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CELEBRATING 40 YEARS
FREE EST. 1974 —SEATTLE VOLUME 41, NUMBER 11 — JUNE 4, 2014 – JUNE 17, 2014
THE NEWSPAPER OF NORTHWEST ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN COMMUNITIES. FIND YOUR INSPIRASIAN.
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N A C I R E M A E S E N I D E R CH O N O H WWII DEAD AT HING HAY PARK
HISTORY IS MADE: SEATTLE GETS $15 MINIMUM WAGE | 5
TAKES THE FALL
2 — June 4, 2014 – June 17, 2014
APIC, APDC ready to meet with UW president about API diversity The following is a letter to University of Washington President Dr. Michael Young written by members of The Asian Pacific Islander Coalition of Washington State and the Asian Pacific Directors Coalition of King County. The organizations plan to meet the UW president in July to discuss the significance of diversity within the API community and the university’s decision to discontinue its Southeast Asian recruiter position. Dear Dr. Young:
The Asian Pacific Islander Coalition of Washington State and the Asian Pacific Directors Coalition of King County look forward to meeting with you in our community on a matter of deep concern. We are joined in this concern by University of Washington faculty such as Dr. Stephen Sumida and Dr. Connie So of American Ethnic Studies, and by state legislators such as Senator Bob Hasegawa, and Representative Sharon Tomiko Santos, who wish to attend the meeting as well. Rogelio Riojas has also been invited and has accepted our invitation.
The Asian American population is a community of contrasts which is extremely ethnically diverse. While some parts of the community have attained educational and economic success, other parts of the community have alarming educational and economic indicators. The Southeast Asian communities face significant disparities. For example, 37 percent of the Hmong community, 29 percent of the Cambodian community, 18 percent of the Laotian community, and 16 percent of the Vietnamese community live in poverty. High School dropout rates in these communities are shocking: 40 percent of Hmong, 38 percent of Laotian, and 35 percent of Cambodian students drop out of high school. Like the other groups which have student recruiters employed by the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity, these communities clearly experience poverty and all the barriers of the opportunity gap. Like the other groups which have much needed student recruiters, the Southeast Asian communities require the support of a
Established in 1974, the International Examiner is the only non-profit pan-Asian American media organization in the country. Named after the International District in Seattle, the “IE” strives to create awareness within and for our APA communities. 622 South Washington Street, Seattle, WA 98104. (206) 6243925. firstname.lastname@example.org.
culturally competent student recruiter that We have asked our Pierce County APIC comes from the relevant community. Chair, Lua Pritchard, a statewide leader in The Asian Pacific Islander Coalition our Asian Pacific American community, to (APIC) is a statewide coalition of com- contact your office to request the meeting munity and business leaders and members in our community at a mutually agreeable with chapters in King, Pierce, Snohomish, time as soon as possible. We understand Thurston, Yakima and Spokane Counties. that you are willing to meet with us end of APIC advocates on issues of concern to July; we are finalizing the date and time our communities, including equal access to with your secretary. Thank you for your education and closing the opportunity gap. consideration; we look forward to seeing APIC mobilizes our communities with civic you soon at this important community engagement, voter registration, voter educa- meeting. Sincerely, tion, and public policy advocacy. APIC annually organizes 1,500 to 2,000 community Diane Narasaki, King County Asian leaders and members in 25 languages spoPacific Islander Coalition Chair, Asian ken by Asians and Pacific Islanders to attend Counseling and Referral Service our Asian Pacific American Legislative Day Executive Director, UW alumna, 2013 Dr. events in Olympia. Community and business Samuel E. Kelly Award recipient leaders meet with the Governor and legislative leadership and community members meet with their legislators. These events and statewide summits have been endorsed by over 100 community organizations, businesses, churches, and labor organizations statewide. APIC works closely with the Washington State Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs and with legislators on educational equity issues.
Lua Pritchard, Pierce County Asian Pacific Islander Coalition Chair, Asia Pacific Cultural Center Executive Director
Van Dinh Kuno, Snohomish County Asian Pacific Islander Coalition Chair Vang Xiong, Spokane County Asian Pacific Islander Coalition Chair
Dori Peralta Baker, Yakima County Asian Pacific Islander Coalition Chair
Lin Crowley, South Puget Sound Asian Pacific Islander Coalition Chair
Mark Okazaki, Asian Pacific Directors Coalition Chair, Neighborhood House Executive Director
Khoua Xiong, Spokane Hmong Association President
The Asian Pacific Directors Coalition (APDC) is a countywide organization with over 40 members, including leaders of Asian Pacific American community based organizations addressing a variety of policy issues, including equitable access to publicly funded education. APDC’s membership includes a former Seattle School District Board President, distinguished and award winning UW alumni, UW activists who helped pave the way for the UW Office of Minority Affairs, and others with experience at all levels of public education. We and our community members, faculty, and legislators would like to meet with you at Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS), a hub in our community, which serves over 25,000 community members in 40 languages and dialects primarily spoken by Asian Pacific Americans. We would like to discuss restoration of the Southeast Asian Recruiter staff position in the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity.
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EDITOR IN CHIEF Travis Quezon
IE BOARD OF DIRECTORS Gary Iwamoto, Vice President Arlene Oki Andy Yip Jacqueline Wu Steve Kipp
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June 4, 2014 – June 17, 2014 — 3
Letter to the Editor
Got Green teen member Claira Le’s wages help support her family. • Courtesy Photo
Got Green: Young leaders oppose ‘Training Wage’ in open letter to Seattle Mayor, City Council The following is an open letter written by Got Green that was sent to Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and the Seattle City Council on May 28. While the council unanimously voted in favor of the historic minimum wage increase on June 2, employers will be allowed to pay a lower “training wage” to teenagers. Dear Seattle Mayor and City Council,
This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Rather than lifting up young workers, the “training wage” will continue to deny opportunity and fair wages to the residents of our city who most need them.
Claira Le, 19, a core member of our Young Leaders in the Green Movement team exemplifies the situation that many young workers find themselves in. In her early teens, Claira began working in order to support her family. Her wages have always supported family needs: food, clothing, school supplies. Like many teens from low income and immigrant families, Claira has to have a job.
We’ve been following the recent debate about including a “training wage” in the city’s new $15 minimum wage ordinance. Got Green wants to go on record opposing a “training wage” or any other effort to diminish and devalue young people’s The “training wage” would do nothing labor. to provide Claira Le and many Got Green Got Green is a grassroots community members with the opportunity to improve organization in Southeast Seattle led by their standard of living. The “training people of color and young adults. We work wage” will incentivize short-term towards environmental and economic employment; What is to stop businesses justice by raising up new leaders to call for from firing young workers before they access to healthy food, living wage local ever reach a living wage? jobs, and paid work experience programs. If our city is serious about promoting We support environmental solutions that opportunities for young people of color in will uplift our communities most often left the workplace, then we should be creating behind and create real sustainability. more living wage paid work experience In 2013 young leaders at Got Green programs that lead to career-path surveyed 146 of our peers (18-34 years old) employment. A sustainable city is made and the issues of access to living wage jobs, up of both a healthy natural environment paid work experience opportunities, and as well as healthy, thriving, economically pathways to sustainable careers were priority stable communities. A training wage will issues. Our report, Environmental Justice, create neither. Say “NO” to a training Jobs and Education: Seattle’s Young Adults wage. Speak Out details young workers struggles to make ends meet in our city.
Proponents of a “training wage” say that it will prevent young people, people of color, and new immigrants from losing their jobs and open opportunity for future employment. Business wants us to believe that a “training wage” is a new model of affirmative action for our communities.
