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The PublicAsian

Oct/Nov 2012 | A Voice



Asian Pacific American Community





Maryland, College Park | Volume 19, Issue I

The APA vote could make it or break it for both parties By Melanie Balakit Staff writer


he Asian Pacific American vote could swing the outcome of this year’s presidential election given the high APA population in key battleground states and the high proportion of nonpartisan voters. The APA population is the fastest growing racial group in the country, increasing 46 percent between 2000 and 2010 and growing faster than any other major race group, according to the Census. Fifty-one percent of APAs are non-partisan voters, giving both political parties the opportunity to grab undecided APA voters, according to a September 2012 report by the National Asian American Survey. However, neither the Republican nor Democratic Party has extensively reached out to the APA population, according a 2011 voter survey conducted by the Asian American Justice Center (AAJC). The Democratic Party


did not contact 52 percent of registered APA Democrats and The Republican Party did not contact 64 percent of registered APA Republicans, according to the survey. “Neither party is courting the Asian population. Both are ignoring the APA vote,” said Communications Coordinator Rekha Radhakrishnan of the Asian American Institute of Chicago, a nonprofit organization that seeks to empower the APA community. “But that’s changing a bit, like in Nevada” she said. Nationally, APAs still make up a small proportion of voters, but are a critical vote in certain battleground states, including Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada and Virginia, according to a report by the AAJC. In Nevada, for example, where APAs make up nearly 10 percent of the total population, the APA vote could determine which candidate wins the electoral vote in that state. According to the Census, Nevada saw a 116


Inside the 2012 vote md dream act page 6

apa political involvement page 6

aasu voter initiative page 7

VOTE, Page 7 Travel


‘Would you say Dominating the Postcards from that if you knew...’ small screens Hong Kong

MICA’s Inclusive Language Our travel blogger Deema gets campaign challenges students to Two new television shows feature her first taste of one of China’s think before speaking | Page 3 prominent APA stars | Page 5 most iconic cities | Page 11

Online Exclusive

Meet Zerina Borhan, MICA’s new graduate assistant coordinator for APA Student Involvement and Advocacy. @publicasianumd


The PublicAsian | Oct/Nov 2012


Organization to start immigration curriculum By Megan Kowalski Staff writer

The Advocates for Human Rights, a nonprofit organization promoting the needs of those whose basic liberties are at risk, is expanding the conversation about immigrants and education beyond policy discussion and into the realm of academic curricula. “Energy of a Nation: Immigrants in America,” a comprehensive guide created by The Advocates, is focused on teaching students in all school levels about topics and issues about immigration and doing so through a human rights perspective. According to Education Director Sarah Herder of The Advocates, the perspective cannot be overstated. “The crucial information students need to learn from the curriculum is that everyone, including immigrants of all types [documented and undocumented], has basic human rights,” she said. “And we, as a society, need to respect, protect and fulfill those rights.” She added that the positive effects of viewing the topic of immigration from a human rights angle is two-fold, benefitting both students and immigrants. “[It] has been found to lead to more socially responsible behavior, self-esteem and academic achievement,” Herder said. She also stated that immigrants will benefit from the curriculum because they are able to be viewed beyond the scope of numbers and statistics. The curriculum is designed for a wide range of ages, from

Los Angeles, according to data from Herder. “The Advocates has prioritized schools and communities with large immigrant populations for marketing purposes because it is especially important to educate those who have a direct, daily impact on immigrants’ lives,” she said. Education on the basic aspects of immigration is standard in many schools countrywide, and immigration topics are taught

and assessed in government classes throughout Maryland high schools, according to Marcie Taylor-Thoma, the coordinator for social studies at the Maryland State Department of Education. Although immigration education curriculum is not a new idea, there are differing levels to which it can be taught. The head-on approach that “Energy of a Nation” conveys immigrant issues is more innovative than other existing curricula, Victoria-Maria MacDonald, a professor of Minority and Urban Education at this university, said. “Progressive school districts are more willing to engage in this type of curriculum,” she said. “Other places almost prefer not to worry about parents complaining about some of the controversial immigration issues.” “Looking to the future, there are still strides that can be made,” MacDonald added, “in understanding all of the different nuances in subgroups of immigrants … one of the things I would hope the curriculum does is understand that you can’t just lump these groups together because different groups have different histories in relation to this country.” The relevance and future implications of an immigrant education curriculum is clear to Caroline Cottrell, a junior elementary education major. “Students would be able to understand more about their classmates who don’t have the same background,” she said. “Americans pride themselves on diversity, so we need to start teaching it in the classroom.”

Dance Crew and singer Tori Kelly. Participants will have the opportunity to attend three of the nine workshops, some of which are titled “History of API Queers,” led by Asian American Studies Professor Gem Daus, “South Asian LGBT identities” and “Trans-ally.” Other workshops will focus on specific political issues within the LGBT community and the challenges of identifying with both the group and their ethnicity. According to Cheng, the workshop “South Asian LGBT Identities” will address the struggles of being an Indian American who is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered.

The conference will also have workshops like “How to Build a Personal Brand” with Deloitte and “Anti-Black Racism,” which aren’t LGBT specific but still fall under the idea of leadership. Ultimately, Valera hopes that the conference will educate and empower the attendees. “F.U.E.L. will be a huge way to bring people to become active and proactive; to be a part of change and movement as allies, not just as queer folks,” she said. The conference will begin at 10 a.m., and tickets and registration can be found at

students in the eighth grade to adult audiences, as well as a module for younger students. Geographically, the online curriculum guide has been used in several areas across the country, including Minneapolis, New York City, Chicago and

“Looking forward to the furture, there are still strides that can be made in understanding all of the different nuances in subgroups of immigrants”

– Victoria-Maria MacDonald Education professor

F.U.E.L. conference to focus on LGBT issues By Jessica Evans Staff writer

This year, the Asian American Student Union is joining forces with PRIDE Alliance to focus on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues within the community. AASU will hold its 13th Annual F.U.E.L. Leadership Conference entitled “Fuel the Pride: Intersections & Collaborations” on Oct. 27. “As a board we feel LGBT issues are kind of silent in the American Pacific Islander community,” F.U.E.L. co-director Shuxin Cheng said. “I feel like the API lacks a voice for LGBT issues.” F.U.E.L., which stands for “Forging, Understanding, Empowering, and Leading,” is held every fall, and each year, the AASU selects a theme for the conference that sparks interest within the Asian Pacific American community. The purpose of the conference is to teach the Maryland community about APA issues through programming and speakers. “LGBT is a hot topic especially with elections coming up and marriage equality,” F.U.E.L. co-director Elysha Valera said. “It sheds light to a taboo topic to the APA community.” Valera said that PRIDE Alliance is involved as a supporting group and Rainbow Terrapin Network, a part of the LBGT Equity Center that encourages allies to be proactive in the LGBT community, inspired the workshops. The conference, which will only be one day rather than two as it traditionally has been, will begin with a panel of LGBT groups and activists such as Jennifer Luu, who went around different campuses as an Equality Rider to discuss issues of religion and LGBT identity, Policy Chair Diana Bui of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum and Thuan Nguyen of Asian Pacific Islander Queers United for Action. Puesh Kumar of Khush DC will be among the speakers. There will also be entertainment from SpeakeasyDC, a storytelling theater, and spoken word artist Regie Cabico from Def Poetry Jam. The organizers will also collaborate with Filipino Cultural Association to feature FilAmplified, a talent competition that highlights artists like the Tito BoyScouts

The PublicAsian A Voice for the Asian Pacific American Community at the University of Maryland, College Park Co-Editor-in-Chief ................................................................................ Linda Poon Co-Editor-in-Chief ..............................................................................Mary Tablante Features Editor..........................................................................................Karen Xie Web Editor.............................................................................................James Levin Advertisement Manager........................................................................Jennifer Lien Photographer....................................................................................Ryan Alphonso Photographer........................................................................................James Levin AASU Liaison..........................................................................................Angela Mei

About: The PublicAsian is a student-run newspaper sponsored by the Asian American Student Union (AASU) of the University of Maryland, College Park.

