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The PublicAsian

March 2012 | A Voice


Inside Newsfeed


Asian Pacific American Community





Maryland, College Park | Volume 18, Issue IV

Year of the dragon babies By Caitlin Hennegan Staff writer


Death of Pvt. Chen sparks reforms


APAs push for stricter anti-discrimination training in the military | Page 4 Features




sian countries are expecting to see a small baby boom in what is considered the luckiest and most prosperous year to be born into: the Year of the Dragon. The belief has made its way to the United States, where many Chinese Americans want to have children born in this year. In Chinese culture, the dragon is also associated with strength, wealth and success, meaning that those born in the Year of the Dragon will likely have all of the above. This dates back to thousands of years ago when the ancient Chinese believed dragons could repel evil spirits. “The ancient Chinese people would say all the Chinese are children or offspring of the dragon,” said James Z. Gao, a professor of East Asian history at this university. According to Gao, even though the dragon was a symbol for imperial ancient China, it also served as a popular image for entertainment and holiday festivities, and eventually became the national symbol of good fortune. “There are two meanings [of the dragon],” Gao said. “One is the authorities’ power and ancestor origin. On the

BABIES, Page 3

APAs’ new sports hero By Molly Geary Staff writer

Dancing with the lions Director Wallace Lee of the Chinese Youth Club in D.C. shares the secrets behind traditional lion dancing | Page 7

Zoomed In

Jeremy Lin’s story sounds like it came straight out of Hollywood: a Harvard basketball player goes undrafted before suddenly taking the NBA by storm over a year later. Yet this particular story doesn’t have a script, nor is it your typical sports story. It’s “Linsanity,” and the world has taken note. As the first American NBA player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent, Lin has quickly become someone of whom Asian Pacific American PHOTO CREDIT: YAHOO.COM sports fans can be proud. “He really came out of nowhere; New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin, NBA’s first Chinese or Taiwanese American player, steals the show and sparks a whole new wave of Linsanity. it’s been a real pleasant surprise,”

said sports writer Gene Wang of The Washington Post. “The difference between him and [former Chinese NBA star] Yao Ming is that Lin grew up in the United States. For people like me, who grew up in this country and can look and see someone with a similar background, I can really relate and it’s great to see.” A native of Palo Alto, Calif., Lin had to overcome stereotypes and racism on his road to both Harvard and the NBA. Some hope that his triumphs are a lesson to those who questioned his talent for those reasons. “I feel very strongly that our society still upholds very many underlying stereotypes, and [Lin’s] success


Saving Janet Liang APA organizations welcome students back with fun and culturally diverse GBMs | Page 12 Online Exclusive

We sit down with UMD’s very own APA basketball player, Jon Dillard. @publicasianumd

Every year, over 10,000 patients in the U.S. are diagnosed with life-threatening diseases like leukemia, and their best and sometimes only hope for a cure is a transplant from an adult donor who is not related to them. Janet Liang was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in August 2009, at age 22. She was in her last year at UCLA, majoring in international development studies and minoring in education. After going through extensive and aggressive rounds of chemotherapy, she was told in June 2010 that her cancer was in remission. In December 2011, one and a half years after being declared cancer-free, she was told that her cancer was back. Liang now has only until April to find a bone marrow donor match before her cancer completely takes over her. Asian Pacific American artists and entertainers like Far East Movement, Kina Grannis, Kevin “Kevjumba” Wu and Victor Kim have posted YouTube videos urging viewers to get swabbed into the donor registry to help find a match for Liang.

DONOR , Page 3


A cultural reunion

By Elana Fink Staff writer


The PublicAsian | March 2012

newsfeed Week of Service

March 10

Terps Service Day, cosponsored with TerpCorps

March 12

ISA Blood Drive, cosponsored with UMD Red Cross

March 13

Charity Dinner

March 14


ISA prepares to give back to community during Week of Service, March 10-16

By Shannon Wong Staff writer

The Indian Student Association’s annual Week of Service is scheduled for March 10-16. This week is special to the organization because “it helps students realize that there are lots of people who have a lot less than you do,” Vice President of Philanthropy Kushaan Shah said. “It’s about getting in touch with your roots.” Freshman Executive Ashmi Sheth notes that the Week of Service is more service-based than social-based. “A lot of times ISA seems social, but I want them to see that … we do have events where we’re giving back to the community,” she said. The ISA has several big events planned, including a blood drive and their bi-annual charity dinner on the last day of the week. According to Meher Kachwala, ISA vice president of communications, about

400 people attended the charity dinner last year, raising approximately $300. The organization is expecting roughly the same this year, and all proceeds from ticket sales will go to the charity Sacred Scriptures’ Social Message Into Living Experience (SSSMILE). A mixer with the Association for Indian Development (AID), which focuses on the education of Western India, is also planned. As partners, their goal is to adopt at least three villages, which cost $1000 each. “ISA is working with physics [professor] Satindar Bhagat. For every $500 that ISA raises, Bhagat will donate $500 to match,” Kachwala said. With previous donations, ISA has already adopted five villages. AID, according to Shah and Kachwala, goes into these adopted villages and educates the children, providing them necessary resources to succeed. Besides education, AID also

Service should never be a responsiblity and is something that everyone should have fun doing.” – Kushaan Shah ISA Vice President of Philantrophy

helps the villages with general services like clean water and health care. Proceeds will also go towards SSSMILE who “helps out in all aspects of Indian society; health care, education etc.,” Shah said. According to its official website, “SSSMILE is a Christian Move-

ment to bring to practice the social message to and for the poor revealed in the Sacred Scriptures.” The ISA chose this charity because a fellow member of ISA’s parents is involved with this charity. “You always gain something back when doing community service,” Shah added. “Doing something like charity dinner for example, you’re eating food but at the same time learning about the culture and giving back.” The organization plans to use fliers, social networking sites, and emails to promote the Week of Service. “I’ve lost my voice screaming about the event, and we also do ‘dorm storm.’ We go into different dorms with little flyers and just toss them under the doors and stuff,” Sheth said. “Service should never be a responsibility and is something that everyone should have fun doing,” Shah said.

New Sakura buffet offers more variety on Route 1 By Aaron Watkins Staff writer College Park residents aren’t at a loss for dining options, especially when searching for Chinese food. Students barely have to go a block down Route 1 to get to Panda or Shanghai Café, but the newest addition may encourage students to go a little further down the road. Sakura Seafood and Supreme Buffet, located at 9031 Baltimore Ave., is the latest restaurant trying to capitalize on a residential base that loves to eat. “All our restaurants think they can do well,” said Michael Stiefvater, College Park’s economic development coordinator. He added that though it doesn’t always work out, the area has seen many restaurants enjoy success, so there’s always someone willing to try. “There’s a lot of turnover, but it’s usually someone ready to step in,” Stiefvater said. Everyone has their own tastes, but restaurant-goers looking for variety should at least be satisfied by Sakura, which includes Italian, American, Japanese and Chinese cuisine. The buffet, which costs $7.99 for lunch and $11.99 for dinner, offers shrimp, scallops, fruits, desserts, spareribs, clams, multiple Chinese entrees,

ham, chicken, a create-your-own Hibachi section and a wonton noodle section. It also has a sushi section which offers multiple options. Sakura opened on Jan. 25, the first day of the spring semester, which helps explain why some students are still unfamiliar with it. “Where’s that?” asked junior aeroengineering major Atin Mittra, who had not heard about the new restaurant. Junior economics major Sid Patel even offered a correction when asked about the buffet. “I think you mean Seven Seas,” he said. It may still be a bit of a secret among students, but a trip to Sakura around lunch or dinnertime proves that other College Park residents are in the know. Make a midday call to the restaurant, and you’re likely to hear the hustle and bustle of a town favorite. “It’s usually pretty full,” said Sakura hostess Elena Herrera. “We get a lot of big groups on Saturdays and Sundays.” Sakura Seafood and Supreme Buffet is a sister restaurant to the widespread chain Teppanyaki Grill and Buffet, which has locations in Maryland, Virginia and even Minnesota. To those familiar with Teppanyaki, the layout and menu may be similar. Rockville resident Michael Noda, a frequenter of Teppanyaki, said Sakura’s

