adjustment

quite different when subjects were

with previously conducted research

to their cultural environment, the

in the presence of another person;

on cultural norms for expressing

emotions will regulate and maintain

the Japanese tended to subdue

emotions. Research conducted by

the cultural values to which they

their facial expressions of negative

Daantje Derks, a psychologist in the

have been adapted. Asians generally

emotions more than the Americans

Netherlands, discovered that the

“perceive other individuals and

did.10 Further studies have shown

difference between the Japanese and

objects as mutually interdependent,”

that the Japanese, in comparison to

American perception of emotional

while “Americans perceive them

their American counterparts, tend to

expressions is attributable to the

as mutually independent.”7 For that

mask not only the display of negative

relationship between “social display

reason, in Western cultures, where

rules” and emotional expressions.5

people are more individualized,

To clarify, emotional expression,

“denying the expression and

“as it happens at a certain place

experience of feelings is often

in the interaction”, has a function

equated with denying one’s true

of specifying “what expressions

self.”2 Conversely, in Eastern cultures,

are socially appropriate in a given

particularly those of Korea, China,

situation.”5 Many of the emotions

and Japan, people’s collectivistic

observed in everyday life depend

and cooperative behaviors account

on “the dominant cultural frame in

for their reluctance to display their

which specific social situations are

emotions explicitly. In such countries,

constructed.”6 Therefore, it is clear

it is important to make connections

that one’s emotional experessions are

with others and attend to others’

influenced not only by one’s internal

needs and goals.8 For example, the

feelings but also by societal norms.

Japanese rarely smile or frown with

Supporting Professor Derks’

their mouths, since “[their] culture

argument, Hazel Rose Markus, a

tends to emphasize conformity,

psychology professor at Stanford

humbleness and maintenance of

University, and Shinobu Kitayama,

harmonious relationships with

a psychology professor at Michigan

others.”4 Such differences in culture

University, claimed that “self is

affect the expression of emotion

construed differently across cultures.”7

and thus the practice of reading the

According to them, since emotions

emotions of others.



The practice of reading emotion through the eyes can provide a higher ability to recognize true emotion.

expressions shown in diverse cultures actually arise from a single, universally-shared emotional ground. Regardless of nationality or cultural boundary, the very nature of human

feelings, but also that of positive

and why the eyes in Asian emoticons

emotion is no different from one

feelings, such as happiness and

vary, while the mouth is often

country to another; that is, superficial

excitement.11 These studies clearly


forms of emoticons, however diverse,

illustrate that “people in various

On the other hand, since

harbor the same smiling, crying,

cultures differ in what they have

Americans more openly express their

kissing, dancing, and laughing actions

been taught about managing or

emotions, American emoticons often

of people. Nevertheless, the expression

controlling their facial expressions of

vary in mouth shapes, while the eyes

of and the recognition of emotion are


remain static. In addition, Yuki

influenced and modified by cultural

suggested that “because Japanese

characteristics such as individualism

cultural differences in emotional

people tend to focus on the eyes,

in the West and collectivism in the

expression should translate to

they could be better, overall, than

East. Culture plays a significant role

different typographical signs.

Americans at perceiving people’s

in modifying such pristine states of

For instance, since the Japanese

true feelings.”4 In other words, the

emotions into unique visualizations

mask their emotions much more,

practice of reading emotion through

in the increasingly internet-oriented

interpretation of others’ emotions

the eyes can provide a greater ability

society. Who knew that even

often involves focusing on parts of

to recognize true emotion.

something as simple as a smiley



It is only natural that such

the face that are relatively difficult

To sum up, different cultural

to control intentionally, such as

backgrounds regarding

one’s eyes.2 This explains why the

communication methods account for

Japanese normally look at the upper

why emoticons with the emphasis on

part of the face for emotional clues,

the mouth are common in the West, and why those with the emphasis on eyes are widespread in the East.3 For example, in the United States, the most common emoticon is “:)”, which represents a happy face. On the other hand, people in Japan or Korea tend to use “^-^” instead, which represents a happy face in a different way. Moreover, Americans use “:0”, “:S”, and “:’(” to symbolize surprised, confused, and crying faces, while Japanese and Koreans use “O.O”, “@.@”, and “T.T” to indicate the corresponding emotions. As can be seen from these examples, the eyes of emoticons in the United States remain consistent, whereas the mouth stays unchanged in Asian emoticons. Despite all the emphasis on the difference in emoticons, analysis of emoticons leads to a seemingly paradoxical conclusion: different


face could be symbolic of a region’s cultural background and tendencies? Scott Fahlman, “SMILEY: 25 YEARS OLD AND NEVER LOOKED HAPPIER!” SCHOOL OF COMPUTER SCIENCE, Carnegie Mellon, Fall 1982, 30 Mar. 2009 <http://www.>. 2 Masaki Yuki, William W. Maddux, and Takahiko Masuda, “Are the windows to the soul the same in the East and West?” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 24 Apr. 2006. 3 Youngnim Kim, “Why emoticons are different in the Western and in the Eastern,” NHN Corp, Spring 2007, 3 Apr. 2009 < read.nhn?mode=LSD&mid=sec&sid1=105&oid=001&a id=0001636602>. 4 Melinda Wenner, “Americans and Japanese Read Faces Differently,” LiveScience, Spring 2007, 3 Apr. 2009. < facial_culture.html>. 5 Daantje Derks, Arjan E. Bos, and Jasper Von Grumbkow, “Emoticons and Social Interactions on the Internet,” Computers in Human Behavior, Dec. 2004. 6 Hazel R. Markus and Shinobu Kitayama, eds. Emotion and Culture (Washington, D.C.: American Psychology Association, Inc., 1994) 4. 7 Shinobu Kitayama, “Emotional experience and subjective well-being,” Kitayama Biography, 03 Apr. 2009 <>. 8 Hazel R. Markus and Shinobu Kitayama, eds. Emotion and Culture (Washington, DC: American Psychology Association, 1994) 8. 9 Paul Ekman, Unmasking the Face, (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1975) 23. 10 Paul Ekman, Unmasking the Face, (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1975) 24. 11 David Matsumoto and Paul Ekman, American-Japanese cultural differences in intensity ratings of facial expressions of emotion, Motivation and Emotion 13 (1989), 143–157. 12 Herbert S. Conrad, ed. Psychological Monographs, 4th ed. Vol. 63, (Washington D.C.: The American Psychological Association, Inc., 1948) 23. 13 “Why Korean Emoticons Differ From US Emoticons,” Shiny’s Café, Spring 2008, 2 Apr. 2009 <http://cafe. ArticleRead.nhn%3Farticleid=161>. 1



Got Asian?