Printing Schedule: The PublicAsian is published twice a semester, with a circulation

of 1,500. It is distributed at the University of Maryland, College Park and at the Library of Congress Asian American Reading Room.

Involvement: If you are interested in becoming a reporter, photographer, copy editor or layout editor with The PublicAsian, please contact

Published with support from Campus Progress, a division of the Center for American Progress. Online at

The PublicAsian | Oct/Nov 2012

News | 3

MICA to UMD: ‘Would you say that if you knew...?’ By Alex McGuire Staff writer

The brand new Inclusive Language campaign, a multidimensional program launched by Resident Life and the Multicultural Involvement and Community Advocacy, has but one simple goal: to motivate discussions about the power of language. The campaign is currently very broad in scope, but coordinators hope to allow concentration on certain identity groups, including Asian Pacific Americans, in the near future. “It’s very hard to be allencompassing,” said MICA Coordinator Judy Martinez of Latino Student Involvement. “Because we try to create this opportunity for students to reflect on the language they use on a general scale, we hope that it does target some language that might be offensive to the APA community.” While the campaign aims to identify and recognize the powerful words that are casually thrown around, it does not aim to serve as the language police. Instead, it aspires to get students to generate constructive dialogue about what is inclusive and what is not. Practicing

inclusive language will help try to line up the values that the university stands for, said Amy Martin, the Associate Director for the North Campus residence halls. “The ultimate goal is to create conversation around what is inclusive language,” said Martin, “and what it means to different people based on their experiences, perceptions and realities.” The program has seen a slow but steadily increasing following, due largely in part to the eye-catching posters and pins that display examples of language worth discussing, like “That’s so gay,” “No homo,” and “That’s so retarded.” Many have seen the posters, fliers and buttons scattered all over campus, but some students do not know who or what is behind the eye-catching advertisements. “I saw the posters around Stamp with ‘gay’ and ‘that test raped me,’ but I wasn’t sure what the point of it was,” said junior journalism major John Fiocco. “I know that kind of language shouldn’t be used, but I mean that’s pretty much common sense.” But most new students do not realize the power of their words because they are unfamiliar with just how large and diverse the university is. “There’ll be something that was cool or acceptable

with their friends in K to 12 and they just never stop to reflect on and it just becomes normalized,” Martinez said. “Sometimes we come from monolithic K to 12 experiences.” Under the collaborative is a new onecredit course entitled TOTUS Spoken Word Experience, taught by Martinez and 2003 university graduate Tony Keith. The course is grounded in using theater and hip-hop as vehicles for portraying emotions associated with identity and social structures. “A big dimension of art is that it’s really unapologetic,” said Martinez. “It’s someone’s emotions and it’s an opportunity to really dissect those emotions and where they come from.” The small class is based on hiphop pedagogy, a concept that uses art and performance in order to facilitate social movement. The 11 students in the class will learn techniques associated with promoting inclusive language with the goal of using what they learn to encourage conversation around campus in the spring. “We want people to speak up and Graphic Credit: MICA start to say something,” Martin said. To curb the use of words like “retarded,”“ghetto” and “illegal aliens,” “Hopefully people will not be suppress- the Multicultural Involvement and Community Advocacy launched a ing speech but encouraging speech.” campaign to make students aware of the impact of their words.

AAST updates curriculum to better serve students

By Caitlin Hennegan Staff writer

The Asian American Studies department hopes to improve the program by creating a new curriculum this year, new program director Janelle Wong said. The AAST minor, which requires students to take five classes, will have new classes next semester on topics such as public policy, health, immigration, food and theater, as well as a class dedicated to Vietnamese American studies. Asian American Student Union leaders began meeting with Wong last month to discuss the process of selecting the new courses and what AAST has to offer this year. The program will also hold a town hall meeting on Oct. 29, allowing students to give their input. By the end of the semester, Wong said, the AAST program will have a better sense of the new courses. The purpose the new direction AAST is taking is to “provide academic support to students,” Wong added. According to Wong, the program could take two different ways of moving the curriculum based on student interests. It could either work to further internationalize classes and teach students about APA relations to people all over the world or the minor could focus on how APAs compare to other marginalized groups in the country. Tyler Babich, who serves as the Working for Asian American Studies Program chair for AASU, is assisting Wong as the administration begins to evaluate the curriculum. “We’re going through a long, thorough process of making sure that it is meeting student needs and wants, and that it’s preparing them for careers,” Babich said. According to Babich, the program was already strong to begin with and said he likes the idea of making sure that students are aware of its benefits and opportunities. Since the AAST minor requires students to have an internship in either experiential learning or independent research, it allows them to develop their own skills and interests. Besides the new course curriculum, some students believe the AAST program has helped them reach out to the APA community and would like the program to continue networking students to employers. “I’m mostly doing it to learn a lot more history and get more involved in the Asian community,” senior computer science major Peter Tarectecan said on being a AAST minor. “I’ve been a part

of the [Filipino Cultural Association] for the majority of my college years and I just want to help out the general community because I’ve only been helping out the Filipino community.” While the AAST program gives students the opportunity to think critically about race relations in the country, it also allows them to expand knowledge on other subjects, whether it is for a CORE class or an elective. “A lot of the students in my class are in the sciences, so they are taking the class to get content in social sciences as well....” Wong said. “The AAST studies program offers a kind of unique window into understanding race in the United States, representation and identity.”

Recommended AAST Courses for Spring 2013 233 Intro to Asian American Literature Also offered as ENGL233 Tues. and Thurs. - 12:30 - 1:45 p.m. A survey of Asian American literature with emphasis on recurrent themes and historical context. 424 Sociology of Race Relations Also offered as SOCY424 Tues. and Thurs. - 12:30 - 1:45 p.m. A study of the historical emergence, development and institutionalism of racism. 498L Immigration and Ethnicity in the U.S. Also offered as HIST466 Mon. and Wed. - 2:00 - 3:15 p.m. Explores the historical problems relating to U.S. immigration, race and ethnicity, with emphasis on the cultural impact. 498M Asian American Public Policy Also offered as AMST418N Mon. - 5:00 - 7:30 p.m. Study of the development of public policy using APAs as a case study. 498O Asian American Health Wed. - 5:00 - 7:30 p.m. Study of health disparities and health care in the APA community. 498V Asian Religions in American Culture Also offered as AMST418L and RELS419L Tues. and Thurs. - 9:30 - 10:45 a.m. Visit for more classes.

4 | News

The PublicAsian | Oct/Nov 2012

Controversy arises over Pew’s ‘Rise of Asian Americans’ study: Does it misrepresent APAs? By Alexandra Pamias Staff writer

When the Pew Research Center released a study this summer on the rapid rise of Asian Pacific Americans in the United States, it stirred a bit of controversy among the APA community who disagreed with many of the trends noted. According to the study, the rise in Asian immigration has surpassed that of Hispanics, making them the largest group of new immigrants. An overwhelming majority of APAs interviewed agreed that the country offered a better life when it came to issues like opportunity and conditions for raising children. Fanying Jiang, an undecided international

student at this university who came from China, said that she “wanted to escape the Chinese education system where they treat every individual the same.” “In China, they make you into what the government wants you to be, while in the U.S., there is a greater level of education, many international people and more opportunities to study and get a job,” she said. When comparing moral and social values of their adopted country and of their country of origin, the study said opinions are almost split in half, with APAs only agreeing that the only value that was better in their original country was the strength of family ties. “Asian Americans don’t necessarily have greater family ties but the fact that they come over to the U.S. as a family enforces

that stereotype,” said Julie Park, an assistant professor of sociology and Asian American studies. Park also criticized the study for generalizing how hard APAs work compared to other ethnicities, which she said implies that other groups are not hard workers. The study said that APAs lead other ethnic groups as having the highest education credentials and income, which advocacy groups say generalizes the diverse community that has more than 45 distinct ethnicities speaking over 100 language dialects. While the study mainly focuses on Indian, Chinese and Japanese Americans, it is criticized for failing to include Hmong, Cambodian, and Laotian Americans.

