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This publication may have been funded in part or in whole by funds allocated by the ASUCSD. However, the views expressed in this publication are solely those of Isa Magazine, its principal members and the authors of the content of this publication. While the publisher of this publication is a registered student organization at UC San Diego, the content, opinions, statements, and views expressed in this or any other publication published and/or distributed by Isa Magazine are not endorsed by and do not represent the views, opinions, policies or positions of the ASUCSD, GSAUCSD, UC San Diego, the University of California and the Regents or their officers, employees, or agents. The principal members of each Student media bear and assume the full responsibility and liability for the content of their publication.


E N I Z A G A

M A IS G N I T S I L STAFF

A ALOZ C A C I JESS NG IEF H SA TO C S I N I R AO OR CLA EDIT OR ANGL T T C D E E AN E DIR ALFR E CH V I S T R O A O R IT CRE SSA O ED MELI PHOT R O O Y NG EDIT M G M N O I T AG RUZ NCE T MAN INA C T FINA S E KIE I I R N K N A Y KIM, ETAR ELLA T SECR S RS A NATO I DY M D ON U R J O O N MO C E LEE ITY A T I N C I I V N I R L E V T, EV THA HAN PUB NFOR SH C S CA NG & O I O E J T L M , E A H K A &S HER MAR FARR TING UMAC E S H K R C R E S MA IN WRIT AUST NG TICS NG I S L R O P R JHA Y WO ITE E N R F I A W F N TS EN TIF HO, J SPOR ITER A R S W S I EL YLE & ST RS M NIO O N T O A I ANTO TR T S E FASH U J L IL ER KIM MAST B E LICE , A W R E A LEE H N P E A R SE OGR ZON, PHOT AO N O M ANGL D. . T M D , E NE S: LFR CRAY UTOR HO, A M B A I A S R D A ELIS CONT ERS MA, M Y WRIT D JU UE NRIQ A M JAN N NER G I NE TA S H P DE A D HERS P A R OG PHOT

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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Dear Isa Readers, Being a student at UCSD, it’s natural to assume that this school is just full of Asians majoring in science. Whether or not that’s true, out of the 29,110 students enrolled on campus, they make up over 40% of the majority. However, aside from seeing so many Asian faces wandering Library Walk, when have you ever read about them? Other than regurgitated stereotypes, the Asian American community has been a social outcast when it comes to media representation at school. But why? This is what we at Isa are trying to figure out. By uncovering and studying the Asian culture, we seek to explore it, not to define it. I hope each article and page is something new for you to uncover about the different avenues of Asian culture. More than that, I want readers to enjoy the content – just because these stories and pictures are related to Asian interests doesn’t mean they are exclusive to only Asians. The rich culture that this community has to offer goes beyond what you may identify with as an individual, so explore it, enjoy it, and grow from it. This experience is something we want you to be involved in so come with an open mind, a friendly smile, and let us take you to wherever this may lead. Share this space with us – if you let it, Isa has the potential to not only raise awareness, but to promote the empowerment of the silenced voices as well. Let yourself be heard and embark on this journey with us!


In Solidarity,

Jessica Manal Caloza

Jessica Caloza Editor-in-Chief


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It all started while waiting in line at a Death Cab concert. What was once a fleeting thought and a source of idle conversation is now an up and coming magazine launching this quarter. Third year Revelle student Jessica Caloza and fourth year Muir student Melissa Chan recognized that while Asian Americans are a large part of the UCSD demographic, they had little or no form of media representation. And so, Isa Magazine was conceived. The term isa means the number one in Filipino, the official language of the Philippines. We chose this word as the title of the magazine because it embodies many aspects of the publication we want to represent. The name isa acknowledges that it is the first Asian American magazine at UCSD that is all-encompassing to represent the large Asian demographic. We saw Isa as a catalyst for change by being a vessel students could utilize to be creative, innovative and expressive. We envisioned a new coalition of people coming together, whether as a contributor or reader, to find unity so all our voices can be heard collectively, in a unique and thought-provoking way. And finally, isa symbolizes our desire to bring different nationalities together as one. We are one in the common struggle against prejudice, adversity, misrepresentation, and under-representation not just on campus, but in the community as a whole. Thus, we coined Isa Magazine as the first Asian American publication on campus.

funding, and a small staff? The beginning struggles seemed disheartening, but regardless, the dedicated few on Staff were hopeful and driven to establishing a successful magazine. We wanted to prove that we could do this, and not just for ourselves, but for our predecessors and for the community. Isa is different. Although the magazine is geared toward the Asian American community, we are all-inclusive, welcoming anyone and everyone as readers and staff members, we want to share this space as a new creative outlet on campus. Even though we‘re still in our first year of publication, we‘ve already witnessed the types of impacts that such magazines have. For example, we‘ve become part of Very International People (VIP), a college network through which publication teams will be able to reach out to a larger audience and share content with different schools around the globe. We have also come to know of other Asian American magazines in universities all across California. Through these discoveries, we at Isa began to feel that starting this magazine, something that was once a disheartening struggle, was becoming more of a possibility. With a larger network of support that extends off-campus to the national and even international level, we are now emboldened and excited to share this publication with you. With that said, we bring to you the first issue of Isa Magazine. Enjoy!

However, after talking to alumni, we discovered that Isa wasn‘t actually the first Asian American magazine on campus; in fact, there have been several over the past years that have come and gone; each one eventually folding in the end. At first, this seemed discouraging -- how would we attempt to build a publication with minimal support, no

Origins

One Love, Jessica Caloza & Melissa Chan Isa Magazine Founders


To our readers -- Thank you for all your support! We‘re so excited to be sharing this with you! Love, Isa Staff

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my mom is a fob. It all started with “Is Funk Means Sexy?” UCSD senior Teresa Wu compiled her mother’s e-mails for a Creative Writing Literature class essay and wrote a witty comment under each e-mail. Her assignment was well-received by the class and in turn she told her friend, U.C. Berkeley graduate Serena Wu, a web designer, about starting a funny blog. On October 18, 2008, MyMomisaFob. com was born on Tumblr, a blogging website, and just five days later, they received over 65,000 daily page views and currently have over 4,000 Facebook fans. Though at first they received some negative comments because MyMomisaFob.com was taken by some viewers as culturally insensitive, they have received plenty of positive press as well. On October 14, Teresa and Serena were on the front page of SFGate.com They have also been featured by Hyphen Magazine, Angry Asian Man, Disgrasian, Go Productons, Neatorama, Taiwanese American.org, CNNGo, and comedian Margaret Cho’s blog. According to their website FAQ section, the “Fob” connotation is purposely tongue-in-cheek. “We’re not trying to make fun of our moms — we think they’re freakin’ adorable, and we want to showcase those precious moments to a community of 2nd-generation Asian American kids who know exactly what it’s like to be on the receiving end of that amazing, unconditional, and sometimes misspelled love.“ “I feel like people who read My Mom is a Fob are Asian-American,” Teresa said. “They enjoy it because they understand it.”

Author: Serena Lee Photo Source: Facebook.com

Out of all the submissions sent to her inbox, one of her favorite posts is about a daughter who gets in trouble with her mom. The mom yells at the daughter— who is watching a YouTube video— thinking that the daughter is talking to strangers. However, she likes My Dad is a Fob submissions more because the posts really show how much fathers care about their child. MyMomisaFob. com changed Teresa and Serena into “internet celebrities.” From the website, Teresa has been able to network and connect with other Asian-Americans on the internet ranging from Angry Asian Man, Disgrasian, and Wong Fu Productions. Before turning 21, she already had a book deal with a slated late 2010 release date. Teresa and Serena were also invited to speak at the panel for ROFLcon2010— a weekend of internet “celebrities” that include people who founded other blogs like Texts from Last Night and Stuff White People Like. Though she doesn’t admit that she’s an internet celebrity, Teresa is definitely one. With hundreds of people reading her personal blog and more than 1,000 Twitter followers, she’s a founder of one of the most well-known Asian-American blogs. And according to the FAQ section on MyMomisaFob.com, “Does Funk Mean Sexy?” Their answer? “Only time will tell.”


Author: Vivian Moon & Farrah Monfort Photo Source: Yelp.com

World Famous Restaurant located on the coast of Pacific Beach is known to have one of the best happy hours in the area. In addition to Taco Tuesday with its famous $1 Shrimp Tacos, other specials include 50% off appetizers on Mondays, $2 Lobster Tacos on Wednesdays, and $1.50 Pollo Asado Tacos on Thursdays. Thursdays also have $2.50 Margaritas and are unfortunately the only days with drink specials. Happy hour starts at 4 PM and lasts until closing at 11 PM. To get the happy hour deal, you must sit at the bar area and although it is the “bar,” you can sit at the tables around it if you are under 21. Since World Famous is a local favorite, there might be a line, but trust us, it‘s worth the wait!

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As a huge foodie and a pescatarian, it can be hard to find a restaurant with a good selection of happy hour specials since most appetizers contain bites with chicken, beef or pork. For the most part, I end up having to settle for a meat dish with cheese substituted for meat (or no meat at all), leaving my taste buds dissatisfied. Luckily, at World Famous, they have a very promising selection of happy hour vegetarian and semi-vegetarian appetizers including the delicious Rustic Grilled Artichoke with garlic aioli, but this time, I ordered the Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip in a sourdough bread bowl and the Crispy Rolled Fish Taquitos with sour cream and guacamole. Between the two orders, it was very filling and I had to take the spinach dip home, but I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s not as tasty reheated, so eat up! The only down part about the happy hour on Monday was that none of the beer was half off. However, on other nights only select beer is $2. I still ordered a beer, though. I suggest coming here solely for the food because Garnet Ave. is just a couple blocks away (more selection at better prices). The scene is mixed; a romantic place, but also fairly casual. There are couples, tourists and the local Pacific Beach crowd. Overall, World Famous is a comfortable setting anyone would enjoy.

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When we got there around 5 PM, the tables and bar were already filled and a short line was building up. We were lucky to get there when we did, as the line grew quickly behind us. Its dim and comfortable interior was stuffy at first, but the sunset views, great food, punctual service, and convenient pricing makes this restaurant ideal for a casual, affordable dinner or drinks with friends. Because we went on Monday, we got half off appetizers. I ordered a Fish Taco and a Lobster Taco. I questioned whether they would be enough, but the tacos were a good size with generous portions. This was also my first time trying lobster tacos and was pleasantly surprised with the tender fried balls of goodness; you can also ask for them grilled. My coffee was also promptly refilled each time it bordered empty, which says a lot about their dedication to service during one of their busiest nights. World Famous met my expectations at the door from the beachfront location to their happy hour specials to their timely service. I will definitely be back soon, next time for those $2.50 margaritas. Between the two of us, our bill came out to be $18.34 (without tip) and we felt like we ate a whole dinner! So World Famous is well worth it. Don‘t forget to tip your server!

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FAMOUS ASIAN AMERICAN Jason Wu

Thakoon Panichgul

Derek Lam Possibly the most famous dress in recent history, Jason Wu’s ivory chiffon gown worn by First Lady Michelle Obama at the Presidential Inauguration generated so much buzz among fashionistas worldwide. Oh, and not to mention the exposure made Jason Wu, who is Taiwanese, an overnight sensation and the new hottest American fashion designer. It’s no surprise our First Lady chose to wear a Jason Wu original, especially since Wu’s line is described as ladylike and sophisticated with embellished coats and glorious gowns; ideal for the classy fashionista and socialite. For his Spring 2010 Ready-to-Wear collection, Wu challenged his usual design palette by reinventing classic American sportswear and updating it a modern twist with luxe prints and fabrics that would make the modern-day woman feel like today’s Jacqueline Kennedy. So it’s no surprise that Wu’s other celebrity clients include other stylish ladies like Lucy Liu and Barbara Walters.

