A Logical Sacrifice: Elderly Volunteer at Risk of Nuclear Radiation Dave Lam
fer manual labor to take the place of the younger workers at the sites of the nuclear crisis. Dubbed hortly after the devastation of the To- the Skilled Veteran Corps, the small group conhoku earthquake in Japan in March earlier this sists of retired engineers and other professionyear, several nuclear power plants experienced als. Some of the retirees were cooks, school partial meltdowns and accidents. In the aftermath of the earthquake, two nuclear power plants in the Fukushima Prefecture have been quarantined. The Japanese government declared an immediate evacuation of its citizens who reside within a close proximity of the area. Exposure to the site could potentially cause nuclear radiation, which may lead to cancer. Images courtesy of New York Times Efforts have been made by the Japanese government to rebuild the dam- teachers, singers, etc. who just want to lend a aged parts of the nuclear power plants and to re- hand. The decision that runs deep within the cover any losses suffered by the disaster. How- Japanese people is whether to muster up guts ever, it is still a dangerous mission to be within and step forward or to stay behind and watch. close distance of the power plants. A small group Their main purpose for wanting to tackle of elderly Japanese volunteers are willing to of- the nuclear crisis is to spare the younger workers
who might possibly develop cancer. The elderly volunteers state that cancer takes 20 to 30 years to fully develop and to affect the individual. They claim that most of them will not even live long enough for the cancer to fully take effect.
“The elderly Japanese volunteers are making a logical sacrifice that exemplifies both selflessness and honor” It is not so much a brave decision (since cancer takes a long time to develop) as it is a logical decision. Can they be comparable to the kamikazes in World War II? Probably not since their mission is not a suicidal one. But the elderly Japanese volunteers are making a logical sacrifice that exemplifies both selflessness and honor.
Fashion Overlap: Success or Offense? Rensa Chen
ashion— an art that can be formed and interpreted in a myriad of ways -- is only acknowledged through popularity. When the words, “Christian Dior”, “Giorgio Armani”, “Prada”, “Chanel”, “Louis Vuitton”, “Gucci”, and “Dolce and Gabbana” are heard, there is a sense of familiarity within our ears. These Euro-American designers, primar-
it was a Caucasian model who had her eyes taped up and back to have a more
‘chinky’ look for the Japanese collection.” ily of the British, American, Italian, Jewish or German heritage, certainly have had an influence on the American culture. In particular, there is an increase in the number of Asian American fashion designers, but has there been any attention paid to some of America’s highend designers that attempt to blend their ideas with Eastern influences? Although there are some Eastern representations in various artists’ collections, the Asian cultural aspects embellished in clothing are flauntingly stereotypical. Take, for example, two of Dior’s collections: “Stranger in the Glass” and “Shanghai Dreamers.” In “Stranger in the Glass,” every photo consists of a white model posing inside of a rectangular glass case surrounded by at least two Chinese persons wearing identical clothing and having the same pose. It is an unsurprisingly similar scenario in Dior’s
second collection which incorporates a larger number of Chinese people in duller clothing surrounding the fashionable white model. When one looks at these collections, they can either interpret the photos as art combining two cultures or an art that imposes white superiority over Asians. The Spring/Summer collection of the reputable Louis Vuitton has also had its share of representing Chinese culture. With their white models showcasing LV’s modified cheongsams and jackets and flashing embroidered fans with one hand, one can easily identify that these designs were intended to give a more sexual and exotic feel. The fashions portrayed make use of more of a see-through material and are cut shorter than what the Chinese would wear in the 1920s, the period that inspired this collection. Although it may not be seen as a racist collection, the idea of modifying traditional Chinese clothing and giving it a more modernized and sexual appeal gives off slight racial undertones. In addition, there are no Asian models in this catwalk of Chinese ‘inspiration.’ It’s bad enough that there are barely any Asian representatives, but what’s more absurd is Dolce & Gabbana’s Japanese collection for Vogue magazine. In it was a Caucasian model [Crystal Renn] who had her eyes taped up and back to have a more ‘chinky’ look for the Japanese collection. Other designers such as Haider CONTENTS Ackermann, portrays his collection using Japanese kimonos and Staff 2,3 obi belts. Designer Ferretti has included the typical conical hats Culture 4 and shortened cheongsams in his collection. Dries Van Noten’s Opinion 5 2011 collection offers a Vietnamese-influenced style which inIssues 6 cludes watercolor floral designs and silk clothing. Perhaps what Entertainment 7 all the high-end fashion industries need is more diversity in Sports 8 their designs when showcasing their Asian-influenced collections. (continued on page 7) Page 1
