Spring 2011 Issue 7, Vol. 2
the aftermath and response to japan â€™s tragedy
2011 |20 1 Stigma behind mental illness 18 Buddhism in flux 10 Interview with HarrySPRING Shum
There are certain stories — some of tragedy, others of triumph — that are powerful enough to resonate with near everyone, no matter their background.
While traveling on Spring Break a few weeks ago, a woman approached an Asian American friend of mine and me and asked, “Are you from China?” Neither of us were. The woman proceeded, “Oh that’s too bad, I was going to tell you how sorry I am for what happened in Japan.” The conversation struck a chord with me. To empathize for the victims of last month’s tsunami and earthquake in Japan, one need not be Japanese, Chinese, let alone Asian or Asian American. There are certain stories — some of tragedy, others of triumph — that are powerful enough to resonate with near everyone, no matter their background. This magazine’s cover story about the aftermath of the disaster in Japan is one such example (p.15-17). In this spring’s NU Asian, you will read about many issues that though meaningful in the Asian American community, are also just as meaningful in other communities as well. Read about the growing interest of Chinese language among a diverse group of Northwestern students (p. 8-9), stigma behind mental health treatment in the Asian American community (p. 18-19) and commentary on the shifting definition of who is a “terrorist” (p. 24). On a personal note, this is my last issue with NU Asian. After three years with the magazine, I have watched NU Asian grow and evolve tremendously and I am confident it will continue to thrive. As always, NU Asian’s editorial board and staff have worked very hard to put this issue together – and I couldn’t be more proud. Thank you for reading and hope you enjoy! Nathalie Tadena Editor-in-Chief Interested in getting involved with NU Asian magazine next year? Please contact the 2011-2012 EIC Shirley Li at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Meet our staff Editor in Chief Nathalie Tadena Managing Editor Katherine Zhu Creative Director Emily Chow Photo and Art Director Nicky Nicholson-Klingerman Online/Special Projects Editor Pavan Krishnamurthy Marketing Director Hyerin Lee
Writers Vanessa Dopker Martin Kim Hyerin Lee Lorraine Lee Nicky Nicholson-Klingerman Diane Tsai Sam Wheeler Jia You Jason Zhou Designers Janise Chan Erin Kim Stephanie Kim Hyerin Lee Alice Liu Julie Ma Katherine Zhu
Marketing Team Cathy Gao Martin Kim Pavan Krishnamurthy Jennifer Peiyi Tan Joe Spiro Gladys Wu Jia You Fashion spread team Monique Gaynor Alice Liu Adviser Louie Lainez Special thanks to our sponsors Asian American Studies Program, International Studies Program, Norris University Center and Kansaku
NU Asian magazine is an APAC publication and is funded by the Student Activities Finance Board.
2 | NU ASIAN
SHUM: COURTESY OF HARRY SHUM | THAI CLUB: N. NICHOLSON-KLINGERMAN / NU ASIAN | CHINA: S. WHEELER / NU ASIAN
6 Campus 4 Alumni spotlight 6 Club profile: Thai Club 7 Asian American Studies program 8 Majoring in Chinese
Chicago to Intâ€™l 10 12 14 15 16 20 22 24 25 26
Buddhism in flux Devon Alderman Ameya Pawar Standing with Japan Mental health Harry Shum K-pop craze Terror talk U.S. debt to China Karaoke in Chicago
Et cetera 27 Spring fashion 30 A quarter in China
30 SPRING 2011 | 3
Brittany Park explores entertainment industry Recent grad has danced in Nicki Minaj and Linkin Park videos by Lorraine K. Lee
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because music videos often cast based on photos and sometimes a short conversation. But Park didn’t always want to pursue acting. It wasn’t until she took an acting course for non-majors during her senior year at Northwestern that she realized she had forgotten how much she loved acting and performing, says Park, who was a member of Fusion Dance Company. She is already well on her way to achieving her goal. Park has shot a few short films and was recently cast in a film written by actor James Franco andwhich will be directed by actor Jim Parrack (“True Blood”). She was personally chosen to be in the film after Parrack, a teacher at her acting school Playhouse West, watched her in some of her classes. “That was a huge privilege for me,” Park says. “It’s a great opportunity to work with talented and distinguished people in the industry already, and both James and Jim went to my acting school.” Despite Park’s past and upcoming projects, as an RTVF major, she was behind the camera, not in front of it. She worked primarily on student films while at
Northwestern. “Even though I didn’t focus on acting at all, it [behind-the-camera work] prepared me for the process of being on set, being around cameras,” she says. “[It] helped me understand the other side of the industry.” And just because Park has started acting doesn’t mean she’s given up filming. She will often get friends together from her acting school to shoot projects “for fun,a” she says. “It helped make me more well-rounded and fall in love with the whole T.V. film process,” Park says of her time behind-the-scenes. And as for the shows Park hopes she can have a role in one day? The actress says she has a long list, but the two that came to mind were Community and “embarrassingly enough,” she says, Gossip Girl. Park says the risk she took when she first moved to L.A. was worth it. “I have been loving it [acting] more than I love everything else,” Park says.
PHOTO COURTESY OF BRITTANY PARK
After taking a chance to pursue her passion for acting in Los Angeles after graduating from Northwestern in 2010, Brittany Park has already done pretty well for herself. Park, who was a Radio/Television/Film major at Northwestern, has a small acting part in Nicki Minaj’s song “Check It Out” featuring will.i.am., where she first showed up to play the role of an audience member. She was then chosen for the co-host role after producers talked to her. “I got to meet and talk to will.i.am and he was really cool,” says Park, who goes by the stage name Victoria Park. “It was just a really fun experience. Music videos are pretty chill.” She recently finished filming a part in a music video for Linkin Park’s song, “Burning in the Skies.” The video comprises four to five vignettes of people around the world who become connected after a natural disaster. Park’s character had her own vignette. While Park has fun acting in music videos, her goal is to endup on television or in films. Music videos help her pay the bills but aren’t as challenging, she says,
Ben Huh’s growing Cheezburger Network Medill alum wants people to smile for five minutes a day by Lorraine K. Lee
PHOTOS COURTESY OF BEN HUH AND ICANHASCHEEZBURGER.COM
Ben Huh wasn’t always the Founder and CEO of Cheezburger, Inc., the company that houses popular blogs like I Can Has Cheezburger? (more widely known as LOLcats), FAIL Blog and many others. However, the Northwestern alumnus has been extremely successful in this position so far. An example of his success comes in the form of $30 million of venture funding for his company, whose goal is to make people smile for five minutes a day. "In late March, the network also acquired the site, Know Your Meme." The company’s goal works perfectly with Huh’s, who has always been entrepreneurial, even at Northwestern, he says. He knew even then that he wanted to do customer-related work. “I think I really believe in our mission, which is to make people happy for five minutes a day,” Huh says. “I think it’s important for businesses to have a mission that is more than just making a profit. I think making a profit is important, but there are more tactical things that you do to achieve something greater.” Now with $30 million in financing, the Cheezburger Network plans to hire more employees (but only those who are at the top one percent of their profession, Huh says) to develop a better system for its users, which includes a faster and more stable system as well as updated software that will allow users to caption images more easily. Huh attributes much of his success to the education he received at Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern, where he says he built a good foundation.
“I had a great time at Medill, and I think what was really awesome about Medill was that it focused on the fundamentals,” Huh says. “It didn’t kind of chase the latest fad. It really made sure that what you got out of that was an education that was focused on understanding your readership, your content, and how to write well.” While Huh’s business is primarily online, he didn’t take any online classes at Medill because the school had just started thinking about new media, he says. However, the
skills he learned still put him ahead of the curve. “I thought that was a real advantage when I actually graduated because I could be articulate whereas other people could not,” says the entrepreneur, who was accepted into Medill’s graduate new media program but ultimately decided to start working. While at Northwestern, Huh was already an entrepreneur, taking on a lot of web development and design work for a handful of departments. While at Northwestern, Huh says there was not much of an Asian-American community on campus, and says he was the only Asian-American male in his class at Medill. His primary focus was working at The Daily Northwestern, which he called one of his fondest memories and an “amazing, fun experience.” “The Daily was my main priority,” Huh says. “I spent a lot of time working at the Daily and I ended up skipping a lot of classes to work at the Daily.” Although his time at the Daily may be over, as CEO of Cheezburger, Inc., Huh still loves what he does. And even though he’s been working at Cheezburger for almost four years, Huh says he’s still learning new things. “As the company grows, I have to do things that I’ve never done before and it’s kind of unnerving and you’re not sure if you’re doing it right,” Huh says. “But once you look past on it and go, ‘Wow, I really learned a lot,’ when you’re going through that growth phase, you get a little uncertainty in you, but once you’re past it I think that’s actually part of the process.”
i can haz cheezburger? SPRING 2011 | 5
Thai Club provides community Thai Club continues to promote culture through annual Thai Night event
by Nicky Nicholson-Klingerman
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Students gather around to make mobiles out of colored paper. Other tables in the room were filled with do-it-yourself Thai arts and crafts., including paper fans and umbrellas to paint.