The Japanese American Citizens League spoke up and expressed their concerns over the study, saying that it “paints [their] community as exceptionally successful without any challenges” and “perpetuates false stereotypes and the model minority.” “The model minority myth is detrimental to Asian Americans because it suggests that Asian Americans do not face any challenges,” said Vice President of Advocacy Joanne Liu of the Asian American Student Union. “Our voices and opinions are stifled because the model minority label creates the image that we are compliant with everything and that, no matter what, we will be successful because we are ‘hardworking and smart.’” “The myth makes us irreverent in modern politics,” she added.

Domestic violence in the APA community: study raises awareness of this rarely studied topic By Colleen Wilson Staff writer

October is domestic violence awareness month, and new research is making a contribution to the rarely studied effects of intimate partner violence in the Asian Pacific American community. A Michigan State University study released last spring exposed trends in APA domestic violence victims who tend to be less likely to seek law enforcement or medical help after abuse. Hyunkag Cho, whose study is published in the “Journal of Family Violence,” emphasizes cultural sensitivity as a major factor in the failure of some APAs to utilize domestic violence services, like hotlines and shelters. Cho suggested that his research is still in its youth and more studies that focus on the APA community will shed light on this untapped topic. Professor Karen O’Brien, who has a doctorate in psychology, said that culture plays a big role in domestic violence. “Domestic violence occurs across all different cultures, races, ethnicities and socioeconomic statuses. Certain cultures have values, norms that influence or play a role in women deciding whether to remain in the abusive relationship and women obtaining the services they need,” she said. Dr. O’Brien highlighted hierarchic roles in abusers, language barriers, immigrant status, lack of information and cultural norms as various components that have varying degrees of involvement in APA-specific victims. Other studies suggest that APA violence also depends on location and sub-populations of APA couples. A 2008 Family Relations article on violence among APA couples discussed a range of reported violence across Los Angeles: 6.8 percent from Chinese Americans, and 37 and 60 percent among Vietnamese refugees and Korean American women, respectively. The study found that APA women are more at risk if they make equal or higher incomes than their husbands and if they have a bigger say in household decision-making, like chores, which are often culturally associated with female expectations. Complementary data furthered their findings, showing women are at a significantly lesser risk if husbands maintain more authority over household decision-making. As information continues to materialize empirically, undergraduate students at the university are seeing more

opportunities to become educated about domestic violence in and out of the classroom. Dr. O’Brien teaches a community interventions class about domestic violence that provides students with the opportunity to engage in service learning and shelters. “I think it’s important because by being educated about domestic violence the students in the class may be less likely to experience domestic violence in their relationships,” she said. “Undergrads often don’t get to put into practice what they’re learning…. So it’s helpful to have the course because they learn about the research and then put their learning into practice through service learning in the second semester.” Another voice for the domestic violence cause is Sigma Psi Zeta, an APA sorority on campus whose national philanthropy is to combat violence against women.

Sorority President Margaret Zheng said, “We kind of have a double interest by being an Asian sorority. Asian women have historically been portrayed as a silent minority.” She said the sorority’s hands-on approach is vital to demystifying the portrayal of APA women as silent and unnoticed. Sigma Psi Zeta’s philanthropy chair, Sarah Bao, discussed numerous events that the sorority does to educate and raise awareness on campus, such as the Clothesline Project, where student organizations decorate Hornbake Plaza with empowering t-shirts that are hung up with clothespins. “Our philanthropy goes strongly with one of our beliefs that we are strong, independent women and we want others around us to be able to stand up for themselves as women,” Bao said.


--South Korea--


Four United Nations agencies conducted a program in India to raise awareness on the negative effects of child marriage on girls. Although child marriage is on the decline, India is the leading child marriage capital with nearly half of the world’s child marriages, according to the UN agencies. The program will help women representatives become more knowledgeable about human rights and promote women’s leadership.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphones are back on store shelves in United States. The U.S. Court of Appeals overturned the sales ban against Samsung Electronics Co. on Oct. 11 after Apple was awarded $1 billion from the South Korean company over patent disputes in August. Apple had accused them of copying some features of its products.

Mo Yan, one of China’s best-known writers, has won the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature. His novels turned to “sold-out” status at China’s major online booksellers only 30 minutes after the announcement from Stockholm, Sweden. Yan is known for his 1987 novel, “Red Sorghum”, portraying real life in rural China. The worldwide recognition of Yan’s work brought national celebration to China.

fNeweatures fall TV shows challenge stereotypes of APAs THE PUBLICASIAN | OCT/NOV 2012

By Coryn Alvarez Staff  writer With  Lucy  Liu  as  Dr.  Joan  Watson   in  the  new  show  “Elementaryâ€?  and   0LQG\ .DOLQJ IURP Âł7KH 2IÂżFH´ as   an   OBGYN   on   “The   Mindy   3URMHFW´ $VLDQ 3DFLÂżF $PHULFDQV are   becoming   more   prevalent   on   television.   Television   shows   are   starting   the   trend   of   casting   APAs   into  more  non-­traditional  roles.   “Though  Asians  do  seem  to  have   a   growing   presence   on   TV,   they’re   always   typecast   into   generic   roles,   such  as  the  intelligent,  no  nonsense   doctor   or   the   uptight   parents,â€?   sophomore  special  education  major   Rachel  Norris  said. Norris   watches   “The   Mindy   Projectâ€?   and   enjoys   the   quirky   comedy  that  character  Mindy  Lahiri,   an  OBGYN  on  the  show,  is  known   for.  Although   the   show   is   centered   on   an   OBGYN   and   her   doctor   co-­ workers,  the  focus  of  the  show  and   characters  are  not  their  professions,   but   the   comedy   and   Mindy’s   quest   for  the  perfect  guy.  By  not  focusing   on  the  stereotypical  role  of  a  doctor,   the   role   that   APA   characters   play   can  be  more  dynamic. Kimberly   Davis,   an   adjunct   journalism   professor   and   former   associate  editor  at  Ebony  Magazine,   SRLQWHG RXW WKDW WKLV LV QRW WKH ÂżUVW APA   role   that   does   not   focus   on   the   race   of   the   character.   “Grey’s   Anatomyâ€?  casted  their  roles  blindly   so   the   factor   of   race   was   not   built  


into  the   characters   written   for   the   show.    Davis  had  the  notion  that  if   more   shows   casted   blindly,   there   would  be  less  stereotypes  portrayed   on  television. Âł,WKLQNVKRZVOLNHWKLVGHÂżQLWHO\ help   break   down   some   of   the   stereotyped   roles   on   television   today,   because   though   the   show   is   about   doctors,   theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re   all   shown   WR KDYH YDULRXV TXLUNV DQG Ă&#x20AC;DZV that   break   the   mold   of   the   typical   characters,â&#x20AC;?  Norris  said.   Mindy   Kaling   is   the   creator,   writer   and   executive   producer   of   â&#x20AC;&#x153;The   Mindy   Project,â&#x20AC;?   which   Davis   said   is   a   major   achievement   for   an   APA   in   television.   Kaling,   who   is   WKHÂżUVW6RXWK$VLDQ$PHULFDQHYHU to   both   star   and   create   a   sitcom,   is   certainly   among   the   few   women   who   are   dominating   behind   the   scenes.  As  the  trend  shows,  women   are   beginning   to   have   a   stronger   presence  behind  the  camera,  Kaling   included.   As   for   actress   Lucy   Liu,   her   UROH RQ WKH QHZ 6KHUORFN +ROPHV show   â&#x20AC;&#x153;Elementaryâ&#x20AC;?   has   become   a   topic   of   conversation.   The   modern   adaptation   bases   the   story   in   New   <RUN ZKHUH 6KHUORFN KHOSV WKH police   department   crack   cases. 7KH RULJLQDO Âł6KHUORFN +ROPHV´ a   drama   based   on   Arthur   Conan   Doyleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s   famous   character,   paired   the   detective   with   a   male   sidekick,   John   Watson.   This   time,   producers   envisioned   a   woman   in   the   role,   deciding   on   Liu   to   be   Dr.   Joan  