First General Interest Meeting
David Lam David Wong
News Editor Assist. News Editors
Jiwon Yoon Andrew Cheung Abrar Quaim
Managing Editors Assist. Managing Editor
Cindy Tran Franklin Tong
Layout Editor Assist. Layout Editors
Valerie Hung Cathy Guo Kathy Wu
Public Relations Chair PR Officers
Connie Ngo Jordan Biason Irene Grandeza Kelvin Knudtamarn
Treasurer Webmaster Administrative Assistant Historian
Joyce Ho Francis Eusebio Fadila Noor Gabe Aquiyes
Fundraising Chair Fundraising Commitee
Teresa Ea Kathleen Ea Henry Tse
Add these AA Organization’s on Facebook! AALC Asian American Leadership Cabinet ASC Asian Student Council 2011-2012 CSO Chinese Student Organization KSA Rutgers Ksa RAPS Rutgers Association of Philippine Students RCC Viva RCC TASA Taiwanese American Student Association VSA
Rutgers Vietnamese Student Association (give us a holler if we missed your org!)
Connect with Us!
James Chan members, and to also allow for new members to In Native Tongue’s first GIM (General meet old members. I am one of the new memInterest Meeting) this school year there was a bers of the group this year hearing of the event newspaper fashion contest. Participants were di- through a friend. Though I was hesitant to come vided into four groups. In each of the groups was to the meeting, my friend was able to persuade a fashion model and the remainme to go after dinner. At first I ing group members were fashthought that I would just stop by ion designers who were responfor a short while and then head sible for the creation and design back to my dorm, but the activiof the clothing. The fashion deties seemed to be interesting so signers were only allowed to use I stayed a little longer than I newspaper and green tissue paplanned. The newspaper costume per to dress up the fashion moddesigning was very entertaining els. Scotch tape was provided and I was able to meet a lot of new to all groups to attach sheets of people. As a freshman on campus, newspaper and tissue paper tothis was a very good way to get gether. After 30 minutes, the involved in the Rutgers commufashion models were forced to nity and to also meet new friends. walk down the catwalk. Three As a result of the first GIM, I judges judged the models by decided to go back to the secappearance and show while the ond meeting and become more other group members provid- Jordan Biason in the winning design. involved with the organization. ed commentary on the various I plan on continuing to write arpieces of fashionable newspaper clothing. While ticles for the newspaper and appearing at more all four contestants looked beautiful in their Native Tongue events. I would recommend newspaper outfits, there was only one winner. those interested in the club to come to our This year’s winner is Mr. Jordan Alan Bi- next event and participate in the fun activities. ason. He wore a hand-crafted newspaper dress and was very charismatic and confident on the catwalk, which impressed all of the judges. Nobody was more proud of his victory than the fashion designers who designed all of the newspaper clothing he wore in less than 30 minutes. The other contestants wore the newspapers in many different ways. One contestant wore a dress and a “newspaper handbag,” while another contestant’s outfit consisted of a newspaper hat, dress, and flower. This event was designed to encourage teamwork and togetherness amongst the group The team pictured with the winning design.
Got any secret, juicy questions but don’t want to show your face or name? Mr. Asianonymous can answer these for you! Just email your questions to email@example.com Why are so many people obsessed with Japanese people live by. *ED NOTE: Plus, anime rocks culture? and Japanese girls are hot.* Compared with American culture, any Asian culture differs by a lot. Why specifically Japanese? There are a number of reasons. First off, Japan has one of the highest standards of living and is doing extremely well economically when compared with the other Asian nations. Thus, people are more exposed to Japanese culture and products, such as cars, anime, food, etc. Westerners become almost entranced due to the cultural differences and amazing lifestyles that the Japanese
Why do Chinatowns smell so bad? You just happened to catch the bad smell of Chinatown at the time. Sometimes, the smell of food is in the air and that smells amazingly good. Otherwise, you might sniff the smell of live fish or crabs after grocery owners pour out the water onto the sidewalk. Just be careful of where you walk!