A few handy Asian resources for students at Duke

1. Feeling hungry? Durham has

culture! The largest is Asian Students

7. A little stuck on that essay? Get

numerous tasty food options in store

Association, but there are many

inspiration. Duke’s Writing Studio

for you. Try Vit Goal for some Korean

smaller, more specific ones as well

offers helpful advice for papers on any

food, Twisted Noodle for Thai/Asian

such as: Thai Student Organization,

topic. They even hold special sessions

fusion, Lime and Basil for Vietnamese

Taiwanese Student Association,

for international students.

(especially pho), or Hong Kong

Chinese Students Association,

Chinese Restaurant for dim sum.

Hong Kong Student Association,

8. If you need a break from the weekly

Korean Undergraduate Students

routine of frat parties and beer pong,

2. If you are feeling particularly

Association, Singaporean Students

indulge yourself in a little Karaoke.

ambitious, try cooking some

Association, and Vietnamese

Head to Star Karaoke, out in Raleigh,

Asian food yourself. Visit Oriental

Students Association.

to let your inner star shine through!

Japanese ingredients or Asia Market

5. Going Greek? Don’t forget to take

9. Don’t miss one of the biggest

(a once Pizza Hut converted to this

a look beyond IFC and Pan-Hel. Duke

cultural celebrations on campus:

tiny Chinese store). Better yet, if you

has both an Asian Fraternity, Lambda

ASA’s Lunar New Year! LNY comes

have some spare time on your hands,

Phi Epsilon, and Asian sorority, alpha

around every February and showcases

make the drive out to Cary’s Grand

Kappa Delta Phi. There is also a

the talent of numerous student groups

Asia Market. It is well worth the drive

multicultural sorority, Theta Nu Xi.

and individuals. With vivid costumes

SuperMarket for Korean and

with its fresh vegetable produce and bakery treats.

and songs to melt your heart, this 6. If Greek’s not your thing, you can

is one performance you don’t want

always join LangDorm, a selective

to miss. Since a picture’s worth a

3. Asians tend to have higher

living group dedicated to the

thousand words, we won’t say any

depression and anxiety rates on

multicultural experience. Residing in

more, but just take a peek at Patrick

campus than any other minority. Don’t

Keohane, LangDorm is divided into

Yan’s photoessay on page 5 and you’ll

think you are alone! Talk to CAPS

different language hallways: French,

understand what we mean.

counselor, Yan Li, who speaks in

Chinese, Japanese, German and

Chinese and English and specializes

Spanish. Many weeks, LangDorm even

10. Lastly, write or design

in Asian American mental health.

hosts Language Conversation Tables,

layouts for Yellow Pages! E-mail

Request an appointment with her at

or dinners during which students can!

her office on the second floor of Page.

improve their speaking.

4. Join a cultural group and learn

Mai Nakamura’s article on page 23.

more about your own (or others’)

Photo by

13 SweetLov


Photo by



By David Myung Hoon Choi

I have three names. Heck, I have

group of friends that things can really

I tend to introduce myself to Asian

three identities. Each is a separate

get confusing. As a by-product of

people as “Myung.” For Americans who

yet integral part of me, and all come

juggling three different identities

have a harder time saying Myung right,

together to make me who I am.

(Korean, Korean-American, and

I introduce myself as “David”. Korean

None of them ever really manifest

American), I have friends that belong

people call me “Myung Hoon”. My legal

themselves simultaneously, but

to each of these three categories.

name (I changed it two years ago) is

disaster strikes when they do.

While an outsider might question

“David Myung Hoon Choi”. It’s long; it

Confused yet? I guess I should

whether these identities really differ

barely fits on my Social Security Card.


enough to be categorized separately,

It does not fit on my driver’s license.

a day in my life would quickly answer

But it’s my name. All three parts of it.

Born in South Korea, I moved to Guam (search the middle of

that question. For example, the

nowhere in the Pacific Ocean

other day, as I was walking with my

three identities with which I can relate.

and you’ll find it) at an early age.

Korean-American friend, a Korean

Many a person has tried to classify

Contrary to popular belief, they

underclassman passed by me and

me as Korean, as Korean-American,

speak English in Guam, thus I

bowed to me, bending so far that I

as a “twinkie” (an American term

grew up speaking both English

thought his face might hit the ground.

describing “white washed” Asians—

and Korean. Simple so far. My family moved back to Korea during my middle school years,

“Isn’t that weird?”, my KoreanAmerican friend asked. I shrugged.