N. NICHOLSON-KLINGERMAN / NU ASIAN
The Thai Club meets every Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Multicultural Center. About 10 to 15 people regularly attend these meetings and enjoy being a part of the club. The president, Rongrong Cheacharoen, a junior in McCormick, is the first to arrive andwrites the agenda on the board. People trickle in as the meeting commences. They laugh and talk about their day, sometimes in English, sometimes in Thai. It is clear that they are a close-knit group and know each other very well. They discuss the upcoming Thai Night, one of their main events. Thai Night is a showcase for Thai culture with delicious food, decorations, music and activities popular in Thailand. Last year it was attended not only by Northwestern students but also people from Evanston and Chicago. Last year it was held in the Louis room of Norris andwas overflowing with people. Unfortunately, the Louis room was already booked and Thai Night will be held in a much smaller room in Parkes Hall. The theme this year will be Thai New Year. One of the main focuses for Thai Club is to provide a safe space for Thai students. Prachya Thimsuwan, a freshman in Weinberg and secretary of Thai Club, said that he wanted a place where he could meet Thai people. “There’s like no Thai people at this university,” he said, “So it’s a small group and it’s a lot of fun.” Thimsuwan also said that one of the other goals of Thai Club is to inform the students at Northwestern about Thai culture. “We’re interested in exposing our community to Thai culture because the only thing people know about the Thai culture is that we have amazing food and our main dish is Pad Thai. We just want to show them that it’s more than that,” said Thimsuwan. He is also a member of the Asian Cultural Club which is trying to bring an Asian-American fraternity to campus, Pi Delta Psi. To get the fraternity started on campus they must meet certain requirements and one of them is to do two cultural events. They have volunteered to help the Thai Club with Thai Night. Thai Night was a huge success last year, according to the members of the Thai Club. Hopefully, this year they will be a great success as well and show people a small taste of Thailand.
Voicing the Asian American experience in the classroom
E. CHOW / NU ASIAN
Northwestern’s Asian American Studies Program highlights interest, importance of ethnic studies courses by Nathalie Tadena Student empowerment – both inside the classroom and in the greater community—has been a central theme in the history and growth of the Asian American Studies program at Northwestern. The program was born out of successful student lobbying efforts in the 1990s. After submitting a proposal to the Office of the President in February 1995, members of the Asian American Advisory Board and other students staged a 20-day hunger strike that April to pressure the university to establish the Asian American Studies program. In 1999, an Asian American Studies minor was with two core faculty members. Nearly 12 years later, the program has grown to include five core faculty members, 18 minors andmore than 20 course offerings. For the 2011-2012 school year, the program will offer classes such as “Rebels in Asian America,” “Hapa Issues: Asian Americans of Mixed Racial Descent” and “Contemporary Asian Immigration.” “Asian American studies was won as a result of student demand,”
said Jinah Kim, assistant director and lecturer in the Asian American studies program. “This sort of intellectual, activist presence is one of the things Asian American studies is uniquely situated to offer.” Kim noted that alumni from the Asian American studies program are devoted to the program and to keeping the university accountable for the program for which they fought for. NU’s program is the largest Asian American studies program in the Chicagoland area. Ethnic studies programs have become increasingly relevant in understanding and contextualizing today’s transnational society. Asian American studies, in particular, highlights stories of Asian American contributions in the U.S. that are often silenced, said Nitasha Sharma, assistant professor of Asian American studies and African American studies. “[Asian American studies] really show that Asian Americans have been part of the fabric of American life,” Sharma said. “It behooves students of all backgrounds to understand the totality of what the
U.S. is — and it’s made of immigrants from various places who have made various contributions. If one doesn’t take Asian American studies classes, you don’t get a full picture of what the U.S. is.” Asian American studies classes also are meaningful for students from an Asian American background. “It’s always been the notion that college prepares you to be a good citizen and a good member of the community and you need to know where you come from,” said Carolyn Chen, an associate professor of sociology and Asian American studies. “What happens when your stories are not told and you don’t feel like you’re a part of that community? Part of what Asian American studies does is to open up the consciousness of students and empower them.” Chen noted that she and her colleagues in the Asian American Studies program have many stories of students transforming in their classrooms. Because Asian American Stud-
ies classes teach a history of political action and racial justice, many students leave their classes with a better understanding of how racism affects multiple communities of colors and how the histories of different ethnic groups are interwoven. “Asian American studies isn’t important just for Asian Americans but for all groups,” said Sharma, noting the importance of discussing coalitions and issues that overlap different communities in classes. “Many students did not know that Asian Americans fought alongside Black Panthers, for example.” One of Chen’s future goals for the program is to see more students choose to minor in Asian American studies. To complete a minor in the Asian American studies program, undergraduates must complete six courses in Asian American studies as well as one course in a discipline other than Asian American studies that focuses on race and ethnicity.
SPRING 2011 | 7
Chinese language courses pique student interest Though NU does not offer a Chinese major, some students seek language degree by Jia You
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“We need to prepare more people who can deal with China,” said professor Licheng Gu, director of the African and Asian Languages Program. “Other universities realized the importance of the Chinese major. They train their students to get jobs which are related to China.” At Northwestern, 350 students enroll in Chinese language courses every quarter and 25 take up a minor in Chinese, Gu said. Yet, the regular programs offered at Northwestern seem insufficient to satisfy students’ demands for an in-depth knowledge of Chinese language and culture, some students and professors say. The minor in Chinese program focuses more on teaching the language than giving students a holistic understanding of China, Gu said. Students pursuing a Chinese minor are required to take three content courses; those pursuing a major would need to take nine, ranging from Chinese literature, anthropology to history, politics and even religion.
N. NICHOLSON-KLINGERMAN / NU ASIAN
Wildcats may roar at Big Ten sports championships, but when it comes to the establishment of a Chinese major, Northwestern trails far behind many of its peer institutions. Seven of the Big Ten universities offer a major in Chinese language and culture to its students; Northwestern is not one of them. “I feel like there should be a major in Chinese as there is an increasing demand to learn about the Chinese culture, the Chinese policy, the Chinese language,” said Rachel Lin, a Weinberg sophomore. “Especially as the Chinese economy is booming.” Indeed, with China’s growing economic and political power, Chinese language courses are becoming increasingly popular in universities. More than 60,000 university students now study Chinese, making it the third fastest-growing language course in universities, according to a 2010 survey by the Modern Language Association.
Alternatively, students may also pursue a major in Asian languages and civilizations under the Asian and Middle-East Studies program, where they take six courses in a chosen language and eleven content courses. However, the program focuses on Asia as a region more than individual countries. “I would say for the Chinese market, a major in Chinese language and culture is more to the point,” Gu said. He said a degree in Chinese language and culture major would be more competitive than one in AMES when companies consider candidates to work with China. Northwestern offers Chinese major on an ad hoc basis. Students interested in the ad hoc major need to propose their own curriculum and get it endorsed by the faculty and Dean’s Office at Weinberg. “It’s a lot of work,” Gu said on the application procedure. But not so to Weinberg sophomore Nathan Rosenstock, who is petitioning for a Chinese major this year. “I shouldn’t say it’s easy, but the process
has been pretty fair,” said Rosenstock, who fell in love with Chinese after taking a year of the language to fulfill Weinberg’s language requirement. He said he is excited about the interdisciplinary approach in his proposed curriculum. “Chinese major spans seven different dis-
Gu hopes the success of the ad hoc major would eventually lead to an official major. He has taken a cautious route in pushing for a Chinese major, focusing on developing the existing programs and recruiting more teachers before officially proposing a Chinese major. “You can tell, my students want it, I want it,” Gu said. “But at the same time We’re gradually building it up.” To him, the future of a Chinese major ultimately depends on what direction the Dean’s Office chooses to go. “The resources are limited, especially in this kind of economic situation,” Gu said. “So they will make a choice on what to go, what not to go and when to go. I respect the Dean’s Office’s decision.” Andrew Mark, a Weinberg senior who minors in Chinese, said he found the lack of a Chinese major at Northwestern “quite depressing.” “I think the Chinese program is definitely, if not big enough, almost big enough to really try to get that started in a Chinese major,” he said. “I’d really be looking forward to that.”