Interview with the Creators of NT
What is Native Tongue? Native Tongue was co-founded by two young innovated and passionate people who wanted to represent the Asian Community better. As minorities, we make up a quarter of the student population with our ethnicity, culture, and heritage. Native Tongue is an organization used as tool to channel our voices and beliefs into one newspaper. This newspaper is not just an ordinary newspaper, but a movement that can meld the ideas of social and political issues. It is a melting pot of words and sentences that range from natural disasters, fashion, and political scandals that effect or impact the Asian community. I recently interviewed the two co-founders, Laurence Louie and Han Feng to discuss their reason for starting this organization and their views on the Asian community. (Continued on page 3)
Origins of Native Tongue: Interview with the Creators
Cindy Tran: What made you want to start an organization like this? Laurence Louie: This is a deep question. There were many reasons for starting an organization like Native Tongue. Besides needing an excuse to not study, the largest reason was that we needed it. Asian Americans consisted of nearly one quarter of the Rutgers undergraduate population, but was, at the same time, vastly underrepresented in the existing social, cultural, and academic institutions. What I mean is that there wasn’t a vehicle to cultivate and deliver a voice for Asian American students. Sure, there were Asian American organizations, but many were insular and focused on building membership and capacity within their own organizations (not that that’s a bad thing). Nothing existed that allowed Asian Americans to speak out as a community. Nothing existed that would ask questions like: Why are students at Rutgers not given the opportunity to learn about Asian Americans while fulfilling requirements to graduate? Why aren’t there specific support services for Asian American students? Why is the Rutgers radio station, newspapers, and television channels predominately white run? These questions require much more than Native Tongue, but it was a start. We wanted to create a vehicle for the Asian American community to critically voice their ideas, their experiences, and their demands, so I came up with the idea to start a newspaper. Our first meeting consisted of me and two other students and we went from there. Can you describe what Native Tongue is all about? LL: To me, Native Tongue is a vehicle. It can be taken in different directions depending on the people driving it and fueling it. It is an opportunity for Asian American students to establish a collective voice as a community. It is a space that can create new ideas and new inspirations between students. When it all started, Native Tongue was filled with vernacular like “activism,” “revolutionary,” or “movements,” but whatever you want to call it, we just wanted to spread progressive ideas in order to make waves for a better community. So why not start a newspaper? “Not just a paper, but a movement”... What does that mean to you? LL: That was the slogan we thought of. And to be completely honest, we were a bit naïve because we actually believed it. Don’t get me wrong, Native Tongue was definitely not just another Medium. It had a purpose and we were intentional with the content. Social movements aren’t simple and, to be blunt, Native Tongue in itself is far from a social movement. So is the slogan just bullshit? No. Native Tongue creates sparks to light a bigger fire. I’m talking about the potential impact of Native Tongue. It is the ideas that come through Native Tongue that inspire and fuel activity that can build social movements. Take, for example, the hype around the role Facebook played in the Arab Spring more recently. People were talking about it as an essential tool to mobilize people. By no means do Page 3
I want to undermine the long established foundations, organizing efforts and struggles that allowed for such an uprising, but media played a role. Similarly, Native Tongue can be a tool used to ignite minds and make change. So thinking back on the slogan…I wouldn’t change a thing.