“combinations are probably about the same.” Sakura’s likely competitor is China Buffet, located just up the street at 9098 Baltimore Ave. China Buffet has been around for a few years and may not have wanted another similarly-styled buffet so close, but Stiefvater says there’s nothing they could have done. “They just saw it open like anyone else,” he said. Though potential restaurant owners must go through regulatory steps with the county – such as gaining a use and occupancy permit – other restaurants in the area aren’t notified or involved. So even if a restaurant doesn’t want a similar establishment to open, it has no real outlet to voice those concerns. “I think this is going to pull a lot of business from China Buffet,” Noda said. He added, “There’s no comparison,” citing Sakura’s quality of food, parking availability and prices. Pikesville resident Daniel Stokes said he’s happy to see another Chinese buffet in College Park because, “compared to others, [China Buffet] isn’t very good.” Nevertheless, China Buffet hasn’t made any complaints–at least to anyone of consequence–so College Park residents should have plenty of options when their appetite can only be satisfied buffet-style.

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 ..............................................................................Nancy Pham News Editor ............................................................................................Kate Yoon Features Editor..................................................................................Mary Tablante Copy Editors........................................................... Jonathan Reyes | Summer Son Web Editor .......................................................................................Tintin Nguyen Graphics Editor ...........................................................................Mariel Bartolome Advertisement Manager .................................................................... Jennifer Lien Photographers...........................................Ryan Alphonso | James Levin | Tess Yeh


Above: Route 1’s new Sakura Buffet sees its busiest days on the weekend. Below: Terracotta statues decorate the new buffet.

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

Printing Schedule: The PublicAsian is published the first Wednesday of each month,

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.

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

The PublicAsian | March 2012

News | 3


honest; she’s afraid of dying, she confesses At the drive, 73 people registered in hopes to her audience. She’s scared she won’t find a of being a match. match in time and begs viewers to please help According to Be The Match Registry, 39 save her life. percent of the potential donors who joined the Nadya Dutchin, the national account ex- registry in 2011 were from racially and ethniecutive at Be The Match Registry, explained cally diverse backgrounds, and approximately the likelihood of finding a 70,000 of those potenmatch. tial donors identified “Asian Pacific Islander themselves as Asian or patients have an estimatNative Hawaiian/Other ed 73 percent likelihood Unfortunately, myths Pacific Islander. Howof having a donor on the about marrow donation ever, none of those Be The Match Registry donors have proved keep many people from to be a match for Liwho is willing and able to help save a life,” she joining the registry and ang, which is why she said. “Chances of finding potentially saving a life.” took to the Internet to a match vary by individual urge non-donors to get – Nadya Dutchin swabbed and put into based on their tissue type. National Account Executive the registry. Due to genetic diversity, a person’s tissue type may Liang’s chances of for Be The Match Registry be common, uncommon finding a match may or rare, which is why we also be affected by the continually strive to increase the size and the untruths believed about marrow donation. diversity of the Be The Match Registry.” “Unfortunately, myths about marrow donaOn Feb. 14, Be The Match and the D.C. tion keep many people from joining the regisMetropolitan Asian Pacific American Mar- try and potentially saving a life. Some people row Network teamed up to host a drive in the don’t join the Be The Match Registry because university’s Stamp Union to get students to they have a misunderstanding about how painregister. ful the donation process is,” Dutchin said. Before the drive started, representative Le“There are actually two ways to donate ona Wang of both organizations said, “We’re marrow,” she said. “When you donate pehopeful that we can build awareness and help ripheral blood stem cells, it is a non-surgical, save Janet’s life and other patients seeking a outpatient procedure similar to donating platedonor match. [Lead director] Hsuan Ou has lets or plasma. When you donate marrow, you done an amazing job organizing this multi- are under general anesthesia and feel no pain campus marrow drive in such a short time during the procedure. Most donors say they frame, but like Janet and other patients suffer- would do it again to save a life.” ing from leukemia, there’s not much time for For now, a frightened but optimistic Liang, them either.” along with family, friends and other patients “We couldn’t have done it without the Asian like her, is caught in a nerve-racking game of American Student Union, Phi Delta Sigma waiting in hopes of finding the perfect match and Lambda Phi Epsilon,” Ou added. before time runs out.


Cancer patient Janet Liang’s YouTube video created a huge buzz about bone marrow donation.

On Jan. 21, Liang created her own YouTube video titled “Finding A Perfect Match for Janet – Her Personal Plea,” which has already been viewed over 360,000 times. Liang asks

viewers to please register in the bone marrow registry, especially if they are of Chinese descent. The video starts with Liang, bald and wearing a knit hat, crying and being brutally

BABIES other hand, it means good fortune, prosperity and the future.” Those born in the Year of the Dragon may also wear red for the entire year to ward off evil spirits. Jianxin Cui, a Chinese language professor at the university who was born in the Year of the Dragon, follows the Chinese custom of wearing red socks to maintain good luck and fortune for the rest of the year. “Many people married last year to prepare to have a baby this year,” Cui said. “Or they married in January to have a baby at the end of the year.” In the 2000 Year of the Dragon, Maryland had a 21 percent increase in Asian births since the year before, according to the Maryland Vital Statistics Annual Report. The “dragon babies” belief is not only accepted by the older generations of Chinese people, but by the youth as well, said Alice Zhang, co-director of the Center for Chinese Language Teacher Certification and Development.

Many people married last year to prepare to have a baby this year, or they married in January to have a baby at the end of the year.” – Jianxin Cui

Chinese language professor

“The Chinese people like to have dragon girls. … As I know, dragon girls are popular,” Zhang said. “Dragon girls” symbolize health and prosperity, according to Zhang. On the other hand, boys born in the Year of the Dragon represent the power that ancient kings once had or the power to guard the world. For Chinese Americans today, having children born in the Year of the Dragon is more about keeping the tradition from their home country and less about believing in obtaining good luck. “I think that all the immigrants, but not only Chinese immigrants, but many immigrants, they would like to keep their culture as a link with their original places,” Gao said. “So the dragon is a kind of symbol for them to keep their cultural roots or cultural tradition. ... They take it as some kind of tie, to link them with their ancestors, so that made them feel very proud to have this heritage of the cultural history.”