“Other universities realized the importance of the Chinese major. They train their students to get jobs which are related to China.”
(sort of )
why will you meet at Norris this spring?
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ciplines, which is really cool,” Rosenstock said. Besides the language, he is also taking classes in anthropology, comparative literature and political science this quarter. He is also optimistic about the value of learning Chinese in the professional world. “I can do basically whatever I want,” he said. “You can go into business, you can go into law, you can go into teaching.”
NORRIS UNIVERSITY CENTER
>>>> connect with Norris at www.facebook.com/norriscenter and twitter.com/norriscenter
chigago to int’l
Chicago Buddhism in flux
Local temples combine traditional and western elements by Vanessa Dopker
he Chicago Zen Center is located in an unassuming house a few blocks away from Northwestern's Evanston campus on Ridge Avenue. Inside the house, zafus sit stacked on a shelf, Japanese woodblock prints line the walls and visitors are asked to take off their shoes upon entry. This Buddhist center, subtly decorated with icons of Japanese culture, houses space for Zen Buddhist meditation, yet primarily attracts non-Asian American members. Buddhism, a religion with its roots in India and centuries of history in Asia, is already a complex religion, comprised of three turns and seemingly countless lineages. And it appears that trends in immigration and the changing face of ‘who is Buddhist' add elements of complexity to the state of Buddhism in Chicago. Today, secular Buddhist centers open, attracting diverse bodies of members, whereas temples founded by Asian immigrants are torn between ties to specific ethnic communities and mainstreaming centers for broader public practice. "[People] don't have to eat with chopsticks in order to practice Buddhism," says priest Shodhin Geiman, when asked about the growing diversity of visitors at the Chicago Zen Center, which reflect a growing trend of non-Asian American converts in the United States, Chicago included. "People have heard of the Dalai Lama, people have heard of Tibet, people have seen Zen advertised all over the place and see the word show up," says Geiman. "[Buddhism] is clearly becoming more mainstream." At Chicago Zen Center, much like other Buddhist centers with ethnically and culturally diverse membership, the lineage allows for non-Asian American Buddhists to reconcile
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ety and participates in an annual Japanese American community memorial at Montrose Cemetery, one of the few cemeteries that interred Japanese American Chicagoans in the mid-century. "We have our feet in both sides," Miyamura says. The Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Association Chicago Chapter, founded by members of the greater Chicago Chinese American immigrant community in 1993 in Northbrook, Ill., is similarly in flux between its original ethnic community ties and accommodating increasingly diverse visitors. "We startedoff with a small Chinese community, but we startedto offer English classes and…offer English programs to propagate Buddhism in the English-speaking community," says Iris Wang, a founding member of Dharma Drum Mountain. Visitors to Dharma Drum Mountain have the option between services in English focus on meditation while programs in Chinese include chanting sutras in Mandarin. Much like the passing of the issei at Midwest Buddhist Temple, the decades since the establishment of Dharma Drum Mountain by first-generation Chinese Americans has contributed to the mainstreaming of the Chan temple. "Those that are young andlike to speak English can come to the English-speaking class. Regardless if they are young Asian Americans or first generation immigrants, they can come to the English programs [and]
M. ERICHSEN / CREATIVE COMMONS
“People have heard of the Dalai Lama, people have heard of Tibet, people have seen Zen advertised all over the place and see the word show up. [Buddhism] is clearly becoming more mainstream.” — Shodhin Geiman
aspects of Buddhism, a religion of continental Asian origins and steeped in corresponding cultures, with aspects of non Asian American cultures. The Harada-Yasutani lineage practiced at the Chicago Zen center allows for certain references to the traditional zabuton andzafu as "mattress" and"cushion," respectively, whereas the lineage continues its use of the word doksan to refer to meetings between Buddhist teachers and students, for a lack of an appropriate English translation. The Midwest Buddhist Temple, one of the first Buddhist temples established in Chicago, today finds itself in transition as a result of its own iteration of mainstreaming, says Reverend Ronald Miyamura. The temple, built in 1944, originally conducted all meditations and services in Japanese and served as a cohesive center for Chicagoan Buddhist Japanese Americans in the wake of World War II. Paralleling the trend of decreasing populations of the issei and increase in nissei and sansei Japanese Americans, the Midwest Buddhist Temple has begun to integrate more Western practices and by proxy, Western members. "Everything is in English now…we no longer have a great need for the Japanese language," Miyamura says. Despite these changes, the temple still maintains its tie with Chicago's Japanese American community through collaboration with the Japanese American Mutual Soci-
V. DOPKER / NU ASIAN
they can benefit from both sides," Wang says. Perhaps Buddhism, broadly, is well suited for cross-cultural practice. "Its practice is essentially just strictly meditation without a lot of, say, cultural symbolism," says priest Shodhin about aspects of Zen Buddhism practice. "Anyone can sit meditation and face the wall and do ones practice so one doesn't feel the 'Oh my gosh, I have to learn Japanese in order to practice or I have to learn Cambodian to practice.'" But Buddhist temples often provide a com-
munity reminiscent of homelands abroad for some Chicagoans. Among the quiet cafes, residential houses and restaurants in Ravenswood, the bright yellow faรงade of Chua Quang Minh, adornedwith multicoloredflags in yellow, blue and red flags, breaks the pattern of a series of storefronts on North Damen Avenue. On the weekends, up to 100 people visit Chua Quang Minh to attend Vietnamese Mahayana services exclusively in Vietnamese. Beyond the Vietnamese community Chua
Quang Minh provides, member and Vietnamese immigrant Kim Dang says sincerely appreciates the, spiritual challenge and relief Buddhism provides: "There's so much hidden [in Buddhism] that everyone really needs to know." And despite all of the variety across lineages, across now-blurred ethnic and cultural lines, that's really the goal of all of these Chicagoland Buddhist centers.
SPRING 2011 | 11
1 1. Mysore Woodlands at 2548 W. Devon Ave. | (773) 338-8160 2. Sukhadia at 2559 W. Devon Ave. | (773) 338-5400 3. The Indian Garden at 2548 W. Devon Ave. | (773) 338-2929 4. Khoobsurat Designer Boutique at 2636 W. Devon Ave. | (773) 743-7300
2 12 | NU ASIAN
evon Avenue, formerly known as the Jewish Magnificent Mile, is now better known for its South Asian cuisine, sari shops and groceries stocked with exotic spices and dried goods. The smell of incense wafts out from narrow stores with handmade crafts and souvenirs and bright, rich fabrics with glittering embellishments are immaculately arranged in the window displays of traditional clothing shops. The street was named after Devonshire by English immigrants in the 1850s. In the following decades, Orthodox Jewish, Russian American, Pakistani American and Indian American communities began to form on the culturally rich avenue as the numbers of immigrants increased. Some moved to suburbs, while others stayed to take advantage of the business opportunities in the area. Today, the Desi corridor on Devon — between California Avenue and Ravenswood Avenue — is rich with aspects of Indian and Pakistani culture, while hints of Jewish and Russian influences are still present on certain portions of the street. Just a short bus ride from Evanston, Devon is a busy pedestrian retail street offering a wide range of ethnic food and wares. In particular, Devon has become a popular
destination for Indian food enthusiasts. Among the top-rated restaurants on Yelp.com is Mysore Woodlands (2548 W. Devon Ave.), a vegetarian South Indian restaurant. Their noteworthy menu items include their saag paneer, spinach curry with cubes of homemade cheese; masala dosai, large crêpes filled with potatoes and onions; andFalooda, rose-flavoredbeverage with rose ice cream and tucmania seeds, topped with Falooda noodles. Right across the street from Mysore Woodlands is Sukhadia’s (2259 W. Devon Ave.), an Indian sweets shop that offers rows of colorful, bite-sized sweets ranging from deep-fried chickpea batter soaked in a sugary syrup to something resembling hardened mango fudge. The price is extremely affordable — a petite box containing five or six pieces of enticing confectionery can be purchased for about $4. For those more interested in shopping, unexpected treasures can be found behind a number of unimposing storefronts. Colorful saris in various sizes and stacks of bracelets in every hue imaginable can be found at Khoobsurat Designer Boutique (2636 W. Devon Ave.), which boasts multiple tantalizing advertisements of “buy one get one free” outside the store. Other inconspicuous souvenir and craft shops, which are common along Devon, offer
incense holders and delicate trinkets. A plentiful selection of rich spices and dried goods are available at Patel Brothers (2610 W. Devon Ave.), a spacious grocery store offering ethnic foods and ingredients. From barrels filled with crispy snacks sold by the pound to large, inexpensive packets of tumeric, saffron or other coveted spices, Patel Brothers is a cook’s paradise — for cooking Indian food, that is. Aside from edible items, Patel Brothers also has henna powder, along with other Aruyvedic powders. However, most people might prefer to get meticulously hand-painted henna tattoos at a professional salon, such as Super Clips Salon (2312 W. Devon Ave.). Numerous salons located along Devon provide services that also include Henna hair coloring, eyebrow threading, and more. When visiting Devon, be prepared to brush shoulders with numerous pedestrians carrying plastic bags containing left-overs from lunch, new apparel, or perhaps dried goods and spices. Devon provides the perfect opportunity to get immersed in South Asian culture, or to simply dip one’s toes in to get a glimpse of the vibrant, cultural community that is located just a short distance from Evanston. The distinct tastes, smells and sights will leave visitors longing for more.