Watson.  From   what   may   be   one   of   her   most  well  known  roles  on  â&#x20AC;&#x153;Charlieâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s   Angels,â&#x20AC;?   to   playing   the   female   VLGHNLFN WR 6KHUORFN +ROPHV /LX is  breaking  out  of  her  typical  action   UROHV:KHQFDVWLQJWRRNSODFH&%6 came  to  Liu  to  play  the  part.  Davis   said  that  Liu  was  a  smart  choice  for   the  role  and  that  though  Liu  plays  a   doctor,   the   character   she   embodies   could  be  played  by  anyone.   â&#x20AC;&#x153;I   donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t   think   itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s   important   that   sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s  Asian,  but  more  important  that   sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s  not  the  typical  Watson,â&#x20AC;?  Davis   said. Lindsey   Ann   Gardner,   a   junior   elementary  education  major,  agreed   that   Liu   was   a   good   choice   for   the   part. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I   feel   like   Lucy   Liu   was   cast   to   bring   a   bit   of   change   to   the   WUDGLWLRQDOVWRU\OLQHRI+ROPHVDQG Watson,â&#x20AC;?   Gardner   said.   â&#x20AC;&#x153;A   strong   female   presence   will   change   the   vibe   between   the   main   characters,   and  from  the  networkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s  perspective,   will  make  the  show  more  desirable   for  both  men  and  women.â&#x20AC;?   The   increasing   number   of   APAs   shown   on   television   in   leading   roles  could  be  a  step  in  the  direction   of   getting   rid   of   the   stereotypical   intelligent,  uptight  doctor  that  APAs   normally  play.   Instead,  viewers  might  just  get  to   see  characters  that  are  there  for  pure   entertainment   and   not   to   reinforce   the   type   of   role   that   viewers   think   an  APA  should  play.


Mindy Kalingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Mindy Projectâ&#x20AC;? (top) airs Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. on FOX, and â&#x20AC;&#x153;Elementary,â&#x20AC;? starring Lucy Liu, airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on CBS.

Film explores lives of adopted Chinese teenage girls


Haley Butler, one of the adoptees featured in â&#x20AC;&#x153;Somewhere Between,â&#x20AC;? looks outside a bus window. The film documents her and other adopteesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; challenges of growing up in the United States.

By Morgan Eichensehr Staff  writer 7KH GRFXPHQWDU\ Âł6RPHZKHUH %HWZHHQ´ opens   with   the   scene   of   director   Linda   Goldstein  adopting  her  new  baby,  Ruby.  Ruby   is  one  of  the  80,000  Chinese  girls  who  have   been  adopted  from  China  since  the  one-­child   policy  went  into  effect  in  1979.   The   subjects   of   the   documentary   are   four   &KLQHVHWHHQDJHUVDJHVWR+DOH\%XWOHU Fang  Lee,  Ann  Boccuti  and  Jenna  Cook,  who   were   also   adopted   from   Chinese   orphanages   and   are   now   growing   up   in   suburban   homes   DFURVVWKH8QLWHG6WDWHV *ROGVWHLQ ÂżOPHG WKUHH \HDUV RI WKHLU teenage  lives  as  she  tried  to  answer  her  own   questions  about  what  it  would  be  like  for  her   DGRSWHGGDXJKWHUJURZLQJXSLQWKH86DQG how   Rubyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s   â&#x20AC;&#x153;coming   of   ageâ&#x20AC;?   would   differ  

from  that  of  the  typical  American  teenager.   7KLVÂżOPLVDQDFFRXQWRIWKHVWUXJJOHVRI the   young   girls   growing   up   in   America   as   transracial  adoptees.  They  each  grapple  with   their  distinctive  situation  and  share  a  sense  of   WKHGLIÂżFXOWLHVRIQRWRQO\KDYLQJWRQDYLJDWH the  typical  struggles  of  being  a  teenager,  but     also  coming  to  terms  with  their  identities  and   trying  to  answer  the  question,  â&#x20AC;&#x153;who  am  I?â&#x20AC;?   7KH ÂżOP DOORZV YLHZHUV WR ZDWFK DV WKH girls   grow   and   to   experience   their   personal   struggles  and  triumphs.   Fang  Lee,  for  example,  often  contemplates   KHU DJH ,Q &KLQD PDQ\ ELUWK FHUWLÂżFDWHV are   altered   to   make   orphans   seem   younger   WKDQ WKH\ DUH WR DSSHDO WR FRXSOHV 6R ZKLOH she  celebrates  her  sixteenth  birthday,  she  also   worries  that  she  may  not  be  16  at  all. Jenna   Cook   also   described   how   she   felt   about  being  adopted.

 â&#x20AC;&#x153;You   never   have   to   think   about   why   you   were   born   into   a   certain   family.   But   when   youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re  put  there,  itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s  different,â&#x20AC;?  Cook  said  in   the  documentary. Goldstein   also   followed   the   girls   as   they   returned  to  China  in  attempt  to  explore  their   heritage  and  connect  with  their  culture.  It  is  a   coming-­of-­age  story  that  delves  into  the  social   issues  that  go  along  with  being  an  â&#x20AC;&#x153;otherâ&#x20AC;?  in   WKH86RUDV+DOH\%XWOHUGHVFULEHGKHUVHOI a  â&#x20AC;&#x153;bananaâ&#x20AC;?  -­  yellow  on  the  outside  and  white   on  the  inside. Freshman   environmental   science   major   Allison  Bredder  experienced  a  similar  situation   to  those  depicted  in  the  documentary.  Bredder   ZDV DGRSWHG IURP D ÂłEDE\ KRPH´ LQ 6RXWK Korea   by   white   American   parents   when   she   ZDV MXVW IRXU PRQWKV ROG 6KH GHVFULEHG KHU H[SHULHQFHJURZLQJXSLQWKH86DVDQ$VLDQ 3DFLÂżF$PHULFDQDVEHLQJGLIÂżFXOWDWWLPHV Âł6RPH NLGV ZRXOG WKLQN LW ZDV IXQQ\ WR make  fun  of  the  fact  that  I  didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t  look  like  my   parents,â&#x20AC;?  Bredder  said,  â&#x20AC;&#x153;And  I  was  jealous  of   those  who  looked  like  their  parents  and  could   trace  back  their  family  lineage.â&#x20AC;?   For   Bredder,   who   has   neither   met   her   ELRORJLFDO SDUHQWV QRU EHHQ WR 6RXWK .RUHD it   is   a   struggle   feeling   disconnected   with   KHUKHULWDJH6KHKDVHQMR\HGJURZLQJXSLQ WKH86ZLWKKHUIDPLO\DQGKDVDQDGRSWHG Korean   brother   as   well,   who   she   said   has   made  the  situation  easier  to  deal  with.   Though  she  often  feels  isolated  and  lonely   LQKHUVLWXDWLRQVKHKDVQRGHVLUHWRÂżQGKHU biological  family  and  feels  little  connection  to   her  Korean  heritage. Bredderâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s  parents  also  kept  her  belongings   from  her  baby  home  and  continue  to  celebrate   KHU DGRSWLRQ GD\ HDFK \HDU 6KH FRQVLGHUV herself   a   typical  American   teenager,   but   she   also  is  very  aware  of  her  unique  situation  and,   similarly   to   how   Butler   describes   herself,  