how not to run an organization. It was even difficult learning how to let go of the organization in order to allow other people take over. When we started Native Tongue, we didn’t have another model to really learn from, so we were constantly brainstorming and figuring out how best to put out the information to the Rutgers comAre you socially and politically active in the munity. It was a constant work in progress, but Asian community? we always put out a paper that we were proud LL: Sure. I have plenty of Asian friends. of. Along the way we met so many skilled peoI find it difficult as an Asian American to be not ple who helped us publish an even better paper. socially and politically engaged in the Asian community in some capacity or another. But am Do you think that Asian Americans are unI intentionally active in trying to achieve justice, derrepresented in the Rutgers Community? equality and democracy for Asian Americans HF: Purely on a numbers game, Asian Americans in this society? I’d like to think so. After get- are a large part of the Rutgers community. But on ting heavily involved at Rutgers, I moved back an academic level, Asian Americans are severely to Boston and continued my growth as an ac- underrepresented, especially since there still isn’t tivist and as a human being. I am currently a an established Asian American Studies (AAS) youth organizer at the Chinese Progressive As- department—something that the Leadership sociation, I serve on the board of directors of Cabinet fought for during our time at RU and still the Asian American Resource Workshop, I am a does—support LC! The administration has made trainer at the Activist Training Institute amongst some strides, and promises but it needs to recogsome other involvements. And like I said, I sim- nize what a large part Asian American students ply enjoy the company of many Asian people. are to Rutgers and offer more courses on Asian America, hire more Asian Americanists, and What do you hope for in the future for the support the current Asian American professors. organization to achieve? LL: I hope that Native Tongue will be all the What is the meaning behind NT? things I described above. I hope the organization HF: NT was all about creating a space where will grow to serve as a vehicle to bring a voice students could write and read about Asian to the community to ultimately build a collec- American related issues, from politics to fative power. Working with groups like the Asian mous Asian Americans. We stressed from the American Leadership Cabinet, other progressive beginning that we wanted everyone and anygroups of color, or some of the white folks at tent one to write for the paper. We really wanted state, Native Tongue can play an integral role in to share with the Rutgers community a space making systematic change at Rutgers and beyond. where people could write on Asian AmeriI also wish for the people involved in and sur- can issues, to push their own and others thinkrounding Native Tongue to be challenged and ing about what it means to be Asian American pushed for growth in knowledge and experience. and to just discover more about Asian America. I hope Native Tongue will stay true to the values it was founded on while being simultaneously What is your biggest goal that you want NT redefined over and over again, adapting to what- to accomplish? ever is most needed to serve the community. HF: My goals for NT would be that it continues Native Tongue, keep it real. to be successful, that it continues working with all the other organizations at Rutgers to become What made you want to start Native Tongue? a better newspaper for the community and that Han Feng: I was, and still am, interested in so- it continues writing articles on various social cial activism and public interest work. While I and political issues that affect Asian Americans. didn’t know what those terms meant in my early days of college, I knew I wanted to be involved, What makes NT so different compared to but just involved in something different. The idea other Asian organizations? for NT stemmed partially from the fact that some HF: NT is focused on sharing social and powest coast colleges had Asian American publica- litical issues that affect Asian Americans and tions and we didn’t. We brainstormed the possi- creating a forum where any member of the bility and became really excited about the notion Rutgers community can do so. NT was creatof creating an organization that could work with ed to be able to work with other organizations and get the Rutgers Asian American community as a paper for all Asian Americans at Rutgers. thinking about social and political issues that af- NT’s Open Mic night was also a very imporfect us, such as the lack of Asian Americans in tant part of NT, designed to be a safe, non-judgpolitics, a lack of Asian American representation mental space for students of all backgrounds at the academic level at Rutgers, and much more. to share their stories and spoken word pieces. What have you learned from this process of NT was designed to share issues that affect all creating this organization? Asian American groups and be a space where HF: I have learned so much from the process, others could discuss both light hearted and seriabout working with others within and outside of ous topics revolving around what it means to be the organization, leadership styles, what it means Asian American. to be a team player, and just generally how to and
Henry Tse and David Wong
Museum of Chinese in America