D. TSAI / NU ASIAN
Devon’s Desi Corridor A Chicago neighborhood that provides a taste of South Asian culture
by Diane Tsai
4 SPRING 2011 | 13
Chicago elects first Asian American alderman NU employee Ameya Pawar to lead city’s 47th ward by Nicky Nicholson-Klingerman
hundreds of thousands of dollars to poll or do direct mail or info billboards,” said Pawar, who works in Northwestern's Office of Emergency Management. Pawar says he decided to run for alderman because he wanted to use the position to help Chicago make changes in important areas. “The city’s at a financial tipping point, we can either continue doing things the same way by electing aldermen that are unwilling to look beyond the border of the Ward or we can change [and] reform government,” he said. A son of Indian immigrants, Pawar was born and raised in the Chicagoland area. While he appreciates the support, the newly elected alderman is ready to take on his position’s responsibilities. "It's great to be interviewed by the media," he said. "But I'm focusing on getting to work."
COURTESY OF AMEYA PAWAR
meya Pawar made history when he became Chicago's first Asian American alderman, winning the aldermanic race in the city's 47th ward in March. Pawar's victory came as a surprise to many following the election. When former Alderman Gene Schulter stepped down from the position he has held for 36 years, it was expected that his ally Tom O’Donnell would fill his place. However, Pawar exceeded expectations and won the election with 50.8 percent of the vote over O’Donnell’s 43.5 percent. Pawar, 30, began campaigning 15 months before the election and by the end of his campaign, he managed to raise about $40,000. He spoke at forums all around the neighborhood and went door-to-door to speak to constituents. “It’s kind of hard to predict how well you’re going to do when you enter this kind of campaign, when you don’t have
Standing with Japan by Pavan Krishnamurthy The consequences of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami signify the world's most expensive natural disaster to date. With a current count of 11,734 deaths, 2,877 injured, 16,375 people missing and more than 166,000 Japanese displaced from their homes, the 8.9 magnitude earthquake and tsunami has devastated Japan and many of its people.
SPRING 2011 | 15
he implications of this disaster grow on a day-by-day basis; whether it is tsunami victims still searching for shelter or Fukushima nuclear plant workers found dead. Prime Minister Naoto Kan and the people of Japan continue to struggle with the catastrophe. The disaster will cost the Japanese government $309 billion, about 6 percent of Japan's 2010 economic output and will take at least five years to economically recover. The catastrophe, has however, resulted in a broad international response, providing solace to many of the earthquake’s victims.
A Cosmopolitan Response
The disaster in Japan had a ripple effect in the global political economy. Japan has lost 20,000 megawatts of nuclear and thermal power generation capacity due to the quake, which has reduced the national supply by 20 percent. The resulting electricity shortages have caused petrochemical, automobile and electronic components manufacturers to temporarily or even permanently shut down production. Additionally, there has been a significant impact on Japanese companies operating in America, especially the auto industry, which saw a 37 percent drop in production. Japanese companies supply many critical parts that are incorporated into technological and consumer devices. For example, there have been shortages in key components of products like Apple's iPad 2, causing delays. Coupled with the devastating humanitarian implications, it is not surprising that Prime Minister Kan recently stated, “In the 65 years after the end of World War II, this is the toughest and the most difficult crisis for Japan.” Stressing the cosmopolitan connections with Japan, governments, international organizations, corporations, and non-profits have organized fairly quickly to support the Japanese citizenry. The Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has stated that 128 countries and 33 international organizations had offered assistance to date. Several million dollars were raised through social sites for relief organizations working in Japan. The Japanese Red Cross has received $500 million and the American Red Cross has received $120 million in donations in response to the disaster. President Obama has promised 16 | NU ASIAN
support and released a statement, “the United States stands ready to help the Japanese people in this time of great trial.” Operation Tomodachi, friend in Japanese, is an American military operation providing humanitarian assistance to Japan. Twentythousand US military troops and personnel were mobilized to provide assistance to the disaster area. The international response has truly been meaningful.
k A Nuclear Focus
Talk of nuclear security has often clouded the humanitarian claims of this crisis. While the nuclear threat is real, it is comparatively insignificant. That being said, many argue easing the fuel rod situation by burying the plan underground in cement or sending the sensitive material to a processing plant, but these are just quick, short-term solutions. Hironobu Unesaki, a nuclear engineering professor at the Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute, said in a recent interview with Bloomberg, "Looking at past examples of dismantling reactor cores in Japan, it will take a minimum of between 20 and 30 years to complete the work and return the site to (being) an empty lot." The Japanese government with aid from the international community is very capable in resolving this issue. Unfortunately, the nuclear priorities might be diverts much needed attention on the grander humanitarian front.
k NU Stands with Japan
While the Japanese community may not be very large at Northwestern, it is widespread. More than 600 Northwestern alumni live in Japan, and many hundreds more Japanese Northwestern alumni live around the world. Many students on campus had a direct connection with this disaster. While President Schapiro sent a campus-wide email concerning Japan four days after this disaster, many found this response inadequate. With so many Northwestern students tied to the Japanese community, many students mobilized initial efforts. The Bienen School of Music, Northwestern Red Cross and the Kellogg Alumni Network performed
successful decentralized campaigns. Wanting a broader response, Northwestern student leaders and much of the Northwestern Japanese community came together to establish NU Stands with Japan. In initial meetings, NU Stands with Japan consulted founders of previous humanitarian campaigns, such as NU Stands with Haiti and NU Stands with Pakistan to determine the best course of action. The campaign was off at the start of spring quarter. For Hiro Kawashima, Associate Student Government Vice President, corporate relations chair of NU Stands with Japan and a Japanese national, the need for a unified response was justified. “Schapiro's response was weak and too late, it was late in the quarter, and centralized effort is efficient, because it can rally the entire community," Kawashima said. He said the broader message of the campaign is “to show Northwestern cares about the country and the community.” The actual raising of the money is far less important to him when compared to the more central awareness priorities. In addition to adopting Emory University and University of Michigan's successful crane folding campaigns, NU Stands with Japan decided on hosting a lecture series, cultural programing, and a fundraising campaign focused on folding paper crane. The folding of origami cranes is a symbol of hope in Japan. And, while folding the cranes students, who have taken a break from their busy schedules, will learn about the disaster, Japanese culture, and what NU Stands with Japan represents. Folding 1000 paper cranes is said to grant you a wish and in this case, the NU Stands with Japan campaign hopes to fold 8,880 cranes representing the entire Northwestern undergraduate community. SungHwan "Paku" Park, one of the chairs of NU Stands with Japan and the President of the International Students Association, said NU Stands with Japan can be successful, “only if we reach out to students.” Park, who is a Japanese national, said he believes students “can only care if you know more about the issues.” With sponsorships from non-profit organizations, academic institutions and corporations, these cranes will come to represent one dollar donations and a larger gesture of solidarity with the Japanese people. The Japanese Red Cross will be the beneficiary
of this campaign, which was the product of many student organizations. The Asian Pacific American Coalition, International Students Association, Associated Student Government, Red Cross and the Japan Club have donated much of their key personnel and resource in an attempt to frame this campaign throughout spring quarter. Moreover, many individuals throughout Northwestern have made large personal donations. Natural disasters strike randomly and indiscriminately, what NU Stands with Japan is trying to accomplish on campus is much more than fundraising. This campaign wants to show support for the people of Japan and others who have been affected by the earthquake, tsunami, and the aftermath and engage the Northwestern campus by educating students, faculty, and staff alike about the Japanese culture and challenge them to demonstrate solidarity. If you want to help or donate please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or visit nustandswithjapan. wordpress.com. Disclaimer: The writer is a member of NU Stands with Japan.