4 | News

The PublicAsian | March 2012

Race not the only reason behind hazing of Chen By Kate Yoon News editor From high up in a guard tower one morning in October, a rifle shot rang out at a U.S. Army base in Afghanistan. For the past several weeks, this was where Pvt. Danny Chen, 19, was taunted with racial slurs and physically abused by his fellow soldiers, which allegedly caused him to take his own life. Eight soldiers, including one officer, are facing military trials in Afghanistan for the involvement of Chen’s hazing, which brought up the question of whether the military was doing enough to prevent incidents like this. Although the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps at this university cannot speak for the entire military, Major Thomas Sadiq, an Air Force ROTC officer, said that the military already does present anti-discrimination policies to all service members when new commanders come in each year. However, officials are seeking reform on those policies, and in January, Asian Pacific American lawmakers in Chen’s home state, New York, began pushing the Department of Defense to enforce anti-discrimination policy and training. A resolution, unanimously passed by the New York City Council stated that the military needed “greater initial scrutiny and periodic evaluations” of soldiers in order to root out those who are “more prone to behave in a reprehensible manner,” according to a local New York publication. Chen had allegedly been beaten as punishment for not being properly equipped for his duties, pulled out of bed and dragged across the ground and forced to crawl across gravel while other soldiers threw rocks at him. Fellow soldiers also called Chen offensive names like “chink,” and had him say orders in Chinese because he was Chinese American, according to The New York Times. But this was a rare case, Sadiq said. “That’s why when [things like this] happen, they are a big deal,” he said. Suicides are a “huge issue” in the military, said to senior Army ROTC member Isaac Ro. A report from New York City Council members said that almost two percent of suicides and five percent of suicide attempts in the U.S. military in 2010 were partly due to hazing. The Army ROTC program discusses suicide prevention; what signs to look for in

a fellow soldier and how it affects the unit, Ro said. The Army ROTC program is focused on training future leaders and officers in the military, not just the “average Joe” enlistee, Ro explained. Especially in the later years of the program, after learning the basics about the military, cadets are taught how to handle “real-world situations” and problems. James Park, a senior Air Force ROTC member, said that officers, at least, are supposed to train their soldiers in a very professional manner. “I know for the Air Force, [officers] don’t curse at their enlistees. That’s like a big ‘nono.’ Everything’s for a purpose … but they never do it in a derogatory, offensive manner. Even if [officers] do something wrong, they

People in his leadership were also hazing him too, so he really didn’t have a place to go.” – Isaac Ro

Senior Army ROTC member

will apologize to you,” Park said. This professionalism excludes the need to talk in-depth about hazing, Ro said. When Ro went to Airborne School, a U.S. Army parachute training camp, he lodged with everyone ranging from sergeants to privates, and he could tell that the “atmosphere of [enlistees, like Chen’s unit] is a lot different than what we have in ROTC because we’re training to be leaders,” he said. The real cause of Chen’s death was bad leadership, said Lawrence Hsieh, also an Army ROTC member. “It’s called chain of command,” Hsieh said. “[Chen’s] a private, so above him, he has his superiors, and I think for officers to allow that to happen shows lack of focus on the chain of command.” Ro said there are many officers and chaplains who offer help against hazing or discrimination. “I guess for [Chen],” he said,

“People in his leadership were also hazing him too, so he really didn’t have a place to go.” Sadiq echoed this opinion, calling Chen’s death a tragedy that was simply a “breakdown of unit order and discipline.” Ro said that all privates go through harsh basic training, but that he’d still never heard of the kind of treatment that Chen received. Of course there will be hazing, Ro said. “I’m not saying that the military’s perfect. There are a lot of problems in the military. You’ll even see that there’s sexual harassment, sexual assault, racism; all that stuff exists.” But, “it wasn’t just the physical training that [Chen] got,” Ro, said. “It was that the people above him … took that leadership and abused it, by making him do things that others wouldn’t have to do. ... If that’s the training that everybody needed to do, or that’s the punishment that everybody needed to get, then that’s not bad, but if someone’s singled out for no apparent reason, then it seems like hazing to me.” Hsieh argued that the basis for Chen’s hazing was not really his ethnicity, but the attitude of his fellow soldiers. “I think it was just to show power. [But] it’s hard to say. In an article, you can’t tell if it was because of race or not. Maybe it just so happened [Chen] was Asian, and they were demonstrating power over him.” “It kind of surprised me,” Ro said, “because in a military unit, you have this sense of brotherhood and bond because the guy next to you is going through the same crap that you’re going through. You’re not going to hate him, you know?” While APA lawmakers feel there is a need for “cultural awareness,” Ro said that college ROTC programs already have a better solution to the issues of discrimination and harassment: training sessions that focus on educating future leaders to become good role models. “You can’t have a perfect world; there’s always going to be people who try to bend the rules or kind of go around it,” Ro said. “So you can punish them all you want, but that’s not going to solve anything right? That’s why we have sit down, even though [training sessions] are really boring and they’re long, [to] just sit there, PowerPoint by PowerPoint, and learn until it’s drilled into our heads.”

--Thailand-Eating elephant meat may be on the rise in Thailand, the Associated Press reported. Damrong Phidet, the directorgeneral of the country’s wildlife agency, told AP he was alerted to the new practice after the agency found two elephants slaughtered in a national park. He said some meat was meant to be consumed without cooking, like “elephant sashimi.” Some Asian countries believe eating the reproductive organs of animals can improve sexual prowess.

--Japan-Japan’s population will shrink by a shocking 30 percent by 2060, according to new estimates from the nation’s government. The population will fall from today’s 128 million to 86.74 million in approximately 50 years, according to a CNN article. The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare released the data in January. It also predicted that the 2010 fertility rate of 1.39 children per women will fall to 1.35 by 2060. Part of the problem is Japan’s aging population.

--Hong Kong-More and more people from mainland China are flocking to Hong Kong to have babies, The New York Times reported. Although there no are official quotas on maternity care for nonresidents, in 2011 almost four in 10 births in Hong Kong were from mainland parents. Hong Kong is appealing to parents-to-be because of its superior medical care. Children born there have a right to permanent residency in Hong Kong, which gives them free education and visa-free travel to many countries.

Probe on Harvard, Princeton ignites debate on race By Fatimah Waseem Staff writer

In 2006, Chinese American student, Jian Li, filed a complaint against Princeton University for discriminating on the basis of race or national origin. Li scored a 2400 on the SAT and was 10 points shy from perfect scores on the physics, chemistry and calculus subject tests. However, he was denied admission by Princeton, Harvard, Stanford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The probe shook the college admissions world, bringing to light the weaknesses of the admissions system.

There is ... an understanding that a student body compsed of 50 percent Asians will not be diverse or representative of America as a whole.”

– Alan Xie

Student member of Montgomery County’s Board of Education

Nearly five years later, the discussion reignited in the academia world as the U.S. Education Department probes complaints that Harvard University and Princeton University discriminated against Asian Pacific Americans in undergraduate admissions, once again bolstering common beliefs that APA children are held to higher academic standards than other ethnic groups, Bloomberg reported.