Jill Mangaliman (32), Got Green Executive Director Young Leaders in the Green Movement Steering Committee Members: Claira Le (19) Yolanda Matthews (33) Duc Huynh (21) Khalil Panni (23) Mo Avery (31)
A letter to the editor asks why the city would need to do a tempory fix for a brand new sidewalk with asphalt, like on the corner of Jackson and Maynard. • Anonymous Photo
Streetcar construction creating unsafe sidewalks in the International District I was walking to lunch in the ID and noticed all of the new construction related to the Seattle Streetcar on Jackson. Though the road looks new and shiny, a good portion of the new sidewalks and the old sidewalks that were saved seem in terrible condition. Why would the city leave broken sidewalks next to brand new sidewalks? Why would they need to do a tempory fix for brand new sidewalk with asphalt like on the corner of Jackson and Maynard? A lot of the new work is next to wheelchair ramps and looks like tripping hazards to folks who’d assume that it is safe. A recent study published in May, titled Dangerous By Design 2014
from the National Complete Streets Coalition, concluded that an “epidemic” of pedestrian fatalities and injuries is sweeping the United States, hitting people of color, children, and older adults the hardest. I suggest the ID community press the city to address the dangerous conditions that have just been built before opening the Streetcar. The current state of the sidewalks are unsafe and substandard. Having lived and shopped in Seattle’s more diverse neighborhoods, I’m sick and tired of the lack of quality construction we see so often in poorer non-white neighborhoods. Anonymous
YOUR OPINION COUNTS Please share your concerns, your solutions, and your voices. Send a letter to the editor to email@example.com with the subject line “Letter to the Editor.”
4 — June 4, 2014 – June 17, 2014
Fil-Am teen prepares for job interview of her life: Miss Teen USA By Maureen Francisco IE Contributor
You bet. Back in March, Sampaco volunteered at the Go Red for Women luncheon for the American Heart Association. Marni In a matter of weeks, University of Wash- Hughes, an anchor for Q13 FOX News, was ington student Starla Sampaco will be head- the emcee for the event. ing to the Bahamas to compete for the job “I thought I should approach her [Hughes] of Miss Teen USA, a pageant owned by since I also want to go into broadcast jourNBCUniversal in partnership with Donald nalism,” Sampaco said. “I was calm and J Trump. composed until I started talking. I blurted Sampaco will be judged in three catego- words like ‘Hi ... pageant … journalism … ries that are evenly scored: interview, eve- U-dub … internship.’ I must say that I’ve ning gown, and swimwear. never lost my cool like that before. I felt like Sampaco said winning the title is about such a dork. It was definitely a face-palm moment, but she was really nice to me, and having confidence. she gave me her card in case I ever want to “Physical appearance does not determine intern at Q13.” a contestant’s success in pageantry, but havHowever, Sampaco has proven to be deing a sense of self does, especially in the termined. When Sampaco first competed for Teen division,” Sampaco said. “It’s about the job of Miss Washington Teen USA, she personality more than ‘beauty.’ Communication skills (both non-verbal and verbal) are didn’t make the semifinals her first year and became first runner-up her second year. In much more important.” her third try for the job, the rest is history. Effective communication skills have been “The job is a lot harder than I expected, an area of emphasis for Sampaco for the last three years. In addition to being interviewed but it is also so much more rewarding than by local newspapers, a Canadian talk show, I ever could have imagined,” Sampaco said. and a few online media shows, she’s also Since she became Miss Washington Teen been the one to ask the questions. In May, USA 2014 in October 2013 at Highline PerSampaco acted as the red carpet host for forming Arts Center, the title has allowed Spotlight on Seattle: the Who’s Who Net- Sampaco to be a special guest at a Utah working Event of the Year. Jazz NBA Game and at a Mariner’s game, With all this practice, has Sampaco been do photoshoots and participate in at least 30 in a position where she was lost for words? appearances.
girls who follow me on social media,” Sampaco said. “One of the best compliments I’ve ever received came from a mom who said that she wants her daughters to grow up to be like me when they grow up. I understand that there are certain expectations of me as Miss Washington Teen USA, whether I am wearing the sash or not. This job has given me the gift of publicity, and I want to use it in a positive way.” Sampaco said she’s ready to represent Washington at Miss Teen USA. More importantly, she said she’s ready for a promotion of being Miss Teen USA.
Sampaco • Photo by Justin Hebert Photography
“The Rick Rizz’s Toy Drive was my absolute favorite,” Sampaco said. “I participated in handing out gifts to the kids that stopped by. If it weren’t for the toy drive, a lot of them would not have received holiday gifts, so it was really special to see their adorable little smiles.” Sampaco is mindful that she’s in the public eye and with it comes great responsibilities. “Every now and then, I receive fan messages and autograph requests from young
“Pageants face a lot of criticism in American media, but all of my experiences up to this point have prepared me with the skills I need to be a positive brand ambassador for the Miss Universe Organization,” Sampaco said. “My personal platform is on diversity and beauty standards. If the judges give me the opportunity to share my story on a national level, I hope to empower young women with the message that being different is not the same as being defective.” Starla Sampaco will be competing for the job of Miss Teen USA on August 1 and 2 at the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort in Nassau, Bahamas. On October 19, Sampaco will be passing her title on to the new winner. For more information about Miss Washington Teen USA, visit MissWashingtonUSA.com.
UW Center for Korea Studies brings old manuscript to life By Joe Veyera IE Contributor
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“People didn’t really know where to put it, and we like books like that,” Stober said. “We looked at it, too, from a standpoint that For two decades, Vincent S.R. Brandt’s this is material that you can’t find. Memoirs manuscript was stuck in publishing pur- from that time period are not very common.” gatory. His memoir, which chronicles his Stober said the center time in a small South Korean fishing vilhas a relatively narrow lage in the mid-1960s, didn’t have a broad focus when it comes to enough appeal for commercial publishers, the books they look to but also wasn’t scholarly enough for acapublish. demic publishers. Clark Sorensen, proLast month, the University of Washingfessor in the Jackson ton’s Thomson Hall played host to a small School and director of celebration as the UW Center for Korea the Center for Korea Studies officially launched Brandt’s book, Studies, originally read An Affair with Korea, as the fourth volume the manuscript when in the center’s publication series, which is printed and distributed by the University of it was first produced 20 years ago. Now, as editor of the Center’s publication series, SoWashington Press. rensen said when he found out it still hadn’t The book, which chronicles Brandt’s stay been published, he wanted it for the series. in the city of Sokp’o, on the coast of the Yel“It’s just a very graceful rendition of other low Sea, and his subsequent trip back to the people, how they lived their life, what their village in the early 1990s, is the first memoir published in the series. Brandt, now 89, lives personalities were like, the kinds of things in rural Vermont and was unable to attend they did, a world with those kinds of things,” Sorensen said. the event. Sorensen said the book is likely the most Tracy Stober, managing editor for the readable one for a general audience that Journal of Korean Studies and the Center they’ve published. for Korea Studies publication series, said the book’s niche nature wasn’t a deterrent to For more information or to order the book, them. visit http://www.washington.edu/uwpress/ search/books/BRAAFF.html.
June 4, 2014 – June 17, 2014 — 5
History is made: Seattle gets $15 minimum wage By Vowel Chu IE Contributor
Sawant had brought up an amendment minimum wage increase would affect lowto remove the phase-in period for big level workers with limited English who may businesses during the Council’s meeting. lose their jobs and would have difficulty “This bill, what it basically does is to finding other work in such a competitive force big businesses to pay $15 an hour on market. They also said it would halt plans January 1, 2016,” Sawant said. “In out of for business expansion and raise prices.
On Monday, June 2 the Seattle City Council unanimously approved to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15.