NU ASIAN | 17
Asian Americans, interrupted On Asian American mental health by Hyerin Lee
“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” — World Health Organization, 1948
n the Asian American community, mental illness is not a topic widely talked about. As a result, many cases of mental illness among Asian Americans go undiagnosed or undertreated. According to a report released in February by the National Alliance on Mental Illnesses, Asian American adolescent girls have the highest rates of depressive symptoms out of all racial, ethnic, or gender groups. Moreover, Asian American college students report higher levels of depressive symptoms than their white counterparts. Additionally suicide is the fifth leading cause of death among Asian Americans, compared to the ninth cause of death for white Americans. What could be contributing to such gloomy statistics? Recent studies suggest that a low utilization of mental health services might be one of the reasons. A research study published in Psychiatric Services reports that, among Asian Americans who had depressive disorders in 2008, only 31.3 percent received a mental health treatment. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the accumulative rate is even lower: 17 percent. Various studies have tried to explain the reluctance of Asian Americans to seek help for mental illnesses.
Culturally defined high threshold for identifying distress as a disorder
The 2009 U.S. census reports that 63 percent of Asian Americans were born outside of the U.S. The census may suggest that many Asian Americans are strongly affected by the 18 | NU ASIAN
culture of the country from which they came compared to other U.S.-born citizens. This might have a direct correlation to the mental health problem at hand since Asian culture seems to be a big factor; a study published in Mental Health Services Research indicates that culturally defined conceptions of mental illnesses tend to prevent Asian Americans from seeking psychological treatments. For example, according to the study, Southeast Asians usually do not associate mental disorders with emotional difficulties. Instead, they generally regard only the behaviors that are dangerous or disruptive to the group as signs of mental illness. This tendency might spring from the fact that they hold the concept of mind-body holism in which there is no clear distinction between physical and psychological ailments; the notion might lead them to seek physical treatments even for psychological problems. The utilization of a wrong resource could be detrimental since mental health professionals would be more appropriate. Asian Americans, even if they live in America, are also likely to be affected by this cultural trend. “Asian Americans are no doubt influenced by the culture that has been carried on from generation to generation,” notes Hyesung Oh, a Weinberg senior who has recently been awarded Fulbright scholarship to study Koreans’ perception and stigmatization of mental illnesses in South Korea next year. “One of the consequences of this culture is the tendency
to have a high threshold for acknowledging a possession of a mental disorder when one may, in fact, have one.”
Another cultural factor suggested by the study is a feeling of shame or stigma associated with psychological difficulties among Asian Americans. “I became depressed due to the conflict between me and my parents on pursuing the career of my choice which did not please them and due to other personal matters. It was like coming out gay to conservative parents,” tells a Northwestern student who wanted to stay anonymous. “I started to seek a professional help but my parents were not pleased about that either. My mom told me that such services were not ‘for us’ which I took to mean 'that stuff is for white people'. She also told me to help myself and stop being lazy. She could not or would not understand why I needed help. Both of my parents were afraid of the social stigma that could be put on me and my family.” Although a social stigma regarding mental illnesses is prevalent even among Americans, the intensity of the stigma is much stronger in the Asian American society. “Stigma associated with mental illness may be especially salient for some Asian American groups because it may be associated with the loss of face or status for the individual or family member," notes Dr. DavidTakeuchi, a sociology professor at University of Washington. “It is only
national “Asian Americans may perceive a problem but may be more willing to take care of it within the family. Asian Americans often wait longer after the initial onset of the problem before they come in for services.” when the problem stretches the financial and social resources of the family that the individual is referred to a mental health program.”
Perceived need for treatment
Contrary to the common belief, a language barrier is not a significant factor in preventing Asian Americans from seeking mental health services. In fact, according to a 2010 study by Bauer et al., a receipt of minimally-adequate care does not differ much by language proficiency. The study also reports that an embarrassment or discomfort from using broken English do not hinder Asian Americans from getting help. What seems to predict a lifelong mental healthcare use is the perceived need for treatment; Asian Americans who are not proficient in English are less likely to identify a need for treatment compared to their counterparts. “Asian Americans, especially immigrants, may perceive that existing services may not meet their needs and resist seeking care for their problems,” notes Dr. Takeuchi. “Another explanation is that Asian Americans may perceive a problem but may be more willing to take care of it within the family. Asian Americans often wait longer after the initial onset of the problem before they come in for services.”
H. LEE / NU ASIAN
The aforementioned reasons for underutilization of mental health services by Asian Americans may be rooted in the difference between Asian American culture and the general American culture. A 1992 study by Ying and Miller found that Asian Americans who are more acculturated to mainstream American culture try harder to seek professional help when faced with mental problems. However, retaining a cultural identity does not necessarily have a negative effect on seeking counseling; a 1995 study by Leong et al. reports that individuals who simultaneously retain their cultural identity and assimilate themselves to the American culture tend to have more favorable attitudes
toward seeking group counseling. Then, would this study suggest that Asian American college students are more willing to seek help for mental illnesses compared to their elderly counterparts since the students are more exposed to the mainstream culture?
Asian American college students
The answer is yes and no. The 2009 review by Eisenberg et al. reports that Asian American college students still have the highest level of personal stigma toward seeking help for their mental conditions. However, Lippincot and Mierzwa found in 1995 that Asian American college students are more likely than the average American students to seek counseling when they experience physical discomfort stemming from psychological issues. The studies imply that Asian American students might be less willing to express their mental problems and, rather, display them through physical symptoms which are more acceptable in their culture. Yet, once there are outwardly signs of illnesses, Asian American students do not hold back to seek help. Asian American students at Northwestern seem to utilize mental health services more than the studies suggest. According to statistics from Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) on campus, for the academic year of
2009-2010, 20 percent of NU undergraduate students who sought services at CAPS were Asian. This is, seemingly, an appropriate amount of utilization considering the fact that it is close to 22 percent, the proportion of Asians in the class of 2013. However, these numbers do not necessarily reflect the mental service seeking pattern of Asian American students at Northwestern since the data applies to all Asian students. Also, according to a 2010 study by Young et al., proportionally more Asian American students experience depression than Caucasian students with reasons possibly stemming from maladaptive or parent-driven perfectionism. A lesson to learn from all these studies is that it is important to seek help when confronted with mental problems regardless of what the common stigma is. Also, since a major hindrance for Asian Americans from seeking help is that they are not aware of the severity of their problems to begin with, it would be important to develop a habit of constantly observing one’s mood and outwardly symptoms; an abnormal or prolonged depression is the symptom one should look for. It is essential to get rid of the stigma that having a mental illness is something to be ashamed of; in fact, it is just one of the possible life problems that can occur to anyone at any point. SPRING 2011 | 19
Shum-body named Harry Gleeâ€™s Mike Chang talks acting and dance by Katherine Zhu You may know Harry Shum Jr. as "Mike Chang." Or "other Asian." Or just a dancer.
But the 28-year-old actor has more talents than simply popping and locking. Shum opens up about being an Asian American in Hollywood and how he balances acting and dance.
How do you feel about the success you've achieved so far in your life? I feel great! I'm excited for what's to come in the future but look back at what amazing things I have gotten to do by just being a part of the show.
What do you think it means to be an Asian American in Hollywood? Have you faced any challenges? How do you avoid being typecast? The first question is what makes the third question difficult to answer. Because, while I am in the category of being Asian American, I don't want that category to become a limitation because it shouldn't. In order to avoid the pitfalls of being type-casted, I make a strong effort to go against the grain just to prove that stereotypes can indeed be broken. I face these challenges every single day. You look at the guy next to you who is equally as talented as you are but is given more opportunities and it just makes you work a little harder. The world is not a "fair" world but I am confident in my talent and business sense to be able to overcome these hurdles. One thing I can say is that it's getting better but there is still much more work to be done.