The complaints, filed by a top-performing Indian American candidate who was rejected for Harvard’s current freshman class and declined to reveal his name, are part of the Office for Civil Rights’ comprehensive review of top universities’ handling of APA candidates. Although the case was dropped and the probe ended in late February, the debate is far from over. The issue of discrimination against APAs is hardly a new one. The practice was openly acknowledged after investigations against universities like Berkeley and Stanford in the 1980s and 1990s and has been embedded common assumptions by many students. “This issue is not a surprise at all,” Sze Wing Yu, a freshman neurology and physiology major said. “So many Asians do well – you’ve got to pick and choose.” Yu was denied admission to University of Pennsylvania and Cornell University despite earning above average standardized test scores. According to sociologist Thomas Espenshade’s “No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal (2009),” APAs must score 140 points more than whites, 270 points more than Hispanics, and 450 points more than African Americans out of the 1600 points allotted for the SAT math and reading sections. These statistical differences highlight an ongoing and common issue in college admissions, especially among elite universities. The percentage of APA undergraduates at Harvard is down from 18 percent in 2005-2006 to 16 percent in 2010-2011, the Ivy league’s website details.APAs comprise 15 percent of Yale undergraduates. This University of Maryland falls in line with these numbers. Of the 27,000 students on campus, 14.85 percent are Asian, 12.15 percent Black, and over 56.6 percent White, U.S. News reports.

Its undergraduate admissions department maintains its nondiscrimination policy. “The university does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin,” its website details. While APA students express outrage over such unfairness and call for color-blind admissions decisions, others believe such discrimination is an inevitable part of a college application process where diversity is valued and where policies like affirmative action exist. Alan Xie, student member of Montgomery County’s Board of Education, thinks APAs may not be victims. “There isn’t a quota, but rather an understanding that a student body composed of 50 percent Asians will not be diverse or representative of America as a whole,” the top-performing high school senior said. Xie will be attending Harvard University in the fall.  Yu believes that such diversity lends dynamism to campus settings, but fails to fairly account for an individual’s academic and extracurricular success. “It seems superficial to be ‘diverse’ on purpose,” she said. Analysts, however, cite that the reemergence of this issue reaffirms the need for transparency in the college decisions system, without which all of this is mere speculation. Transparency or not, the issue of possible discrimination against APAs will make many applicants think twice while selecting their ethnicity on applications. For Pakistani Adam Hussain, one of many high school seniors anxiously checking their mailboxes for college decisions, this thought of possible race-based discrimination opens the doors for wonder: did selecting Asian instead of Caucasian reduce his chances of admittance on his applications? Despite the end of the investigation on Harvard and Princeton, the answer to this question, it seems, is still sealed.

The PublicAsian | March 2012

News | 5

Asian Fortune family pays tribute to founder Jay Chen By Marlena Chertock Staff writer The editor and founder of Asian Fortune, the only English-language Asian Pacific American newspaper in the U.S., died from a brain aneurysm in Inova Fairfax Hospital in Virginia on Jan. 31, according to his family. Jay Chen, 61, an immigrant from China, had a vision for a way to bring all APA ethnicities together and educate others about the APA experience, according to his daughter Lily Chen Ma. This vision became Asian Fortune, which Chen launched in 1993. Ma remembers how difficult it was for her dad to work with a limited budget in the beginning stages of the newspaper. When reporters still used typewriters, Ma, then 13, would help her dad type up articles on their own computer, she said. “My dad saved hundreds of dollars because we would manually fold all the papers throughout the night to save that money, to the point that our hands were all black,” Ma said. Before he founded the newspaper, Chen studied journalism as an East-West Center fellow in Hawaii in 1985, a fellowship program that allows participants to study and practice a particular subject, according to an Asian Fortune press release. Chen also reported for Xinhua News Agency, a large newspaper in China, and was a translator for the Voice of

America in D.C. from 1989 to 1991. done it in quite an understated way,” Wu said. Chen started the small business and paper, “He was using the publication to focus on other now with a circulation of over 800,000 APAs people, instead of himself, because of his generin the D.C. area, ous nature, to cremostly on his own, ate a more cohesive according to his community.” daughter. During his time “He always said, as editor and pub‘Never quit, even lisher of Asian if the world gives Fortune, Chen you crap on a silmade major conver platter, you just tributions to jourkeep going and trynalism, such as ing your best,’” said being a consistent Larry Shinagawa, presence in the the director of the APA community Asian American in Rockville, D.C. studies program and other regions, at this university. according to the “There are people press release. who are takers and Chen covered givers, and he was as many events definitely a giver.” as possible and Her father was a rarely refused to humble person who advertise an event PHOTO COURTESY OF LILY CHEN MA tried not to attract Founder of Asian Fortune newspaper, Jay Chen, holds in his publication, attention, according his grandson, Zachary Alexander Ma, last November. according to Shito Ma. “Most of the nagawa, who was time, he was a low-key person,” she said. one of the pallbearers at Chen’s memorial serBen Wu, Vice Chairman of the U.S.-Asia vice on Feb. 5. Institute, called Chen a real leader in the comChen’s attitude toward life translated into munity who focused on others. “But he’s also how he ran the newspaper. “He was a pio-

neer,” Shinagawa said. “You would think he would choose to do a Chinese newspaper, but he didn’t.” Chen was one of Shinagawa’s closest friends. He invited Shinagawa to a welcoming party six months into his directorship at this university, according to the director. “He hosted a party at his house, invited hundreds of people and I got to know the Asian American community in D.C.,” Shinagawa said. “That was the kind of person he was.” Ma has taken over the business and said that she wants to increase the paper’s online presence. “I have worked with my father before, performing tasks including visiting perspective advertisers, updating the website and doing the layout so I have experience in all aspects involved with the paper,” she said. “The fact that Lily is able to continue Jay’s legacy ensures that it will continue to serve an important role in the community,” Wu said. Chen received countless journalism awards throughout his career, including the National Minority Media Cornerstone Award by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Small Business Journalist of the Year Award by the Small Business Administration and the Journalist of the Year Award by the Dallas Asian American Chamber of Commerce. Chen is survived by his wife Lucia, daughter Lily and her husband Johnny Ma, grandson Zachary Ma and stepson Peter Lin.

Civil rights activist honored Korematsu first APA featured in Smithsonian

By Matthew Fleming Staff writer Fred Korematsu was an ordinary guy. He wasn’t wealthy or particularly educated. For years he worked as a welder. But this ordinary guy also stood for justice and equality. As a result of his lifetime achievements, and with the help of his family, friends and people who never knew him, Korematsu is the first Asian Pacific American to be honored in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s civil rights exhibit. “The Struggle for Justice” which features artifacts commemorat-

ing the efforts of many civil rights activists, now includes two photographs that were donated by the family of Korematsu (1919-2005). The photos were unveiled during a private ceremony in early February with approximately 100 attendees, including former politician Norman Mineta and four current members of Congress: Mike Honda, Doris Matsui, Judy Chu and Barbara Lee. The effort “started with an email two years ago, after noticing that there were no Asian Americans in the exhibit,” said Ling Liu, director of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute for Civil Rights and Education. “We are very excited to see our

dream come to fruition.” The photo unveiling was held a few days after the second annual Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution on Jan. 30, Korematsu’s birthday. It is the first statewide holiday in the nation – officially recognized only in California – to celebrate an APA. One of the two photos is a portrait of Korematsu, circa 1940, and the other is of Korematsu with his family at their flower nursery, which was abandoned during WWII-era internment.