Washington State’s minimum wage had already been the highest in the nation at $9.32 an hour. Last month, Mayor Ed Murray together with the Income Inequality Advisory Committee were able to come to an agreed proposal to raise the minimum wage to $15. The historic decision by the City Council, which made headlines across the world, came just six months since the 15 Now movement in Seattle began, Councilmember Kshama Sawant said before the council and a loud audience. It was also just six months ago that she, a socialist, had been elected into office. While the $15 minimum wage is seen by its supporters as an achievement, there were some changes to the initial proposal that have left some concerned.
the hundreds, if not, thousands of people that I’ve spoken to, the mass majority of who are not socialists, I’ve not met a single person who claimed that McDonald’s, Starbucks, or any other big businesses Seattle Mayor Ed Murray looks on among the audience needs any kind of phase-in. Everybody as the City Council passes the minimum wage increase. understands they make such an anonymous • Photo by City of Seattle profit, in the billions of dollars, that they lifting up young workers, the “training are able to end the poverty of their workers wage” will continue to deny opportunity today but they don’t want to.” and fair wages to the residents of our city Five councilmembers voted against the who most need them. amendment. “While it’s important that Seattle has The plan, however, allows small become the first city in the country to raise businesses to phase-in the new wage in the minimum wage significantly, we at Got four to seven years. Green are disappointed that the ‘training Ethnic minority organizations such wage’ was included, as it impacts young workers and workers with disabilities,” as Greater Seattle Chinese Chamber Mangaliman said. “This goes to show of Commerce, King County Hispanic that there are still groups that are being Chamber of Commerce, and others discriminated against in our workforce, joined together as the Ethnic Community Coalition (ECC) to oppose the $15 and that ain’t right.” Other changes were also made to the minimum wage increase in April 2014.
The controversial “training wage” was also included, which allows businesses to pay a lower training wage to teenagers. Proponents of the “training wage” argued that it would allow businesses to keep initial minimum wage proposal. young people, immigrants, and other Under the revised plan, big businesses employees whom would otherwise be let with more than 500 employees will have to go. phase-in the new minimum wage in three Got Green Executive Director Jill to four years. Big businesses that provide Mangaliman, however, said that is not the health insurance will have four years. case. Got Green has argued that rather than
At the City Council meeting, Sawant called for other socialist and independent candidates to come forward to shift the balance away from corporate politics.
Councilmember Bruce Harrell had an emotional response to assertions from people in the audience that councilmembers were only serving corporate interests. Harrell reminded the audience that his background, as the son of a Black father who lived under Jim Crow laws and a Japanese American mother who was interned by her own country during World War II, reflects his understanding of the impacts of a government that does not look after the most vulnerable.
However, he described a process in which businesses and workers must work together to find common ground, that one cannot exist without the other.
“No one’s on the side of big business,” Harrell said. “That’s crap. The voice of the While proponents of the 61 percent employee and the voice of the employer minimum wage increase said it will bring are intertwined.” large-scale economic benefits to many In the coming months, the rest of the workers, ECC said in a statement last month country and the world will be watching to that it would also have many “unintended see how the relationship between Seattle’s consequences” for small businesses in the businesses and its higher paid minimum minority communities. The group said a wage earners coexist.
Nisei Veterans Committee expands museum with assist from the Wing By Stan Shikuma IE Contributor The Nisei Veterans Committee and NVC Foundation held an open house on May 4 to unveil a new Museum and related Historical Exhibits covering the Japanese American Experience during WWII. This was the culmination of a twoyear collaboration with the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience.
The Gold Medal Room on the main level houses the Military Museum dedicated to the Nisei veterans who served in the 100th Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team and the Military Intelligence Service during WWII. It contains many photos, uniforms, and artifacts from these two units, as well as storyboards with stories of war as told in the vets’ own words.
The Go for Broke Room on the lower level will house photos and artifacts from In line with their motto of “Honoring the the Minidoka Concentration Camp where Past and Educating the Future,” the NVC Japanese Americans from Seattle were Foundation has created a living museum incarcerated during WWII. within the NVC Memorial Hall at 1212 Lefty’s Room on the lower level will South King Street in Seattle. Following the have panels depicting life in the local completion of the remodel, there will be Japanese American community from five components to the exhibits covering before WWII to the present. There the Japanese American Experience: is also a resource library of books, The Main Entryway has panel videos and DVDs, a photo board of past displays covering the history of Japanese NVC Commanders, and a collection of in America, the WWII removal and memorabilia donated or awarded to the incarceration of Japanese Americans and NVC and NVC Foundation over the years. the development of the NVC and NVC Outside at the back of the Parking Foundation. On the opposite wall is the Lot stands the Japanese American display of Uncommon American Heroes: Memorial Wall, a 12-foot high by 9064 photos of local Japanese Americans foot wide concrete structure covered with who were Killed in Action during WWII, granite bricks engraved with the names the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the of veterans from any era on one side and Grenada conflict.
A living museum honors Nisei veterans at the NVC Memorial Hall at 1212 S King St. • Courtesy Photo
the names of those incarcerated by the US including basketball, taiko, kendo, and Government during WWII on the other. social dancing. In addition to the displays and exhibits, there are ambitious plans to expand the educational programs. In the past these have included school tours, a monthly Speakers Series, film showings, and special events, such as the recent “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans” program. Recreational and social programs will continue as well,
With this major remodel, the NVC Memorial Hall continues its evolution from a clubhouse and community center to an expanded role as a historical museum recounting the Japanese American experience in Seattle. Tours of the facility can be arranged through the NVC Foundation (firstname.lastname@example.org) or The Wing (email@example.com).
6 — June 4, 2014 – June 17, 2014
Bazaar a great exchange in understanding Pakistan today By Atia Musazay IE Contributor In Pakistan, one way to become really good friends with people, jokes author Haroon K. Ullah, is to “eat three mangoes” with them. Ullah never realized that years worth of late night conversations with the Rezas, a middle-class family from Lahore, whilst “dripping all over” with the ridiculously messy fruit was part of the bargain when he embarked on his journey to Pakistan in 2004.
“I went with one idea to Pakistan and what I found was very different,” said Ullah, a Pakistani-American, who lived eight years in Pakistan to do research on U.S.-Pakistan relations and the military. The result, The Bargain from the Bazaar: A Family’s Day of Reckoning in Lahore is a refreshing perspective on the current political situation in Pakistan through the eyes of the Reza parents and their three sons: Salman, Daniyal, and Kamran. It offers valuable insight into a country constantly on the news. While the public is inundated with notions like drones, Malala, and suicides attacks, few people have a grasp as to what they actually refer to, and more importantly how they shape the lives of average people, which makes The Bargain from the Bazaar timely and necessary reading.
was going on in Pakistan, about the violence on the news and the U.S. flag burning often depicted. It’s a position many children of immigrants can relate to: concerned adults and curious peers asking questions about X country shown on the news that they’re parents are from, expecting them to be an expert on the political situation of the country. But like most ethnically diverse Americans raised in the U.S., Ullah didn’t have a good answer. The narrative begins during the conflictriddled 1940s when Awais, the Reza family patriarch, is caught in the India-Pakistan Partition. As the nation recovers from war followed by years of military dictatorships, Awais returns to his tiny stall in the 300year old Anarkali bazaar of Lahore. His business lags when violence in the city escalates. His wife, Shez, is a nurse who increasingly has to treat victims of suicide bombings. More critically, the fate of their three sons is affected by the volatile political climate. While the sons are raised in the same household and given the same set of values, Daniyal shows signs of allurement toward extremist groups who are seeking young recruits for suicide missions. The extremists’ goal is to weaken the credibility of the Pakistani government and its western allies—they also provide a sense of purpose for young people like Daniyal.