My first impression of the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) was that it would be boring (Henry) and uninteresting. However, within a few minWhat turns out to be a normal visit to my sister in utes of exploring, I found it to be the complete New York eventually led to a surprise trip to the opposite. The first exhibition I went to was full Museum of Chinese in America. Founded in 1980 of Chinese puzzles that people would solve durin New York’s Chinatown, it was launched by ing times of boredom. What I thought was cool John Kuo Wei Tchen and activist Charles Laiand was that they had example puzzles for the pubto promote a better unlic to solve ranging from derstanding of Chinese tangrams (a puzzle that American culture, herconsists of 7 shapes that itage, experiences, and are put together to form history by preserving a specific shape), linked the memories of previrings puzzle (objective ous generations mileis to remove all the rings stones. Inside the muthat are connected), burr seum there are a wide puzzles (interlocking array of exhibitions wooden blocks that form that range from artia symmetrical cuboid), facts, Chinese puzzles, and sliding block puzand breath taking art. zles. (David) We were walking endlessly around Chinatown looking to pass some extra time on our hands while we waited for my cousin Virginia. Walking down a random street and turning them into some adventure usually distracted us for a bit of time. Spontaneously we turned into Centre Street, and started to stroll down it observing each and every building. Although it was a typical Chinatown street, there was one building which caught my eye. I marveled at the black structured design, glanced up at the sign and soon realized that this was a museum. I later discovered that Maya Lin, the architect who designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, designed the museum. My fascination with Chinese American history got the best of me and we entered through the doors. (Henry)
(David) I arrived at the station, where placed on a table was rectangular sliding box puzzle. The box held 11 blocks, and each block had pictures of Chinese officers and generals. The largest block had an imprinted figure of Cao Cao, a military genius and ruler of the Eastern Han Dynasty. The purpose of the game is sliding Cao Cao out of the lower opening in the middle of the box. This game becomes quite tricky since there are blocks of all shapes and you could only move each block horizontal and vertically without picking them up. After countless hours of failure, I gave up and moved to the next station. It was tougher than any Rubik cube I’d ever solved.
(Henry) It was interesting to see how we ChineseAmericans liked to express themselves through art and the artifacts being displayed. To wrap it all up, after visiting the MOCA I became more knowledgeable about my own culture and the milestones that have been reached. Most people today don’t know much about their own roots and culture. Visiting any museum, whether it is your own culture or that of another for more insight, is rather spiritually fulfilling and I encourage it.
(Henry) The next exhibition had plaques on the wall that had famous Chinese-American’s milestones/ achievements. The wall featured a timeline of important events that set the foundation and growth
ASIAN-AMERICAN CUISINE Fadila Noor Food! The very thought of it conjures up delicious images. The images that are conjured in our minds may at first be close minded, paying no attention to foreign foods. But the cuisines of the different regions of the world are very diverse and the diversity of cuisines, which are readily available for us to sample, definitely adds spice to the university dining experience. There is a nook for Chinese cuisine in the dining hall at Busch campus. Indian savories, like samosas, with different fillings, are served at all the dining halls on different campuses. Also Japanese sushi and Mongolian grill dishes are favorpage 4
of the Chinese American history. In my opinion this section is the most important throughout the museum, it gives me something to be proud of because, I too am a Chinese-American. The other exhibitions were related to art and cultural artifacts. (David) There were replica rooms of the first Chinese shops. This is by far my most favorite part of the museum. The medical and herbal teashop exhibit felt so authentic. Jars of medicinal herbs and tealeaves stocked the shelves with essence of the past. Traditional Chinese letters labeled on each jar to show the individual distinction of each one. The beautiful display of traditional Chinese containers and cups provide me a clearer image of the first teashops in America. I left the museum with sense appreciation of how hard the first generation of Chinese Americans worked to pave the way for the future generations to live a nice comfortable life style.
ites at the Livingston dining commons. Asian cuisine styles have definitely contributed a lot to the dining experience at Rutgers making our school life much more enjoyable. Outside of the campus area, there are a wide variety of shops devoted to selling Asian foods. Asian salads are sold at different fast food outlets with very catchy names. These salads have a lot to offer, in nutritional terms, than the rest of the food that is generally served at those outlets. So, whether you believe in the melting pot theory of assimilation of different people into American culture, or you believe in the salad bowl theory, I say that both theories have something to offer when you think of Asian-American cuisine!