He took this stance when he was only 23 ... But he was still fighting just as hard 40 years later.” – Ling Liu

Fred T. Korematsu Institute for Civil Rights and Education director

“Fred Korematsu was an ordinary American who simply stood up for what was right, which is a simple message that is very powerful,” Liu said. “I think it’s important that he took this stance when he was only 23, something that I often remind young people of. But he was still fighting just as hard 40 years later.” In 1942, two months after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, which ordered the relocation of approximately 120,000 U.S. citizens of Japanese descent into internment camps. Stripped of their constitutional right to a trial, they were detained strictly because of their heritage. According to Shuji Otsuka, a professor of Asian American studies at


Fred T. Korematsu (third from left) fought against internment of Japanese Americans imposed by the U.S. government during WWII. The image above is one of two photos featured in the Smithsonian’s “Struggle for Justice” exhibit.

this university, there are two common misconceptions about internment. “One is that [the Japanese] went willingly,” Otsuka said. “Fred Korematsu refused internment, and then protested the legality of internment once at the camp.” Korematsu’s fight materialized in the case Korematsu v. United States, but in 1944, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the legality of internment. “The other misconception,” Otsuka said, “is that after internment, the Japanese returned to prosperity, that they pulled themselves up by the boot straps and prospered, but that simply isn’t true. After his case was denied, Fred had odd jobs, but ultimately lived in obscurity.” Korematsu continued fighting and in 1983, he got the case reopened by providing new evidence showing that the government knew the internees were not a threat. The decision was ultimately overturned, leading Congress to issue an apology and award $20,000 to each survivor in 1988. “I am delighted that these photographs will reside in the museum’s exhibition, ‘The Struggle for Justice,’” gallery director Martin Sullivan said in a press release. “Korematsu’s courageous advocacy in the courts on behalf of interned Japanese Americans was essential to ending legislated segregation.”

Both the photo unveiling and Korematsu Day preceded the celebration of another APA advocate, Gordon Hirabayashi (1918-2011), who was also imprisoned for refusing internment. The Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality and the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington state co-sponsored a conference at Seattle University on Feb. 11 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the final Hirabayashi v. United States case, which overruled his second imprisonment. The first was overruled 26 years ago. According to Liu, Korematsu devoted significant time in the later part of his life to lobbying for Congress to grant civil liberties to Guantanamo Bay detainees, so as not to make the same mistakes that were made with the internment camps. Liu said Korematsu’s example was so powerful because of his story’s simplicity. “Fred’s story is a tangible human story during a tragic part of history, which is so simple, a 5-yearold could understand it: There was a man named Fred, the government was putting Japanese Americans in internment camps and Fred refused to go.” But Korematsu was more than just simplicity. He had fight, determination and a vision of equal treatment for all. “His story represents 120,000 Japanese Americans,” Liu said.

eatures fTheater turns controversial “tiger mother” into musical 6

The PublicAsian | March 2012

Katie Cheung Staff writer

growing up and also draws inspirations from the controversial book, “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” by Yale professor

In today’s world, the phrase, “My parents are Asian,” would be a sufficient explanation for why you have to stay inside to study rather than hang out with friends. The common stereotype that Asian parents are strict and hard on their children is brought to the stage in the humorous new musical, “Legacy of the Tiger Mother,” written by Angela Chan and Michael Manley. The story, directed by Lysander Abadia, is centered around three generations of Chinese women living in America. Lily is a first generation Chinese immigrant who believes playing the piano is crucial for success in life, and pushes her daughter to painstakingly practice the piano as much as possible. Her daughter, Mei, naturally becomes an avid believer in the piano as well, when she raises her own daughter. However, the question of how much parenting is too much parenting causes Mei and Lily to argue over the right amount of severity. Mei must find the balance between typical Asian parenting styles and Western parenting styles. Looking at the musical’s playbill, one can see that it is meant to be a humorous play—the “r” in “regacy” is crossed out and replaced with an “l” to poke fun at the stereotypical Asian accent. The musical is based off of Chan’s own experiences

Legacy of the Tiger Mother, a musical by Angela Chan and Michael Manley, explores the relationship between a mother and her daughter in an Asian Pacific American household.


Amy Chua. Chua’s memoir reveals her own harsh parenting style as a Chinese American. Part of the book’s subtitle says, “This was supposed to be a story of how Chinese parents are better at raising kids than Western ones. But instead, it’s about a bitter clash of cultures, a fleeting taste of glory, and how I was humbled by a thirteen-year-old.” The book and its controversy appeared all last January; people are still talking about it today. Many Asian Pacific American students are able to relate to the show’s theme of strict Asian parents. “My mom doesn’t even like me sleeping over my girl friend’s places,” said Stella Song, a freshman letters and sciences major. “I don’t think that’s a big deal in western American culture but to Koreans, it looks bad when the girl in the family doesn’t sleep at her own house.” Themes involving APA culture are not commonly found within typical mainstream American theatre. “Legacy of the Tiger Mother” may become a hit or it may become just a simple yet failed attempt at bringing in cultural diversity to the stage. “I would probably go see the musical because I think it’s an interesting topic,” said Rachel Buninski, a freshman economics major. “I have American parents, and you often don’t see as much strictness in the American style of raising children,” The musical had its first performance in December 2011 in Las Vegas. The show moved on to perform in New York City and will be showing in Australia this spring.

Study shows number of APAS on Broadway decreasing By Shannon Wong Staff writer Although the percentage of African Americans and Hispanic Americans on Broadway has steadily gone up, the percentage of Asian Pacific Americans has actually decreased from 3 percent five years ago, according to a study by Crain’s New York Business. The study shows that only 1.6 percent of available roles in new Broadway productions are performed by APAs whereas African Americans’ number of roles jumped from 8 percent to 14 percent, Hispanic Americans - two percent to four percent, according to Asian American Performers Action Coalition. Yet even without these statistics the lack of APAs is apparent. “From what I have seen, [Broadway productions] have mostly been black and white; I haven’t really seen a lot of Asian dancers and performers,” freshman biology major Izabelle Mendez said. In the university’s own theatre department, senior theatre and marketing double major Ruth Ann Watkins recalls only two half Chinese students and about three other APAs who are in the field. “Needless to say, it’s not very good representation on a campus of our size,” she said. “I think a lot of Asian Americans are mostly involved in schooling and higher professions, like when you go to hospitals and see Asian doctors or Asian chemists and Asian professors,” Mendez added. This decrease, possibly because of discrimination, contains a complex explanation. “There are just not enough characters … that Asian Americans can connect to or portray because of the certain looks that directors often look for,” junior elementary education major Hannah Stevens said. According to Izumi Ashizawa, a playwright and assistant professor of theatre at this university, when

directors are looking to cast APAs, they are looking for those with identifiable, sometimes even stereotypical, physical features. For mixed APAs like Watkins, this underlying requirement puts them at a disad-

of minorities accepted into drama schools is small, Asian American actors are not necessarily going to the top acting schools … each year they either have one Asian or nonAsian.”