Fashionistas absolutely adore Derek Lam’s jersey dresses, which are a top seller from his Chinese-American highend line. Lam is well respected as a designer: creating high-end looks not for the everyday woman, but for the everyday fun-loving yet mature socialite. After graduating from Parsons School of Design, Lam has gained valuable experience working with large retail companies in Hong Kong and for top American fashion designer Michael Kors before starting his own label in 2003. His line is described as elegant, refined, and understated with basic wearable and feminine clothes and appeals to an older, more sophisticated audience, with celebrity clients like Liv Tyler and Gwyneth Paltrow. For his Spring 2010 collection, Lam decided to incorporate a more vivid color palette into his line with a fun, nautical theme and forties-inspired one-pieces, making his collection girly and wearable.

With a more whimsical aesthetic, ThaiAmerican designer Thakoon Panichgul never fails to incorporate a fun, colorful twist to his girly Thakoon line. Critics compare his collection to those of Diane Von Furstenberg and Derek Lam because of their similar flowy and feminine designs. But Panichgul sets himself apart from his fellow Asian counterparts by using fun and colorful fabrics in his collections. His Spring 2010 Ready-to-Wear collection boasts bright bold blues mixed with tropical prints and a color palette that was influenced from his native Thailand home. As a result, he created a rousing collection of crowd pleasing dresses that perfectly exemplify one of this Spring’s hottest trends – prints, prints, and more prints! Celebrity clients include Sarah Jessica Parker, Demi Moore, Natalie Portman, and Michelle Obama.


DESIGNERS Author: Tiffany Wong | Photo Source: firstview.com

With so many Asian Americans trying to break into mainstream fashion and into our closets, what sets these red-hot contemporary fashion designers apart from the rest? We break down some of our favorite Asian American designers’ Spring 2010 collections to see inspires their designs and what puts them at the top of the fashion industry.

Philip Lim

Doo-Ri Chung

Peter Som Peter Som creates his clothes with younger fashionistas in mind. His collections are described as fun and flirty with feminine designs like whimsical dresses. Just take a look at his exclusive list of young Hollywood stars that are fans of his line; his celebrity clientele consists of Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ginnifer Goodwin, Camilla Belle, and Scarlett Johansson. He draws his inspiration and design aesthetic from his hometown, San Francisco where his parents worked as architects. As a fashion designer, their work inspired him to make clothes that are clean and sophisticated season after season. He continues to design clothes for tasteful women with the same easy-going spirit of effortless elegance and luxury that is simple and excity like the city he grew up in. It is no surprise that his Spring 2010 collection is fun and playful, perfect for fun day out with the girlfriends.

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Chinese-American designer Phillip Lim started his widely popular line 3.1 Phillip Lim collection in 2006 and describes his line as an eccentric twist on classic looks. Fashionistas can find Lim’s quirky line hanging on the rack next to Marc by Marc Jacobs and See by Chloe. Unlike his fellow high-end Asian American designers, Lim’s contemporary line is the more affordable of the group. Even though Lim grew up in Southern California, his design aesthetic was anything but the typical So-Cal surfer and laidback look. Lim has a sophisticated design palette made for sweet young things in their twenties. His Spring 2010 Readyto-Wear collection featured a red runway while the models strutted down in clothes that Lim designed with the modern American consumer in mind – affordable, wearable, low-maintenance, and of course, fashionable.

Doo-Ri Chung is the only female on this list and should be proud of her accomplishments. Similar to Derek Lam, she loves working with jersey and has built her Doo.Ri brand around sexy dresses, but with a slight conservative touch. Also a graduate from Parsons School of Design, her collections mainly consist of alurring and understated cocktail dresses with intricate draping, perfect for those red carpet moments – and all made with her favorite fabric, jersey. Her Spring 2010 Ready-to-Wear collection, which was inspired by metals, showed an edgier side of the female designer and showed lots of grays, chains, and tulle to give it a slight twist from her previous collections. In addition to her successful clothing line, Chung also launched a shoe line in 2008.


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Author: Adam Crayne | Photo Source: tillytech.se

Wanna Be On Top? - Racial Triangulation & ANTM The latest season of the reality television show “America’s Next Top Model” witnessed Korean American Jennifer An reach the Top 4. Though such a rank has been achieved by an Asian American on the show before (April Wilkner got to the same position before her elimination in the show’s second cycle), it is nevertheless noteworthy that an Asian American like An made it so far. The sole competitor on the show who identifies as Asian American, it is intriguing how, throughout her run on the contest, Jennifer’s ethnicity never became an element of concern for Tyra Banks – the show’s enigmatic host – or for any of her judging cohort. Considering how Banks typically operates around ideas of ethnicity and race on her show allows us to understand just how unusual An’s run on the show is. “America’s Next Top Model” has over the years become a social experiment more so than a modeling competition. This is evidenced by the remarkably low amount of veterans who progress into lucrative modeling careers. Indeed the show maintains its fan following for the drama that inevitably ensues when Tyra places twelve to fourteen strangers in a house to compete for the same title. However, as

the show has developed, the interactions between the show’s judging cohort and the girls – as well as the interactions between the girls themselves – have taken on a socio-political tone. Race and ethnicity have always played an integral role in Tyra’s selection of the girls, though her knowledge of how both phenomena are socially constructed is severely lacking (as is evidenced by how she repeatedly asks the girls for their nationality rather than their racial or ethnic heritage). She has alluded to how black skin should be “smooth like butter,” (Cycle 1) how girls cannot sell makeup with a Southern accent (Cycle 6), and how much more difficult it is to break into the industry as a minority. It is ironic then that she simultaneously pushes the contestants to find pride in their racial and ethnic makeup through acts like stigmatizing colored contact lenses (Cycle 7) or requesting that one’s heritage be made evident through personality and swagger (Cycle 8). Despite the diversity of the girls who partake in the competition, Tyra’s insistence on heading a melting pot competition nevertheless ends up backfiring, as the girls become stuck in a Black-White binary. Black contestants more often receive “the

bitch edit” than White contestants. The personalities offered by the judges to the girls are also part of this binary, in the sense that the judges will poke fun at a girl’s rebellious attitude if she constitutes perceived Blackness, or poke fun at a girl’s docile ignorance if she constitutes perceived Whiteness. At the same time, contestants who identify as Asian American have frequented the show at a rate such that it would be ignorant to neglect their existence. Girls since Cycle 2 have identified as Asian American, though the degree to which these girls take pride in their respective heritages has definitely differed. For instance, while Cycle 2’s April Wilkner and Cycle 6’s Gina Choe struggle with coming to terms with their half-Japanese and Korean identities, respectively, Cycle 3’s Julie Titus and Cycle 7’s Anchal Joseph make conscious efforts to embrace their Indian heritage. In either case, for these Asian American contestants, perception and perspective take on a unique level that despite Tyra and the judges’ ignorance perpetuates existent social theories. Specifically, we can find that racial triangulation is alarmingly evident in cycles of “America’s Next Top Model.”


13 Claire Jean Kim coined the term “racial triangulation” in a 1999 article regarding the political and social status of Asian Americans in a race-conscious America. To summarize very briefly her findings, Asian Americans have been placed in a position completely independent of the BlackWhite binary. In this sense, they disrupt the linear mode in which Blackness and Whiteness are constructed, instead connecting each group through a triangle of racial discourse. They are regarded by dominant White society as driven by work ethic and possess morale indicative of progress beyond the barbaric nature of Blackness. At the same time, their inexorable exotic nature prevents them from fully assimilating into the dominant lifestyle. Thus the Asian American is neither a threat to societal stability nor a threat to White supremacy. Though this alternate positioning may seem progressive, it is in fact a very furtive way for dominant structures to maintain their hold over both Black and Asian American communities. Though we cannot take Kim’s political analysis too literally in the context of a television program like “America’s Next Top Model,” her analysis nevertheless contains inferences of society which the show readily features. Rarely if ever is the Asian American contestant portrayed as aggressive or arrogant; she is often portrayed as a beacon of self-love, or in the process of becoming such. Simultaneously the Asian American contestant becomes defined by her “oriental aura;” her distinct difference as neither White nor Black translates into

an exotic look which Tyra and the judges readily brand. Several examples follow: April Wilkner of Cycle 2 is told to embrace her Japanese heritage, but summarily chastised for her overt sexuality shortly after. Sara Racey-Tabrizi of Cycle 2 is portrayed as an optimistic Persian American with great pride in her heritage, despite her conservative father’s vehement opposition to the modeling industry. At the same time, her foreignness becomes the sole source of intrigue for the judges, who constantly must make note of her otherness. Such a dilemma transcends into other cycles – Indian American Julie Titus of Cycle 3 is praised for her initial photos, but must put up with cat calls such as “Kama sutra” while shooting. It is interesting to then consider Sheena Sakai of Cycle 11. Arguably the most famous of the show’s Asian American contestants, Sheena identifies as a Japanese and Korean American from Harlem. When she enters the judging room during the Cycle’s premiere, it becomes easy to construct her as an archetypal Asian American. She possesses the stereotypical features of East Asian women which perpetuate racial triangulation – notably, her slender figure, long black hair, and large breasts construct her with an air of exotic innocence. It is when Sheena opens her mouth, however, and proclaims “I got so much flava…I don’t know where it come from” (sic) that constructions of Asian American identity are challenged. As the episode continues and Sheena is accepted into the final group of girls who

will compete, it becomes evident how Sheena is an Asian American performing Blackness – a performance quite anomalous within our contemporary understanding of social constructs. As the Cycle pans out, fans are either appalled by Sheena’s racy behavior or enamored by her energetic personality. In either case, the racial and ethnic challenge that Sheena poses by existing as she is in the competition comes into focus. Both her fellow contestants and the judges chastise her for being overtly sexual, while other contestants and judges valorize her for carrying herself in such a positive manner. While this dichotomy provides evidence of racial triangulation, the manner in which Sheena deliberately shifts her identity from Black to Asian leads us to question to what degree this racial triangulation really permeates the competition, as well as society in general. In any case, Sheena insists on the triviality of race, stating in her own words that it “does not define us.” Still, we cannot help but regard race as an integral factor within “America’s Next Top Model.” Such focus is apparent in how many fans pegged Jennifer An to win this Cycle simply because no Asian American has been granted the title up to this point. A number of Jennifer’s fans support her cause simply because of this aforementioned history. Regardless of An’s placement on the show, it has become apparent that the show displays more than competitive women vying for a modeling contract. Rather, the show places social theory into a sense of reality which we cannot ignore.

For the record, here is a list of contestants on ANTM who have identified as Asian American. Jenascia Chakos (Cycle 2): A fiery personality could not assuage the judges’ worries about Jenascia’s height, and she was eliminated early. Sara Racey-Tabrizi (Cycle 2): A Persian American woman, Sara was praised by contestants and judges alike for her exotic features. April Wilkner (Cycle 2): April initially struggled with her half-Japanese identity but learned to embrace it. She was pegged to win before being eliminated in 4th place.

Julie Titus (Cycle 3): An Indian American who dreamed of choreographing a Bollywood Film. She referred to herself as “the black sheep of the Indian community.” Gina Choe (Cycle 6): Infamous for her inability to contain her nerves, Gina struggled with a Korean American identity crisis all throughout her run on the show. Anchal Joseph (Cycle 7): Anchal walked into judging with blue contact lenses, but vowed to embrace her Indian identity and discard them.