To Weeaboo or Not to Weeaboo
What is a weeaboo? Used sometimes interchangeably with the term “otaku”, it is a distasteful label given to non-Asian individuals who obsess over Japanese culture. Many people commonly use these terms to generalize any non-Asian who obsesses over any Asian culture. The term “weeaboo” is a sort of a new-day euphemistic deviation of the derogatory term, “Wapanese”. Sadly, the connotations of these labels are anything but friendly. The problem that I, as an Asian American, must point out is the discrimination that exists towards non-Asian, Asian culturists (most commonly labeled and mislabeled as weeaboos and otaku). Though I am not the slightest bit Japanese, I do admit that I enjoy learning about Japanese culture. But as publicly as I have expressed my fondness for the island country just a little off ways from China, I have never received as much intolerance – and sometimes hate – from anyone
as my non-Asian peers have. I’ve known and befriended some people who proudly call themselves otaku, because that was a way they could classify themselves among the masses of people. “We’re a specific kind of nerd,” an otaku friend once told me, “If we don’t have plans for the weekend, we’re perfectly happy watching some anime or reading some manga on our own.” Perhaps it has to do with the fact that I myself am Asian American, but I could say the same thing and not get criticized for it. Others would simply see me as “being Asian”, and not as “being an antisocial weirdo”. It is this sort of discrimination and classification that makes one wonder: why is it so wrong for non-Asian people to enjoy Asian cultures? The root of the problem does not stem only from non-Asian people who dislike otaku, weea-
boos, and other people in that “class”. In some cases, Asian Americans turn their noses up to nonAsians who love their culture. Despite America’s “melting pot” label, many people still refuse to mix and match the traditions and customs of their own cultures with others. And though it is not necessarily wrong to attempt to adhere and keep one’s own culture unadulterated by American culture, keeping it exclusive to “your” people is. It is hardly surprising to see these types of people (otaku and weeaboos alike) emerge in this day and age. With all kinds of Asian culture deeply rooted in American culture nowadays, it is inevitable to find people who are more excitable about cultures that are not their own. However, despite this cultural diversity and appreciation for different cultures in America, there exists a specific group of people who seem to have this inability to tolerate – never mind accept – non-Asian, Asian culturists and enthusiasts. But in the end, looking past one’s heritage, we are all Americans, are we not? Do you think there is an underlying discrimination against non-Asians who enjoy Asian culture? Tweet us your thoughts at @RUNativeTongue
The Musings of Sydney Wonder
Distinguished. “There will be many distinguished people there.” I don’t know when this phrase first entered my mind or why it loops over therein. It means nothing. It was never said to me and holds no context. Yet, it plays every so often in my head. After the meaningless syntax, verbs, articles, and objects fade away, it’s just that key word that lingers. Distinguished. At its roots, being distinguished doesn’t mean you are important or rich or successful. It means you are distinct. And I like this description of success. It recognizes the truth that, in a grander view, the world is basically one big homogeneous mass of unremarkable individuals. Then, it poses that challenge: to take the running leap out of the blend and to stand alone. To become one of those select who stretched their human limits. Who refused to feel small in this big, big world. Who beat the system. Who, from within the crowd of 6 billion, were able to distinguish themselves. What a perfect way to describe not only what it is I am trying to do, but also why. I guess that somewhere within, I’ve always had an innate belief in the destination I’m headed for. And I’m quite certain… that when I have finally reached it, I will marvel to myself… “Wow. There are many distinguished people in here.” See you on the other side. Something must be wrong here, with our generation. Because every single person I know is literate, and educated, and completely uninterested in most of that. It would be an understatement to say we take higher education for granted. School is the bane of every college kid’s life, right? The one thing
standing in between us and real life, once we get that pretty diploma and the nominal certification that we sortakinda learned something. This is one of the worst phenomenons I can think of within our generation. If you do one good thing for yourself today, read on and let me show you why.