Symbolized by this name are the

yellow on the outside white on the inside). Truth is, I’m none of these

A few days later, while walking

alone, but rather a culmination of all

but then moved back to Guam

into Alpine Bagels with an American

of these. When I am with a particular

briefly during my freshmen year

friend, I heard a “Hi, Myung!” shouted

group or person, I am one of them—I

of high school. We moved again to

from across the hall.

talk, think, and act like them. According

Virginia, where I graduated from high school. Whew. As a result of all the shuffling around, I’m perfectly

My friend looked baffled. “Isn’t your to my friends, it even extends to other name David?” I nod, explaining that it’s my

groups: males, females, black people, white people, Asian people, Asian

fluent in both Korean and English,

Korean name. Yet, even that statement people who try to be black, white

although I make random mistakes

is not entirely accurate, but rather

people who try to be Asian…you get the

in both occasionally. When I talk, I

a shortened explanation. In reality,


often think in whatever language

Myung Hoon is my full Korean name,

I was speaking in the five minutes

and honestly, that’s how it should be

disingenuous; my unique experiences

before. Because of this, sometimes

said. For me, being called “Myung”

have given me the ability to adapt to

hilarity ensues.

is as if your name was Brandon and

each surrounding I find myself in. I

people called you “Bran”: it’s stupid.

think of it as being able to meet and

For simplicity’s sake (Myung Hoon

accept all different types of people,

is quite a mouthful) and out of habit,

regardless of their background. To put

Friend: Did you get into (insert slacker senior class)? Me: I don’t think I’m going in. Friend: *blank stare*

To me, this isn’t being fake or

it simply, having three identities

These language

isn’t a hassle: it’s a gift.

gaffs, however,

So whether you call me

can be overlooked.

David, Myung, or Myung

It’s when I’m with

Hoon, each and every

a particular group

person has shaped me

of people and I

into the person I am

pass by another


today. Illustration by Daniel Hope, Petit Debutant, BP Fallon’ Backrgound by Freaking News




(so named for the thirty-one flavors of ice cream)


Get your friends together and sit in a circle.


Each person in the circle goes around counting off numbers from 1 until 31.


The person who reaches 31 must drink!


For example:

Each person can count one, two, or three numbers.

PERSON 1: 1, 2 PERSON 2: 3 PERSON 3: 4, 5, 6

… PERSON 13: 28, 29, 30 Photo by

PERSON 14: …31, and takes a shot

Titanic 1

Three, Six, Nine

Everyone gathers and sits in a circle.


Fill a large glass halfway with your drink of choice.


Put an empty shot-glass into the larger glass so it floats


The objective of the game is to pour as little liquor as

1 2

like a boat.

the number one. You cannot say any number with three, six, or nine, but must clap instead. (For instance, 23 would get a clap, 36 would get two claps)

possible into the hot glass during your turn. Pass it


around in the circle until the shot glass sinks...


Everyone sits in a circle and counts starting from

If you mess up by saying a number out of order or by saying a number with three, six, or nine in it, then you drink. For the rest of the game, you become a ghost. When it is your turn, you make a silent “o”

The person who makes the shot glass sink now has to

with your mouth and spread your hands out in a mo-

take the shot!

tion away from your face


As more people get out, the game becomes more challenging since you have to keep in mind what number it’s supposed to be on. The quicker people count up, the harder the game is.

Photo by Old Shanghai Online



Babo 바보

3 The person to the right looks at the first person’s hand and says the number of fingers he/she held up, while

1 Players sit in a circle.

at the same time holding up a different number of fingers. This is continued until someone messes up

2 First player, arbitrarily chosen, starts, establishing a

or gets off the rhythm.

rhythm. This rhythm goes “Pa (hands on thighs) Bo

4 Everyone tries their best to imitate the loser’s mess-

(clap) Game (both hands give the thumbs-up sign, slightly tilted outwards.)” After two repetitions, the

up in a mocking manner. The loser drinks. The game

person starts by doing the same, except instead of

is continued until there is a clear winner (the person

saying “game”, he/she says a number between one and

who is not completely smashed.)

five and holds up a number of fingers between one and five. The number said and held up have to be different.

The Game of “Death” 1

Players sit in a circle


One person says "Ready, Set, Go!" and then calls out


At the same time, all players immediately point at one


Then, count from the starting person, following the


The nth person drinks!

any number that is greater than two (let's call it n)

other player.

direction of pointing.

Know any other fun Asian drinking games? Share on our blog!


Starting person points to someone and says PIM.


Then the next person points at someone and says POM.


Then that person points at someone and says PAM.


The people on both sides of the PAM’ed person have to


Anyone who messes up takes a shot. Yay!

raise their hands and say WOO!

Photo by hitchwriter (Personal blog)




Photo by Mountcope

By Bernard Jiang America is a melting pot of cultures. Walk down any strip mall, go into any food court and you’ll find cuisine from all over the world. Or, at least America’s take on it. We love the new and exotic. Of course, in the rush to embrace such things, we may occasionally forget the actual historic background. Certain American things that have come to be linked with Asian culture may not necessarily be so. Here are a few of the most prominent offenders: You read

o ot Ph


s Oop


Fortune Cookies

that right. This crispy, golden

mini-dessert that comes with the check at every Chinese restaurant did not actually originate from China. The paper fortunes stem from a Japanese tradition known as omikuji.1 Originally, one could receive these individual paper fortunes from Buddhist and Shinto temples for a small offering. The cookie itself is very similar to a Japanese traditional treat, although the ingredients are a little different. The fortune cookie as we now know it originated in California around the early twentieth century.2 Many people have claimed to be the first to create it, but there has not been much consensus. Considering how popular fortune cookies are, who wouldn’t make the same claim? The only drawback to these food freebies? Two words: Learn Chinese. Hey, am I pronouncing this right?