Claire Unabia (Cycle 10): Though it was never mentioned on the show, Claire is half-Cebuano. The myriad sources of drama this cycle prevented such an identity from surfacing. Sheena Sakai (Cycle 11): A go-go dancer who either charmed with her extroversion or put off with her sexuality. She is noted for often playing around with her vernacular. Jennifer An (Cycle 13): Jennifer mentions being the only Asian American as an advantage. In a Cycle where the maximum height is 5’7”, Jennifer must work to stand out.


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charity in a chair

This entire story, even the flashback, takes place in a chair. I am reclining against its ergonomic back, semi-relaxed. Everything is where it should be: arms on armrest, laptop on lap. I am on a break and reading an article on CNN. People have died in Haiti—lots of them. The author seems to find a perverse pleasure in speculating just how many. The lead photo supports the idea that the death toll is in the “hundreds of thousands.” In the pictured street, there are bodies packed beside bodies, bodies draped over bodies, bodies tangled with bodies. A lifeless arm is jutting out in the background, as if calling for help. Who it belongs to is unclear. The caption labels this scene, rather grandly, a “makeshift grave.” I wonder how the journalist can even attempt to euphemize what is so plain to any eye: a pile of bodies. Still, I feel nothing. At most, I shift in my seat. I know this image is supposed to trigger a visceral reaction, a knotting of the stomach followed by a sustained queasiness. Yes, I should be feeling wretched. Perhaps I am desensitized from playing too many death matches on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, where head-shots are announced in big bold letters and fatalities are instant-replayed via Killcam. I almost have to tell myself that there are no usernames hovering over these bodies. After flipping through a few more pictures of the havoc that a 7.0 magnitude earthquake wreaked on Port-au-Prince and its people, I start to feel sick from the fact that I don’t feel sick. At any moment, I can X out the browser, close the screen, pretend this never happened. But I don’t. Instead, I focus, and focus hard, trying to remember the last time I felt this way. The memory hits me with the force of a typhoon. Sometime during my little cousin’s birthday party, we gathered

Author: M.D. Monzon

around the television. The channel was TFC [The Filipino Channel], but there were no dancing Wowowee girls, nor my favorite host, Valerie Concepcion. Instead, a man and his daughter stood on a rooftop, floodwaters swirling past them, threatening to overtake their square of safety. The Dad’s body language said, what do we do? The girl’s, what happened? The newscaster seemed to answer her, detailing the missing, the injured, the stranded, the dead, the damage. Ondoy, Ondoy, he kept repeating. As I listened in, the plate of food on my lap—pansit, rice, egg rolls, banana ketchup, steamed fish—got cold. Eventually I asked, “How did they get stuck there? I mean, if it started to flood, wouldn’t you immediately go for higher ground? And not like the top of a car or a house.” An aunt shushed me, and I stayed silent. My relatives scrambled for their cell phones and dialed long-distance. No one got through. Since earlier there had been footage of downed telephone poles, I asked, “Shouldn’t you call later?” The same aunt pointed to the TV, where a guy about my age, was flailing in the water, carried off by the current. She said, “We want to make sure they’re not him.” The man was sailing along with trash. I turned to my plate for refuge, but the egg rolls looked like telephone poles, the banana ketchup, blood.


15 As I sit in my chair, it occurs to me I hadn’t thought of Typhoon Ondoy and the Philippines since that day. Shrugging the thought away, I minimize the CNN article, open a new browser. On Facebook, half of my friends seem to either being sending their prayers or well-wishes to the people of Haiti, so their status says. Twitter is the same, with people posting links to the article I just banished, or other ones about the earthquake. At this point, I encounter my first concrete emotion: déjà vu. All of this viral newscasting and commiserating happened with Ondoy; in fact, these people could have just substituted “Haitian quake” for “Philippine flood.” Only difference is that now there is viral philanthropy. According to yet another link, I can text a number, and ten dollars will be donated to the relief effort. I pull out my cell, but refrain. It does not feel right contributing through the same medium which I ask my friends, “Wanna Eat?” or worse, “What U Doing?” None of this hoopla feels right. If I could forget about Ondoy as fast as it ceased to appear in CNN’s scrolling ticker—in one end and out the other—what good would it do to donate to the Haitian cause now? At least the Filipinos were my people; the Haitians are not. It will take less than professional boxer Manny Paquaio’s saga with opponent Mayweather to thrust every thought and any trace of Haiti out of my short-term memory. Confused and conflicted, I peruse some more, chancing upon a friend who recommends you should check where your charitable donation is going to. I interpret his advice literally: Could I even identify Haiti on a map? The way I think about disasters was shaped by my experiences at UC Berkeley. This notion is best illustrated by Sproul Plaza, the main throughway on campus, which is continually clogged with activists, flyerists, protestors. Passing through this bottleneck

is almost like football training. I weave through the crowd, and when I hit a human wall, I pummel through, shoulder-first. When someone sticks out a flyer toward me, I respond with a stiff-arm, and keep shuffling. On occasion, I have jumped over groups staging sit-ins, as well as ducked beneath the intertwined hands of hippie couples. Sometimes they holler after me, as when a guy asked, “Can you spare a minute for global warming?” Without looking back, I yelled, “Nope!” It’s not that I was a misanthrope or a hermit, or anyone on that continuum of people aversion. I was just deeply suspicious of guys who had interests other than girls and their grade point average. To me, every charitable action expressed an underlying statement: Helping others means that the person thinks he is already perfect. Thus, I viewed passion as pretension. If my mind was any indication, really what could an early twenty-something possibly know of the world? My perspective was soon reaffirmed by the radical response to the UC budget cuts. A group of forty students stormed into Wheeler Hall, and barricaded themselves inside, equipped with enough food and water to last them several days. Their demands ranged from the somewhat plausible—the reinstatement of thirty-eight laid-off custodians—to the disturbingly idealistic—the revocation of the

thirty-two percent tuition increase slated for the following fall. Not surprisingly, these conditions were never met. In fact, this protest may have been counter-productive, as one-hundred eighteen classes were scheduled for one day alone at Wheeler. All had to be canceled; people who rightfully paid for their education were forced to wait at home. That protest and others like it, understandably informs my viewing of the online campaign for Haiti. I worry that these efforts purport a harmfully-inaccurate causality: If you do A, then B will happen. If you post a link, the Haitian children will be fed. If you update your status, the doctors will heal the injured. If you text in a donation, the rubble will be reconstructed. Of course, I understand that it takes collective action to move mountains, but we’re just pushing at buttons, not boulders. Do keyboards and keypads promote a handsoff approach that isn’t help at all, but an indirect means of trivializing their tragedy? That they’re only worth a text or a Tweet? I’ll be the first to admit it’s tough to summon the will to do anything more, to say nothing of having to discover what more would actually entail. Short of flying to Haiti, what can we realistically do? Write letters of support? Collect canned goods to make a care package? Go door-to-door to collect more unperishables? Maybe it is worth looking at volunteering abroad in Haiti. Surely some alternative spring break is in the works. But again, it’s hard to put these plans into action, as Haiti is more than just an ocean away. I could create a Venn diagram of their current priorities and mine. On the left side, I would list: finishing up my lesson plans, deciding where to eat—In-N-Out or Taco Bell, im-

proving my bench press. For the other side, I would write: digging relatives out of collapsed buildings, avoiding weak structures so I don’t also get crushed in an aftershock, steering clear of bandit gangs, finding water so I don’t die of dehydration, finding food so I don’t starve to death, masking my mouth to avoid vomiting again from the pervasive stench of death. The Venn diagram would have no overlap. Quite clearly, we reside in two different spheres, two different worlds, hopefully shared but wholly separate. I vowed to bridge the gap by volunteering, and to find out exactly how after I completed my lesson plans. But first, I sent the text “HAITI” to 90999, and paused, shocked by the thought that we now have common ground in the Venn diagram: starting from square one.


16

Volleyball—With your FEET: The Art of Sepak Takraw Author: Austin Schumaker, Josh Chan Illustrator: Clarissa Tong

I’m sure you’ve heard of volleyball. It’s a pretty popular sport, right? Sure, it might not be as popular as basketball or football (here in the US at least), but I know you’ve at least heard of it, and most likely played it once in your life, too. It’s a fast-paced, exciting, and hard-hitting sport. It takes a lot of skill, and (though maybe I’m biased because I play it) it’s insanely fun. Now imagine the thrills, excitement, and exhilaration of volleyball, and multiply it by ten—because it’s being played with your FEET. This, my friends, is the brilliant sport of Sepak Takraw, otherwise known as kick volleyball. People with 40-inch vertical jumps soaring through the air and bicycle kicking a ball over a net. That’s right, a guy doing a backflip—while kicking the ball over the net midway through—is a regular occurrence. This is why sepak takraw is the sport of champions. It all started in Malaysia in the 15th century. The first recorded evidence of sepak takraw, from a famous Malay historical text, documents an incident involving a common citizen hitting the son of a Sultan with a sepak takraw ball, resulting in the Sultan’s son stabbing him to death. The moral of this story: watch where you kick your balls. But excuse me for getting a little

off-track. Sepak takraw continued to develop as a sport over the next few centuries. The first set of official rules were developed in 1866 by the Siam Sports Association, which have been modified and adapted into the current set of rules today. The introduction of organized takraw to the United States has been credited to a group of four students from Northrop University in Inglewood, CA, in 1986. Malaysian students attending Northrop played takraw on a makeshift court on top of the dormitory cafeteria. I imagine them kicking around balls while the sweet scent of French fries wafted through the air. They taught a handful of curious American students how to play, and before long, the Malaysian Airline system sponsored a US team from the University to attend the National Tournament in Kuala Lumpur in 1987. Here, they decided that it might be a great idea to win the tournament. So that‘s exactly what they did, taking home the gold medal. In 1996, the United States Takraw Association was formed. Today, the sport is very popular in Southeast Asia—namely Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, the Philippines and Indonesia— and while it is not extremely popular in the western world by any means, it is definitely gaining popularity, which makes sense, because it is possibly the sport with the most potential for greatness in the upcoming century. Takraw is played on a court similar to a badminton court with a net (~5ft high) in the middle. Each side of the net has a service circle where the ser-


17

ving player stands at the start of play, and at the corner of each boundary line and the center line, there is a quarter circle that constitutes where the non-serving players stand at the start of play. (Refer to the court diagram.) Sepak takraw is played with a woven ball made out of rattan or synthetic fiber, and a match involves two teams of three players each. Here are the basic rules of how to play the game in a nutshell: •

The “Tekong” starts in the service circle, while the other two, called the “Right Inside” and “Left Inside,” start at the front on the right and left, respectively One of the Inside players starts with the ball and throws it to the Tekong, who kicks it out of the air to the other side of the net—this is the serve After the serve, play continues similar to volleyball. Each team can touch the ball up to three times before kicking it over the net, but unlike volleyball, a player can hit it consecutively, i.e. a player can hit it all three times in a row on his/her side Also, unlike volleyball, a player can hit it with any part of his/her body except the hands or arm, similar to soccer (or fútbol if you’re from outside the US) Play continues like this until the ball touches the ground or another violation occurs, such as a player using his/her hands Matches are best two out of three sets, with the first two sets to 21 points (win by two, up to a 25 point ceiling) and the third tie-breaking set to 15 (win by two with a 17 point ceiling)

That’s pretty much it. Kick the ball over the net, then proceed to set yourself or your teammates up to do some backflip kicks until a team gets a point [if you want the official rules, just look up “Sepak Takraw” on Wikipedia]. As you can see, takraw is one of the most interesting sports that has not yet been discovered by the masses. Just go on YouTube and watch some amazing clips—I guarantee you will be hooked and want to try it out tomorrow. But if and

when you do try it out, please be warned: the people in those videos are PROFESSIONALS. Be careful not to break your neck when you try to do a backflip and kick a ball over a five foot high net. And if you do get hooked, then I urge you to DO something about it! Like I said, this sport is flying much further under the radar than it deserves to be. Sepak takraw is so awesome, it’s a shame that so few people have ever heard of it. So start playing with your friends! Go online, buy a takraw ball from the Thailand black market (just kidding, there might be some legit places to find a ball), get a badminton net, find a field or open place near where you live, and go wild. But remember—keep the hospital on speed dial. Or better yet, just remember these 3 little numbers: 9-1-1. I mean, anyone can go out and play a mainstream sport like basketball or baseball, but it takes balls (and if you’re a girl, sorry but I’m sure you get my drift) to play something as cool as sepak takraw. Plus, the President of the Sepak Takraw Association of Canada, Rick Engel, says, “Sepak takraw can be like the NBA in 50 years.“ So start playing now, and when it becomes popular in 50 years, you can leave your walker on the side of the court and show some little whippersnappers who’s boss. Seriously though, sepak takraw is an amazing sport that deserves to be played by you. It’s your life—make something of it!