Being a college student means you have access to all the genius that has ever culminated, in every field, of human knowledge itself. Do you have any idea of the meaning of this? It means that we have the power to know what the hell is going on. And what the hell is going on, really? In our bodies, our minds, our surroundings? In the half million years since the human species popped onto this mysterious earth, without a clue as to what they were supposed to be doing, we’ve managed to figure out a lot. What would be some absolutely crazy, insane things to know? How about… The psychology that rules your very mind and that intimate voice in your head? The chemistry of the teeny tiny atoms that make up every pixel of your body, of everything you’ve ever seen and known in the world? The finance of the money machines that transformed Earth’s natural greenery into something completely foreign: a concrete jungle of skyscrapers, highways, malls, and consumerism? The physics that dictates that we simply must cope with the fact that what goes up, will always, always, always come down? The language through which every friendly greeting you’ve received, every horrendous argument you’ve fought, every dope bar in every song, and every love lyric you’ve moped to, have combined themselves into syntax, diction, predicates, and adjectives, from millions of individual letters, before they made their way
into your ears?; language that can transfer emotion, so that mere words in your ears, can actually make you feel in your heart? The math that has modern civilization so hopelessly wrapped around its pinky finger, with our obsession with numbers? Numbers make the world go round—our numbers of dollars, of stock index points, of lbs, of tagged pictures, of friends—and all the while, numbers don’t even exist and are actually man-made abstractions! No matter what you do, you will never hold the number 7. And when you think about the sum of all the crazy, intricate sciences that make up what we know as “Me”, “You”, “It”, “Him”, “Her”, “That”, and “Those”…. suddenly, everything starts to get a little weird. “Damn,” you might find yourself saying. “What really is up with this world?” The beautiful thing is, we actually have the means, here in 2011, to find out. Nobody walks the beaten path with a smile on his face. And how can you? It is only dry, malnourished, uninspired dirt, really, eager to be stirred up, eager to settle between your toes, to coat your sandals. Yet there is just one way that a beaten path becomes so beaten: everyone takes it. What’s the allure of the dry beaten path? Well, it’s guaranteed, for one. There’s the definite beginning - there’s the definite end. There’s the safety against nasty bites from insects in the unknown. But few realize this… that in the bigger picture, we are all on a much grander journey. It’s called life. And of this path, we already know the beginning… we already know the end: Death. I can’t think of a greater certainty, a more reliable guarantee, than this. Why not take the scenic route? -Sydney Wonder
A Hero Within All of US
In this world, humans are fragile and delicate. Within a blink of an eye, an individual can lose his/her life with ease. At any given point in time, a natural disaster can cause enough chaos and destruction to wipe out many lives. Even in the face of danger, humans, like all animals, have the tendency to fight for their own survival. It is an innate instinct that humans are born with that allows them to never abandon hope and to keep fighting until their very last breath. In the wake of one of the most known powerful natural disasters ever recorded in history, Japan was hit by a 9.0 earthquake (as measured on the Richter scale). The Tohoku earthquake and the resulting tsunami caused trillions of yen in damage with an estimated death toll in the tens of thousands. The natural disaster tested the bravery, courage, and willpower of the Japanese people. In the midst of the destruction, the Japanese remained strong and high-spirited. Despite the calamity, Japan’s citi-
Encounters of Racial Identity Valerie Hung What does it mean to be an Asian in America? “Portraiture Now: Asian American Portraits of Encounter“ is an art exhibition at the Smithsonian’s Portrait Gallery that attempts to answer this question through the works of seven Asian and Asian American artists. The exhibition is seemingly seven different exhibitions in one with each artist displaying their unique experiences of identity. The art is, at times, provocative, like the work of Hong Chun Zhang and Tam Tran. Zhang, a Chineseborn, Kansas based artist, channels her heritage through her featured artwork using long scrolls as her canvas. Long strands Three Graces triptych (Bo, Ling, and Hong Zhang) by Zhang Chun Hong. Charcoal on three paper scrolls, of hair carefully drawn 2009–11. with dark charcoal race down the scrolls, one of them shaped like cyclone, symbolizing femininity, growth and sexual energy. Tam Tran also brings the theme of gender into her self-portraits where she explores issues like isolation. “My Call to Arms” is distorted to make the artist appear both armless and miniaturized to comment on the way she perceived. At other times, the exhibition shows a more humorous side as it is with the work of Roger Shimomura, a Japanese American who experienced the xenophobia of WWII America. In a pop art style, he creates self portraits through painting himself into familiar images such as in “American Hello Page 6
zens never lost hope and continued to strive for persistence. Many lives were lost, yet many heroes were born.