Karaoke Almost every Asian child is familiar with the palpable feeling of excitement when, at an Asian party, the adults get a little tipsy and bust out the karaoke machine. The ensuing cacophony is still the background track to many of my nightmares. Who are we to blame for this? It turns out, 17


MADE IN ASIA NBC. In the early 60s,

Illustration by Marlen

they had show called

Fake Chinese Food

a c i r e m A

There are so many offenders in

avocado would be a perfect substitute for the fatty tuna normally used in such

“Sing Along with

this category that I am not even sure

sushi, the basis of the California roll

Mitch” starring Mitch

where to begin. For starters, General

was born. After a few other changes

Miller. This program

Tso’s/Tao’s/Tsao’s/Gau’s Chicken, an

to suit the American customer base

was the precursor to

incredibly popular American Chinese

karaoke as we know

dish, is entirely unrelated to the person

it. Superimposed at

for whom it is named. General Tso, or Zuo

the bottom of the

Zongtang, was a general and statesman

screen were lyrics to

from Hunan in the 19th century. “His”

Photo by Hero Sushi

the various songs that were sung on the

chicken, however, appeared in 1973.4 It

program. Thus, the viewers watching at

was invented by Peng Jia, a Hunan chef

(such as putting the nori on the inside

home could sing along with Mitch and

who escaped mainland China during the

of the roll), the California roll that we

have a jolly good time doing so. The only

Chinese Civil War and later moved to

know and love was born. Fun fact: the

reason that this does not still exist today

New York. The only possible similarity is

imitation crab meat found in these rolls

is because while drinking and singing in

that the sweetness of the chicken stems

is actually made from fish slurry. Keep

a Karaoke bar with friends is fun, drinking

from Hunan, where General Tso was

that in mind the next time you bite into

alone at home singing to your television is

from. Then again, Peng Jia may have just a fresh, delicious California roll.

just depressing.

been trying to create a Colonel Sanders

Chinese Checkers It’s not Chinese, and it’s not checkers.

Crab Rangoon—These deep-fried

of his own. This entire category of

cholesterol-injections found at Chinese

“American” Chinese food stems from the

buffets everywhere are anything

days when the transcontinental railroads but authentic. The history of the

Having one piece jumping another does

were being built. Chinese entrepreneurs,

dumpling is murky and riddled with

not make a game a checkers variant.

catering towards railroad workers,

inconsistencies; however, it is evident

(Think about it: it is not like we call

established Chinese restaurants. They

that the crispy, creamy dish is not of

leapfrog “people checkers.”) This game

quickly found that without the proper

Chinese origin. The tip-off is the heavy

was in fact invented in Germany in the

ingredients, ingredients that could only

and prominent use of cream cheese in

late nineteenth century. It was originally

be found across the ocean, they could not the dish. Historically, almost no Chinese

based on Halma, invented by Monks.

make their traditional Chinese dishes.

cuisine has used cheese of any sort. It

Not real monks, of course, but rather a

Instead, they had to adapt using local

is simply an ingredient that is not found

Harvard plastic surgeon named Monks.3

ingredients and cater towards a more

in any self-respecting Chinese chef’s

Western palate. Thus, American Chinese

repertoire. Besides, the Chinese already

cuisine was born.

have a crab dish that will almost

The term “Chinese Checkers” comes from marketers, who in a remarkable display of cultural sensitivity decided

California Rolls—I’m pretty sure most

certainly induce a heart-attack: deep

to name the game Hop Ching Checkers

people know this treat isn’t Japanese,

fried crabs coated in a thick layer of

in order to boost sales.

hence the name. Still, the story of how it

salted egg yolk.

This name eventually

came about is rather interesting. In the

evolved into Chinese

1960s, many chefs came to the U.S. to

Checkers, which is

earn their fortune. Ichiro Mashita was

the name you should

no different. Arriving in Los Angeles, he

all be familiar with.

worked at Kaikan, one of the first sushi

Photo by David Levy


bars in the area. After realizing that oily

Lee, Jennifer. “Solving a Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery Inside a Cookie.” New York Times. 16 Jan. 2008 2 Brunner, Borgna. “The History of the Fortune Cookie.” Infoplease. 10 May. 2005 3 Bernardo Johns, Stephanie; The Ethnic Almanac. Doubleday Publishing (1981) 4 Lam, Francis. “The Curious History of General Tso’s Chicken.” 5 Jan. 2010 1





By Derek Mong

Coast Asian American

Student Union Conference in 2009 at Rutgers

University, Yu’s commitment to Asian-American issues is particularly


motivated violence against Asian students at South Philadelphia High School by other students, shedding light on the unforgiving circumstances of Asian students that would have otherwise gone unnoticed. Furthermore, Yu also recently published an entry on the importance of Asian American Census engagement. Since Census data is used to calculate Congressional representation and the allocation of federal funds for local and

him. Through

community resources, Yu stresses the

the website

importance of filling out the census in order

sensation, he

to ensure an accurate count of everyone

hopes to be

in the Asian-American community and to

able to point out

increase access to the resources to which

the particularly

the Asian-American community is entitled.


While critically important to understanding

stereotypes of

the development and progress of the Asian


American community, these are only two

in the media and

of the many issues that Phil has taken up

society at-large;

during his time writing for Angry Asian Man.

on the condition of

The most “angry”, or most viewed, article

Asian-Americans today,

that he currently has on the blog is a look at

“What’s an Angry my friend behind me in our law

date, accessible commentaries of racially

important to

by shedding light Asian Man?” whispers

recently provided one of the most up-to-

Yu hopes that he inspire

the thirty most influential Asians under the

seminar, “What are you doing?” Pretending

individuals to take proactive measures to

age of thirty. The list includes individuals

not to hear him, I continue my exploration

end the conventional myths about Asian

ranging from the Gosselin children,

of the blog I just recently stumbled upon.

Americans. According to him, Angry Asian

to actress Brenda Song, to my former

Giggling at a portrait of Obama as a

Man is not about being objective about these

supervisor at APIAVote, Naomi Tacuyan-

second-grade child with his Asian friend

issues; it’s about writing about things that he


in Hawaii, I continue to browse, what I now

finds “particularly interesting or noteworthy”

know to be, one of most popular Asian-

from the eyes of an Asian-American man.

ago, remains an important part of Asian-

interests websites on the entire internet:

For Yu, Angry Asian Man is a means of

American culture for many of today’s Asian-

Angry Asian Man, the brain-child of

“expressing myself.”

American youth. While originally an outlet

creator Phil Yu.