18

LIFE IN THE SHADOWS: POVERTY IN SAN DIEGO


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A

ccording to Webster’s dictionary, the definition of poverty is the state of one who lacks a usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions. While the word may not be thrown around quite often in the San Diego area, the existence of poverty is still present. With various tourist attractions such as Balboa Park, Sea World and the many beaches along the coast, San Diego has a reputation of being one of the wealthiest cities in the United States. However, while perceptions of the area are overwhelmingly positive, there is the undermining fact that poverty still exists. The large military presence in San Diego plays a profound role in the various dynamics of how the economy and people are affected. Approximately one-forth of the city’s population relies on its existence for employment opportunities. Regardless of the increasing population, the presence of the military and numerous technologic industries has been able to stabalize the city from economic downturn. One of the more affluent cities in San Diego is La Jolla, where beautiful beachfront properties and multi-million dollar mansions line the shores. The major presence in La Jolla is UCSD, where our university has provided countless numbers of jobs and positions that have given the city an advantage in the research field. In contrast to upscale La Jolla, the greater San Diego County still hosts regions where poverty is a major concern for low income families struggling to make ends meet, especially in the present economy. According to the Center on Policy Initiatives (CPI), the poverty rate rose in 2008 from 11.1% to 12.6%, the highest level on record for the past fifty years. Approximately 367,000 residents are living below the federal poverty line with annual incomes of $21,834 per family. One of the more stunning statistics is that the number of people in poverty within the city rose at a faster rate when compared to the state of California or even the entire United States. Due to the high cost of living and the predominance of low-wage jobs, the

amount of people living in poverty in San Diego is overwhelmingly greater than the rest of California and the United States. This goes to demonstrate that although San Diego may be one of the wealthier cities in the nation, it is important to not overlook those who are underrepresented and are struggling to provide for their families. While preparing for this article, I decided to travel downtown in order to get a first hand account of dilapidated areas where rows of mattresses, sleeping bags, cardboard boxes, and shopping carts line the empty alleys and streets. When our staff photographer and I needed to capture the essence of the situation, we were not sure which exact location would exemplify poverty in the San Diego area. I was determined to find concrete information that would bring to light the realities of living in poverty. I drove around for about fifteen minutes before I found a street in downtown SD that had many warehouses that were either empty or abandoned. On the corner of the Interstate 5 entrance, there was an African American man dressed in unkempt clothes sitting alone on a big duffel bag with another smaller bag placed closely next to him. He was slouching and alone. I pulled over a few yards ahead of him and walked over. I was nervous and unsure of whether or not he would answer the questions I had for him. At first, he was a bit reluctant to speak to me and that was understandable. But he slowly began to open up about his life, providing short and concise answers that made it difficult for me to follow up with more questions. From his brief responses, I found out his name was O’Neill Hampton, originally from New Orleans, Louisiana. His messy grey hair, missing teeth and soft and polite demeanor provided an estimate of his age, which he later disclosed at 68. When I asked him how he ended up in San Diego, he simply shrugged and said that was a long time ago, but not without mentioning that he was a truck driver back in Louisiana. When questioned about what he enjoyed doing or if he had any hobbies, he responded with, “I enjoy walking, just wandering.” He mentioned being in the

city for over a decade and surviving on missions and the Salvation Army for food and necessities. When I inquired about what were the contents of his black duffel bag, he merely tapped it and said, “just my sleeping bag.” I will definitely never forget O‘Neill. Although he didn‘t have much in his possession, he was still very gentle in his manner and did not seem bothered by me asking him questions. He was not bitter about his living circumstances, but was appreciative of the money I offered him at the end of the interview. With circumstances like O’Neill’s, the reality of poverty is something that cannot be overlooked. Jobs in San Diego are hard to come by and with those who have been recently unemployed, their willingness to settle for lower paying jobs means it leaves an even smaller chance for people like O’Neill to even be considered. The city of San Diego has taken measures to alleviate the situation, but not enough to fully resolve the problem. There have been a few relief benefits paid by the county, but at the same time, the welfare system in the city is one of the tougher programs in the state. With the unemployment rate and homeless rising in large numbers, the chance of permanently remaining homeless after a certain number of months becomes a reality in which people often feel defeated and unworthy of their ability to find jobs in order to support themselves. The city is almost as helpless as its residences in having the ability to provide food and shelter for those who need it the most. It is a distressing problem that cannot be solved over night. Still, there needs to be a resolution to the situation. No matter how long it will be put off by the government or ignored by surrounding communities, one day the issue of those living in the shadows will be brought out into the blaring light.

Author: Judy Ma | Photographer: Alfred Tanglao


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THE BREAKDOWN ADMINISTRATIVE High-paid administrators still paid $66 million after raises $5.2 million in unrestricted funds still available Yudof gets his #1 priority for retirement pension plans (his security), not for students’ education

STAFF & FACULTY Most employees will take 4% to 10% cuts in pay cuts, in the form of work furloughs Bigger classes, less efficient teaching Fewer resources and facilities available for research Liberal departments may be cut Salaries already 20% below comparable universities prior, cut further 8% with this program

STUDENTS 32% increase over 2 years, 200% increase since 2003 20% enrollment cuts Fewer educational resources available Fewer programs and organizations Fewer classes & class enrollment Quality of education decreases Prolonged graduation: more debt

UC‘s Budget Debacle Author: Farrah Monfort & Vivian Moon Illustration Source: Time.com

CONFUSED MUCH? One of the reasons students are confused with the budget crisis is the lack of relevant information coming from the Board of Regents. President Mark Yudof’s statements do not reveal the facts, but instead cover up the actual situation. Money is available, in Regents’ pockets and future construction projects. There are other options. But Yudof avoids all this, grossly misinforming us of the situation at hand. Instead, he maintains hope in the future greater prestige of the university, a privatized model, through the forced sacrifice of students and faculty and the unchecked power of the UC Administration. In his commentary in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Yudof states that the current deficit is partly due to the state’s misallocation of funds. He refrains from mentioning any solutions for improvement, neither state-wide nor local, though he does not hesitate to place the blame. His commentary does not serve as much-needed clarification but rather a sly attack on the students’ and faculty’s so-called whining and selfishness. He goes on to deny the accusation that ‘the fat cats are getting fatter.’ He states that people think “university administrators are making lots of money or hiding it in some way. But no senior administrator in the president‘s office has received a raise, and most are paid 10 percent less than what they received a year ago.” This “myth,” as he puts it, is in fact very real. Administrators who are paid yearly salaries of $100,000 or more have increased in number by 40%, indicating an $11.5 million pay increase. Earlier this year, the Board of Regents also appointed higher salaries to several executives, 11-59% higher than their predecessors; gave “administrative stipends” of $24,000- $58,625 without assigning extra work; and added new highly-paid executive positions. Salary raises of up to $170,000 were also given to two UC Chancellors, ours included. On the same day he approved the student fee increase, he borrowed $200 million for construction projects. And our UC President’s salary reaches almost $600,000 a year. Yudof mentions the high risk of losing valuable faculty members, physicians, staff members, and administrative leaders if the board cuts down their pay. This is a legitimate concern; our leadership makes up the university’s esteem. However, their extravagant wages amidst a budget crisis is unfitting if not plainly ridiculous. Yudof insists we must all “share the pain,” unabashedly contradicting the actions of the Regents these past few months.


21 Instead of fattening the pay and pensions of himself and his administrators, this money could be used to ease pressure on many university employees living under the poverty line. And while faculty are forced to take furloughs and lose pay, Yudof saves $184 million in costs to most likely fund his selfstated priority, the retirement pension plan. His concern for the future security of himself and his associates, and not the institution of public higher education, has already begun to damage the system. We are in an economic crisis, but there is money available in overestimated salaries, construction projects, reserve funds, Medical Center profits, and research and patent profits that aren’t being spent to cut costs. The state budget shortfall is less than 3%, yet apparently the hundreds of millions coming in will not be enough to cover it. Tanya Smith, a Berkeley editor and local president for UPTE (University Professional and Technical Employees), states, “It‘s time for the Regents to open the books. We need to know if there really is a budget crisis at UC or just a crisis of leadership.” This is about accountability. We are ready for our leaders to step up. We are ready for the sacrifices of those living on beach-front mansions. Students, staff, and faculty have bolstered their greed enough.

WHY THIS MATTERS Clearly the budget crisis is not only about access but also the quality of public higher education. When these budget cuts are in effect, there will be a 32% increase in fees over a span of two years, which has doubled since 2003. Those in school will be forced to take out greater loans, building greater debt. Many will not be able to afford higher education, as financial assistance is being threatened. The effect will be class society at its worst: privatizing, restricting higher education from the middle and lower classes. Along with increased tuition, enrollment will be cut by 20%, further limiting the number of prospective students. As prices continue to go up (because there’s no saying when fees will stop rising), future generations will be denied their right to accessible, affordable higher education.

Those in non-practical fields, such as the liberal arts and humanities, are already feeling it. A rather crude example of this is the cancer cluster in the Literature Building. There are known carcinogens in that building, as well as a significant correlation of those working there who have been diagnosed with cancer, but still nothing has been done. Literature majors and instructors are forced to work in life-threatening conditions. In the same year, our campus welcomed the addition of new transfer housing, the RIMAC Annex, and an expanded softball field. The actions of our leadership need some serious reconsideration. Less popular majors may also be compromised. As fewer people are accepted, the number of students in majors like Anthropology or Literature will decrease. As a result, the University may cut down the number of classes and increase the number of students in each. This would force professors to deal with larger classes with fewer resources and less pay. As UCSD Professor Ferrera de Silva states, liberal education teaches students skills like critical thinking and political imagination that can help us think creatively through crises like this.