Weaved into Daniyal’s doom is the optimistic account of Kamran, a law student on a scholarship who ambitiously aspires to tackle the corruption rampant in the government and the unstable economic conditions spurred by inflation. Simultaneously, he is pursuing his love interest, a classmate from a higher social class whose parents oppose the match. He is forced to watch his dreams jeopardized due to senseless terrorist activity, which could possibly involve his own brother.
“But yet I wanted to be able to answer that. A part of me wanted to explain what it is we see on TV and to go beyond the headlines.” The author now serves as staff adviser to the U.S. State Department, focusing on public diplomacy and countering extremism. He was trained at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government where he served as a Belfow fellow.
“There’s too much at stake for us to ignore,” said Ullah. “I’m cautiously optimistic. The reason I remain Despite the at that way is because times seemingly I have met a contrived dialogue, countless number Ullah tells an enof families like thralling tale, with the Rezas who are well-developed charagainst all odds acters, suspense, and looking for a better climax. The insights future. That’s the Ullah offered are useful to message to get everyone, from Pakiacross to people stan policy analysts to those simply seeking a in America, because people feel a sort good, human story of resilience. of animosity toward Pakistan. I always In an age when the public discourse on remind them that things won’t always be Pakistan is depthless, Ullah’s second book this bad.” is at its core a story of young people seeking Back at the effervescent Anarkali answers, not unlike young people anywhere bazaar, a potpourri of sights, sounds, and else in the world. But, according to Ullah, colors, characterized by Ullah as the great youth in Pakistan—60 percent of the popu- microcosm of Pakistan, serves as the lation, or over 100 million people, under the central meeting point for everyone of all age of 30—are “at a crossroads.” social, religious and age backgrounds. As “They see the corruption; they see the lack the largest open air bazaar in South Asia, of opportunity. Young people want an answer, one can find “everything and anything” and some of these extremist groups give a here and shoppers haggle until they score very comprehensive answer,” Ullah said. “A the best bargain they can, as they’ve done lot of people have this misperception that it’s for centuries. the poor people being recruited into these “The bargains in the bazaar represent extremist groups and my research actually something that is unexpected,” said Ullah. says something quite different. It’s actually “The Rezas taught me about resilience and people from the middle-class, educated at triumph and justice, but it wasn’t what I exuniversity level with ideological and identity pected to find.” grievances.” With their second son gravitating toward violent extremism (middle child syndrome perhaps?) the parents would ask Ullah if they did the right thing in raising their kids and if they had failed as parents.
“These are big questions they struggled with, and it’s not too unlike families I grew up with in blue collar, small-town America,” Ullah said. “And that’s what struck me was the similarities.”
Growing up in rural eastern Washington as one of the few people of South Asian heritage, Ullah remembers getting asked about what
June 4, 2014 – June 17, 2014 — 7
Caffé Zingaro’s James and Willow Ly put family, people first By Chris Leggett IE Contributor Technically, James and Willow Ly each spend between 60 and 70 hours a week at Caffé Zingaro, the popular Lower Queen Anne coffee establishment they’ve run together for the past eight years. Those who work the typical 40-hour week might balk at such a prospect, but the Lys’ outlook is much more positive.
“The way I see it, I work half the time I’m here anyway,” says James, only half-jokingly. James is a first-generation Cambodian American born and raised in Seattle. “The best part about this shop is that I get up and work with my wife and I work with my friends. I get time to sit down and chat with people when I want to. And that, to me, is the real value of owning a business—being able to have that style of life where you don’t have to do that regular nine to five. I’m not here to make boatloads of money; my value is in something else in life.” The story of how James came to pursue this value is a remarkable one: James’ parents and his (at the time) 9-month-old sister escaped from Cambodia while it was under communist revolutionary Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime in the late 1970s. Placed in work camps and separated from their family, James’ parents hatched a daring getaway plan.
“Dad actually stole kerosene from a factory late at night, and he’d bring it back home to these small little towns that they had built for all the factory workers,” begins James. “Mom would sell the kerosene to the neighbors and save up little pieces of gold because they had heard from a friend of a friend of a friend that if you get yourself to a certain checkpoint, there will be guides [where] you’ll be able to buy your way through the border into Thailand.” If caught, the penalty for James’ parents would almost certainly have been death. After roughly six months, James’ parents had accrued enough funds to take their entire extended family across the border into Thailand. The family made its way through jungles and minefields for three days before arriving at a refugee camp where they stayed for six months. Eventually, a Mormon woman from Seattle sponsored James’ parents to stay with her in Seattle.
Husband and wife team Willow and James Ly keep a family atmosphere at Caffé Zingaro in Seattle’s Lower Queen Anne. • Photo by Chris Leggett
Caffé Zingaro’s staff consists of six worth it because everybody gets to go see “So I figured as far as being in Seattle, it’s such a live coffee culture, it would be baristas including the owners, a group their family and they come back happy, and a good opportunity to sort of jump into a James describes as “pretty close and tight that’s important.” knit.” business venture that way.” Of course, James’ now-retired mother “I tend to really take my time hiring continues to offer her services to assist Willow also comes from a family of immigrants. Willow’s grandmother from who comes on board because it really with Caffé Zingaro, but James won’t hear her mother’s side immigrated to America needs to be a perfect fit of personality to a word of it. “The way I see it, she worked from Germany after World War II, with come in here,” James says. “The way I see seven days a week, 12 hours a day for 20 her father’s side consisting of a mixture it, I could teach anyone to make coffee, years at that bakery, so I want her to stay of European nationalities. Like James, she but I can’t teach anyone how to have a retired,” he says. “If she wants to come here was born and raised in Seattle. Willow good personality or for me to be able to and hang out with me, by all means, come has considerable experience in the service get along with them for eight hours. If I do it. But I don’t want her to work anymore. industry, with a history of waitressing and can’t get along with you for eight hours, She’s done enough of it in her life. So it’s my time to take care of her instead, because a five-year stint at Seattle pizza institution, you don’t belong here,” he laughs. Zeeks. The couple met through a mutual It’s important to the Lys that Caffé she took care of all of us.” friend around eight years ago, at which Zingaro takes care of its tight-knit staff, James’ gratitude toward his parents time James and his sister had already taken which is also a crucial factor in making coupled with a sincere respect for their ownership of Caffé Zingaro. the café work. hardship and accomplishments largely According to James and Willow, their attitudes toward their lives and their business are a key part of what makes Caffé Zingaro what it is: an inviting, family atmosphere and a beloved fixture for the thriving arts community of Lower Queen Anne and the Seattle Center. Caffé Zingaro began under its previous owners as a fast-paced, high-volume operation until James and his sister bought the business after its first year and a half of operation.
Changing Caffé Zingaro’s atmosphere to one more relaxed and accommodating “The family that took on Mom and Dad was the right decision, according to James. really helped them immensely,” James “We’re just so fortunate to be supported says. “They gave them a place to live for a by such a strong art community out here,” little bit, helped Dad find a job as a baker, James says. “They really take a liking to because he didn’t speak the language.” this particular café, and it’s like a central This path would lead to James’ father meeting point for a lot of people too.” running his own bakery where James Despite their relaxed attitudes and their himself worked from around 12 years of willingness to chat with customers, James age. and Willow are still very much hands-on “After college, when I decided my at Caffé Zingaro. During the course of career wasn’t what I really wanted to do, this interview, Willow excuses herself a I decided to create something that had a number of times to help out at the espresso similar sort of vibe [to my father’s bakery], machine as customers enter for their latebut not having to wake up at 1 o’clock in afternoon caffeine fix. the morning to have to bake,” James says.
“For example, for the holidays, we won’t ever tell anyone they can’t go home to see their family,” Willow says. “We would rather work 100 hours that week or shut down a little earlier and not make money, because you can’t take three days to fly out to Indianapolis or something like that. That’s not worth it to us. During the December months, obviously the balance is a little bit off, but to us, it’s
drives his attitude towards his own business.