Bredder  calls  herself  a  â&#x20AC;&#x153;Twinkieâ&#x20AC;?  -­  yellow  on   the  outside,  but  white  on  the  inside. Bredderâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s   experience   differs   greatly   from   WKDWRIPRVW$3$VZKRZHUHUDLVHGLQWKH86 but   maintain   a   connection   to   their   families   and  culture.   )UHVKPDQ DQLPDO VFLHQFH PDMRU 5\DQ +R endured   his   share   of   taunting   about   the   way   he  looked  and  even  his  last  name,  but  he  was   UDLVHGLQWKH86E\KLV&KLQHVHSDUHQWVDQG continues   to   maintain   in   contact   with   his   extended  family  back  in  China.   â&#x20AC;&#x153;We  visit  China  every  two  or  three  years,â&#x20AC;?   +RVDLGÂł,ÂśYHQHYHUUHDOO\FRQVLGHUHGP\VHOI to   be   more   Chinese   than   American,   but   itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s   nice  to  have  that  connection  to  my  culture.â&#x20AC;? Unlike   Bredder,   growing   up   in   a   diverse   area  of  Maryland  with  his  biological  parents   KHOSHG +R WR IHHO PRUH DFFHSWHG DQG ÂłQRUPDO´+HQHYHUKDGWRZRQGHUDERXWZKR KHZDVRUKRZKHÂżWLQZLWKKLVIDPLO\ *ROGVWHLQVDLGVKHZDQWVWKHÂżOPWRÂłLQVSLUH UHĂ&#x20AC;HFWLRQRQKRZZHDOOIRUPRXULGHQWLWLHV and   on   our   growing   global   and   personal   interconnections,   especially   those   networks   of  women  and  girls  that  have  been  formed  due   to  this  large  wave  of  adoptions.â&#x20AC;?   6KH KRSHV WKDW YLHZHUV JDLQ VRPH LQVLJKW regarding   the   hardships   that   these   girls,   and   many   others   like   them,   face   everyday.   *ROGVWHLQ DOVR EHOLHYHV WKH ÂżOP ZLOO KDYH D VLJQLÂżFDQW LPSDFW RQ$3$ YLHZHUV ZKR FDQ relate  to  the  girlsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;  story.   â&#x20AC;&#x153;I   have   spoken   with   many,   many   Asian   Americans   who   say   they   very   much   relate   to   how   the   girls   talk   and   feel   about   being   â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;different,â&#x20AC;&#x2122;   whether   it   is   because   of   being   adopted   or   more   importantly   dealing   with   issues   of   race,   racism   and   stereotypes,â&#x20AC;?   she   VDLGÂł7KHÂżOPLVDERXWLGHQWLW\DQGUHĂ&#x20AC;HFWLRQ about   our   ever-­growing   and   evolving   identities.â&#x20AC;?    


Getting the APA vote

The PublicAsian | Oct/Nov 2012

Conflicting attitudes make the Dream Act a toss up in this year’s election By Colleen Wilson Staff writer

Maryland’s Dream Act has endured an intense game of tug-of-war the past couple of years between supporters like Governor Martin O’Malley, who signed the bill last May, and the naysayers who petitioned for its referendum. The Dream Act’s fate is now at the hands of Maryland constituents as it prepares for referendum this November at the polls. If the legislation is deemed favorable among voters, Maryland will be the twelfth state to enact a law allowing illegal immigrants to pursue higher education at instate tuition rates. Undocumented students who have attended a Maryland high school for at least three years and whose parents have filed taxes are eligible to receive in-state tuition at community college, where they will earn their associate’s degree before transfering to a four-year university and receiving in-state tuition. The legislation exempts these students from other financial aid options, but does not exempt students whose parents do not earn enough to pay taxes. During the school acceptance process, students will be considered in the out-of-state pool. As the election nears, organizations for and against the Dream initiative have amped up efforts to reach voters for lastminute opinion sways. Educating Maryland Kids, a coalition in favor of the Dream Act, is garnering support online, as well as reaching out through community events, flyers and phone banking. The coalition is fused together with various groups like Casa de Maryland, who represents

immigrants and their families. “It’s really about making it so the best and brightest of our students can go to college,” said Kristin Ford, communications

that straightforward pragmatic argument is powerful, and people need to hear that.” Emily Menase, a junior kinesiology major, said that

The university’s president, Wallace Loh, reiterated Menase and Ford’s sentiments in an opinion piece for The Washington Post, in which he wrote that the Dream

Sources: The Washington Post The Baltimore Sun The Gazette “private and government fiscal costs and benefits of the maryland dream act” graphic by linda poon

director for Educating Maryland Kids. “This is investing in our future. They have the opportunity to contribute to our society and

she approves of the Dream Act. “I’m for it because it’s not the kids fault. The kids shouldn’t be penalized.”

Act is “fair, just and economically beneficial to our state.” Loh, who came to America as a teenager, wrote that his

immigration experience is one that gave him many opportunities and believes that “everyone deserves a chance to rise on his or her merits.” But not everybody sees the initiative the same way, including some students at this university. One student, who wished to remain anonymous said, “They are illegal. I think along those same lines presents a conflict. Like me, who is legal and later on it could be a problem for me with trying to find a job.” From a more economic standpoint, Brad Botwin, director of Help Save Maryland, an educational outreach group that opposes the bill, said that it will become a financial burden on people. “Everyone is going to hurt because of this and it is a big impact on the taxpayer who is already paying a lot of money for illegals,” he said. “They would bump an out-ofstate student, and those students are paying big bucks so they’re basically subsidizing,” Botwin said, adding that someone needs to pay the bills. “We’re not banning anyone from going to college; they’re international students who should pay out-of-state. It’s a privilege, not a right to go to college,” he added. Contrary to Botwin’s statement, however, is a recent study by the University of Maryland, Baltimore County that said the passage of the Dream Act would actually be economically beneficial. According to the study, it would benefit the government by $66 million each year. The report also added that the bill would not displace citizen students from their spots in schools because of the community college requirement.

A look back into the 2008 election: factors that led to low voter turnout among APAs By Samantha Inzalaco Staff writer

Asian Pacific Americans are the fastest growing minority group in the United States and have a tremendous potential for political influence. Yet in the 2008 election, the voter turnout for APAs was surprisingly low. Reasoning for the low voter turnout has been questioned since the 2008 election, with presumptions ranging from lack of citizenship to failure by parties to reach out to the APA voters. According to the 2008 Current Population Survey, only 57 percent of APA adult citizens voted. “About one-third of Asian Pacific Americans cannot vote because they are not yet citizens, and 10 percent are in the country illegally. But even among citizens,

there is a voting gap,” Asian American Studies Director Janelle Wong said. While language barriers play a role in the lack of political involvement, the survey also suggests a larger reason that deals with location. According to the survey, APAs are less likely to live in swing states, so they may feel less inclined to vote, thinking that their vote may not matter much. “I feel even if I were to become involved in politics, the government is so large, my voice wouldn’t be heard,” junior kinesiology major Jessica Moy said. For many citizens across the country, Moy’s feelings hold true for them. In a country so large with a powerful government, some individuals find it hard to believe their personal issues are of the government’s concern, especially if it doesn’t resonate with the majority’s. “I think in general, politicians pay more

attention to the needs of the majority,” junior marketing major Hannah Shaw said. “A lot of kids our age don’t think our vote matters. That, and they are not informed enough to make an educated decision,” Moy added. Aside from demographic issues and feelings of disconnect form society, politicians struggle to connect with the APA voter base. The nation’s main parties do not focus on reaching out to the APA population – something that APAs are urging candidates to change for this year’s election. “Grassroots organizations are very important because they are most in contact with the Asian population, said Wong. “These groups are limited, however, because they tend to have few resources and little focus on political participation.” Wong also pointed out that demographic boundaries APAs face, including religion,

the immigrant generation and length of residence in the U.S., hold the community back, making it difficult for APAs to band together and become involved. Hoping to see a significant change in this year’s election, APAs are already taking action. With a generation of ambitious young adults, voter turnout for the 2012 election could see an improvement. “I definitely plan on voting in this upcoming election,” Moy said. “I can’t complain about my voice not being heard if I don’t at least try.” “I do not think Asian Pacific Americans are simply uninterested or more apolitical than other groups. The biggest factor holding them back from voting is eligibility, but another factor has to do with lack of political mobilization and lack of capacity among Asian Americans to get the vote out,” Wong said.

The PublicAsian | Oct/Nov 2012

Getting the APA vote

Election 2012 | 7

AASU Voter Initiative urges students to make their voices heard on prominent issues By Steven Ruiz Staff writer

“These are issues you should be talking about to your family, your friends and people in the community,” said APALA-DC President Katrina Dizon to an audience of Asian Pacific American students on Sept. 18. “Show them that we have our share of issues as well that makes it important for us to voice our concerns and also get out and vote.” Representatives of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance urged students during the Asian American Student Union Voter Initiative event to help break “the stereotype of the quiet Asian” and make their voices heard at the polls this November. APAs are the fastest growing minority in the country, but it is a group that is largely ignored by election campaigns despite the many issues they share with other immigrants, Dizon said. “From 2000 to 2010, we grew in number by about 46 percent,” she said. “We are force to be reckoned with, especially in politics.” But, she added, “politicians are courting all these different voters but ignoring Asian America.”

photo courtesy of Joanne Liu

Speakers and students who attended the Asian American Student Union Voter Initiative event on Sept. 18 with signs that indicate why they are voting this year. AASU VP of Advocacy Joanne Liu answered with “social justice,” while senior Deborah Kim wrote, “I’m voting [because] I care.” AASU President Elaine Wang wrote, “I’m voting because I [love] the people!”