HISTORY The idea of obtaining a higher education before the 20th century had not been endorsed to be publicly institutionalized and many social groups were marginalized (i.e. the poor working class, people of color, females). A higher education was owned under private interests or under religious affiliation. The idea of having a public school depended on the fact of whether or not the state was financially capable of funding for one. But as the country was moving forward from an industrialized to a more service based economy, there was a demand for a standardized public higher education. States were given subsidies to establish these public institutions. In California, the UC system was established as a “free university“ and was to become widely available for all classes, ethnicities, and genders. This was a university created with the sole incentive to have its students benefit the economy and society. The UC system is changing, moving toward the Michigan model after the agreement of the University of Michigan with the state. This

is based on the idea of taking tuition from those who can afford it, and to give to those who can’t. It depends on state contribution of about $25-27,000 yearly, transforming a public institution into a private good for those who can afford it. This road to privatization comes with many costs, denying lower-class students higher quality education, creating drastic class divisions, as well as setting up opportunities for continued scandals without oversight. We are in an economic crisis, yet one of the first things tax papers vote to pay less for is education. State funds are being spent on drug laws that don’t work, police and prosecution, and crowded prisons. There is a lack of support for the educational system, but where are the parents who have already paid hundreds of thousands for school? Students, faculty, and the families involved must defend their rights to affordable education as society continues to value money more than knowledge, putting our livelihoods at stake. Student participation is key. Get involved to “construct possible dreams of UC,” as Visual arts professor Ricardo Dominguez states. Join the already existing UC Coalition to Save Our Futures, which fights for accessible, affordable high quality higher education. Here, they discuss steps to take control of their future by speaking in UC commission forums, crashing Regents meetings, sharing testimonials, and protesting. Among efforts to inform and incite action, there was a three-day strike on November 18th, followed by the Regents meeting at which the 32% fee increase was voted in. Students, professors, teacher’s assistants, and service workers protested to save the future of UC but were met with an almost unanimous vote for the fee increase, as well as tear gas and tazers from the presiding police. Follow the examples of b.a.n.g. lab artists and activists who created a simulation of a letter from President Yudof. It announces a $0 tuition program to apologize for the long-time greed at the UC Board of Regents. This kind of radical thinking is necessary to interrupt the bullshit and allow students and faculty to reimagine the university.

PROPOSED SOLUTIONS With the increased student fees and furloughs being implemented, the student


22 body and faculty staff should expect long term costs as hard times sink in. Not only are the students losing the value of an education from the cutbacks of classes and resources, but the faculty is losing their very livelihoods, hindering them from supporting their families and struggling to meet today’s standards of living with their frozen salaries. In the long run, as education is watered down and becomes harder to obtain, we will begin to see a denser class divide, separating the highly privately educated from the mediocre publiclyeducated, gravely reflecting the type of job opportunities provided in the future. Living paycheck by paycheck leaves education unaffordable in a public institution as fees increase at a faster rate annually, leaving future generations unable to afford tuition. Lest we not forget the impact these changes have on the administrative body, those including the Regents, our chancellors, Mark Yudof, etc. are at the front lines receiving and taking all the negative public reaction. Yudof is being personally attacked for not delegating wiser decisions that don‘t disenfranchise the faculty and students, but these are the consequences a leader of a public institution must take responsibility for; they must be able to take the blows if they know they are going to disappoint the public. The smartest move for him would be to genuinely work at his best to restore trust and prevent a hostile environment amongst the UC system. It is certain that the students, faculty and staff of the University of California are angry with the proposed decisions made by UC Regents and Yudof. And no longer should those gravely affected sit idly and allow the budget cuts and raised tuition fees to happen. Actions have been taken and protests have been publicly displayed, but how far can their anger drive them? It is possible (and quite extreme) that an underground movement can form, a sort of “black-market” education where the intellectuals and educational enthusiasts form together to educate one another on subjects of the university level. Countries such as Sweden have formed this type of civic en-

gagement called, “study circles,” voluntary organizations that maintain a civic network across all social borders. This type of cohesion may not be as credible compared to the institutionalized sector of education, but at least it upholds the values of intellect and quality. [If one wants to question this sort of educational credibility in relation to applying in the future job market, there is already a growing underground job market in which job availability is open to those who network.]

are of the issue to the administrators. There must be strong cohesive organization of grassroots politics. Having faith in organizations such as CALPIRG, “teach-ins” instead of “walk-outs,” and being prepared to challenge Regents on an intelligent level will place pressure on them to make that change. Change takes a lot of elements for it to transpire. Establishing a coalition between students and Regents to work together and reform the UC system, instead of working against them, will bring about a stronger community and restore trust.

Currently, there are organizations fighting against the proposed budget cuts and raised tuition fees. Associations like the California Student Public Interest Group, CALPIRG, a non-partisan, student run and professionally organized collective has been petitioning and hiring lobbyists, lawyers and scientists to work with legislators and politicians in D.C. and state capitals to initiate changes with the educational system amongst a myriad of social issues. With 10 chapters based across 8 UC campuses (2 established in USC and Santa Monica College) they have been quite successful in other campaigns and building up a grassroots coalition of support. For example, CALPIRG and its student supporters have played a critical role in increasing student financial aid to $40 billion. They have also helped pass an Affordable Text book provisions to be included in the Federal Higher Education Opportunity Act, in which publishers must disclose textbook pricing and revision to all universities and students.

Whether you’re on scholarship, or your parents pay your tuition, or you may have money invested in stocks and bonds, or you are already struggling with student fees through loans, one thing is for certain: from here on out, your future and the lives of future generations will be gravely affected. What everyone should begin to realize is the long term effects of student debt. Trying to obtain a reliable income becomes difficult as students are forced to pay off their interests while trying to start a post-academic life. Most of the time, students leave college without obtaining that dream job and end up serving tables or working retail just to pay the bills. This conditions them to survive just off their means, and their hopes of making a career for themselves drift farther away each year; especially with the added factors of credit card debt and desires to invest in a mortgage for a house to start a family. This would then leave no money for their children to obtain a proper education.

However, complacency is a common attitude amongst the student body and mustering up consistent grassroots support is a struggle for organizations such as CALPIRG. The complacent want to see immediate action taking place and organizations can only provide a calculated progressive process that can take as long as a year or so before witnessing actual changes.

We do have a voice. We are paying hundreds of thousands for our UC education; we must have a say in how it is being spent or misspent. We do have a voice, albeit silenced and sparse. Action must be taken to fight the budget cuts, and there are many options in doing so. All it takes is the will to subdue your peers‘ apathetic mindset and get involved in some way to place firm and effective pressure on the Regents and Mark Yudof.

Protesting appears to be the only outlet that gives some a meaning to their cause, but how effective is this method? Protesting proves the anger of the people, but it doesn’t prove how serious protesters


THINK.


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YouTube‘s

Most

AJ RAFAEL


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Wanted

GABE BONDOC

With the recent phenomenon of the “YouTube star,“ everyday people are being catapulted into stardom—and righteous stardom, at that. Talented individuals finally have the chance to share their gifts in the limelight on an efficient, global scale through today‘s internet. Isa had the chance to interview two of the biggest Youtube stars to date, AJ Rafael and Gabe Bondoc. Together, these two talented powerhouses share their thoughts on life, music, and what it means to follow your dreams.


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AJ Rafael

With the recent phenomenon of the “YouTube” star, everyday people are being catapulted into stardom—and righteous stardom, at that. Talented people finally have the chance to share their gifts on an efficient, global scale known as the internet. But none are more humble, more down to earth, than AJ Rafael. We had the chance to sit down with AJ right before a show, and in his casual green t-shirt, jeans, and beaming smile, he showed us just how much recognition a talented guy from Riverside deserves.

Interviewer: Melissa Rose Chan | Photographers: Daphne Tan, Alfred Tanglao


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Polly, Eat Your Heart Out

“Basically I wrote my first song in 2004 about a girl, online. She lives in San Diego actually. I recorded that song, put it on MySpace through JavaScript, so I was trying to be a geek and figure out all these ways to share my music. Then MySpace music came up and that was an amazing tool. And then YouTube was definitely the pioneer for breaking down the wall, you know, for artists like me just at my computer to share my music with the world.”

YouTube Star

“At first when people started calling me YouTube star or whatever, I wasn’t really feelin’ it because I’d rather be called a MySpace star or something because that’s definitely just for the music. On YouTube, you could do anything. Really. You could run naked down the street and people would be like, ‘hey it’s you, YouTube star,’ you know? But now I’m glad that people are like, ‘hey I recognize you from YouTube.’ It’s an amazing thing.”

On his major influences

“Well I grew up listening to Boyz II Men so that was definitely R&B. kai, devotion, groups like that really influenced me to sing R&B. I never really looked at myself as a good R&B singer, so I was really trying to look for more inspiration because I was really discouraged—Boyz II Men is really good. Those black guys, man. Any black singer, you know what I’m saying? Oh my God, they kill me. In R&B, those runs and everything. They’re amazing. So I started listening to Rock. Well, I was listening to Rap first, like Dr. Dre and Eminem like a whole two or three years. Then the next two, three years of my life, which was middle school, high school, I was listening to

New Found Glory and Rock, Emo Pop Punk like Simple Plan and Yellowcard and then there’s this band called My American Heart and they’re actually from San Diego and the singer is Filipino, the guitarist is Filipino. They’re my good friends now, we’ve met, but they were my main influences at first because they were Filipino and this guy’s not doing R&B and that was a really major thing for me to see, so I started listening to more of that and I found my own voice through listening to that and to totally different genres and fusing them together.”

Music at the Moment

“Right now I’m stuck on Taylor Swift, for the past month or two. Demi Lovato just came out with a new CD too. Michael Buble. I listen to everything, but…personal favorite song…every time You Belong With Me comes on the radio, I’m jammin’ and it’s amazing…My favorite song used to be “I’m Yours” until it started being like, super played out. I know a lot of people are selfish about those things. You know, when you hear a song first and then everyone starts liking it and then you’re like, mad. You love it though, because it’s a great song, you know. I’ve been listening to this one Passion song called “Stephanie.” Yeah that’s like my favorite song at the moment.”

If There’s One Thing You Should Know, It’s AJ Loves Musicals

“I think my number one song [on the iPod Top 25 Most Played Songs List] is “What I’ve Been Looking For” in High School Musical. I was trying to learn that song for the longest time. I love musicals, actually. That’s one thing I want to say. Yes, I love musicals.”

Interviewer: Melissa Rose Chan | Photographers: Daphne Tan, Alfred Tanglao

“On YouTube, you could do anything. Really. You could run naked down the street and people would be like, ‘hey it’s you, YouTube star,’ you know? But now I’m glad that people are like, ‘hey I recognize you from YouTube.’ It’s an amazing thing.”


28 On the best places to perform

“I love coming to San Diego. San Diego, Carson, and bay area, is where I get the most love. My first show in the bay was in October and I felt like I was in So Cal. It was really amazing.”

What He Wishes He Did More before a Performance

“You could be like the best person in the world, like the most talented person in the world, but if you have a shitty attitude, you know, it’s not gonna get you through.”

“I feel like I should be praying before every show, and sometimes I forget. Like I don’t pray every time before I eat, but that’s something I really want to get into a habit of doing. I just saw quest crew before a benefit show—every time before a show they huddle up and they pray. And that’s really something I need to keep reminding myself: what I’m doing this for, and that definitely keeps me grounded.”

How many takes it takes to make a YouTube Vid

“Sometimes it’s a lot. Sometimes it’s like, two. And that’s’ amazing to me, I love that, when that happens…I trust my opinion enough now, like over the years, to just be like, ok, this is the one. I feel like I know my audience pretty well. This is the one that they’ll like. I hope, I hope, you know. Sometimes I’m wrong, sometimes I’m right. Sometimes it takes like two days because I’m not feeling the lighting or something stupid like that, yeah, sometimes it’s anal like that. But other than that, it goes fairly well, smoothly. [In the beginning]I was always asking my sister…if this run was okay, or if this note was cool, but now I’ve been doing it for a while now especially playing live shows, it helps a lot, so I know what makes them happy.”

AJ’s Advice to other performers

“Just be yourself, you know? In my YouTube videos, in the beginning of every video, I say “Yo what’s up guys, it’s me AJ” you know, with a smile on my face. That’s really who I am. Don’t try to be someone you’re not and just don’t edit yourself.

This all sound really cliché but it’s really, it’s really, it’s honest because that’s what’s gonna get you far or however far you wanna be. If people like you, they’ll subscribe. You could be like the best person in the world, like the most talented person in the world, but if you have a shitty attitude, you know, it’s not gonna get you through.”