In particular, the name “Angry Asian Man”

Yu is the blogger behind the viral

The blog, started almost a decade

to merely express his concerns in today’s

is a direct reflection of his desire to break the

ever-changing Asian-American community,

blog sensation Angry Asian Man—a

mould. As he stated in a recent interview, “The

Angry Asian Man is a testament to the

hilarious commentary on all-things

name of my blog is provocative and scary,”

willpower of an individual to truly change

Asian-American. With topics ranging

said Yu. “It’s different from most people’s idea

the mindset of a particular community.

from hate crimes to Hello Kitty, from

of what an Asian person is supposed to be.

Ultimately, Yu has created more than a blog,

political activism to the hit TV show

Most Asians in this country are not seen as

but has contributed to the movement of

“Glee,” the variety of material on Angry

people who are willing to rock the boat. We’re

ideas, and the change in the worldview and

Asian Man makes it remarkably easy to

seen as meek people who just let things slide,

consciousness of many Asian Americans.

learn about and contemplate the various

but that’s not true at all.”

manifestations of “Asian-Americanism” in a fun and inviting atmosphere. Having recently attended the East


Two recent examples piqued my interest and reflected his dedication to advocacy and Asian American empowerment. First, Phil


ASIANS IN TV LAND By Michelle Fang

best for his role as Jin-Soo Kwon on

as Agent Kimball Cho on the crime

series “Lost”, but did you know he

procedural show “The Mentalist”.

previously visited Duke University?

Working alongside Simon Baker as

Kim has showcased his talent on a

one of the main characters, Kang

variety of shows, guest starring in

brings a dry sense of humor to the

shows such as “CSI: Crime Scene

show through his character.

Investigation”, “24”, “ER” and even television classic “Seinfeld”.

Matthew Moy

Michaela Conlin

new spin-off version of “Scrubs”, you

If you have been tuning in to the Daniel Henney

Best known for her role on the

may have chuckled several times

A few of these stars have been

Fox television series “Bones”, Conlin

over the fobby, round-faced character,

around for years, while others are

plays the role of wild, free-spirited

Trang. Despite his appearance as a

just now getting their moment in

forensic artist Angela Montenegro.

short, awkward nerd, he nonetheless

the spotlight. Either way, you can

She serves as a balance for Emily

always has Australian beauty and

look forward to seeing these actors

Deschanel’s overly-scientific, logic-

fellow med-student, Maya, wrapped

and actresses around as they are

driven character, Brennan. With her

around his finger. While the new

brimming with talent!

coy smile and knowing eyes, this

“Scrubs” may not last much longer,

Irish-Chinese actress oozes with

you will be sure to see Moy around

charm on screen.

in the future considering his great

Kristin Kreuk This half-Dutch, half-Chinese actress first won our hearts as Lana Lang in the television series

comedic potential. Tim Kang Though this Korean actor

Daniel Henney

“Smallville”. More recently, she

has guest starred in prominent

This half-Korean, half-white actor

guest starred on the television show

television shows such as “Monk”

first reached critical acclaim in South

“Chuck” as an adorable computer

and “Law & Order: Trial by Jury”,

Korea. He was previously in “X-Men

geek named Hannah. If you were

he has only recently surfaced as a

Origins: Wolverine” and currently

disappointed by how brief her

promising new star through his role

stars in the CBS drama “Three Rivers.”

cameo was, pout no more! Kreuk has landed a role in the new CBS pilot, “Hitched” and is rumored to be a possible guest star on “Fringe”. Sandra Oh Perhaps the most famous AsianAmerican television star to date, Oh stars as surgeon Dr. Christina Yang in the ABC series “Grey’s Anatomy”. Her role as Yang has won her multiple nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series at the Emmy Awards. Daniel Dae Kim You may know this Korean actor hollywood-celebrity-pictures





EXAMINING A FAST GROWING TREND IN ASIA In the past decade, there has

tesy of banc

hen @ flick

only in the whittling

minorities in the United States,

of fat deposits and the sculpting

particularly Asian-Americans,

of silicone. While liposuction and

procedure is perhaps unsurprising

undergoing plastic surgery.

breast enhancement are currently

given the widespread recess jeers

Between 2007 and 2008, the

the two most common procedures

of having slanted, “Asian” eyes,

number of procedures performed

performed in America, eyelid

especially among children. While

on Asian-Americans grew 26

surgery is especially common

my naturally-round eyes lent me

percent, reaching a total of 767,800

among Asians, accounting for 50%

immunity to such teasing during


of procedures.2 In this surgery, a

my childhood, I became accustomed

When most Americans think

The popularity of this surgical

cut is made into the eyelid to create

to watching my peers pull taut the

of plastic surgery, eyelids do not

a fold, resulting in bigger, rounder

skin around their eyes in imitation of

usually come to mind. We are quick

eyes. Some Asians naturally have a

Asian eyes while asking the Asian-

to assume that procedures driven

fold, but opt for the surgery as well

Americans how they could even see.

by body dissatisfaction manifest

to achieve a more dramatic look.

These playground taunts—though

21 21

Photo cour

been a growing number of ethnic



common and delivered mostly without

exercise and limited access to fresh

China, use eyelid tape as part of their

malicious intent—are not easily

and healthy food).

make-up routines.