You can’t ever make a hard fast rule of ‘don’t go into theater,’ but I wouldn’t be training to be on Dreamgirls.” – Adriane Fang Dance professor

vantage. “I’m only half Chinese, but there aren’t too many roles available for multiracial kids unless you can pass convincingly for one race.” The specificity of not just the characters but also the story line and setting also limits the directors’ casting options. “The stories that grab the imagination of the producers tend to be specific to historical times and places,” said Adriane Fang, a dance professor at this university. “Like if it’s ‘The Color Purple,’ there’s definite roles for blacks and whites.” Although production companies get the say in the end on who is casted for their shows, they are still bound by the guidelines set forth by Actors Equity, an American labor union fighting against inequality within the theater industry and for the performing arts. “Actors Equity requires that shows do color blind casting unless otherwise specified within the script,” Watkins said. “So it’s a step, but I wish casting directors would take more risks.” Ashizawa and Fang also attributed the decrease in APA Broadway actors to social expectations. “I think [discrimination] is too simple. It’s the structure too,” Ashizawa said. “Since the pool

“Broadway is expensive. Unless you’re going to draw in a diverse audience, it’s not going to make it.” Fang added. Despite this, Ashizawa and Fang continue to encourage the performing arts as a potential career path. “I don’t discourage because there are so many people that are making adaptations … like Romeo and Juliet is being done over and over and over again. It’s opening up,” Fang said. She also added that the key is not to give theater up altogether, but be realistic about your goals. “You can’t ever make a hard fast rule of ‘don’t go into theater,’ but I wouldn’t be training to be on “Dreamgirls.” Knowing that her prospects for performance may be limited by her race, Watkins continues to pursue theater through another doorway. “Personally, I’ve switched my focus from performance to stage management,” she said. “However, I can’t pretend that the lack of Asian American roles didn’t factor partly into my decision to switch my focus.” Another key point is looking for the right opportunities. “There are some casting opportunities where directors are looking for colorblind casting - anybody that can sing well

and dance well,” Ashizawa said. Some, she added, even are looking specifically for APAs and are not casting based on physical features. “I know there are many in Los Angeles; they have their own theater and they produce Asian American cast performances,” she said. She cited playwright David Henry Hwang’s “Chinglish” as an example of a Broadway show that focuses on APA issues. Fang also suggested that theater is not the only way to pursue a performing arts career. “Dancing is more open,” she said. “I think with the dance world, you find your niche. Within the genre and style, you find people that appreciate what your body could do.

Theater is more limited.” Those interested in pursuing the performing arts, “should watch videos of their competitors,” Mendez said. “Be sure their dancing and singing [are] better, that they learn faster, and they can sing in tune with the music and remember their lines better than those already on Broadway.” “Show business is already such risky business,” Watkins said. “I don’t think being Asian American would make a huge difference. No one goes into the performing arts for money; the people who choose to live this life do it because they’re passionate about performing and aren’t going to let ethnicity get in the way.”

The PublicAsian | March 2012


By Karen Xie Staff writer


uck of the ion

or the past four years, the Chinese Student Association (CSA) has invited the lion dance group from Washington Chinese Youth Club (CYC) to perform at their annual Chinese New Year lunar banquet. The lion dance is a form of traditional Chinese dance mimicking the movements of a lion. Several legends about its origin have been widely circulated among the Chinese. The most well-known story is about “Nian,” an evil creature that ravaged the village. In order to protect themselves, villagers mimicked the movement of the lion with decorative costumes, which are usually red, yellow or gold. It is believed that the ferocious lion along with the loud banging of music can ward off demons. “The lion dance is to bring good luck to whatever occasions we are performing for,

Features | 7


and scare away the evil and bad luck for the year,” said Wallace Lee, director of CYC. Even with the changing times, the lion dance still remains. Occasions like weddings, grand openings for business and especially Chinese New Year are frequent callers for the lion dance. Each lion is composed of three parts: the head, the body and the tail. None of the three can be overlooked. A “please-the-eye” lion dance consists of a variety of highly difficult routines, a well-cooperated band and decorative costumes. Moreover, professional lion dancers occasionally feature high risk stunts and martial art movements. With more than one thousand years of history, the lion dance underwent developments along with creative thinking. It transformed from a way of protecting villages to a Chinese tradition, and then became a form of modern art. “Lion dancing will never go extinct. As long as there are Chinese [people], it will never go away,” Lee said.

“Everything goes better than wished.”



“The majority of our performers joined the team and got trained when they were in middle school,” Lee said. “Training usually takes years, and depends on how quickly the learner can pick it up.” No prior performing experience is needed to become a member of CYC lion dance team. Anyone who has great interest in performing the traditional lion dance is eligible to join. There is no age requirement; however, dancers usually start professional training around 12 to 13 years old and the elders play the drum, cymbals and the gong to accompany the dance. University of Maryland alumnus Brandon Hsia, joined the CYC team in 1998 when he was 10 years old. “We were the first kids to join after CYC decided to start lion dance in the Chinatown New Year celebration,” Hsia, 24, said. “We’re still training to get where we want to be.”

Each adult lion head is worth between $600 and $800. Advanced performers can manipulate the eyes and mouth of the lion by pulling strings and moving the apparatus behind the mouth to make it open and close. “The head is the most difficult to learn,” according to Lee, “Once you are able to be the head, advanced movements are further trained, like standing on the shoulder.”



Above: Wallace Lee (far right) Below: Brandon Hsia (far right)

To make the lion stand several times during the dance, dancers use the stack or half-stack positions. To perform the half stack, the person behind lifts the head person onto his thighs and then up to sit on his shoulder. The full stack simply means the head person stands straightly on the shoulder of the performer behind. “In a successful lion dance performance, it’s a matter of accomplishing all the movements and lifts. In our early years of lion dance, we had no lifts since we had no professional training,” Lee said. “Now, it’s different. We have to make our lifts clean, don’t drop anything and get the performance as we outlined. Get through our routine cleanly, nobody gets hurts and no accidents are always our primary goals.”

For the lion dance performers, beginners practice basic steps without the lion head first, and always start at the tail. “The tail-part is the easiest, although it requires lots of strength on your back and legs. All you do is to coordinate your movement with the front lion head,” Lee said. “If it goes forward, you go forward. But, remember that the tail is really important since it’s the one that gives the lion a look of breathing and life.”


To make the performance even more interesting, a performer dressed as a Buddha leads and teases the lion with a fan throughout the performance. The energetic lion bites, kicks, chases and plays with him in return and interacts with audiences.

8 | Features

The PublicAsian | March 2012

Jeremy Lin birthdate August 23, 1988 hometown Palo Alto, Calif. Taiwanese/Chiethnicity nese religion


education Harvard position








per game per game

rebounds 2.8 per game accomplishment led the Knicks to a 7-game winning streak

New York Knicks



LINSANITY is one more step toward gaining equal footing in the world of basketball,” said senior accounting and marketing major Johnny Li. “Seeing his success in the NBA is exciting and proves wrong all the nay-sayers that doubted his abilities coming out of college.” There is also hope that Lin’s story will inspire other APAs to play basketball, a sport that Li says they are “highly underrepresented” in. “Maybe kids, especially Asian kids, will say, ‘wow, look at him. I want to be just like Jeremy Lin when I grow up,’ and that’ll be good for the future as there might be more representation of Asians in the NBA,” said sophomore government and politics major Jonathan Lee. One thing that cannot be denied has been Lin’s strong play. In his first six starts for the New York Knicks, Lin averaged 24.3 points and 9.5 assists, including a 38-point outburst against the Los Angeles Lakers that officially put him on the map. “As long as he plays well, his fame will last,” Wang said. “He’s gained so much equity … his fame can only grow.” Being the only active APA player in the NBA seems to also carry a downside that is beyond Lin’s control. Since media outlets began picking up on the “Linsanity,” Lin has found himself subjected to racially charged comments, tweets and headlines. Most meant no harm while others, like ESPN’s controversial “A Chink in the Armor” headline, have drawn heavy criticism from both the APA and the