How his Asian American background

“It definitely makes it harder. And it sucks that it’s a downside because I’m so proud to be a Filipino-American, and Asian American but it’s really hard because we’re not in the mainstream at all. If there’s one Filipino who’s famous, it’s Manny Pacquiao, the boxer. And there’s apl.de.ap. It’s amazing that he’s getting radio play—it’s a big thing for us. It’s really hard to prove to the industry that we have a marketable audience or that we’re marketable ourselves. But we’re proving it through these Asian American events—that we can have all this…it’s gonna take one of us to break through. Whether I’m the first or one of them to follow, it’s gonna be an amazing thing and I really hope it happens. But if this is as far as it gets, it’s amazing that we’ve touched this many people, whether it be 100,000 people or 10,000 people. I hope people support me because I’m a good artist and not just because I’m Asian American because I want that to come after and I want them to be able to relate to that and hold on and be proud.”

AJ’s Acknowledgements

“Definitely my family. My dad, he was a musician. He died in 1999. I started doing this for him. To prove that I can make money doing music. He wasn’t making that much. It was really my mom who was making the money, putting food on the table, really. Because my dad was a musician, he didn’t want us to become musicians, but I wanted to show him, you know, that this is something I want to do and I believe that I can make it, so it’s all for my family.”


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Gabe Bondoc Galicano Gabriel Bondoc III, more commonly known as Gabe Bondoc, is your typical guy—besides the fact that he is an internationally-known YouTube star. Formerly a Cal Poly San Luis Obispo student and someone who’s stage origins were doing Broadway and Opera as a kid, you’d never guess that Gabe has some YouTube videos that have over a million views. But his perfectly quaffed hair, his dashing smile, his impeccable and endearing dimples, and polite and professional demeanor may help you realize just what is so special about this certain gentleman.


30 Gabe Growing Up

“There’s always somewhere to go musically, and there’s not a box. You can get out, you can always do it; you can do anything.“

“I started playing music in high school. I was playing guitar in middle school, and I didn’t take it seriously until I started singing in choir freshman year in high school at my mom’s recommendation. From there, it’s when John Mayer hit the scene and he was playing guitar and singing. “No Such Thing” came on the radio and I was like, oh my gosh, that’s what I wanna do, that’s what I wanna sound like, that’s what I wanna be one day. And so that’s where I got started.”

1, 2, 7, 9

“1, 2, 7, 9, goes all the way back to John Mayer… there’s this one recording. I can’t remember the numbers he used…he said random numbers and I was like that’s so cool ‘cause you expect him to say 1, 2, 3, 4 but then I was just like, how about this, I just said it: 1, 2, 7, 9, and it’s just been that from then.”

On His Major Influences

“Major, major influence: John Mayer. Always has been, because of the nature of him being the very first one that made me want to do music. And then there’s everyone else. All the singer/ songwriters of our generation like David Ryan Harris, Colbie Caillat, Corinne Bailey Rae, for sure, she’s very talented, Jason Mraz, Jason Reeves, James Morrison, all the JM’s. Along with all the stuff on the radio, too.”

What’s on Gabe’s iPod These Days

“I plug my iPod in to my car because I love Ryan Leslie. They don’t play his stuff that much on the radio but his new album came out and I can’t stop listening to these two songs called “Zodiac” and “You’re not my girl.” They just have this really cool feel. I don’t really always like listening to Ryan Leslie ‘cause he makes me want to change my style entirely, like throw my guitar away, so… but he gives me that inspiration and drive to be like, there’s always somewhere to go musically,

and there’s not a box. You can get out, you can always do it; you can do anything.”

On Making Mistakes

“Either I try not to make a big deal about it, or I laugh it off. It’s easier to laugh it off and show the audience that, yeah, I make mistakes, you know, we’re human. So when I’m on YouTube and I’m watching live shows and people are playing, and when I hear or see the mistakes, if they just play it off, that’s cool, but if they laugh about it, that’s even cooler just because it’s like, oh its nothing, you know? We’re doing what we love on stage.”

How Many Takes It Takes To Make a YouTube Vid

“In the very beginning, the reason it’s called onetake session is because, okay, you hit record, and then whatever happens in that span of the beginning to the end, is what’s gonna be posted. So I was very chatty and there are mistakes all the way through, I was flat or sharp a little bit sometimes, ‘cause when I do my music it’s late at night after I’ve had a full day of whatever..But these days I’d like it to be a little more polished just because it’s on YouTube. If I do a one-take session, I call it that. If I don’t take a one-take session, it could take up to like, three to four hours to put up one video. But it’s fun, I love it, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

Recording Preferences

“I prefer to be alone. It makes it easier. If I’m playing and singing and then I hit a wrong note, I don’t have somebody smiling in the background. I like to do recordings by myself, and in the beginning I thought it was weird talking to the camera and playing to the camera but I got used to it really quick within the first maybe ten to fifteen videos. It was no problem after that.”


31

Interviewer: Melissa Rose Chan | Photographers: Daphne Tan, Alfred Tanglao

Gabe’s Advice to Other Artists Out There “My advice would be, and I always say this and it’s cliché, but it’s to never give up. Even if one person tells you it’s not enough, you don’t have what it takes, if one hundred people tell you, and it doesn’t matter if it’s an anonymous person on YouTube, if it’s a person on the street, if it’s a record label, or whatever. You never know what your next step is gonna be and that next step could be exactly what’s gonna take you to where you wanna be. And I guess that’s what being successful is: being where you wanna be, and I certainly am, so I guess there are different levels of success these days.”

If You Comment on His YouTube, He’s Probably Read It “I love reading comments on YouTube. I’ve read every comment on every page…I think I take every comment to heart. Sometimes it’s too much… how do you explain—there’s a lot of people that comment. And so, when you take each and every one to heart, you can feel really, really, happy, and then all of a sudden you read one bad one and it’s like, augh. But then that’s where never give up comes in and you’re just like , that’s ok, if that person doesn’t wanna listen, then you don’t have to. That’s the beauty of YouTube—there are other channels, there are other people you can listen to, but I try to listen.”

Being Filipino is Empowering

“My decision to pursue [music] changed when I started playing out in festivals and stuff and seeing the Filipino community. Being Filipino is very empowering because we’re very tight knit, we’re very family oriented. Not just within the family, but just as a Filipino community as a whole.

When Filipino people see other Filipino people doing well and really getting out there they cling to them and they support them and the moment that I got out there I immediately had a fan base of people who just loved me because I was doing what I loved and enjoying myself by making music. And it certainly influenced me, it’s given me all kinds of confidence, you know. It’s been super exciting, being Filipino American and getting out there and getting comments. I got a mention from Taylor Swift, which I thought was amazing. It was on Twitter and I thought it was very empowering not just for me but for Filipino Americans as a whole ‘cause that’s a mainstream person who sees everything and for her to pick out my video—we’re really getting recognized here.”

“You never know what your next step is gonna be and that next step could be exactly what’s gonna take you to where you wanna be.“


LT

Author: Melissa Chan

U

m i n a n c e

he Loft, a new performance lounge where “emerging art and pop culture collide” is next to the Cross Cultural Center in PC East, right here on campus. Complete with revolutionary ways of experiencing art, a refreshingly contemporary design aesthetic and even hosting Zanzibar Café’s delectable delights daily, what more could you ask for? One show in particular that we at Isa Magazine especially love is Luminance, created by Loft manager Kane Diep. As a third year at Marshall College, Diep not only works on other Loft events such as the Eclipse club parties, but is the founder of Luminance. Simply put, Luminance is a new stage for Asian American musicians. Since Asians haven’t received the creative recognition they’ve deserved, both the name and purpose of Luminance represent light, helping artists to shine on stage. Luminance series curator Diep states, “The original idea is to give a consistent place and have a consistent show for Asian Americans to perform at. And I think that’s really important especially now that we’re building momentum. You start seeing Asian Americans on ABDC [America’s Best Dance Crew] and you hear Far East Movement songs, so it’s getting there and I’m hoping that Luminance is able to help push it, to move it faster.” There are a few ways Diep goes about looking for artists for Luminance. What starts off with networking with friends for suggestions snowballs into asking other Asian Americans that are really into the scene. By the end, it has manifested into a full-blown talent showcase of new musicians. This is good news for Asian American artists out there -- not only is Luminance accessible, but it is catered to enhancing support for upcoming performers. Also, if you’re someone who loves to be in the audience or just wants to get more involved, it‘s easy to have a say in who performs. Just add the Luminance group on Facebook, where numerous students have already joined and added their input simply by commenting on the wall. Having this new outlet not only allows Asian Americans some limelight, but it opens the door of opportunity in the minds and hearts of others. Seeing a performer onstage can help inspire and drive a person to pursue music or art, fields that they otherwise might not have given a second thought. Asian American artists today are living proof that dedicating a life to music and having it actually go somewhere is not only a possibility, but for some, it is a reality.

Diep emphasizes that this movement is particular to the present day and age. Being a part of the community now is important, as this opportunity probably would not have happened, say, 10 years ago. Today, artists are putting on their own shows because they can. They have their own influence to do this, even though they may not have someone backing them like a record label or some kind of professional management. “Like AJ Rafael: he does Music Speaks which is amazing, because he does that for autism, for a cause. And it’s not for money for himself; it’s for other people, and that’s what inspiring about it,” mentions Diep. Although Diep’s priority is to help other Asian American artists, he himself is a humble choreographer. On top of being a Loft manager, he started an oncampus dance team and furthers his love of performance by going out and supporting other shows and art forms available all over the San Diego areas and communities. Observes Diep, “What’s important about music and dance and entertainment is: it’s art. It makes you feel better. It builds another dimension. It’s not just school, school, school. Even if I’m having the worst day ever, when I go on the dance floor, go into the dance studio, I just feel better. I think the same thing with music, and painting, and art. For the Asian American community, art hasn’t been emphasized at all. We’re always focused on studying, especially at UCSD. Being involved with this is such a blessing. It made my college experience so much better by being involved.” So whether you’re a full-fledged fan of the shows and want to keep it going, or an up-and-coming artist trying to get your name out there, all you have to do is support Luminance. Simply go on the FB group, invite friends, and keep talking about it. Says Diep, “What’s cool about Luminance is that when you support it, you’re supporting Asian American singers/songwriters. It opens the door for all of us.” Also, if you want to be more involved with the Loft, they hire around the end of each academic school year. But all year round, they have something called the Street Team – where students like you can help promote Loft events. In return, you can come to shows for free and even get on the guest list. You can expect to see the next Luminance show at the Loft on Sunday, February 21 featuring performances by Jenny Suk, JR Aquino, Dawen, and Legaci. This event will also be the Isa Magazine Launch Party! Tickets for UCSD students are $8 and $10 to the public at the Box Office. Buy your tickets before they‘re sold out!