“If they can do all that with absolutely nothing, but I’m given this much more to achieve something in my life, why can’t I? There’s no reason why I can’t,” James says. Caffé Zingaro 127 Mercer St, Seattle, WA 98109 (206) 352-2861
8 — June 4, 2014 – June 17, 2014
Chinese American WWII dead honored at Hing Hay Park On Sunday, May 25, Seattle’s Cathay Post No. 186, families, and officials gathered at Hing Hay Park to honor Chinese American veterans who gave their lives in World War II.
World War II veterans stand at attention to honor those who gave their lives. • Photo by Tuyen Kim Than
A memorial at Hing Hay Park is dedicated to American soldiers of Chinese ancestry in the Seattle vicinity who died in the service of their country during World War II. • Photo by Tuyen Kim Than
The Seattle Chinese Community Girls Drill Team performs at the Hing Hay Park ceremony. • Photo by Tuyen Kim Than
Cal Fung of Cathay Post No. 186 salutes the WWII monument at Hing Hay Park. • Photo by Tuyen Kim Than
Turn playing on the bed into a brain-building moment! The first 5 years are when children’s brains grow the fastest, so connecting with them now will make a big difference tomorrow. Kino Chew honors his ancestor Lee Hong Chew, whose name is among those memorialized at Hing Hay Park. • Photo by Tuyen Kim Than
June 4, 2014 – June 17, 2014 — 9
Civil rights activist Yuri Kochiyama passes away at age 93 Combat Team. After World War II, the couple married and moved to Harlem On June 2, civil rights activist Yuri in New York City where they became Kochiyama passed away in Berkeley, active in the Civil Rights movement. California at the age of 93. Through her organizing work, she Born in 1921 as Mary Yuriko became friends with civil rights activist Nakahara, Yuri Kochiyama was a Malcom X, and was with him during Japanese American activist and civil his final moments. Kochiyama went on rights leader. Kochiyama spent her to organize in other social movements, early life in San Pedro, California including the push for Puerto Rican until World War II, when she and her independence, rallies against the family were relocated to a Japanese Vietnam War, and efforts to grant internment camp in Jerome, Arkansas. reparations to Japanese Americans It is here that she met her future through the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. husband, Bill Kochiyama, a Nisei Congresswoman Judy Chu (CAsoldier in the 442nd Regimental 27), chair of the Congressional Asian IE News Services
Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), said in a statement: “Yesterday, the world lost an American icon with the passing of Yuri Kochiyama. A tireless civil rights activist and fierce coalition builder, Yuri was at the heart of numerous movements, including efforts to provide redress for the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. With her deep commitment to creating a more just society, she mentored and empowered generations of Asian American and Pacific Islander leaders. While she is no longer with us, her life and legacy will continue to inspire Americans for generations to come.”
An iconic image of Yuri Kochiyama speaking at an anti-war demonstration in New York in the ’60s. • Photo courtesy of the Kochiyama family/UCLA Asian American Studies Center
International Examiner contributor Dean Wong photographed two women climbing the stairs past a row of statues at the Chua Duoc Su Temple in Southeast Seattle on May 10, as the temple celebrated Buddah’s birthday. Wong was taking part in A Day in the Life of Asian Pacific America, a digital exhibition by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and Flickr. Over 300 photographers from around the world participated in the one-day shoot. The exhibition will be displayed online at http://SmithsonianAPA.org by the end of June. • Photo by Dean Wong
10 — June 4, 2014 – June 17, 2014
e? s u o h e h t n i s T he be st seat own kid s. N ex t to your
President accepts VA Secretary Eric Shinseki’s resignation Tuyen Kim Than IE Contributor
On Friday, May 30, U.S. President Barack Obama accepted the resignation of U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki following allegations of VA employee misconduct and the resulting independent review. Obama said he accepted Shinseki’s resignation, after previously supporting him, because he believes Shinseki would be a distraction from making the needed fixes to the VA medical system.
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Last week, the VA Office of Inspector General released a report outlining systemic timeliness issues within the VA. Shinseki Concerns were first raised over excessive wait times at the Phoenix VA. very rarely encountered during 38 years in “Shinseki probably has more uniform. I will not defend it because it is information of what is going on in the indefensible. But I can take responsibility for system then anyone else,” said Terry it, and I do. Nicholas, a veteran and member of Cathay “Given the facts I now know, I apologize Post 186. “By him resigning we start as the senior leader of the Department of over. I think he is more methodical in his Veterans Affairs. I extend that apology to the investigating of this matter. I was so sorry people whom I care about most deeply—the to see the President cave to his critics.” Veterans of this great country—and to their Nicholas said problems lie with the size families and loved ones, whom I have been of the VA and their lack of preparation honored to serve for over five years now—the to care for veterans from Iraq and call of a lifetime. Afghanistan. “I also offer that apology to Members “My experience with the VA has been of Congress who have supported me, to mixed,” Nicholas said. “But I do think it Veterans Service Organizations, and to the is a very large bureaucracy that may be so American people. All of them deserve better large that it cannot provide adequate care. from their VA.” It was so obvious that they never thought that the veterans from the Iraq and Afghan The VA moves forward wars were going to need care. One could Shinseki said the VA will be taking the almost laugh at the VA, they never saw it following actions: coming.” • Remove the senior leaders at the Phoenix VA Medical Center. Shinseki addresses the ʻelephant in the roomʼ • Use all authority at their disposal to enforce accountability among senior leaders Shinseki spoke on Friday about the who are found to have instigated or tolerated report’s findings: dishonorable or irresponsible scheduling “After Wednesday’s release of an practices at VA healthcare facilities. interim Inspector General report, we • VHA senior executives will not receive now know that VA has a systemic, totally any type of performance award this year. unacceptable lack of integrity within some of our Veterans Health Administration • Patient wait times are to be deleted from facilities. That breach of trust involved VHA employees’ evaluation reports as a the tracking of patient wait times for measure of their success. appointments. • Each of the 1,700 Veterans in Phoenix “The initial findings of our ongoing waiting for appointments will be contacted to internal review of other large VA healthcare bring them the care they need—accelerated facilities also show that to be true. That access to care will be available for Veterans breach of integrity is irresponsible, it is nationwide who need it. indefensible, and unacceptable to me. The results of the nationwide audit of all “I said when this situation began that the VA healthcare facilities is expected to be problem was limited and isolated because announced in several days. I believed that. I no longer believe it. It is Shinseki is a retired U.S. Army General. He systemic. I was too trusting of some, and was nominated by Obama in December 2008 I accepted, as accurate, reports that I now to serve as Secretary of Veterans Affairs and know to have been misleading with regard was sworn in as the seventh Secretary of to patient wait times. Veterans Affairs in January 2009. Shinseki “I can’t explain the lack of integrity served as Chief of Staff, United States Army, amongst some of the leaders of our from 1999 to 2003, and retired from active healthcare facilities. This is something I duty in August 2003.
June 4, 2014 – June 17, 2014 — 11
Deco Japan: Elegant design or the vitality of a working class?
inimitable sophistication. And of course, they are wonderful additions to display in this period.
By Kazuko Nakane IE Contributor Deco Japan at Seattle Asian Art Museum is a traveling exhibition that originated from Japan Society in New York. The various pieces are made by Japanese artists and came from one single collection. There are about 200 relatively small works; bronze vases, animal figurines, lacquer wares, enameled porcelains and metals, paintings, prints, posters and more.