Just as larger bodies were glorified


The issue of whether the popularity

Big, round eyes are undoubtedly

in art because high body weight was

of plastic surgery among Asians and

fashionable; Hollywood and the media

a sign of success in the renaissance,

Asian-Americans (and Americans

issue constant reminders lest anyone

faces with Caucasian features are

in general) is emblematic of a

forget. Even among the (few) Asian

currently popular in the media because

societal ill often produces divided

faces on screen, many of the eyes are

what we see in the media is a result

opinions. For some, going under

round and full. Think actress Zhang

of a more deep-seated phenomenon: a

the knife is an instance of using

Ziyi, whose big, bright eyes just pop

westernization of the beauty standard.

technology to improve appearance—

with a touch of eyeliner, whose doubly-

The ideal face and body are both

much like buying very expensive,

folded lids serve so perfectly as a

heavily biased with a western slant,

permanent makeup—in order to bring

canvas for eyeshadow.

and nowhere is that clearer than in the

empowerment and satisfaction. For them, beauty is intertwined with

For them, beauty is intertwined with success and happiness, so if you can buy a physical enhancement and feel great as a result, why not choose to do that?

success and happiness, so if you can buy a physical enhancement and feel great as a result, why not choose to do that? Others denounce cosmetic surgery as unattractive and frivolous, a business capitalizing on people’s body image problems. They claim that plastic surgery is a reflection of a

In spite of Hollywood’s glorification of big, dramatic eyes and folded eyelids, the lack of an Asian presence

figures of the most famous celebrities

society too concerned with image. The


reasons for choosing or not choosing to

In addition, the media is also an

have an eyelid surgery are varied and

in music and film idols may only be a

agent of change. Some celebrities

superficial scapegoat for the increase

have recently spoken out against

in Asian American cosmetic surgeries.

Asian eyelid surgery. In a segment of

American stars with features that are

After all, what is portrayed in the media

“The Tyra Banks Show,” Tyra brought

more “Asian” and less congruent with

is often a reflection of the current

the procedure to greater awareness

the “ideal,” (“Lost” star Daniel Dae Kim,

society in which we live. In other

by featuring a plastic surgeon and a

Sandra Oh, etc), there is a chance that

words, the faces we see in movies and

woman who had gotten the surgery.

eyelid surgery among Asians will

music is a resulting factor of that which

Tyra suggested the eyelid surgery

decline. There is no doubt that beauty

the individuals in our community

is similar to hair weaves: both are

standards are dynamic, as the thin, tan,

collectively consider attractive. For

popular procedures that transform

and athletic have completely usurped

example, the ideal female of the

“ethnic” features into ones that are

the voluptuous Goddesses of the

Renaissance era was embodied by

more “white,” but neither is done in

Renaissance as the new female ideal

voluptuous bodies and pale skin; these

pursuit of a white identity. Asians get

a few hundred years ago. Therefore,

were the figures commonly glorified in

eyelid surgery not to transcend their

it is likely that small eyes and eyelid

paintings. Stomach folds and rippling

race, but rather to simply look like a

surgeries will fade in popularity.

fat were considered attractive, because

more attractive Asian person. This

they were markers of a woman who

point may explain why eye surgery is


could afford to eat enough food. A lady

wildly popular in Asia, where young


who may have been idolized for her

women and men routinely receive the

beauty a few centuries ago would be

procedure as a graduation or birthday

considered unattractive today, now

present. For Asians who don’t want to

that body weight is actually inversely

commit to surgery, a variety of tapes

proportional to one’s socioeconomic

and glues are available to produce a

status (people of lower SES classes are

temporary folded eyelid. My female

often heavier, due to a lack of time for

cousin and her friends, who live in


personal. With the rising prominence of Asian

Hopefully, it will not take several American Society of Plastic Surgeons. “Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Procedures for Ethnic Patients Up 13 Percent in 2007.” ” Media/Press_Releases/Cosmetic_Plastic_Surgery_ Procedures_for_Ethnic_Patients_Up_13_Percent_ in_2007.html. 25 March 2008. 2 Man, Michelle. 2006. “Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery” Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. http:// 3 Sobal, Jeffery. “Socioeconomic status and obesity: A review of the literature”. Psychological Bulletin. Vol 105(2). March 1989.


22 22

IT’S “AI,” WHICH MEANS LOVE by Mai Nakamura

“Mai, how do you read this kanji on my shirt: 火?”

I glance around, looking for anything that I could possibly use to change the subject. Finding nothing, I look down at the ground and whisper, “It says ‘ai’, which means love.” Satisfied, the person walks away, and I am able to unclench my jaw and relax my hands. This is what used to happen whenever anyone asked me to read kanji. Every time, no matter what kanji it was, I answered that it meant “ai,

愛.” Even though I was born in Japan and although I am fluent in speaking, I cannot read my own language. I was born in Osaka, Japan in 1989 and moved to America when I was five years old. When I left Japan, I was just starting to learn hiragana and katakana, which are two types of Japanese alphabet systems. But that’s where it stopped. My parents did not want to overwhelm me by having me

After I graduated from high school, I knew college was my chance to change everything After I graduated from high

Amidst this great spectrum of

learn English and Japanese at the

school, I knew college was my

students at different levels of fluency, I

same time. Because of this, all I know

chance to change everything. To

was finally able to relax.

are a few hiragana and katakana.

my extreme relief, telling the truth

In elementary school, I was too

Becoming more comfortable with

was easier than I expected. When

my own level of fluency has allowed

embarrassed to tell my friends that

I arrived at Duke, I found the most

me to gain the confidence to seek out

I had the same reading and writing

amazing diversity—not only in

other Japanese speakers. Although I

ability as a Japanese preschooler.

terms of cultural diversity but

was disappointed to find few Japanese

Because I also attended the same

also diversity in how fluent people

people here at Duke, I was extremely

middle and high schools with these

were with their native languages.

happy to encounter so many

students, I was never able to come

I found that many students were

Japanese-speaking students. As I was

clean and tell everyone that I lied

American-born and many, like I,

talking to one of these students at the

about my fluency in Japanese.

had not attended language schools

Japanese Conversation Table one day,

Therefore, for the first twelve years

on the weekends. Despite this fact,

I told him about my situation. Instead

of my education, I lived in constant

everywhere I went I heard students

of being startled or dismayed, he

discomfort and was always afraid

speaking a variety of different

instead smiled warmly and said, “Mai,

that someone would ask me to read

languages on their phones, and I

let’s learn together.” Finally, I knew I

Japanese. “What is this kanji?” “It’s ai,

found stocks of cultural foods and

was at a place where I can confidently

of course.”

snacks in people’s dorm rooms.

answer, “I’m sorry, I can’t read kanji”.