EcoGeek R O D A T S I U RNQ

Author: Josh Chan Source: The Omnivores Dilemma by Michael Pollan

O C E H T

Corn is taking over America. Standing in stiff soldier-like stalks, thousands by the acre, producing unimaginable yields, tolerating all genetic modification, and hiding in multiple disguises, it is the perfect infiltration unit into the American market. From the invention of the Haber-Bosch process in 1909 which first allowed nitrogen to be “fixed” for use in fertilizer to create farmable fields, to the 1957 invasion of High Fructose Corn Syrup into food, corn has been crippling the American people. Even today, hiding in over 25% of products sold in the average supermarket, corn is a crop that America relies too strongly on, especially since it contributes significantly to the wide-spread ecological deterioration evident not only here but across the globe. The abuse of corn has many ecologically harmful effects on the environment. Of these many repercussions, CO2 emission and eutrophication reign supreme. CO2 emission In his book The Omnivores Dilemma, author Michael Pollan states that it takes half a gallon of fossil fuel to produce a bushel of corn. The United States produces well over 10 billion bushels of corn annually. He explains in another one of his articles, “The Great Yellow Hope“, that corn “receives more synthetic fertilizer than any other crop, and that fertilizer is made from fossil fuels — mostly natural gas.Corn also receives more pesticide than any other crop and most of that pesticide is made from petroleum.“ The contributions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere made by burning fossil fuels to produce corn are consequently significant. When all is said and done, the production of corn is linked to the emissions of greenhouse gases that warm the planet, resulting in deleterious effects. Eutrophication Heavy loads of unabsorbed fertilizer high in nutrient content travel from large farmed fields in ground water and run off until they enter bodies of water. This causes the primary production of the ecosystem to boom. Eventually, when the producers die, their decomposition absorbs much of the oxygen in the water leaving the area literally uninhabitable for life, thus creating dead zones. Corn farming methods need reform in order to reduce the amount of run off, especially because corn grown grain accounts take up almost one quarter of the crop acres in the country (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2000). This only takes into account land where corn is grown for grain—it excludes the millions of acres of corn grown for other purposes. The EPA states that corn is grown in over 400,000 farms in the United States. Eutrophication will continue to be an issue and a global concern until we, the worlds leading producer of corn, put more effort into avoiding it. In the end, corn is not out to get America. After all, it did come to the pilgrims‘ aid in the face of starvation, as it still does for much of the world today. Humankind is responsible for finding a sustainable method for utilizing the crop even if it means reducing the current annual yield. However, the agricultural market for corn has evolved into one driven fiercely by economic passion. It is not likely that we will see a change in the production of corn any time soon. Corn is cheap. The processing of corn is the cheapest because it can be processed using fossil fuels (which cannot be done by many agricultural products.) And, of course, the cost of fossil fuels in the U.S. economy‘s market is the cheapest of all other alternative forms of energy. This problem can only be solved if affirmative federal action is taken to halt the economic pursuit of the crop and begin an ecological pursuit to unfold its uncontaminated, pure benefits.

THINGS YOU CAN DO: Give up sodas sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. Though this cannot be proven to have a direct negative effect on health, it will lessen your dependence on corn, thus lessening your ecological impact on the environment.

Avoid processed foods. Corn has been genetically modified to have a longer shelf life. This makes corn essential in preservatives in most processed foods. Inform your friends about the situation. I‘m sure they wouldn‘t want to inject a cow with a needle full of antibiotics, let alone eat one. Stock your refrigerators with locally produced groceries. With local produce, you can be assured that minimal amounts of carbon dioxide were emitted while transporting your food. Also, it will show your local farmers some love. Pick up a copy of The Omnivores Dilemma by Michael Pollan and give it a scan, mates.


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EATING What is something passed along, sometimes invisible, and always tends to fold?

I

f the promotional video was to be believed, I would matriculate into UC Berkeley and spend my afternoons chatting Literature with National Book Award winner, Maxine Hong Kingston. I believed and I matriculated. It did not take a genius to know that she would make the perfect mentor for me, an aspiring writer. In the off chance she did not appreciate my fiction, I thought, I could always turn to the other Asian-American luminaries on campus. Perhaps the novelist, Bharati Mukherjee would champion my short stories and recommend me to the editor, Elaine Kim, who would include me in her next Charlie Chan anthology. Maybe Ronald Takaki, the pioneer in American cultural studies, would complain about how he lost out on the Pulitzer, and once finished, face me and say, “You’re our only hope.” When I arrived in Berkeley, a well-informed friend told me that Professor Kingston had retired. “Since when?” I asked. “Since forever,” he kindly dated. Not to be deterred, I enrolled in Professor Kim’s survey course. I dropped after two weeks, for what seemed like a reasonable reason at the time—there were a lot of pretty Asian girls in the class, and I had trouble talking around pretty Asian girls. Professor Kim, you see, required an in-class presentation. From then, I decided I wanted only to write, so I applied to Professor Mukherjee’s fiction workshop. The department posted the roster of admitted students on a big bulletin board, like a coach would do for a bas-

ketball team. I scanned downward, hoping to read Monzon, M.D., and when I saw no last names started with M, I offered the English department an alternative phrase beginning with the same letter, one charging them with incestuous relations. My final row, if you will, occurred long after I had achieved success in a new major, History, and slipped into a few writing workshops, all taught by white instructors. Having been nominated for a university-wide prize, I sought the assistance of Professor Takaki. He said, “Sorry. I’m just too busy.” His reply stayed with me as I graduated from Cal and entered the graduate writing program at USC. I reflected upon him and all the others—Professor Kingston, Professor Kim, Professor Mukherjee. There seemed to be such a huge disparity between them, the Asian-Americans in the canon, and me, a person who wanted to join their ranks. They reside high in the Ivory Tower, while I wave for a hand, for a rope, for anything, from down below. To them, I must look like an ant, indistinguishable from the others. The view is rightfully so, for they have earned their place, they deserve their peace. I get dismayed however, when I recognize that there are very few editors willing to give Asian-American writers a boost into the limelight. This stands as the case for there are not many Asian-American publications, whether literary or journalistic. I tried counting these venues on my fingers, and stopped, appropriately enough, on my middle. I kept

lowering and raising it, unsure if Anagram at John Hopkins was still publishing. To find out which magazines were extant, I emailed Anagram and a host of others. While waiting for a response, I swore I heard cyber crickets. Unfazed by the ambient noise, I read the whole of Eating Animals, and vowed to someday allude to the work, no matter how big of a stretch. I also cynically composed a riddle, answer of which is an “Asian American publication.” After a few days, I opened my first and only response—an error message. My inquiry had bounced back from some wall in cyberspace. From where, I couldn’t tell you. About this time, I learned through CNN that Professor Takaki had died. Multiple sclerosis had rendered him bedridden and unable to attend to the scholarship he had devoted his life to. I couldn’t help but wonder, silently to myself, if I somehow burdened this man, a stranger really, with reminders of his lost love. In a weird way, I also couldn’t keep from emulating him— I pursued one of the big questions regarding race: Why are their disproportionately few publications for Asian-Americans? And was this a riddle without an answer? During the next couple weeks, I corresponded with leaders from up-and-coming Asian-American magazines: Rachelle Soroten and Mari Medrano from Alay at UCSC, Sophia Kang and Nicky Schildkraut from Flying Fists at USC, and Melis-


35

ASIANS sa Sipin and Kristine Co from Tayo Literary Magazine. Though all different publications, each faced similar challenges with outreach, selection, editing, printing, and distribution. As such, I found it difficult to pinpoint where past magazines might have fallen, and finally folded. Doing this postmortem was important since it would also clue me in as to why so few AsianAmerican publications existed at all. In my continued analysis, I discovered that all those issues—outreach, selection, editing, printing, distribution—hinged on funding. Money talks, and with enough, you get a voice. So then would a publication thrive if it was what common parlance says Asian-American males are not? That is, wellendowed? The answer is yes and no. With substantial funding, a publication could print a million copies, but this does not guarantee any person would read it. The goal of an Asian-American publication should not be patronage; rather, it should strive for sustainability. Enough people should buy the magazine to support future editions. Building a customer base is done through strong writing, piece by piece. To this point, editors and writers must emphasize quality over community. The fact that a short story or op-ed is about Asian-Americans should not take precedence over the fact that it is poorly written. Conversely, editors with an eye for talent, an Asian-American Gordon Lish or Howard Junker, should search for it, nurture it, love it, and send it back

into the world. The days of editors on one side and writers on the other are over. The slush pile hides the next Elaine Kim, the next Maxine Hong Kingston. If I sound shrill, it is because I am. My idealized version of Asian-American publications seems close, but still too far away. A huge obstacle is our perspective. To illustrate this idea, let us return to a topic mentioned earlier: Asian-American males, their endowments, and size thereof. This stereotype may seem silly, yet it leads to essential questions: Do we view ourselves as different from white Americans? Or have we been consumed—eaten up—by American culture? If not, do we measure up against them? To reapply these ponderings to publications: Is there an Asian-American literature, distinct and rich, wholly separate from the wider canon? More importantly, is it worth the time and energy and money to try make a magazine? Would our writing be worthwhile? Recently, editors and directors have stood up and answered, not with a resounding “Yes, we can!” but with a hopeful “Yes we might.” This reply is the better of the two, as shrewdness, not spirit, sustains magazines. Alay at UCSC is collecting submissions for a literary magazine to be released in the spring—the first in three years. Tayo Literary Magazine is preparing for its second annual edition in the fall, and Flying Fists is launching their magazine at about the same time. To top things off, Isa at UCSD has earned substantial support from the community,

including guest spots from Gabe Bondoc and AJ Rafael, under the leadership of editor, Jessica Caloza. Each is also gaining membership, attracting mainstream coverage, and forming editorial boards, all markers of print longevity. Another exciting sign is that innovative venues are being created; for instance, poet, Rachelle Cruz, hosts an online radio show, The Blood-Jet Writing Hour, in which she discusses craft with a famous author. She has interviewed such accomplished AsianAmerican poets as Joseph Legaspi, Lee Herrick, and Ching-In Chen. With these developments in mind, there is only one question left to ask, which I would like to pose to all my peers—novelists, memoirists, poets, playwrights, journalists, editors, short-story writers—and that is: Now that we have more venues than ever before, what do you have to say?

Author: M.D. Monzon (For Mary Yukari Waters)


36 It may to do. r s g in h e you y of t h d plent own. You hav arn about u reac n o a y , e e e wd to le to s he tim , places nt to do – slo opportunity other how es by t Alfred f k o a t y t is a r g n ur b azin , ple ou w ree m hough ake th o meet verything y ill miss an am up, teach yo s to even t e t m l il le p w o e w t w e th n o You ty of p gh time to d wanted. You ur sister gro he really wa vacation in issing n le p e m his ar d( er ou yo about there Watch you ev ave en regret with da I know e you just h rything that your family. to the park and ask tatay te. You will la k y seem li fe to do eve u – especiall t her job, go how on TFC, s will be too u ay? li o s g whole ple around y to mom abo er favorite m anyw se thin o e t h a t m f lk o h u a Heli er, the pe our name, t nanay about when some o are in a y age, howev ke mom y s k n e y o s a im a r s t , . t a ) e a y to re. M each m e elec u’ll mak sn’t sa ould be valenc e time you r rk to get he d – trust y he doe es. There w t mistake yo n a m wo s y th inte how Philippin hat is the fir cares town? No. . B ok a lot more e her disappo o h w , T o n n e dow to s I mea t it t them. oring – ool and go to it really is, bu do not want b n’t is s ou so I wo sch clas Y ble , a t y l. t r u o lu n t a c o e h v is r id tory Chem y acc rathe alized how t of high sc ’t you e u meet b op out of His ever, l il w u Wouldn completely r university o u will make. . How of yo n’t dr o e two re a hint: do out yourself ually break h you’ve nd get into a nd mistake y T l. o e a vent ally co er (h ew ab proud t is the seco one re o much bett something n ause she’ll e e m a o h s c T me. ting s rd, be l learn l meet rs you’l ake the mee e, and you’l smile too ha take. r a e e oppo y s f im o m o is o t h l t t il m e le t w m p o ird me of d to In a cou when, but it happy for so ith you, try n at is your th you. So n’t be scare and s u e h s w a o b t p y ’s o d t he , an tell urself le. Do nities e going r, and s ell her pportu very valuab ore about yo o y n 1). You’rou’re with he ever even t a ch m y are ’t let n houldn metimes the l learn so mu o fail. when y art. You will s u o y il t o t e your h y is tha ur life, and s it’s ok. You wver be afraid a s o t , but on yo rying nd ne really t come once l fail at times ortunities a m I’ t a nly pp Wh wil aking o s may o e, you tunitie at step. Sur or it. Keep t f h take t tter person be a be . my age