What people don’t realize is that Asian Americans have their own set of varying struggles that people don’t really know of unless they look a little closer.” – Katrina Dizon

President of Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance-DC

She said that APA issues aren’t in the spotlight because they are often seen as the model minority. “What people don’t realize is that Asian Americans have their own set of varying struggles that people don’t really know of unless they look a little closer,” said Dizon. Among the struggles is immigration, which she said

VOTE percent increase in APA population, making it the state to experience the most growth. “We’re becoming stakeholders, and not in just states that are usually known for having a large Asian population,” said Viva Mogi, field director for Asian and Pacific Islander American (APIA) Vote, a non-partisan organization that works to mobilize APAs in electoral and civic participation. However, getting the APA vote is not simple given the great diversity within the APA community itself. Thirty-three percent of APAs identify as Democrats, but support for the Democratic Party varies largely by different ethnic groups. Eighty-one percent of Indian Americans favor President Barack Obama compared to only 45 percent of Filipino Americans, according to a September 2012 report by the National Asian American Survey. On the other hand, according to Director Janelle Wong of the Asian American Studies department, Vietnamese Americans are the most Republican as they associate more with the anti-communist stance with the Republican Party. Not only is the APA community diverse in cultural background, but different generations tend to lean different ways. “The first generation tends to more conservative

is not thought of as an APA issue even though there are over a million undocumented Asian immigrants living in the United States today. “You hear that it’s a very Latinocentric issue, and when they talk about it on the news no one talks about it affecting our community,” she said. “But the truth is it actually really does.” Dizon also mentioned poverty among APAs as another issue that is often overlooked because different ethnic communities are often lumped into one large group. While the poverty level is quite low for APAs as a whole, it is well above the national averages among groups like the Cambodian and Pakistani American communities. Community Outreach Vice President Ja-Rei Wang of APALA asked the students what issues they were most concerned about, and the most frequent responses were education and social issues, such as women’s reproductive rights. She implored the students to take those issues to the polls. “For a lot of these issues, the simple thing of just checking a box on a ballot can change a lot for the [APA community],” she said. One of those issues is the Maryland Dream Act, which

allows immigrants who graduate from a Maryland high school and have paid taxes for the last five years to pay instate tuition for state universities and colleges. According to the Census, nearly 430,000 APA immigrants arrived in the U.S. in 2010 alone, which means the act will have a lasting impact on the community’s younger generation. As Karen Narasaki writes in the political newspaper, The Hill, “Nearly two-thirds of Asian Americans are foreign born; one in 10 students who would be covered by the Dream Act is Asian American.” AASU Vice President of Advocacy Joanne Liu said the presenters were helpful not only in encouraging students to vote but also in helping them understand why they should. “I already had every intention to vote in the upcoming election, but I definitely think they effectively emphasized the importance of voting to the point that it affected audience members’ likelihood of voting,” Liu said. “I think it’s really important for APAs to vote because we are often overlooked in politics … so we should start mobilizing ourselves now and make our voices heard.”

than the second generation,” Wong wrote in an email. However, she added that even so, the first generation still leans much more towards the Democrats than the Republicans.

less confidence in their English,” Radhakrishnan said. “Interacting with officials can be difficult. Words on the ballot may be confusing”. Organizations such as APIA Vote have been working to overcome these kinds of barriers and registering APAs to vote. “This year, we started a lot earlier getting people to register to vote. We had trainings in different states, teaching them about deadlines, or how to fill out a form,” said Mogi. “We specifically targeted folks who had a history of not voting every year, or who didn’t vote as frequently.” “It’s all about voter education,” she said. “They need to see how their votes can translate into the kinds of changes they want to see.” In the 2008 presidential election, 62 percent of APA voters voted for Obama, and 35 percent voted for Senator John McCain, according to New York Times exit polls. This year, the National Asian American Survey predicts that 43 percent of APAs are likely to vote for Obama and 24 percent will vote for Republican candidate Mitt Romney. Still, 32 percent of APAs are undecided, according to the survey. “We need to make sure we go out and vote, and that a strong number of us goes out to vote,” said Mogi. “Hopefully from this election we can learn that our votes are making a difference,” said Radhakrishnan.

We’re becoming stakeholders, and not in just states that are usually known for having a large Asian population.” – Viva Mogi

Field Director for Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote

The diversity within the APA community also presents additional hindrances to voting, such as language barriers. “The first generation and [the 1.5] generation could have

8 | Features

The PublicAsian | Oct/Nov 2012


South Korean rapper Psy makes waves internationally through his #1 smash hit, “Gangnam Style” By Caitlin Hennegan Staff writer


Thousands of students gather and dance at McKeldin Mall on Sept. 26 for a “Gangnam Style” flashmob UMD-style.

top Parodies


Mike Song and his mom show off The University of Oregon’s mascot their moves to “Gangnam Style” in danced all over campus and now their living room. has over 5 million YouTube hits.

YouTube Comedian David So parodies “Gangnam Style” with his version: “Byuntae (Pervert) Style.”

With over 400 million video views, making it to the top 10 on iTunes and several television appearances, South Korean rapper Psy’s “Gangnam Style” has become the first successful Korean pop song to go viral in the United States. The video began on YouTube, but quickly spread to other social networking sites and became trending topics on Twitter and Reddit. Unlike the Korean pop groups who have attempted to make it big in the U.S., Psy, whose real name is Park Jae-Sang, released “Gangnam Style” without the intention of debuting in America. But the song has been so popular for a multiple of reasons – the catchiness of the beat, the ridiculousness of the music video and the memorable “horse dance” that goes along with it. In the music video, which has been parodied by several people, Psy does a dance that resembles riding an invisible horse. Comedians like David So and Paul “PK” Kim, as well as universities across the nation, have uploaded their own version of the rapper’s signature move. More than 2,500 students at this university participated on Sept. 26 in a “Gangnam Style” flash mob event on McKeldin Mall. On Oct. 23, advocacy group Kollaboration DC will hold its own flash mob event in downtown Silver Spring. “It was amusing because everyone knew and was waiting at the mall,” said senior art and Chinese double

major Heather Lindsey, who attended the university’s event. “You could barely hear the music, but it was OK considering the amount of people and lack of dance knowledge.” Senior government and politics major Sang Kim believes that Psy’s atypical pop star appearance has something to do with his popularity. “He’s not the most good-looking guy,” Kim said. “But he has the friendly, goofy image that people find easy to approach.” There is also a sense of irony in the song. Gangnam is known for being an affluent district in Seoul, but “Gangnam Style” is also a subtle mockery of the lifestyle of Korea’s upper class. “Gangnam is a very rich and fancy part of Korea, but he’s the opposite of that,” Kim said. As Psy continues to top the charts, his success could also be an example for other Asian stars trying to make it in the U.S. In Korea, the majority of artists are in boy bands or girl groups, which have become a bit outdated in America. Perhaps being a solo artist could garner more success, but it takes a little more than just going solo to top the charts. A few years ago, Korean pop singer BoA Kwon released an English album in America, but it never played on radio stations or received the same amount of feedback as “Gangnam Style.” Since Psy signed onto Schoolboy Records, a part of Universal Republic Records, “Gangnam Style” might be just the beginning of his international career.

New novel shines a light on legacy of Muslim inventions By Samantha Inzalaco Staff writer From medical breakthroughs to a 500-yearold map that accurately depicts the presentday world, the novel “1001 Inventions: The Enduring Legacy of Muslim Civilization,” opens readers’ eyes to a time period that is often forgotten. National Geographic partnered with Chief Editor Salim Al-Hassani of the novel to showcase the achievements of Muslim civilizations and shed light on the intellects of ancient times. “Muslim civilizations stretched from Spain to China from the seventh century onwards. Innovative ideas come from brilliant minds, but they also would not be possible without taking into consideration the work of those before us,” Al-Hassani said during a book signing at the Hyattsville Busboys and Poets in September. In order to recreate those times in history that much of the world knows so little about, AlHassani began applying engineering analysis to recreate machines from ancient times. As a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, he believes in the importance of technological revolution. About 13 years ago, Al-Hassani began researching what present-day schools teach the world’s children in terms of science and mathematics. Stunned by the obvious gaps in history, he felt prompted to show the world what they were missing.