On Glee, there are numerous references to you and Jenna Ushkowitz being the "Asian couple" with "Asian kisses" and eating chicken feet salad. Do you feel these jokes are appropriate? Stereotypical at all? It's okay to let loose and poke fun at things sometimes. We have come a long way from the Long Duck Dong days in Sixteen Candles where he was the nerdy stereotypical Asian character to now having a cool jock that dances and sings. Asian Americans have progressed a lot in just the past couple of years but there is still so much work that needs to be done. That being said, I encourage more talented ethnic writers to go out there, educate themselves, and become part of the industry. There has been a rise in diversity in front of the camera but it is equally as important for the talent behind the camera. These are the people who make 20 | NU ASIAN
important decisions and are the driving force in shaping pop culture. It's important to have diversity in the writerâ€™s room to balance things so there is a sensitivity to what is appropriate and what is not.
How long have you been dancing/acting? Which do you prefer? I've been acting since middle school and dancing since high school. I prefer acting because I can incorporate anything into acting whether it'd be dancing, action or physical comedy. I don't like to limit myself as just being a dancer. I'm looking forward to projects that go outside the realm of music and dance.
Could you tell me a little bit more about your experience with Glee? What's a typical day on set for you like? Jumping into Glee is like jumping onto a fast moving train. Because there are so many moving parts that make this show work, it can get a little overwhelming. This controlled chaos has become normal and the cast has pretty much adjusted to it. If we aren't shooting, we are going into dance rehearsals, pre-records or doing some kind of press. Some days are long and some days are more grueling than others. But one thing I'm always reminded of at the end of the day is that I am one lucky guy to be a part of such a special show.
â€œWhile I am in the category of being Asian American, I don't want that category to become a limitation because it shouldn't.â€?
COURTESY OF HARRY SHUM
How is it balancing Glee with LXD? I just try and fit it in whenever I'm free. Just this past month, we shot two LXD shorts, one I starred in and one I co-directed. We only had one day to shoot the shorts and the day before I found out that I had to go shoot a scene for Glee. So that day became more hectic than it already was andI hadto shoot the first short, then change and drive to set for Glee, shoot that scene and then go back and direct the other short. People view that as crazy-town but I thrive on it. I've mastered the art of juggling.
How similar or different are you to the character of Mike Chang?
be a better entertainer... Learn all aspects of the business and stay hungry.
Mike Chang likes Dim Sum. I love pizza. Mike Chang likes bright colored clothes. I like neutral colors. Mike Chang is way over enthusiastic during performances. I'm chiller. We do share a love for dance and in my eyes that makes him a cool guy.
How do you perceive the difference between being an Asian American actor versus dancer? Are there different challenges that come with the two different roles?
What advice would you offer to aspiring Asian American actors? Go out there and learn from the best. Whatever it is you want to do. I didn't know the avenue I wanted to go but I kept putting myself in an environment to learn and pushed myself to
Not much of a difference. Both are artists with a goal of expressing their art to the world. Everything else is internal. If we had an overabundance of Asian American artists out there pursuing the industry we'd be having different challenges. Hope that changes in the future.
SPRING 2011 | 21
Star student Well-known Korean pop singer Nikki Lee talks life as a law student by Nathalie Tadena For Nikki Lee, musical success and stardom came by chance. A well-known pop star in her home South Korea, Lee got her break as an eighth grade student, when she was featured on national television as one of the winners of a songwriting competition. Eleven years later, the singer and songwriter– known in Korea as Lee So-eun — has released four studio albums, produced multiple top 10 singles and done nation-wide tours. Her music, which Lee describes as “acoustic and soulful,” often illustrates the challenges of everyday life. And since the fall of last year, Lee’s found inspiration for her songs from a new challenge — attending law school. Now a second-year law student at Northwestern, Lee said she wanted to use her image as a public figure in a different way. “I didn’t want to just be the pretty face on a magazine,” Lee said. “If I was representing an organization I didn’t just want to be a representative because of celebrity status, I wanted to talk about the issues and talk about why change was needed or why more policy was needed. I wanted to be taken seriously not only for my music but for the things I believed in.” Lee, who has lived in Seoul for most of her life, decided to attend graduate school in the U.S. for a chance to study in a different place outside of the limelight. She chose to attend Northwestern largely for its location in a city with a large art and music scene and for professors who made her feel at home. Though she did not tell many classmates about her music career, Lee said word caught on among her fellow students and that her decision to come to NU was covered heavily in the Korean media.
“You can’t forget that kind of background
and I have no problem that a lot of people know now.”
COURTESY OF NIKKI LEE
22 | NU ASIAN
chicago “You can’t forget that kind of background and I have no problem that a lot of people know now,” she said. “Everyone’s like, ‘Let’s go karaoke!’” Law school has been a very different experience for Lee, she said, noting it is the first time since she began her music career that she has devoted herself to being a full-time student. As an undergraduate, Lee balanced her studies in English literature with performing and touring. “The one thing that prepared me for law school was that I already wasn’t getting much sleep in
Korea,” Lee joked. Lee said she is unsure what kind of law she’d like to practice, though she is interested in diplomacy or teaching law in the future and especially enjoys the Program on Negotiation and Mediation and trial advocacy program at NU. This summer, Lee will work at a litigation boutique firm in Chicago. “Both law and entertainment share a similarity in that if you don’t keep studying or don’t keep trying to better yourself you’ll fall behind and that’s true with so many things,” she said. Though she spends most of her
time studying, attending classes and panels or going to court, she still writes music in her free time. These days, Lee writes a lot about transitions. “I don’t think I can ever Agive up music, but I feel like I would have to do music in a different way, which is what I am trying to figure out,” she said. “No one from my industry has changed into becoming a lawyer, so my challenge now is to find a nice path for myself and look for ways to combine both [law and music].” Lee recently finished writing a book about her music career
and her experiences at law school, which will be published in South Korea. Many of Lee’s law professors and mentors have also contributed to the book. Perhaps not surprisingly, the book’s main theme, Lee said, is challenging oneself to go outside of one’s comfort zone. “I’m inspired every day,” she said. “There’s so much work, so much reading to do in law school, but in a place that’s so analytical and logical, it’s been a very human experience.”
K-Pop, lock and drop
N. NICHOLSON-KLINGERMAN / NU ASIAN
Student dance group Afterparty showcases K-pop dance moves
Korean pop music isn’t just well-known for its catchy lyrics and upbeat tempo. K-pop choreography has also resonated well among fans, with many K-pop artists crafting signature — and easy to emulate — dance moves in their music videos. While South Korean television dramas and music have been successful in East and Southeast Asian countries since the 1990s, Korean entertainment has gained popularity in the U.S. through social media sites in recent years. The Korea Daily reported that K-pop videos on YouTube garnered views from users from 229 countries in 2010. The paper’s analysis of 923 video clips from popstars from Korea’s top three entertainment management agencies revealed that more than 566 million views came from Asia, more than 123 million came from North America and more than 55 million came from Europe.
The increase in popularity of South Korean entertainment and culture around the world has earned its own phrase — the Hallyu wave, a term first coinedby Chinese journalists in 1999. The K-pop dance craze exists at Northwestern too. Afterparty, a group of 12 students, formed last year to teach and perform choreography from popular K-pop music videos. The group has performed at the Asian American Medical Society’s Midwest conference, the Korean American Day Celebration at Skokie Public Library and at Northwestern’s Asian Pacific American Coalition’s Espresso Expressions. “K-pop is better to dance to compared to a lot of American songs,” said member Solbee Park. “Except for maybe Beyonce, there aren’t many artists in America whose dance moves are as popular as K-pop artists.” Group members study music videos on YouTube and assign a single choreographer
to teach the dance moves in each song. The group has performed choreography from the videos of popular K-pop artists such as Afterschool, Kara and Super Junior. Many of the group’s member said they have been listening to Korean music for several years and stay up to date with the latest hits by checking web sites like allkpop.com. “K-pop music is very catchy,” said member Linda Hong. “The dance moves are simplistic and people like to follow it.” Some videos’ choreography is easier to pick up than others — the group prepares between two weeks and two months for their performances. “People want to learn the choreography they see in the videos, so we teach what people like,” said member Doh-Young Jung. Afterparty will next perform at the Korean American Students Association show May 6. — N.T.
SPRING 2011 | 23
China’s role in stabilizing U.S. debt by Pavan Krishnamurthy
“We are all familiar with the aphorism: 'If you owe someone a thousand pounds, you’ve got a problem. If you owe someone a million pounds, he’s got a problem.' Now, the US owes China two trillion dollars. Who’s got the problem?” — Tim Collard, Retired British Diplomat The media is saturated with rhetoric that constructs Chinese economic policy-making as a threat, but what most people actually fear is the fall of United States supremacy.