The show covers the Taisho era (19121926), when Japan gained affluence from World War I and saw the strengthening of industrialization. These choice ornaments were made for consumption, to be held in the hands and to use. They became part of the lovely décor seen in semi-westernized modern homes. The prints and posters are attractive as they were meant to charm, to seduce, and to provoke attention. The Songbook for “Song of the Era of Erotic Feelings” (Erokan jidai no uta), 1930, Saitō Kazō, Japanese, 1887–1955, inks on paper, 16 x 20 in. Japanese are deft performers in the arts, quick to catch the latest trends from the image of deer is significant in classical 9 & 105), a student of a master Nihonga outside, and shape them into their own literature and Shintoism, but the painter of the beauties who typified likeness. The Deco style was no exception. design of a vase with deer (cat. 34) is the era, Kiyokata Kaburagi, catches a International Art Deco began in Paris, simplified and done in a crisp modern woman in contemporary life, but the representing a style of sleek modern form, without losing any natural style itself belongs more to the Nihonga of that era. Nanzan Shimizu (cat. 24) industrial design, carrying the allure of configuration. And of course, some of the pieces in was a highly respected as a carrier of high culture and luxury along with the decadence of freedom found in urban the show are utterly modern like a cup the long tradition of metalwork with cities. The term Art Deco is derived from and saucer from a chocolate service his superb technique, known for its the name of the International Exposition in Paris, Lèxposition des Arts Dècoratifs et Industiels, which opened in 1925. It was intended to showcase the latest vogue of diverse applied arts and architecture and to demonstrate the supremacy of French designs. During 1920s and 1930s, Art Deco caught the fancy of an emerging middle class and, for the first time, even the attention of the blue-collar workers toiling in factories in many countries. Around the turn of the century, there was an amazingly exciting revolution in the arts in France, Germany, Italy, and Russia, which formulated the basis of this style of decorative art.
(cat. 184). In Russia, right after the revolution of 1917, a group of artists designed utilitarian objects with an abstract geometric design for the masses, which were exhibited in the Exposition of 1925 in Paris. However this modern Japanese cup has a much softer Japanese aesthetic.
The Japanese already had the masterful graphic tradition of Ukiyoe and an exquisite artisanship in many crafts inherited from the Edo period (1615-1868). The genre painting of beauty had also been well established since the Meiji era (18681912). Some of the decorative arts in this exhibition are based upon these traditions with a twist of modern interpretation. An
A beautiful fusion of East and West can be seen here. A woodblock print (cat. 165) entitled, “Curved line of the instant,” by Nihonga painter and woodblock designer Kiyoshi Kobayakawa was executed in 1932 (Showa 5). It catches a moment of excitement in contemporary life using a daring curved line suggested in a woman’s dancing pose. It was a time of popular entertainment introduced from the West; the Café, dance, fashion, film, jazz, popular novels, and theater. Many of the designs were duplicated numerous times into new designs for smaller mass produced items like match box labels.
Kirin Ornaments (Kirin okimono), ca. 1930, Sakaida Kakiemon XII, Japanese, 1878-1963, porcelain with transparent glaze, 13 x 12 1/2 x 7 3/4 in.
Deco is a style. For example, two paintings by Chikatoshi Enomoto (cat.
A bronze and wood screen (cat. 79) by Ken’ichi Nakayama was made during World War II in 1943, but it is such a natural fusion of multiple aesthetics, sencha (tea ceremony popular among the literate of Edo period), and a cultured taste referencing literature and Buddhism, all incorporated with a dollop of the modern. It seems to embody the desire for inner peace. This is the distinct quality of Deco Japan, an admixture of the modern West and traditional Japanese aesthetics.
One cannot forget that this also was a period of unrest amongst the masses. This was a period punctuated by labor strikes by brave young women in textile factories (who experienced similar working conditions as was the recent case in Bangladesh) during the Depression, which brought misery to millions of people. During this long recession in today’s economy, shall we take a break to enjoy living the dream of a life of luxury and beautiful things found in “Deco Japan”? Or could some of the images of women be the flip side of the coin, a reflection and the embodiment of the vitality and humanity of the working class itself? Listen closely to the voices behind these objects and decide for yourself. ‘Deco Japan: Shaping Art & Culture 1920-1945’ will be at the Seattle Asian Art Museum through October 19. The exhibition is drawn from The Levenson Collection and is organized and circulated by Art Services International, Alexandria, Virginia. Seattle Asian Art Museum is located at 1400 E. Prospect St. in Seattle’s Volunteer Park. For more information, call (206) 654-3100 or visit www.seattleartmuseum.org.
12 — June 4, 2014 – June 17, 2014
Big Little Man: A Conversation with journalist Alex Tizon By Peter Bacho IE Contributor Alex Tizon is a Pulitzer Prize winner who has contributed to Newsweek and 60 Minutes, worked in Seattle as bureau chief for The Los Angeles Times, and was a longtime writer for The Seattle Times. While reporting for The Seattle Times, Tizon won the Pulitzer for his story on corruption and inequities in a federallysponsored housing program for Native Americans.
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What Martin Luther King, Jr., said about blacks in America who descend from slaves is also true of Asians who immigrate here: “We came on different ships but we’re all in the same boat now.” To the extent that Asians in the West share a particular and common set of challenges, I can say that there is such a thing as an “Asian male experience.” None of us experiences it exactly the same way, of course.
you can find exceptions everywhere. People from poor and developing countries all over the world tend to be smaller and shorter than those from wealthier, developed countries. This is true of immigrants from Latin America, central and southern Africa, the Middle East, and parts of Europe. But the idea of shortness in the Western imagination seems much more associated with Asians. I was as interested in the perception of Bacho: I can see how this book might be smallness—its origins in history and pop relevant to Asian readers. Is that your culture—as much as the reality. target audience? Tizon: “Target audience” sounds like a Bacho: You say “the perception of smallbusiness term, and I’m the least business- ness” as if it were not true. Are you imminded person you’ll ever meet. I don’t plying that Asians are not on average think I had a target in mind. I mean, it smaller and shorter than whites and would be gratifying if Asians and Asian blacks?
Tizon has covered events from the 9/11 attacks to Hurricane Katrina, and has traveled to China, Indonesia, Singapore, and the Arctic Ocean. Peter Bacho caught up with Tizon on behalf of the The International Examiner to talk about his latest book, Big Little Man. Americans found something they could identify with. But I think that people of all Peter Bacho: Where did the title, Big backgrounds, of every color and nationality Little Man, come from, and to whom and persuasion, male and female, can does it refer? connect with the deepest undercurrents of Alex Tizon: The simplest answer is it the book, which have to do with universal refers to me. I’m the big little man in the human themes: exile and belonging, shame title. The book is essentially a memoir, and redemption, the need for purpose, the about my quest to assuage this racial search for love. shame that, in a sense, I inherited from my father, and which he inherited from his father. My family immigrated from the Philippines to the United States when I was four. It’s the story of my struggle as an Asian boy trying to figure out how to be an Asian man. In telling my story, I end up telling pieces of the stories of many other Asian males in the West. There’s a shared experience. We all at some point encountered—and continue to encounter—the deep-rooted Western notion, perpetuated by entertainment media, that Asians are at the bottom of the food chain, the weakest, the smallest, the least masculine of men. The book is about my climb up from the bottom, and what I end up recounting is both an interior and exterior journey. Many other Asian men are on the same climb. So, in a sense, Big Little Man also refers to the changing status of the Asian male in the West. Bacho: Changing status? What do you mean by that? Tizon: You could say we’re on the rise. Bacho: In what way?
Tizon: In every way: socially, professionally, demographically, geopolitically, even physically. Bacho: That’s a sweeping statement. Can you speak for all Asian men?