“I read a science book typical for teaching young children. It covered hundreds of years of history in two pages. I was shocked,” AlHassani said. This sparked the idea for a groundbreaking story that eventually would become the novel, “1001 Inventions,” in which he took a close look at ancient scientific and technological inventions still being used around the world today, as well as the Islamic minds behind them. “It is unacceptable to ignore these times in history when so many inventions were made, so many basic inventions that can be seen in our world today in more advanced forms,” said junior communications and French double major Melissa Fass. When transforming innovative ideas into a useful invention, it is necessary to take into consideration the work of those before them. This is also applicable to Western civilizations and their Middle Eastern counterparts who, according to Al-Hassani, rarely receive credit for their breakthroughs. “We would not know about one civilization without reading about it in the language of another civilization. We all know about Arabic numerals, but the truth is, the Arabs used to call them Indian numerals,” Al-Hassani added. Most of the inventions that were examined fell into the categories of engineering, early medicinal practices, science, technology and even cartography. Al-Hassani recreated overlooked inventions like the astrolabes and reciprocating pump-valve, developments that seem primal but became the modern-day GPS


National Geographic and Chief Editor Salim Al-Hassani of “1001 Inventions” partenered to showcase Muslim inventions.

and toilet, respectively. “In school, we surround our kids with names and equations, all European names,” Al-Hassani said. “Yes, they were great people, but so were all the people before them.” He then went on to describe the skewed perception children have of history. According to Al-Hassani, governments want children to view their country in a certain light, and they tailor school curriculums to do this, regardless of the role other countries played. This often makes children blind to the

accomplishments of other nations. “During my childhood, I do remember learning history, but it was mostly American history, only involving foreign countries in terms of war. We rarely learned about other cultures, which is intolerable in a world that is becoming more and more interconnected,” junior economics major Nicole Pascucci said. “I don’t like history because of the way it was taught to me. It was all about people killing each other. Do not look at history through a religious or political lens. Use the lens of science,” Al-Hassani added. In the novel, he discusses the inventions in terms of seven aspects of life: home, school, hospital, market, town, world and the universe. Through these aspects, similarities are clear, and different cultures can find common ground, making coexistence possible. “These seven zones show the similarities between various types of people. This makes civilizations come together, which helps different cultures work in harmony,” AlHassani explained. “What do people have in common? Their ancestry, technology and science.” He made it clear that humans choose their attitude and how they react to the world around them. By understanding other cultures, individuals can work and live together in peace. “Together we can create a better shared future with shared human values. This will lead to social cohesion and different cultures working together,” Al-Hassani said.

APA Spotlight: Jude Paul Dizon

The PublicAsian | Oct/Nov 2012

By James Levin Staff writer

After just over a month on the job, Jude Paul Dizon, the newest member of Multicultural Involvement and Community Advocacy (MICA), is already bringing a new passion and creative personality to the university. The San Francisco Bay Area native was recently appointed as the new full-time coordinator of Asian Pacific American Student Involvement and Advocacy in the MICA office. Dizon completed his undergraduate degree in international development at the University of California, Berkeley in 2009 before getting his master’s in higher education and student affairs at the University of Vermont earlier this year. In between, he spent a year volunteering in refugee communities in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, an experience that deeply influenced the impact he wanted to make on others. “I was really thinking about, you know, what was I really doing to step into the shoes of another person?” said Dizon. “Personally, it was really eye-opening to … learn what it really meant to be independent and then also to kind of understand more so that immigrant experience – that experience of being an outsider.” His “parallel experience,” he said, helped him relate to how newcomers feel in the United States and understand what happens in this country when talking about minority groups. He added that his trip helped to form the kind of role he wants to take at the university. While Dizon hopes to be the kind of resource for APA students that they “are not getting from the mainstream campus,” he

Photo by ryan alphonso

By Darcy Costello Staff writer “Chink” is not your average horror film. It has the blood, guts and the gore of a traditional slasher movie, but Eddy Tsai, played by actor Jason Tobin from “Fast and the Furious,” does more than just kill people – he makes the audience question themselves and society. The film follows Tsai in his serial murders, as he strives to become like his idol Ted Bundy, a notorious mass murderer. Unlike traditional serial killers, Tsai is motivated by his self-hatred, a byproduct of childhood bullying of his race and hatred of all Asian Pacific Americans. When filmmakers Stanley Yung, Koji Steven Sakai and Quentin Lee developed the idea for their independently produced horror film, they hoped to not only entertain audiences, but also inspire them to explore issues involving racial identity. Sakai, the screenwriter for “Chink,” describes his new film as “a slasher movie with a message” in an article for USA Projects. “The movie will make no apologies, it will push people’s buttons and make them squirm. Hopefully, though, it will foster much needed debate about the state of the Asian American male in our society,” he wrote. “There are a lot of campy horror movies – ones that just go for the shock value. This movie has some substance,” said sophomore computer engineering major Alexander Oshiro, who serves as the secretary of the UMD Film Society. “It’s more of a message movie than what you would usually go to just a generic horror movie for.” Few films to date have portrayed a minority character as a serial killer, often focusing instead on the typical white American male that many envision as the stereotypical offender of such calculated and heinous crime. According to graduate student Laura Dykstra, who is studying criminology, this movie taps into a growing trend within the field of criminal justice. “Some of the newer things we’re seeing in serial crime have to do with crossing those racial and ethnic boundaries in terms of victim choice or in terms of offender,” Dykstra said. “So I think the film is timely in that sense – sort of expanding our understanding of what makes up a serial offender.” Among the usual lists of most notorious American serial killers, very few are minorities and rarely are any of the perpetrators APAs. Dykstra proposed that the lack of diversity is

reach out to another organization.” For Dizon, the first step to meeting his goals is to build a connection with the students. “He is participating in as many student, MICA and Stamp activities as possible,” said Zerina Borhan, MICA’s new graduate assistant coordinator for the APA community. “Specifically, he is genuinely trying to connect [to] as many students and be present at as many student meetings as possible, which are all important aspects of our position. I appreciate the effort he has been putting in to be available and helpful as much as he can, even if he is dealing with a huge transition.” And to let the students know that he is there for them, Dizon tries to make himself available as much as possible “My door is always open. Please come and see me if you ever have a question or issue, or just want to chat,” he said. “My space is for students, and so is the entire MICA office. We are here for students, so please come see us!” Inside the MICA office, the faculty voiced its excitement about having the enthusiastic and driven Dizon as part of the team. “He is out of grad school and going to bring some energy [to] the campus; that’s the one thing,” said Assistant Director Brandon Dula. “I know he brings a passion for working with students.” Although working with students is currently his main priority, Dizon expressed that his energy doesn’t end at school. Outside the campus, he enjoys traveling, being “around creativity” and trying all different kinds of foods. “I don’t know, for me, the phrase, ‘It’s not about the destination; it’s about the journey,’ I don’t know if I always agree with that,” Dizon said.

emphasized that he is here to “promote inclusion” for all students, not just APAs. But first, one of his long-term goals is to build ties between the different APA groups on campus. “I think there is a lot of separation between different APA communities,” Dizon said. “You have organizations that are strong on their own and don’t see the need to connect and

Horror film ‘Chink’ is more than just blood and gore

Features | 9

Oct/Nov Community Calendar

October Filipino American Heritage Month 19 Queer Camp: A Retreat for the LGBTQA UMD Community

22 Phi Delta Sigma Clothing Drive Runs until Oct. 26 23 Kollaboration DC & Gangnam Style Flash Mob 6-9 p.m. | Silver Spring Civic Center 24 Joseph Vincent Live 7 p.m. | Metro Gallery in Baltimore, Md.