However in reality, the economic relationship is quite different. The United States is able to run such a debt, because it holds the strongest currency. The U.S. dollar is as good as gold. And with such stability, it bring consumer confidence and sustained demand. While, the Chinese have bought much of the United States debt, they are now betting for the success of the United States. With such a strong currency, the United States can run deficits to re-invest in its population, the problem of
Foreign Ownership of U.S. Debt = $20 billion
Top 15 China Japan
Oil countries Other
Hong Kong Carribean Russia
Total Foreign-owned Debt = $4,310.2 billion (as of 10/2010)
24 | NU ASIAN
SOURCE: U.S. TREASURY
politics and where the money actually goes is really another question. Maybe this foreign owned debt trend is stabilizing internationally? Economic interdependence has empirically deterred the escalation of war. Countries do not tend to go to war against economic partners. This is not to say that there is nothing to fear in running a debt, this is just ignorant. Japan is currently running 144 percent of its GDP is debt – they are the ones who need to fear about their bloated bureaucracy, and we could eventually get to that point. However, the United States is not there, but is not too far from it. Often the CCP claims that the United States is spending too much, this is probably true, but to insinuate that our current debt is crippling or the United States hegemony is on the decline is simply fear mongering. There is a lot to gain to sensationalize these stories, whether it is to discredit U.S. policies or to gain viewership, we need to be able to separate media bias from empirics and falsifiable studies. For a decade we have heard about crippling outsourcing, collapse of competitiveness, and the rise of a economically powerful China, but empirics do not match up. Many may wonder what the real strategy of the Chinese is. Obviously it is self-interested, but that does not mean American and Chinese interest cannot align. This Chinese debt policy is a larger strategy of stabilizing and expanding their economy. In fact, they have tried to mimic the US education. More Chinese learn English than Americans. They are trying to develop a mixed economy and they are learning from example. If we want continued invest, investors must perceive a strong dollar. But, recently the current Chinese central bank advisor Li Daoku urged China to ween off of United States debt due to the record $1.175 trillion United States debt. Chinese leaders, however, are not budging. It seems right now the United States has the benefit of the doubt.
In contrast to the great power wars of the 20th century, the first decade of the new century has been characterized by relative peace. The end of the Cold War, increasing globalization, and a steadily rising standard of living have ushered in a new relationship between the international powers; one characterized by mutual trust and cooperation on global initiatives. The conflict of this most recent decade has not been the traditional conflict between super powers but rather between the unified powers of the international community and the “deviants” who resisted this new global paradigm. Thus, it is in this most recent decade that we see the rise of the physical phenomenon of terrorism and the political phenomenon of the rogue state and their adoption as the primary concerns of great powers. Under the rallying call of the events of 9/11, we observe the declaration of the “War on Terror” by the West against the acts of violence towards it and the Islamic ideologies that supposedly fueled that violence. The importance of this turning point was not that it was the first time we see an explosion in the discourses surrounding terrorism, but rather that it was the first time we see an emphasis on the ideological and religious dimensions of the physical violence. Last year, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron, was heavily criticized for accusing Pakistan of exporting terrorism throughout the region and providing state funding for terrorist groups . In doing so, he portrayed Pakistan as as an uncooperative state in the international War on Terror, and outside of the international community; essentially a rogue state. In a recent paper Tomis Kapitan, Professor of Philosophy at Northern Illinois University, argued that “the terrorist label automatically discredits any individuals or groups to which it is affixed. It dehumanizes them, places them outside the norms of acceptable social and political behavior, and portrays them as people who can not be reasoned with.” Thus the discursive frame deployed by the language of terrorism is one that guarantees a single minded approach to dealing with the physical phenomenon. By portraying these individuals or groups as irrationally motivated fundamentalists, the use of the label “terrorist” takes away any incentive to understand the cause of their behavior and refuses to acknowledge any contributions that our own foreign policy may have made towards their motivations. It is this logic that
The changing definition of terrorism by Jason Zhou
repudiates any calls to negotiate with terrorists and leaves, as the only option, violence and militancy. When the language of terrorism is applied indiscriminately and fails to, as Kapitan notes, “distinguish between national liberation movements and fringe fanatics,” it becomes the fuel for a war against not only the perpetrators of physical violence against the West but against the ideological foundations that have been discursively associated with that violence. In this way the association with terrorism identifies Pakistan as an enemy of the international order and ignores the many contributions it makes towards global initiatives. It puts them in stark opposition with the West despite their efforts to cooperate in promoting global stability. Despite receiving criticism from all sides of the political spectrum, Cameron stood by his remarks even when they began to impede relations between Pakistan and the United Kingdom. More recently in February of this year, Cameron once again drew the ire of many spectators with a speech delivered at the Munich Security Conference. Emphasizing the need to put down non-violent Islamic groups whose environments were conducive to cultivating militancy against the West, Cameron argued that the root cause of terrorism in the United Kingdom was the multiculturalism promoted by the state . What Cameron illustrates is the absurd extreme of the Western politician entrenched in the politically debilitating discourse surrounding terrorism. What he implicitly sustains by targeting “non-violent Islamic extremism” is that extremism is not characterize by its violence but rather by its Islamic dimensions. We do not see Cameron pushing to shut down right-wing Christian groups whose ideologies might also be misconstrued to justify violence, as we have seen with the bombings of hospitals to protest abortion. For Christianity, such acts are considered outliers; a problem with the individual who performed the violence and not the extreme of the ideology itself. In other words, it is possible for someone to be an “extreme” Christian without being inclined towards violence. What Cameron is saying is that the same is not true for Islam, that even if an group is explicitly non-violent, the very nature of its content, Islamic nonwestern values, necessarily entails an inclination towards militancy and violence. It is fitting that Cameron summarized his position to reverse multiculturalism and reject nonwestern culture as “muscular liberalism,” a political doublespeak that promotes the
idea that intolerance towards other cultures and censorship can be used to achieve liberal ends. During the Terror of the French Revolution, Jacobin radicals appealed to a similar notion of “forced freedom” to justify the exclusion and killing of their ideological opponents. What makes Cameron’s use of “muscular liberalism” so perfect in this instance is not simply that he invokes the paradoxical concept of coerced liberalism. What is so perfect is that he is so convinced that terrorism is a result of radical Islamic ideology that he ignores that the answer is right in front of him: “muscular liberalism.” By emphasizing the ideological foundations of terrorism, the discourse surrounding terrorism masks the ways in which the policies of the West may have caused the problem. We completely ignore the possibility that it could be the domestic muscular liberalism suggested by Cameron or the muscular liberalism in our foreign policy in the Middle East that provide the fuel for conflict andviolence. SPRING 2011 | 25
SPOTLIGHT A R AO E After the recent closing of Futami’s karaoke lounge, there is a dearth of noraebangs in the area. Feeling the need to sing Lady Gaga’s “Born this Way” at the top of your lungs? Here are five karaoke places in the area for your enjoyment.
by Martin Kim
>> LINCOLN KARAOKE
Free snacks, and if you’re hungry you can order some food from a supplementary menu, but buyer beware! The snacks are appreciated, but the fried rice left much to be desired.
There is a full bar in the hallway, which serves everything from a martini to a mixed shot made of Milkis (a milkflavored soft drink) and soju.
A karaoke machine with a collection of American, Korean, Japanese, Chinese and Russian hits updated every month. The machine holds the music and lyrics to a huge collection of songs, though if you happen to visit before they are updatedyou might not be able to findrecent hits (“Like a G6” was unavailable two months after it had come out at Lincoln Park Karaoke).
SONGS The room is filledwith your friends andthe soundof their echoing voices, with strobe lights. At Lincoln Park Karaoke, the only people who are going to hear your terrible Lady Gaga imitation are your friends, and given the multiple mikes, it’s possible you will be drowned out anyway. Did I mention that there are strobe lights? And tambourines?
Lincoln Karaoke 5526 N. Lincoln Ave. Karaoke Restaurant 6250 N. California Ave.
$30+ per room per hour. It’s cheaper than it sounds, especially if you go with a group of 10 or 12. With food and drinks, it ends up being less than $10 per person.
ATMOSPHERE W. Bryn Mawr Ave.
Yeowoosai 6248 N. California Ave.