Asian Invasion If you are like the average college student, you probably waste countless hours each week chuckling over clips on YouTube. Why not shake it up a bit next time and check out these Asian videos? WATCH THESE VIDEOS AT YOUTUBE.COM/DUKEYELLOWPAGES

Japanese “Glee” Promo

Silent Library

“Glee” has captured the hearts of

version of the “Glee” cover of

Schadenfreude. Are we all so cruel,

millions of viewers this season,

“Don’t Stop Believing.” So much

cynical and miserable that there is

and fans—or “Gleeks,” if you will—

for cultural relativity! Though

no other source of humor besides

make no hesitation to express their

this promo would never attract

other’s troubles? Or is it merely an

enthusiasm for the show. With what

an audience in the United States

extension of the ever so popular

Newsweek described as a “rabid

(except for perhaps a satirical

slapstick humor championed by

online fanbase,” “Glee” covers and

jab on “Saturday Night Live”),

the Three Stooges and Charlie

parodies have taken over Youtube.

the average Japanese youth

Chaplin? Whatever the reason, the

However, encountering this

likely did not even blink an eye,

Japanese have jumped on the idea

Japanese Glee promo on Youtube

demonstrating the difference in

of humiliation for fun and frequently

would make even the most ardent

standards between American and

profit from their wacky and inventive

supporter of Glee cringe. Wearing

Japanese television. While one

ways of torturing people on television.

even less than Britney Spears in

might raise an eyebrow and wonder

“Silent Library” is a clip from the

her infamous “Womanizer” music

how this strange masterpiece came

Japanese game show “Downtown no

video, oversized Japanese men

to exist, as Phil Yu so eloquently

Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende”, which

show off their sumo wrestling

put it, “I’m sure this makes sense to

was so popular that it even inspired

moves while singing along to an

someone, somewhere.”

a similar game show on MTV (called,

out-of-tune, heavily-accented


fittingly, “Silent Library”).



Ukele Boy

he manages to hit perfect chords. He croons in syllables, some of

My New Haircut: Asian Edition

“Ukelele boy” may

which are wildly off and none of

barely look old

which are actually words, but at

enough to be in

his young age, this half-hearted

kindergarten, but

attitude only adds to his appeal.

he has charmed

Completely uninhibited in front of

nearly thirteen

the camera, he does not hesitate to

million users in

scratch an itch or furrow his brows

less than the two

in pure concentration, resulting in

months since his

scrunched facial expressions that

Ukelele cover of Jason Mraz’s “I’m

are just as adorable as the musical

Long before the reality TV show

Yours” first emerged on Youtube. In

components. This handsome

“Jersey Shore” began scandalously

his videos, he seems so apathetic

little man is sure going to be a

delighting the American public, the

about his performance that listeners

heartbreaker when he grows up!

Youtube video “My New Haircut” was

are surprised and delighted when

making waves across the Internet for popularizing the “guido” stereotype. Inspired by this video, numerous others quickly surfaced, including “My New Haircut: Asian Edition”, produced here at Duke. With almost five million views, this video has gone viral, quickly transcending the Duke bubble to be enjoyed by many. Poking fun at Asian stereotypes, Duke alum Lawrence Chen can be heard shouting lines parodying the original video. “My destiny is secure! I have my soy sauce!” Although some have proclaimed the “My New Haircut” videos to be racist, others recognize the comedic gold resting in making fun of stereotypes.

The Back Dorm Boys Before the phrase “going viral” even existed, the Back Dorm Boys were already making their mark. What started out as lip synching fun ended up launching these two Chinese wonders into Internet popularity and beyond. Who knew that grainy webcam vids and exaggerated facial expressions could be so funny? Ellen DeGeneres sure thought so, and millions of people agreed. Over the years, their antics have been posted and



reposted. Admiring fans who want their own fifteen minutes of fame have parodied their parodies all across the globe; even American mainstream television started making references. Despite some truly excellent imitations (see Duke alums Muyan Jin and Shang Gao give it a go at youtube. com/dukeyellowpages), it’s still impossible to beat the originals. The two may have graduated and become real life celebrities since, but they’ll always be the Back Dorm Boys to me.

ARTWORK by Linda Yi


mistakenly identified my umbilical cord as the mark of a boy. He was so proud. After all, he had always wanted a son. Too bad I was a girl. My dad, though he will never admit it, has always carried around the old Chinese belief that girls are useless. This sexism is prevalent throughout Chinese culture—just look at the disproportionate number of Chinese girls versus boys being put up for adoption. True, the modern world has lowered the severity of this discrimination, but prejudices take time to erase, as my dad has demonstrated. Since women, by his definition, are naturally disadvantaged, he raised me to compete with boys. Under his pressure, I succumbed, turning myself into a tomboy and allowing my competitive nature to take shape. I ran faster than most boys, I made better grades than most boys, and I was even stronger than most boys. And yet, I still failed in his eyes. To him, a girl was always just a girl. As a kid, I tried to prove him wrong. Every time I disappointed him, I pushed myself to be better; and every time I failed him, I vowed to succeed the next time. It was not until high school that I realized I did not need my dad’s approval anymore. Who cares if in China, girls are considered inferior? Born in America, I am blessed with equality, an opportunity that I use to my full advantage. I can be an engineer, a doctor, or any professional I please, regardless of my “handicap”. And so, here I am.




Illustrations courtesy of

NO PAIN, NO GAME By Andrew Wang

If you have ever watched a popular American game

trenched mountain while avoiding plastic boulders,

show on television, then you are certainly familiar with

running across giant dominoes without falling, and

the format—a microphone-wielding host, a contestant

painting kanji characters with giant paintbrushes

standing at a podium answering questions, and a prize

while being hosed with water. In one challenge, the

involving money or gifts (with the “punishment” of

contestents had to scale the “Great Wall,” while in

failure simply being not receiving the prize). While

another they must run up a very slippery incline.

shows structured in this way saturate American

Throughout the show, guards aid Takeshi in foiling the

prime-time television, this pattern is not universal. For

contestants’ efforts and providing snarky commentary.

decades, Japanese television networks have eluded the

One of the most legendary Japanese game shows

mundanity of such setups to present game shows that

is “Downtown no Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende!!”

are more inventive, shocking, and entertaining.