journalism community. Despite all the media mania surrounding him, Lin has remained humble and close to his roots and Christian faith. “I’m just thankful to God for everything,” he told the press after one game. But don’t be fooled by Lin’s modest demeanor, either. Ex-Knicks star Earl Monroe said before a recent game that Lin is “a real leader,” and he proved his ability to step-up when he hit a game winning three-pointer against the Toronto Raptors on Feb. 14. Games like that one have helped his story become a boon to the business side of the NBA. In less than two weeks, his Knicks jersey became the top-selling NBA jersey online, and he has also quickly become key to the NBA market in Asia. “He has come at the perfect time, a year after Yao Ming retired,” Wang said. “The NBA has been trying to find someone to be the face of that market, and all of a sudden Lin has fallen into their lap. Now they’re showing live games in China and Taiwan and having gamewatching parties for Lin.” From Asia to America, it is clear that Lin’s sensational rise to stardom has impacted sports fans everywhere. The only question now is simple: what will Jeremy Lin do next?

APA Spotlight: Christian Oh

The PublicAsian | March 2012

By Obaid Bahich Staff writer

The Asian American studies department has a new addition to their staff this semester. Co-founder and Executive Director Christian Oh of the D.C. chapter of the non-profit group Kollaboration, founded by comedian Paul “PK” Kim, comes to the university once a week and brings with him an undeniable energy to his Asian Pacific American film course. “Christian Oh is like a big brother to me,” said Asian American Student Union’s president, Andy Len, who worked with Oh during Kollaboration D.C.’s second annual talent competition this past September. “He is a great role model for me to look up to. He’s fun, but very hard-working. He puts a lot on the line to run this show, and he doesn’t look for personal gain or anything else in return.” Together with his staff, Oh seeks out young, talented and artistic APAs in the D.C.-

Maryland-Virginia to express themselves through art, music and dance. The goal is to shift perceptions and to pave the way for future APAs to accomplish their goals and dreams that may be related to the entertainment industry. For Oh, this philanthropy work shows his ambitious endeavor in spending his free time to further help spotlight young talented artists. “It is a social awakening,” Oh said. “We can’t be dumbed down by stereotypes out there, we need to make sure to not buy into that.” “Even the smallest thing we have to break down,” he added. Students like freshman finance major Joshua Byun have seen the past two Kollaboration shows in D.C. and is looking forward to next year’s, which is currently planned for Sept. 22. “The skill level of these people is just sick, I mean you have students from Indian backgrounds and even Caucasian ones, anyone can be a part of it which makes it so great,” he said.


In my own words... A role model?

Pictured above: Christian Oh (left) with founder Paul “PK” Kim (right) of Kollaboration.

them, to continue to grow and push oneself to

I see myself as an enabler more than a role model. constantly improve and learn. My life and path have been somewhat unconventional of the Asian American background.  What I I’m very fortunate that... do hope is to inspire and connect people with other I have a wife, family and friends who support opportunities, other people and other development my time philanthropy. I give more of my time to and learning possibilities. the things I believe in, which means sacrificing

Kollaboration to me is...

that same time away from them.

About empowerment. Though our motto is empowerment through entertainment, the focus is really giving the spark to not be afraid to pursue your passions, especially in the performance arts. I want to see more Asian American singers, dancers, actors, comedians, artists and even athletes (Jeremy Lin).  Why do they need to be a rarity? I want them to become common.

Talent is...

Features | 9

I think...

APAs should always look behind them on all the ladders that we are climbing to see who we can pull up the rungs as we reach towards the top. Regardless of them being Korean American, Chinese American, Vietnamese American, etc.  Let’s be more unified as Asian Americans.

I remember when...

My motto is...

Expect less, give more and live life with concern for others more than yourself.

The best thing my mom taught me was...

Be humble for yourself, but be loud for others.

I wanted to teach because...

Actually, I never thought about teaching, but I realize when we interact with people we are teaching and learning from them. I guess, I now teach because I want to impart what I have learned and I want to learn from the new generation that is coming after me.

The greatest thing in my life is...

Gas was closer to $2 than $4, where life was My drive to always be doing something, but About desire as well as skill--not only having less about the collection of wealth and more about without being healthy (which is THE greatest the innate abilities, but wanting to do more with the giving of self. thing to have in my life), drive means nothing.

March 2 Friday

Tianyi Dance Team Fundraiser Wasabi Bistro 5-10pm

2 Friday

LiNK and KSA

Ice Skating Fundraiser

Herbert Wells Ice Rink 9-11pm $6

10 Saturday 11 Sunday VSA Family Night Hoff Theater 6:30-1pm FREE

16 Friday

Sigma Psi Zeta St. Patrick’s Day Bake Sale Stamp 10am-4pm

3-4 Sat-Sun 7 Wednesday

Islamic Finance Symposium Colony Ballroom 9am-8pm $15 w/ UID | $20 w/o

25 Sunday

FCA CAMP PCN 2012 Armory $10

13 Tuesday

ISA Spring Charity Dinner Grand Ballroom 7pm-9:30pm

MBSA Intersectionality Panel Atrium 6:30pm

CSA Basketball Tournament Armory Gym 11am-2pm

27 Tuesday

AASU w/ LSU and MBSA International Night Location TBD

AASU Networking Event Colony Ballroom 6-8pm

15Thursday R.A.C.E: Are We So Different ? Hoff Theater


AASU Wiffleball


MBSA Annual Event Colony Ballroom 7pm


The PublicAsian | March 2012

op inions

AASU Unedited: The Linderella Story in All of Us Watson Lum, Vice President of Administrative Affairs

Not going to lie, I had the hardest time coming up with something to write about. I spent countless hours coming up with a list of things I’m strongly opinionated on but I realized ... I really don’t have much to write about. I thought about it long and hard and it wasn’t until one lazy Sunday afternoon that I realized what topic had the biggest impact on my life in the last two weeks. Linsanity. Linception. Lincredible. The endless stream of Lin puns are everywhere; in the news, on Facebook and in blogs. I even changed my handle in video games to ‘Linpossible.’ By now we have all heard of his accomplishments on the court. NBA Eastern Conference player of the week, most points in the league for his first five starts, Jeremy Lin’s accomplishments have saved a dying New York franchise. But this ‘Linderella’ story isn’t just about basketball. There’s no denying that the huge hype is in part because Lin is an Asian Pacific American. Let’s face it, news of late about APAs haven’t been particularly op-

timistic. Harry Lew’s tragic suicide in the Marines was followed by Danny Chen’s questionable death just a few months later. Racism was a factor in both of these and many other incidents which have been ignored. The worst part is that many APAs, myself included, just take the hit and do their best to ignore this racism. Sometimes we just shrug off the comments and life goes on but, as we have seen, sometimes they lead to tragic events. It’s during these times that Jeremy Lin has managed to make such a big impact on the APA community. Not only has he been on the receiving end of the same racial epithets many of us has heard of before, but he has persevered through them and kept on pushing. His actions both on and off the court have been inspirational to all who watch him - Asians and nonAsians alike. Coming off his first loss as a starter, Jeremy Lin kept on pushing to pull a very impressive win over reigning champions, Dallas Mavericks. I followed him make