Tizon: It’s a ridiculously big statement. Also a moot point, which I’ll explain later. And, no, I can’t speak for all Asian men. It’s not what I’m trying to do. In exploring the grand themes of the book, the truest story I could tell was my own. And the most I could do in the book was talk about certain themes that ran through my life, themes that, I would discover, run through the lives of many males whose lineages trace back to China, Japan, the Philippines, Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, and so on.
Tizon: There’s truth to the perception, but it’s a partial truth. Most of the first waves of Asian immigrants to the United States came from South and Southeast Asia, and they were shorter on average than white Americans. Famine and war contributed to their shorter height. But people of north, central, and west Asia were taller than their southern neighbors, and in some cases comparable in physical size to Europeans.
Today, the average height—because of diet, healthcare, and so on—in the most developed Asian nations is shooting up. Researchers say, for example, that in one or two generations, the average height of Japanese could equal that of Americans. The same thing is happening in South Korea and Taiwan and in the modernized areas of China. The human body is elastic. Realities are changing, and perceptions will too. Bacho: There’s a chapter on penis size. Why did you feel it necessary to address this? And how did your wife feel about it?
Bacho: You devote two chapters to the experience of Asian women in the West. Tizon: My wife thought it was extraneous Why did you consider it important to and a little puerile. She didn’t think it was necessary, for example, to mention how address this topic? far I could ejaculate as a 14-year-old. Tizon: Because I have six sisters. Because She’s such a dignified person, a private I was essentially raised by two Filipino person. Sharing intimate details, like I do women, whom I consider my two “mothers.” in parts of this book, is not her style, and Because I have two daughters, and lots of it’s not usually mine either. The chapter, I nieces whom I adore. My own experience think, corroborated for her what she and as an Asian male in the West can’t be a lot of women believe—that the whole separated from the experience of the Asian penis-size thing is much more a male females around me. I see the good and concern than a female one. She’s right. bad of their lives up close. They face their In my defense, I was more interested in own struggles. And I talk very specifically about those struggles. We’re bonded by exploring what the penis represents in the our common backstories. But I also talk various mythologies about race. It would candidly about how our experiential paths be incomplete to talk about the Asian diverge, and how—at least in one area: love, male experience without addressing sex, and mating—the Asian male experience the idea of his mythically small penis, in the West differs radically from that of the just as it would be incomplete to talk Asian female. In a nutshell, there’s a widely about the black male experience without accepted notion that Asian women are addressing his mythically large one. These myths exert social force. Both desirable and Asian men are not. myths are hollow, of course. “Asian” Bacho: You include a chapter on physical covers too many people over too large size. Is this a factor? a swath of geography, as does “black” Tizon: Yes, I believe it is. Very short men or “African.” The riotous diversity in generally have a harder time in the courtship TIZON: Continued on page 13 . . . scene, and in the working world, although
June 4, 2014 – June 17, 2014 — 13
IE ARTS . . . TIZON: Continued from page 12
those swaths! When you make simplistic generalizations about such immense sections of humanity, you’re bound to be wrong half the time. Nevertheless, the myths endure.
Nationality, ethnicity, political affiliation or geographic origin? Distinct groups or groupable variations on a continuum? Does one apply in one situation, another in a different situation? It just seems like a lot of us change what we mean by race according to how we’re twisting the kaleidoscope on that particular day.
Bacho: What was the hardest part of writing this book? Bacho: It sounds like you’ve become Tizon: Shame is hard to confront. Even “post-racial.” if you know it’s baseless, it’s still hard to Tizon: Yes, that’s the direction I’m movcome face-to-face with. And then I felt ing. Not because it’s correct politically, but ashamed that I was having such a difficult because it’s where my personal investigatime—remembering the shame, exploring tion has led. it, really getting into the crevices of it, and Still, I understand that in certain circumthen writing about it so that it makes sense stances, race can be useful. Forensic anto other people. thropologists, for instance, contend that huDwelling in this pit for the purpose of man beings seem generally to be grouped writing a coherent chapter doesn’t put you according to distinct sets of physical feain a conquer-the-world frame of mind. I tures, which helps in identifying corpses. mostly wanted to withdraw and take naps. Police insist on using race in descriptions It was like that for a couple of years. But, of suspects in an effort simply to narrow ultimately, it turned out to be a kind of ther- the universe, and they can show a history apy. I exorcised the demon to some degree. of effectiveness. Epidemiologists say that I came away from the process feeling … some diseases target certain population unburdened. And not just groups more than others, from the writing process, and in more than a few but from the entire jourcases those populations ney of looking closely at corresponded with recogsome deep wounds, opennized racial groups—viing them up, and bringing tally important to those light to them. It brought needing or researching me to some unexpected cures. vantage points. The geneticist Francis Collins, who led the HuBacho: What new vanman Genome Project, tage points are you talkwas being interviewed ing about? on a radio show. He said Tizon: One of the main something simple that ones is that the whole really encapsulated the idea of “race” as it’s comenormous complexity. monly understood can be “There are two points you a real obstacle to healing. I had believed, can make about race and genetics,” he said. as a young man, that my deficit and my “One is that we’re really all very much exclusion had to do with race, and you can alike. Incredibly alike. But you could also always fashion an argument to support say even that small amount of difference your beliefs. The America that my family turns out to be revealing.” entered in the 1960s was preoccupied with race, and it affected how we came to un- Bacho: What’s the significance of his derstand what we were experiencing. The statement? whole country was looking through the Tizon: As individuals, and as a society, lens of race. Much of the country, much of we’re always being asked: do we want to the time, still does. focus on the likenesses or the differences? It’s very strange. I began the journey We might be tempted to take one side looking through this lens, and at the end I and condemn the other. This is what come to this paradoxical frame of mind. mostly happens now. The messy answer, On the one hand, I discovered that I had so it might turn out, is that we should focus much to be proud of in being a son of Asia. on our likenesses—except for those times A son of the Philippines. A golden-brown when understanding our differences can man. On the other hand, I also came to the be helpful in making our collective life conclusion that race is really just a single better. side of a complex prism. There are infinite Alex Tizon reads from his book Big ways to examine a life, and race as a concept is really a small surface on the prism, Little Man: In Search of My Asian Self (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) on and very cloudy at that. Wednesday, June 18 at Elliott Bay Bacho: Can you elaborate? Book Company, 1521 10th Ave., Seattle Tizon: Race is a troublesome word. I WA 98122 on Capitol Hill. For more know I have trouble keeping track of what information, call (206) 624-6600. I mean when I talk about race. A lot of us Peter Bacho is a writer and teacher. do. Does the word refer to biological cat- His book, Cebu won the American Book egories or cultural classifications? Politi- Award. His collection of stories entitled cal entities or medical classifications? So- Dark Blue Suit received the Washington ciological groups or regional populations? Governor’s Writers Award. He currently Are we talking about skin color, hair type, teaches at The Evergreen State College, nose and eye shape, or skeletal formations? Tacoma Campus.
‘Super Awesome Art and Giant Robot’ takes over Oakland Museum By Nancy Russell IE Contributor In 1964, when I was 10 years old in Berkeley, we were still “Orientals.” There wasn’t an Asian American pop culture scene yet. At home, we kids listened to The Flower Drum Song on vinyl and ran to the kitchen—always too late—when my dad said, “Hurry! there’s a Japanese on TV.” Sushi in supermarkets was 40 years away. Pad Thai, anime, and tofu meatballs: unheard of. Asian American studies wasn’t an academic field and China was still red. So, to visit the Oakland Museum’s “Super Awesome: Art and Giant Robot” exhibition of paintings, installations, and other works by 15 Asian and Asian American artists is to marvel at the rise and influence of the cool Asian geek/ punk/DIY artistic sensibility.
Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the landmark zine Giant Robot, the artworks range from Masakatsu Sashie’s riveting oils that warmly detail dystopic Japanese spheres made of rusting vending machines to Adrian Tomine’s spare but emotionally intense graphic novel drawings—his art has been featured on 10 New Yorker covers. There are the delicate line portraits on bedsheets of intimate friends by Shizu Saldamando. The cute, cartoon-like bears of Luke Chueh reveal on second glance blood seeping down like molasses. A sense of the forlorn haunts the sweet animal and robot characters in urban Japanese scenes by Kozyndan. The work of these contemporary artists was supported early by Giant Robot, the stapled-and-folded zine started by Eric Nakamura from his Los Angeles bedroom in 1994.
There had never been anything quite like it. By Nakamura’s own description, Giant Robot was a low-quality “punk rock photocopied” project that covered Asian American topics and explored identity “not through some kind of birthright but as an expression of taste,” observed Los Angeles Magazine writer R.J. Smith, who called Giant Robot “probably the best publication to come out of L.A.” in the decade that followed its inaugural issue.
One highlight of the Oakland Museum show, in addition to the Nakamuradesigned Toyota Scion xB, is the table filled with vintage black-and-white Giant Robot zines from the early days.
By 2002, Giant Robot was a glossy magazine and had a circulation of 38,000 per issue, distributed in the United States, Canada, Japan, Singapore, and Hong Kong, according to Smith. The enterprise grew to become a platform for Asian American art and culture. Giant Robot opened stores with art spaces in L.A., San Francisco, and New York and a restaurant in L.A.’s Sawtelle neighborhood. It became a touchstone for young people who looked to Giant Robot for information about superflat, Hong Kong films, ramen rankings and even Eric’s visit to Manzanar with a skateboard. The magazine stopped publishing in 2011, after producing 68 issues, and moved online. The retail store in Los Angeles has a gallery space that continues to curate up to 20 art exhibitions and events per year.
Many of Giant Robot’s featured artists went on to gain prominence later, such as David Choe, a native of L.A.‘s Koreatown, who famously spray-painted murals in the headquarters of Facebook in 2005 and took stock in lieu of a $60,000 payment. HIs first show in Los Angeles was at GR2. James Jean, who did a Giant Robot cover in 2008, does his own work as well as commissions for firms such as Prada, which turned Jean’s paintings into wall coverings for its Soho and Beverly Hills stores. Jean, a self-described ABC who arrived in the United States at age three from Taiwan, is inspired by woodblock prints, scroll paintings, calligraphy, and Chinese and Japanese erotic books. L.A.-based designer Kyle Ng said: “When you’re a kid, you’re trying to grow up and you think, ‘who is speaking for you?’ and there wasn’t really anyone. Giant Robot pulled it all together, like ‘this is our taste.’ Seeing Asians and subcultures like that was really inspiring.”
For more information, visit www. museumca.org/exhibit/superawesome-artand-giant-robot.
14 — June 4, 2014 – June 17, 2014
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June 4, 2014 – June 17, 2014 — 15
Folding Paper origami exhibit a rare, fantastic experience By Ray Takeuchi IE Contributor
achieves this by paying close attention to details in his Velociraptor Skeleton.
The legend goes that in second century AD, Chinese eunuch Cai Lun developed the process of making paper out of pulp. The process remains essentially the same today.
While mostly used for printing and writing, the malleability of paper resulted in its use for packaging, folding and shaping. People soon discovered that folding paper could result in decorative, utilitarian and eventually representative shapes. Originally the intensive time consuming manual manufacturing process limited the access of paper to the wealthy and religious elite and was treated with religious reverence. It wasn’t until the 19th century Industrial Tomoko Mihara (Japanese American), detail of ‘Peace Sphere,’ 1996, 18 cranes folded from a single sheet of paper, Revolution would affordable paper be Linda with cuts, no glue. available to the masses. While diagrams of Yoshizawa developed the process of There is the use of curved creases as seen early folding existed centuries before this it had little meaning to the general population. wet folding where the paper is dampened in David Huffman’s “Hexagonal Tower” Using these roots, paper folding was soon to soften the paper sizing (glue) allowing and Jeannine Mosely’s “Triacontahedral taught as a simple craft for children to enjoy. the paper to be sculpted. This brings life Orb.” Eric Gjerde authored a book on what This exhibit “Folding Paper: The Infinite to Eric Joisel’s “Mask” and the minimalist is referred to in the origami world as Possibilities of Paper,” curated by Meher curvature of Giang Dinh’s “Prayer.” McArthur with the assistance of Dr Robert J. Lang, follows the evolution of what some people today still think as merely a children’s craft into what it has developed as an art form, a complex mathematical exercise and as a utilitarian construct. Presented here are over 140 works created by 45 master folders.
tessellations where a sheet of paper using a series of three-dimensional collapsing folding moves creates a series of repeating patterns on the paper. His “Vertebral Stretch” is on view as well as Joel Cooper’s On the wall hang three crease patterns multi-dimensioned “Cyrus.” Vincent Floderer learned to appreciate of Robert Lang’s models. Yoshizawa, with later additions by Samuel Randlett and the crumpling patterns of paper and how Robert Harbin developed the universal they could be artistically used as in his symbolic language of origami design work “Boom.” Michael Lafosse creates instructions. And like sheet music, people hyper-realistic effects by making his own learn that simply following the instructions custom abaca fiber and powdered mica don’t necessarily get you to the complex paper for his “Frog” and Hieu Tran Trung subtleties of the completed compositions. While Yoshizawa created models with realistic details unseen before in paper folding, he also created works of minimalist art such as seen in Koshiro Hatori’s “Double Pleats” and Roy Iwaki’s “Tiger.”
A photograph of Akira Yoshizawa (19112005) hangs in this collection. He is the progenitor of looking beyond the traditional models taught for centuries and seeing paper folding as a base for creativity. Practically all the modern models presented here have their roots in his vision. He pioneered the use of a combination of hard creases and gentle Using Yoshizawa’s vision of paper creases to create dimensionality. You can folding as a creative stepping stone, there see this in the “Red Tailed Hawk” of Robert are new roads presented by modern folders. Lang and “Grasshopper” by Brian Chan.
Linda Tomoko Mihara (Japanese American), detail of ‘Peace Sphere,’ 1996, 18 cranes folded from a single sheet of paper, with cuts, no glue.
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Modular or unit origami where several pieces of paper are woven together are on display with Miyuki Kawamura’s “Turbulence” and the innovative use of coiled paper in Krystyna and Wojtec Burcyk’s “Mosaic Twirl.”
Miri Golan’s use of connected figurines between the Torah and the Quran in her piece “Two Books” and Sipho Mabona’s use of uncut U.S. one dollar bill sheets in his installation “Plague” provide social commentary. The range of origami technique, artistry, and utilitarianism is huge and unrealized by the general public. This is a rare event that should not be missed. This traveling collection’s exhibit book, Folding Paper: The Infinite Possibilities of Folding Paper by Meher McArthur and Dr. Robert J. Lang is produced by Tuttle Publishing and is commercially available. The exhibit will be at the Bellevue Arts Museum until September 21.
A series of related events throughout the run of the exhibition are planned including a talk by Vanessa Gould on Friday, June 6 at 6:30 p.m. Gould will give a talk entitled “Between The Folds.” A Festival Folding event with PAPER takes place on Saturdays from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on June 7, July 12, August 2, and September 13. On Saturday, June 14 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., enjoy tea and sweets with the EastWest Chanoyu Center. For more information, call (425) 519-0770 or visit www.bellevuearts. org. Bellevue Arts Museum is located at 510 Bellevue Way NE.
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16 — June 4, 2014 – June 17, 2014
have a moment Price and participation may vary. Limited time offer. ©2014 McDonald’s
5/27/14 3:47 PM
CD: Gary Kelly
Studio Mgr.: Rosa Baer