(“Downtown’s This is No Job For Kids!”!), often referred

Whereas the main point of American game shows

to simply as “Gaki no Tsukai.” This show features

is the potential prize, the appeal of many Japanese

several games in which contestants, mostly comedians,

game shows lies in the potential pain or disgrace that

compete to win—or rather, not lose. Those who lose at

losers must (hilariously) suffer. In “Takeshi’s Castle,”

the normal games go on to compete in the true gem of

the first of such programs, contestants had to overcome

the show—batsu games, centered around competing

physical obstacles in the quest to storm a castle and

to avoid punishment. In the “No Laughing” game,

beat Takeshi Kitano, the host and resident of the castle.

contestants are subjected to series of funny scenarios

The tasks they must complete included running up a

which they must endure without laughing or smiling.



These include watching an

“Brain Wall” requires contestants to

other things) as in “Ninja Warrior.”

English instructional video with

assume awkward positions in order

Finally, “worst case” scenarios may

a stuttering inept instructor and

to fit through Tetris-like cutouts.

be presented in a humorous way,

cross-dressing as nurses to greet

“Slip and Slide Pinball” similarly

such as cooking a meal in a kitchen

their friend in the hospital, with

uses contestants as human pinballs,

filled with unmarked ingredients

the punishment of laughing being

sent hurtling through a giant pinball

(“The Apron of Love”).

beatings from enforcers. Other batsu games include acting like a trained seal, retrieving a bottle of Evian water directly from the source, and reciting tongue twisters to avoid being hit in the crotch by spring-laden planks. “Gaki no Tsukai” is responsible for many other ideas that have been recycled (and often toned down) in other programs.

The grandson of a contestant is strapped to a rocket and shot off a mountainside. game. Another theme is requiring

Japanese game shows also

While some may find Japanese

contestants to demonstrate feats

game shows unnecessarily violent

demonstrate a level of ingenuity

of athleticism, but not in the

(the grandson of a contestant is

that is found in few other forms of

traditional senses of weightlifting or

strapped to a rocket and shot off a

mainstream media by capitalizing

sprinting. Instead, they might jump

mountainside due to an incorrect

on absurd objects or scenarios. A

from conveyer belt to a suspended

answer), others point out that

popular theme is incorporating

bar above a pool (among many

the punishments make success

life-sized models of normally

even more valuable. For instance,

miniscule or virtual

watching a contestant make it up

objects into the game.

Takeshi’s slippy incline is enjoyable because of the countless others tumbling down behind him. While batsu games are both funny and based solely on punishment, their humor lies in the absurdity of being punished for failing inane tasks such as imitating a seal. All in all, there’s nothing wrong with laughing at others’ misfortune when they are laughing too and the consequences are insanely (literally) comical. After all you have to admit, hanging on to a giant spinning mushroom above a mud pit with waiting wrestlers is strangely funny.




Grandfather Grandfather, I never knew you.

The word seems to fit you like loose clothing, ready to slip off at any moment.

Yesterday, the shrieking ring of the phone pierced the silence of the night

and I awoke this morning to the red-eyed face of my mother

as she sighed that you had died in a voice full of sorrow.

Grandfather, I never knew you.

We were connected by my mother,

but even that was not enough of a link. The rough ocean separating us long rusted down the chain. Despite what they say,

blood is hardly thicker than water. Grandfather, I never knew you. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll never know your passions, your dreams, your aspirations.

Your thoughts and interests will forever remain

like a novel with the pages mysteriously torn out. Until there is hardly more than a cover,

and only glimpses of a plot can be seen.

Photo Courtesy of HaoJan Chang



REFLECTIONS FROM THE FUTURE Isaac Chan, Pratt ’05, was the

still remains unchanged in my

chance to show others that we are not

founder of Yellow Pages magazine

mind: the Asian community needs to

imitators, but rather creators.

and is currently an MD/PhD

collectively express itself, loudly and

candidate at UNC. Here is a brief

at higher frequency.

reflection from him:

Our community, especially at a


I have always felt that my time at Duke was well spent, not due to the great number of opportunities

prestigious university as Duke, has

available to help me develop

achieved a great deal of individual

my voice, but because once I

the more time you have for reflection. success, producing a number of

discovered who I was, I expressed it

Having graduated from Duke five

respectable professionals. But as one

in conversation, writing, and other

years ago, I have had plenty of time

enters the workforce or goes on to

creative forms. This was not always

to evolve my ideas. But one thought

further education, you begin to realize

easy, as the humble beginnings

and its associated sense of urgency

that currency is not necessarily

of Yellow Pages reflect, but it was

monetary; ideas are constantly being

always rewarding. And I encourage

defended and traded. One of the

others to do the same, to use your

reasons Yellow Pages was started was many talents to give voice to a to encourage this exchange of beliefs,

community that needs to be heard.

both political and creative expression. The reemergence of Yellow Pages is


Annie Dillard once said that the

a huge step towards this goal. I was

“impulse to keep to yourself what you

delighted to hear that the magazine

have learned is not only shameful, it

was being revived and I am certain

is destructive. Anything you do not

that it is being guided under

give freely and abundantly becomes

excellent leadership,

lost to you. You open your safe and

dedicated to the goal of fostering

find ashes.” We must learn that our

understanding and dialogue within

career ambitions are not dichotomous

and outside of our community.

with our artistic creativity.

Reflecting on my time with the

Individually, and as a community, we

magazine in the past from a

have opinions that need sharing and

perspective the future, such events

a rich culture that needs retelling.

can only bring to those previously

To express ourselves to the world

involved an excitement that our

is the ultimate freedom; we get the

dream is being continued.



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