N. Western Ave.
N. Artesian Ave.
26 | NU ASIAN
W. Catalpa Ave.
N. Lincoln Ave.
Café Bong Ho 5706 N. Clark St
1 N. Campbell Ave.
N. Rockwell St.
Waba Korean Restaurant 5100 N. Western Ave
Springâ€™s Got Nothing On NU
NU students show off spring fashion trends by Nicky Nicholson-Klingerman
Owie Eugenio Major: Violin performance and psychology Age: 20 Class: Sophomore Ethnicity: Filipino Style: "Usually I like just wearing jeans anda shirt, I really love wearing v-necks, which I have different colors and stripes." Favorite stores: "I like H&M because they are very cheap and they also have a variety of clothes and styles. I also like to go to Urban Outfitters andZumiez. I donâ€™t go to any of the prep stores like American Eagle and Abercrombie."
N. NICHOLSON-KLINGERMAN / NU ASIAN
28 | NU ASIAN
Make-up designer: Monique Gaynor; Model: Nancy Xu; Fashion Consultant: Jade â€œPurpleâ€? Brown Coordinator: Alice Liu
The smokey eye revamped for spring Start by washing the lid with a base color, like an ivory or beige. Then use a taupe or light brown on the outer corners.
Use a bright, coral pink starting from the inner corners and blending outwards.
Over the pink, use a metallic gray and blend from the outer corners towards the middle of the eyelid.
Dust a light coat of hot pink over the entire lid starting from the inner corners. Tone down the brightness with a neutral orange color. Lastly, use a matte brown color on the outer corners and a light bronze color on the inner corners. SPRING 2011 | 29
A study abroad student’s experience navigating China by Sam Wheeler A series of vignettes. I lived in Hong Kong for nearly four months. What you are about to read is a personal reflection of specific stories related to my travels. Hong Kong
Korea in Seoul, S. Street food
The first week in China has been an experience. I am already sick of my closet dorm room and need a change. I’ve heard of a train that takes you from Hong Kong to Shenzhen, which is right across the border in Mainland China. Hong Kong is very modern and full of people. It is basically New York, Asian style. Instead of corner delis, you have corner noodle places. They both have McDonalds and lots of clothing stores. So far, I feel like have spent half of my time in a queue. Most of the time there is a queue for the queue. People here don’t seem to mind the queue; in fact, it’s like some sort of social gathering where one can converse with others and not feel like they are wasting time. Time for a change, Shenzhen
“Kowloon Tong… Do you know where that is?” “What?” I am not really equipped to handle this situation. If I say it any slower he might think I am taking the piss out of him (that’s a British phrase for “making fun of”). “Koooowloooon Toooonnnng.” “Ahhh yes, yes I do.” Momentary pause. More silence. “So, which bus do I take?" “Choi Hung MTR.” Choi Hung doesn’t sound like Kowloon Tong, but I am sure I can get to Kowloon Tong from there. I need a map. The bus lets me off at Choi Hung and I walk in the subway. Where is the information desk? Why are there so many people? Why do they all keep bumping into me? There are so many people here.
Hong Kong is very modern and full of people. It is basically New York, Asian style. National Pala ce, Thailand
dor My 30 | NU ASIAN
ho! As I google “Shenzhen,” I feel like I need a reason for going, so I look under “historical sights.” A temple where the first battle of the Opium War was fought sounds good to me. Right then, I’m off. Pack, shoes, keys, out the door. From the MTR map, the transportation system of Hong Kong looks very easy. I have my octopus card that I use to get on buses and trains. It works like a debit card and I can use it at places like 7-11 and other fast food places. “Excuse me which bus goes to Kowloon Tong MTR,” I ask someone by the station. “What?” he replies.
Carrying nearly 2.3 million people daily (with a total population of 6.8 million), the Hong Kong MTR system is one of the busiest in the world, especially at 6 p.m. I am supposed to take the east rail line to Lo Wu then walk across the border to Shenzhen. Easy.
First thought in Shenzhen is, “This isn’t Hong Kong.” After traveling through the Hong Kong mountainside and crossing the border to Shenzhen, the landscape turns into a mega-tropolis. I say
S. WHEELER / NU ASIAN
et cetera mega-tropolis because the city has around 10 million people and was built only 30 years ago. My first task is to findmy hostel. The city seems so alive. The biggest difference from Hong Kong, besides the language barrier of course, is the bikes and mo-peds. There are tons of people riding bicycles and motorized scooters. They share the road with the cars and trucks. Since mainland is still considered a developing country, although you wouldn’t think it was by the looks of Shenzhen, bicycles have been a huge part of the communist history. People can’t afford cars and it is very honorable to ride a bike instead of buying foreign cars. I have learned however that the Chinese automobile market is one of the fastest growing markets in China. Let’s hope Ford and the other car companies don’t screw up like they did in the U.S. I have been in Shenzhen for all of 10 minutes and I am in need of directions. It’s time to practice my Mandarin. In Hong Kong, the people speak Cantonese, or Guang Dong hua. Guangdong refers to the Guangdong province of China which Hong Kong and Shenzhen are both a part of. I have learned that Mainland Chinese in this region also speak Cantonese. “Ah, qing wen, wo yao qu Flower Inn, zen me zou?” This is my translation of “Excuse me, I need to find Flower Inn, do you know how to get there?” The guy shakes his head, laughs, and walks away. Everyone seems to laugh at me when I try to speak Chinese. I guess it has to be funny because my pronunciation and vocabulary is probably equivalent to that of a five-year-old. I decided to give up on the hotel and find some food. Upon entry into this tiny restaurant I am greeted with stares of curiosity. There are about four tables of people in this makeshift restaurant and everyone stopped talking the moment I entered. I sit down and prepare to have an extremely difficult time ordering. “Ni hao, wo yao chi fan, ni you mei you ji?” It is almost a literal translation to, “Hi, I want food, do you have
chicken? I might as well have been speaking Croatian. After a moment of awkwardness, I got up from my table and went to a picture of what looked to be chicken in a bowl with noodles and pointed to it. Besides the bones, which I was not used to, the food was great. At this point I am sure you are wondering how I managed to get to the hostel. Well, I didn’t. I gave up and went to a budget hotel.
v I have to learn Chinese
After drinks at a local bar, I find myself awake, standing in front of the mirror. How do I get to this palace? The paper in front of me has an address, and I have looked it up on Google maps, but it is about 20 km outside of Shenzhen. After some good old miscommunication, I managed to find myself on a bus going towards Langgang, where the palace is. The bus is packed with people and there is an attendant squeezing through tiny gaps of people collecting the 3 yuan (50 cents) bus fare. She says something to me and I assume she wants to know my destination “Longgang,” I say. She nods her head and gives me a ticket. I sat on the bus for the next 40 minutes smiling and admiring my communication skills. After an hour the driver says Longgang and I get off the bus. Longgang looks like a bombedout city. The railway that connects the town to Shenzhen is in the process of being built, rubble is sprinkled as far as the eye can see and an interesting landscape of old rundown buildings and new developments that look empty fills the distance. It is 4 p.m., and I am still about 6 km away from the palace. I have to take a cab. I get into a cab and give him the paper with the address. The man looks me up and down and says “San shi qian” (30 yuan). After my recent conversation with
eijing B n i City n e d d i Forb
Hot pot, B eijing the bus attendant, I am feeling a little cocky. “Bu yao, er shi qian” or “No I don’t want, 20 yuan.” Pause, we both take turns laughing and then he points to the door. Darn. I give him 30 yuan ($10) and we are off. After 30 minutes we end up by the coast. He drives into a small village and lets me off. It is now 5 p.m., the sun is setting and I have no clue where I am. The man must have driven me to the wrong place because I don’t remember the palace being near the coast, although the battle that was fought at the palace started after the British invaded by sea; so it must be close. So I walk around in desperate need of an English speaker. No luck. I didn’t find the palace.
The story doesn’t end here; it’s just the beginning. The next series of events were too stressful to put into words but for the sake of the reader, I will give a highlight reel. Seriously though, it was one of the most frightening experiences I have ever had. I stayed in Longgang until the sun set, go into what looked like a cab with a stranger (it wasn’t a cab), got driven to three different villages by three different people, almost gave up hope and succumbed to the fact I was being kidnapped andfinally fell asleep. That’s right, sleep. Apparently when I think I am being kidnapped my natural reaction is to fall asleep. I woke up and was in Shenzhen! Thank Buddha, God, Zeus and the sanity of my mother. I need to learn Chinese. SPRING 2011 | 31
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