those painful drives where he would get constantly get blocked or turnovered by those bigger, more experienced players. But instead of standing back and taking a passive role to these denies, Lin kept on coming through and kept on challenging. And that’s where I feel like I’ve taken the biggest lesson from. I doubt I’ve ever been as proud as I am right now to be an Asian American. Maybe by the time this article comes out, the Linsanity hype will be over, as well as his few weeks of NBA stardom. But that doesn’t matter. As my good friend Kevin put it, “Jeremy has saved a franchise’s season, saved a coach’s job, captivated everyone who watches sports and inspired everyone who plays them. We are all witnesses.” We’re never going to completely eradicate racism; it’s always going to be there. Lin’s faced it before. He doesn’t look for excuses; he doesn’t back down or gives up. What does he do? He shoots that ball. He just shoots it. Be like Lin. Watson Lum is a junior finance and information systems double major.


Organization Spotlight

Multiracial Biracial Student Association (MBSA) Ashley Evangelista, President


The Multiracial Biracial Student Association (MBSA) is a tight-knit student organization dedicated to uniting the pan-racial community through cross-cultural collaboration, co-sponsorship and constructive discourse. We strive to build bridges between student groups in order to help make the University of Maryland, College Park campus more inclusive. Established in 2003, MBSA has grown exponentially over the years hosting iconic events such as Diversity Feast and Film in the fall and Cafe Blend in the spring. This March, we are hosting our second annual Mixed Madness Month dedicated to cross cultural analysis, officially titled: Intersectionality: Where Our Paths Collide. Our goal is to spark a discussion centered on exactly how similar we, the students on this campus, are, even in our differences. MBSA believes intersectionality is integral to understanding how we can relate to one another and how the overarching social structure of the United

States affects us each and every day. Mixed Madness Month is unique, especially this year, because it promotes multiculturalism to an extent in which people of all backgrounds and experiences feel welcomed to participate. The University of Maryland, College Park campus is notorious for both intentional and unintentional self-segregation among students. We believe this occurs because people often gravitate towards those who are most like them. And while this is a natural impulse, it unfortunately hinders us from achieving our full potential ability to understand the cultural experiences of others. The only way to overcome this obstacle is to break down stereotypes, educate one another on facts and learn how we can truly connect even through our differences. There are more barriers that disconnect people from one another than simply race, religion and class, but also gender, physical conditions and privilege.

Through intersectionality, we have the ability to address these issues and potentially see how a white, queer, middle class woman would have similar advantages and disadvantages to an Asian or Jewish man. Both of these people would experience very different privileges, yet at the same time, they have the ability to connect through their experiences. The Multiracial Biracial Student Association strives to unite these very unlikely individuals, creating a safe space for them to share and learn more about one another. One big event we will have this Mixed Madness Month is an Intersectionality Panel on March 13 in which professors from various disciplines will come together and speak on how their fields relate to one another’s. We uphold diversity and multiculturalism to standard which exceeds numbers and quotas. Instead, MBSA aims to cultivate a more socially aware environment. Ashley Evangelista is a junior Chinese and philosophy double major.

The PublicAsian | March 2012


hyo’s corner

A Day in Chengdu (成都) It has been about six months since I came to China. I enjoy traveling to different parts of this massive country and seeing the diversity that’s evident in the faces I pass by everyday. However after the highs of traveling and excitement of adventures, you find yourself seeking normalcy and routine. That’s me as of late. So in between trips, I try to spend most of my time enjoying the daily routines of 成都 (Chengdu). What’s so great about staying put in 成都 is that no matter how normal my life may seem to outsiders’ eyes, every encounter and experience I have here is still very exciting and rewarding. Here is a run-down of my very normal day in 成都. My morning starts with waking up to the incredibly loud and annoying noise of morning commute; honking wars between the buses, taxi, cars, motorbikes and rickshaws; to the loud speakers of street vendors and shops setting up for the day. Then I slowly make my way over to grab breakfast at my favorite steamed bun, or 包子 (bao zi), stand, a hole in the wall for $0.33—enough to fill me up for my morning class. For lunch, I’ll pick between my favorite nearby restaurants for about $0.90 - $3.00 to indulge in the flavorful Sichuan cuisine, or 川菜 (chuan cai). While eating, I observe the strange ways in which the locals behave and interact with one another, as well as picking up a

few mannerisms such as spitting and shouting across the restaurant to pay for food. Back to class—in the afternoons I go to work to teach students and push my way onto an overly occupied bus and realize that there is no concept of personal space and privacy in this country. And depending on the days of the week, I spend my evenings with my Chinese tutor or with my friends here in the city. At nighttime I retrieve back to my “student-dorm/ hotel/ school combined” building that is located in the most remote corner of the campus. I mingle with other international students from all over the world and find comfort in knowing that they understand my experience here better than anyone else—even if we cannot understand what the other person is saying. Venting sessions have become frequent between those who speak the same language. In the evenings, 成都 turns into an entertainment hub with random ladies singing into a megaphone(?!). Honking wars resume. Finally, when you think you can relax and sleep, a new construction project begins right outside of your window at about midnight. Prompt. As elaborated, not a day passes without some kind of an adventure. Of course some days are more exciting than others, but overall, there is nothing normal about my life here in 成都. I have reached a point of my stay here where I often

miss some comforts of home back in Maryland. Then I realize that I’m living in China, mingling with the Chinese, mimicking their ways of doing things and learning to appreciate their life as it is. Despite random days of being homesick and realizing certain aspects of Chinese life that I will never understand nor appreciate, I realize that I’m attempting at an interesting life as a foreigner here in China. See you soon. -h.

Visit Hyo’s blog at:

Hyobin Sung, a senior goverment and politics major, is studying abroad in China this semester. PHOTOS PROVIDED AND TAKEN BY HYOBIN SUNG

12 | Events Recap

The PublicAsian | March 2012

oomed In :

Z Not your average GBMs The university’s Asian Pacific American organizations kicked off spring semester with general body meetings, or GBMs, that gave students a taste of each group’s unique culture. Each meeting featured either food, game or a little bit of both.

Photos by James Levin


The Taiwanese American Student Association celebrated the Lunar Festival during their general body meeting on Feb. 7 with soup balls, or tang yuan, and red bean and peanut flavored mochi. PHOTO BY TESS YEH

The Japanese American Student Association started the semester off with a tutorial on how to make dango, a rice flour snack usually made with soy sauce, sugar and red bean paste.


Freshman Veda Pejaver (left) and sophomore Raina Kallarackal (right) get their money ready to bid on potential dates during Indian Student Association’s Charity Date Auction on Feb. 9.



Members Crysta Tran (left) and Tina Nguyen (right) of the Vietnamese Student Association treat themselves Filipino Cultural Association’s Dana Ong and Kirby Vall pose with newspapers, which FCA used as props to teach students about their annual Philippine Culture Night. to a generous helping of ice cream before teaching students about VSA’s annual Family Night.

The PublicAsian (March 2012)  

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