Photo credit:

because of the selection of notorious perpetrators rather than a lack of minority criminals. “Part of the historical reason for these ideas might be because detection was focused more on white offenders, because they were more likely to target white victims,” said Dykstra. “So we certainly have historical examples of minority offenders that targeted minority victims, but those racial and ethnic lines are starting to blur a little bit in recent times.” Freshman education major Caroline Weber is not sure whether she would be interested in seeing the horror film.“I think the premise of the movie is interesting though,” she said. “I like that you get a sort of back story with the character. I definitely think that it’s a story worth being told. It will make people think.” “This movie is really its own thing. It’s pushing its limits. I’m looking forward to it, I’m definitely going to watch it,” said Oshiro. “I don’t think people will treat it as a horror film itself, it’s more than just that.” Though “Chink” has not yet been released in theaters, filmmakers hope the message will translate to audiences and transcend the traditional boundaries of a horror film. “Stories about identity politics don’t have to take themselves so seriously,” Sakai wrote. “They can have blood, guts and sex too.”

25 Deloitte Diversity Panel 6:30 p.m. | Margaret Brent Room in Stamp 27 FUEL the Pride: Intersections & Collaborations 10:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. | Atrium in Stamp Register at 27 FilAmplified by FCA 6 p.m. | Hoff Theatre in Stamp

November 01 AKDPhi Think Pink! First Annual Gala 6:30-8:30 p.m. | Location TBD 08 Yodo Kurahashi: Professional Shakuhachi Performer 5-6 p.m. | Margaret Brent Room in Stamp 10 David Choi & Clara Chung Fall Tour 7 p.m. | The Howard Theatre in Washington, D.C. 12 Shattered - The Asian American Comics Anthology Book Signing and Launch 6:30 p.m. | Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C. 14 MBSA Diversity Feast and Film Time and Location TBD


op inions



AASU Unedited: A Matter of Time From AASU President Elaine Wang 2012  is   the   year,   according   to   the   Mesoamerican   calendar,   that   supposedly  concludes  a  5,125-­year-­long  cycle  and  our  lives  as  we  know   it.   We   can   never   know   for   sure   what   events   lay   ahead   in   the   moments   that  rush  past  us.  We  can  only  examine  the  past.  And  then  thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s  now:   DSHUSHWXDOO\Ă&#x20AC;HHWLQJFRQFHSW,WWDNHVWLPHIRUWKHEUDLQWRSURFHVVRXU H[WHUQDO VHQVDWLRQV7KLV PHDQV ZH DUH DOZD\V OLYLQJ E\ IUDFWLRQV RI D VHFRQGLQWKHSDVW,QIDFWE\WKHWLPHWKHZRUGHVFDSHVXVQRZLVRYHU So  then,  moments  are  stored  in  the  past  regardless  of  how  passive  or   proactive  we  are.  Time  doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t  stop  for  anyone.  And  though  we  can  never   UHDOO\ EH OLYLQJ LQ WKH QRZ ZH FDQ IRVWHU D EHWWHU ODWHU WKURXJK D ZHOO SODQQHGEHIRUH :HFDQVWRUHWKDWPRPHQWRIVWXG\LQJWKHZHHNEHIRUHIRUDEHWWHUH[DP score  later.  We  can  get  a  full  nightâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s  rest  for  a  refreshing  tomorrow.  We  can   VD\ZHFDVWHGRXUYRWHVLQKLVWRU\VRWKDWRXUOHJDFLHVFDQOLYHEHWWHUOLYHV $QGPRVWLPSRUWDQWO\ZHSUDFWLFHWKHPRUDOVZHNQRZDQGKROGWREHWWHU RXUVHOYHVEHIRUHPHUJLQJLQWRDQDXWRQRPRXVVRFLHW\ :KDWDUH\RXJRLQJWRGRQRZWKDW\RXFDQEHSURXGRIODWHU",QWKH FKDQFHWKDWLPSHQGLQJGRRPOHWVXVFHOHEUDWHDQHZ\HDUZK\QRWPDUN RXUVHOYHVDQHZEHJLQQLQJULJKWQRZ"&RPHWKHPRUQLQJRI'HFHPEHU VW LI WKH +RPHRZQHUÂśV $VVRFLDWLRQ KDVQÂśW FDOOHG PH DERXW ODZQ DVWHURLGVDQGLI,ÂśPVWLOOÂżQGLQJQHZSODFHVWRKLGHP\EURWKHUÂśV&KULVWPDV JLIWV,ÂśGVD\LWZDVDOOZRUWKZKLOH Elaine  Wang  is  a  senior  computer  science  major.  

Letter  from the

Editors 'HDU7HUSV



The PublicAsian | Oct/Nov 2012


Deema’s Travel Diary

Deema Alfadl is a senior broadcast journalism major who will be blogging for The PublicAsian from Hong Kong, where she is studying abroad this semester. All photos provided and taken by Deema Alfadl. For more photos, visit

Hong Kong: New York City on Steroids Before I graduate in May, I wanted to do something different. I wanted to do something that many University of Maryland students don’t usually do. And I wanted to go through an experience where I would be put out of my comfort zone and learn how to adapt alone. That something different was studying abroad. Getting the chance to study for one semester in a foreign country is awesome. To be given the opportunity to study in Hong Kong, one of Asia’s mega-cities? I’m on board. There are many study abroad programs that are in Asia. But why did I choose Hong Kong? It’s true that Hong Kong is a major financial center. It’s also true that they have malls that put the Tysons Corner Center to shame. And yes! It’s the home of Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee. To be honest, I didn’t know much about Hong Kong. I was very eager to know more about the economy, culture and politics of this so-called “special administrative region” of China. I’ve only been in Hong Kong for

less than month, and I can report to you that the city is unreal. The city, home to seven million people, is bustling with life. It’s dynamic and fast paced. It’s a place where east meets west, modernity meets traditional. It’s New York City on steroids. Every corner you turn, there’s always something interesting like a group of elderly people doing Tai Chi in the middle of a crowded street. The food is outstanding. Think dim sum galore! And this is all in Hong Kong Island, my new residence. There are still so much more unexplored areas. Hong Kong Island can be best described as the Manhattan of New York City where all the commerce, tourists and nightlife are. However, my university is not in the center of all that. The University of Hong Kong (HKU), where I am currently taking political science courses at the Faculty of Social Sciences, is located east of the island, in a “suburb” called Kennedy Town. It’s a busy area, but it’s also a residential area for locals.

Living there gives me a chance to learn about the local lifestyle and to pick up a bit of Cantonese. HKU is significantly smaller than the University of Maryland, but it’s a maze nonetheless. To get from the entrance to class, you can expect to go through other buildings, flights of stairs, elevators and escalators. It’s like a vertical village. It explains much about Hong Kong that despite its small surface area, it’s very complex. This semester, I got to experience the Mid-Autumn Festival Hong Kong style – going to the lantern carnival, witnessing a fire dragon dance and eating some delicious moon cakes. I’ll also be exploring some of the gems of Hong Kong including the night markets as well as the famous Ladies Market in Mong Kok, situated in Kowloon. I’ll also get the chance to travel to other parts of Asia and maybe even mainland China, so stay tuned! I’d like to thank the The PublicAsian for giving me the opportunity to share my study abroad experience with the Terps community. See you next time!

12 | Events Recap


Kicking off Fall 2012

oomed In :

The PublicAsian | Oct/Nov 2012

Photo by ryan alphonso

Photos by James Levin

What better way to start the year than with a “Gangnam Style” flash mob? More than 2,500 students gathered in front of McKeldin Library on Sept. 26 to mimic Korean rapper Psy’s now famous horse dance. Photo by James levin

Check out for more photos and coverage of events from the Asian Pacific American community! Photo by James levin

Program Coordinator Grace Lee (left) and Director Janelle Wong (right) of the Asian American Studies department kicked off their new curriculum with an AAST lunch on Sept. 21. Photo by james levin

The Chinese Student Association made sure to keep their members full and coming back with delicious Chinese food during their general body meeting on Sept. 20.

Students got serious and professional on Oct. 4 at the Asian Pacific American Networking Event, during which alumni and employers visited to help students with their career paths.

The PublicAsian  

A voice for the Asian Pacific American community at the University of Maryland, College Park

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