abits h s le le y t lit st ing ve n life r sister’s f grow n a a t h li o o p he ou ou at y f metro es of y The rush mber w left h t o c e . im ocla dream annoyan ily basis in. I rem ou were rk. I r p a a u y o to me ead. Yo ou small on a d d uncert e died nt to w ake r sa, s o li f h h t e e Y g ent road a nsion. rM urrin xious an t after Dad w ination ssoms m c e c it a Dea o ag an us bu e nd exc blo rm tter yet tedio s in you em to b ou both randpa, Mom a your im as the he times u h y e s. G en se wit ing tt tie It is hilarating vish par agging making le with ouse wh ing lett r as sur r forge elessnes d p m x e m n h te e an e osting la Dad’s must b to doo ir huge daydrea and flut I will nev dent ho ciety, I a r n h d d u e . o o p and Mom an wing u you use g in th ng and uld race s loved st desp y our s get yo r li e in o y and and gr ng and dma, liv nt dood ghts wo ou alwa the mo dged b ou could ur hung n ju u u n o r olde were yo ith Gra you spe our tho e pool y tion and tion” as rything y se of y u are a ill Y u o w w la s h a e . a r t you ourself e hou entures to ighest e l educ ead ev ll; bec today. Y ho you not in h d a e y t r v h w an ns e ad sw can to by mber orm wild ranches d, felt th k the “f d love inded a discussio ay. I am and I e m n e o r l u n d c b m mind om the and crie and la inded a open tellectua I am to I was yo ove, L r u o g e r in m f o y youn to b any penghed when f wh . red flutte have lau you are always o hing me ed in m spect o e times my face lissa e g a h c t M a u h n e a n a ng yo thoug u wer for te of po elf e art and minisce creep u o s n y u y e o t v m y E he tha I re nk rin nd glad on. Tha dom I fi e of my d when rmous g s is n o hand orldly w vein insid or so, a t an en w for ceable decade lp but le la he irrep e in a m o bec


Letters To My Younger Self Have you ever looked back at past experiences and wished you could have done something different or gone a different direction? These letters serve tribute to that and although you can‘t go back in time, you can learn from your mistakes. The first step is writing them down...

Dear Little

Austin,

What's up little Austi n? year of co llege and le I don't know how o ld t me tell y college ch ou, college you are right now, b oosing pro ut I'm in m is cess, go w great. An y second ith your gu d don't str t. ess about . UCSD is th But anywa the e bomb fo ys, I'm off r real. track. I co do and no uld tell yo t to do, bu us t I think th life. Figuri at you sho ome specific import ng things u ant details ld cherish o u t for yours definitely of the adven do not wa elf is one tu re and unc things to n o t f to take th the best a powerful d e rtainty of at away fr s iscoveries p e c ts of li om you. S I've made found out o I'll just te fe and I most relating no about life ll you the t to specif in g you and th most ic occurre e people a eneral that make it nces, but more satis round you to things I've fying and more happ fun, as we y. First of all ll as makin , build stro g ng, close re had friend lationships s, but non e w fe sometime ith people lt like they s even tho as s were all th ugh I'm su a it's just be t close. Ev oon as you can. Sure rrounded cause it's en now, I I by the clo new to me still feel is who care sest frien . Truly th o about me la te d d s I've eve ough, I'm and who I way. I jus r had. I th blessed to care so m t wish tha in k have so m uch about, t I could h sooner. any people and I wou ave been ldn't have able to ha it any othe ve these k r inds of re Second, if lationships you care a bo whole life without pre ut someone then le t them kno tty much e went away w! I spen ver telling to college t pretty m my Mom o did I start about, tha uch my r . And if th Dad I love t makes y ere's som our life be them. Not problems e o tt until I n e e else in y r, that you with this e our life th ven thoug love, then them feel a h t te you care I know I w so much b ll them! I d ant to. Bu etter abou efinitely s t trust me t their life ti ll have it's worth . I know it Next, thou it. It'll mak would if s gh it migh e o m eone told t seem mo idea to lea me! re specific rn how to than the o play an ins good thing thers, I re trument, p to be able ally think it referably to do and around wit 's a good th e guitar or w h and learn ill make yo piano. It's ur life so m ing Fruity as soon a really a Loops Stu s possible u ch better. dio, a mus . It's grea And start ic creation t. playing program fo And lastly r the PC, , GO ALL OUT! In w tank. Whe hatever yo the u do, the classro r it's on the volleyb all court (y never leave an ounc om, in life e of gas le es volleyb in general, have so d all is the b ft in your don't hold on't waste est, little A back. Don it! I repea ustin), in 't be lazy. t, don't wa This is the ste this life So there y only life w . Live it th ou go little e e way you w Austin. I c for you to ant it to b ould have figure out e . told you m on to do now ore'way m that I wish your own. The abo o re ve are jus 'but the re I had done you just b t some ke st of it is e YOU, th y things th en everyth sooner. I can't wait at I'm tryin to see how ing will be g awesome, your life tu Faith, love I promise rns out! If , and stre . ngth, Big Austin

37


38

The Deadline O

ur veterans have served our country and for that we should be forever grateful. They have been on the front-lines of WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, only to experience what no human should ever have to endure—the horrors of war. They then come home only to face a new reality—readjustment. It’s not an easy process because not only have they been scarred physically, but mentally. Compensation and rehabilitation are to be expected and provided for our vets. But it hasn’t been until just recently under the Obama administration that veteran benefits have been improving. Even so, this belief varies amongst our country. Our veterans have been neglected and one group particularly affected by that neglect has been the Filipino soldiers of WWII. The US and the Philippines have had a long history of an estranged relationship. Rudyard Kipling described it as, “The White Man’s

Burden,” in which western society believed in their moral responsibility to imperialize South East Asian nations and civilize them. Since the SpanishAmerican war, the United States forced their control over Philippine political and cultural relations through the establishment of naval bases and educational reform. Much of this was met with resistance from Filipinos as their country had been transformed into a commonwealth under the United States. In the midst of WWII, Japan occupied the Commonwealth of the Philippines and the US relied heavily on the Philippine nation to aide American troops across their native lands and waters. Over a quarter of a million Filipinos stood in alliance to win the war; predisposed to having their lands used as battle grounds. Filipino soldiers stood together with U.S. soldiers in the Bataan Death March, the Manila Massacre and Battle of Manila as aiding guerilla insurgents, soldiers and allies. And for that service, they would be allowed to apply for full US citizenship which would then qualify them for full US veteran benefits. That contract was hastily repelled after Japan’s surrender by the Recession Act of 1946—stating that Filipinos were not in active service for the U.S. military during WWII. Indeed this claim has outraged Filipinos, and since then, it has been another uphill battle to reclaim just compensation. Slowly, throughout the past 64 years, these vets have been struggling, only winning in baby steps the benefits that were promised in the beginning. Many of these soldiers pass away before receiving anything at all. It has long since been a bureaucratic process with improvements only beginning to show in the 1990’s by which Congress passed a bill that allowed

Author: Farrah Monfort Illustrator: Jennifer Jhang


for Retribution thousands of Filipinos who had served under the US military, and their families, to be able to migrate to the U.S. This brought about hopes of obtaining citizenship to gain full VA benefits, but they were only met by a small stipend from the Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which only provided security of the basic necessities. Today, there are organizations like Los Angeles based Justice for Filipino American Veterans (JFAV) who have been around for about 13 years, working hard at getting legislation to grant better benefits. Finally last February, under President Obama’s $787 billion economic stimulus bill, the H.R. 1 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 reversed the Recession Act and stated to grant Filipino WWII veterans full recognition of their service to the United Sates. This new act, Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation (FVEC), is tax-free and entitles veteran Filipino American U.S. citizens a lump-sum payment of $15,000, and $9,000 to those still living in the Philippines. The program is intended to cost $198 million of the stimulus bill. This has become a huge advancement for the veterans, but doesn’t go without a catch. Some Filipinos have been reluctant to file their claim and the deadline is fast approaching on February 16, 2010. The hesitation is due to the fact that they will be putting a lot at risk. If they file for this one-time grant payment, then they would be at risk of having to give up their SSI benefits, which includes healthcare. The lump-sum payment denies any further reparations and must release their SSI claim of entitlement for lifetime veteran pensions, even if it does little to provide the minimal necessities. The FVEC will not provide healthcare and many veterans are disabled or ill. They must decide which programs are most beneficial not only for themselves, but for their families. How equitable is $15000 compared to the SSI benefits that they have been receiving? So far, The Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) reports that out of the 18,000 applicants, 11,300 Filipino veterans have received their claims, but JFAV believes that this calculation has been gravely exaggerated. In fact, JFAV argues that there are actually 34,000 applicants and less than 3,000 have received their claims; those who are U.S. based Filipino veterans that were the earliest to apply have yet to obtain any money at all. The process is a long filing nightmare. Some veterans that have applied have already died, in which case their surviving spouse must follow up with the claims.

Another problem that persists while filing for this one-time lump sum monetary compensation is that out of those who have already filed for their claims, more than 2,000 veterans have been denied. Government letters have cited loyalty issues. And even though many have been released on honorable discharge, they are being accused of aiding the Japanese during the war. As part of the filing process, they are required to give a written detailed account about their service and activities during the war. The strive for a monetary settlement is not enough, as JFAV would protest, “Full recognition is True Justice” and the FVEC settlement is just “hush money.” Filipinos during WWII were in fact fighting under the United States military and not as a sovereign, allied country. This reason has led JFAV to assert that the veterans should be included in the Enhanced American Veterans Benefits Law or the New GI Bill of 2009, which would entitle the veteran Filipino American U.S. citizens at least the same benefits as any other U.S. war veteran. Respect for the Filipino war veterans is long overdue. Not only should they be be able to come back and see how their hard work paid off by living comfortably, but it as just as it is their right. There is no end for our soldiers of war. They will continue to be in a constant battle for their country, risking their life and their livelihood. Even though JFAV was formed in 1997, its leadership organization only began gaining momentum in 2006 as they partnered up with numerous associations along California. With the help of Samahang Pilipino and People’s CORE they have been able to hold successful protests and conferences attracting 67 student, youth, community and veterans organizations. One recent protest was held on Veterans Day in November 2009. The march started in Historic Pilipino Town and ended with a rally at the Federal Building in LA. Many young Filipino student organizations joined that day, which included UCLA, CSU Northridge, CSU Long Beach, San Diego State, UC Irvine, UC Riverside and UCSD. JFAV‘s efforts have been fruitful as they have opened up four more chapters nation wide in San Francisco, Chicago, New York, and Washington D.C.

If you would like to know more or get involved, JFAV‘s contacts are (213)241-0995 or (213) 382-1819; myspace-jfav-la.com

39


Education You Can Count On For a century Samuel Merritt University has educated highly skilled professionals in: ✦ Nursing ✦ Occupational Therapy ✦ Physical Therapy ✦ Physician Assistant ✦ Podiatric Medicine

Premier Health Sciences since 1909

Oakland

Sacramento

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800.607.6377 www.samuelmerritt.edu


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Isa Magazine Issue One  

Isa Magazine is a non-profit student organization of UCSD. We pledge to create a publication aimed at enhancing Asian-American consciousness...

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