One such hero was Hideaki Akaiwa, an ordinary citizen with an amazing drive for helping others. Akaiwa was at work when the tsunami struck his hometown and drowned it in ten feet of water. His initial thought was to first look for his wife and mother. Unwilling to wait a few days for rescue workers to arrive to search for his wife and mother, he donned scuba-diving gear and went straight into the dark, cold water. To make matters worse, the floating debris consisted of cars and other large, heavy matter that could easily crush any human being. Navigating through the city streets knowing that he might not return to the surface with his life in tow, Akaiwa miraculously managed to find his wife in great condition. After the emotional reunion with his wife, he went back into the water to search for his mother. He found her trapped in her home with nowhere to go. If Akaiwa had waited for rescue workers to come search for his wife and mother, they would not have survived. Even though Akaiwa has already saved his wife and mother, he still continues risk his life in order to search for survivors on a daily basis. Kitty” which features the artist’s face painted into the face of the Japanese icon. He says of the featured artwork, “This latest series of paintings is an attempt to ameliorate the outrage of these misconceptions by depicting myself battling those stereotypes or, in tongue-in-cheek fashion, becoming those very same stereotypes.” “Asian American Portraits of Encounter provides engaging points of view that will enrich the understanding of Asian Pacific America,” says Konrad Ng, the director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific Program. Whether Asian American or not, this exhibition undoubtedly gives the viewer a glimpse into the complexities of Asian identity in contemporary America. The exhibition, which is on display from August 12th , 2011 through October 14th, 2012, can be viewed in its entirety at Washington D.C.’s Portrait Gallery.
Cat and Carm by Shizu Saldamando. Gold leaf and oil on wood, 2008. Board: 81.3 x 162.6cm (32 x 64”). Collection of the artist © Shizu Saldamando. Photograph by Michael Underwood
Youtube: An Unlikely Source of Hidden Talents Irene Grandeza Talent can be found anywhere: on the streets, at a show, or even right next door in your dorm room. However, in the last few years, talent has been emerging on social sites such as Youtube. The site has only been around for a few years, but numerous music agencies have been able to find new talent to sign to their label through Youtube. People who post their videos find it easier to showcase their talents to a wider and more diverse audience. This month, I want to introduce two up-andcoming “Youtube stars” that are well known in the Filipino com munity and have often found Filipino Youtube musician Ryan Bandong their way onto my iPod. Ryan Bandong (rgbreezy) is a native of New York who often plays with his band, Mitchell Grey. Since he is located so close to New Jersey, he often performs for various shows in the garden state. On Saturday, September 17th he performed at Kean University with other Youtube performers for a show called Makinig NJ: A Gawad Kalinga Benefit Show. Bandong has released an EP (extended play) called “Surrounded by White Walls” which included a few of my favorite songs, such as “Forever Endeavor” and “Hazel. Another popular Youtube performer is Gabe Bondoc (GabeBondoc). A native of San Mateo, California who is not able to frequent the
MC Jin Releases “Homecoming” Album
Fashion Overlap (continued from page 1)
American-born Chinese rapper / hip-hop artist MC Jin has released his newest Cantonese album, Homecoming. This will be his second Cantonese album and his latest from his 2008 album, ABC. The album Homecoming represents Jin’s experiences, feelings, and aspirations after living in Hong Kong for the past 3 years. Before the album was released, Jin uploaded a music video to promote the album in which his manager made an appearance. Jin’s manager makes Jin take on odd jobs after spending money going on vacation and his wedding. The purpose of this was to convey to people that they should not get caught up in fame. The moral of the story? Fame is an illusion. Some previous works of MC Jin are several albums: The Rest is History (2004), I Promise (2006), ABC (2008), singles, and mixtapes.
east coast as much. His first show on the east coast took place this summer on July 9 th at The Takeover in New York. Since he joined Youtube in 2006, he has numerous videos on his channel with him playing covers and original songs. In the five years he has been making videos, he has already garnered almost 34 million upload views and even made three albums that he sells through his bigcartel, an online store where artists are able to distribute their music (gabebondoc.bigcartel. com). His first full length album, “The Summertime LP,” is still available for purchase. Gabe Bondoc, another Filipino Youtube musician. Here are a few more suggestions of artists not as well known, but are still full of talent: Jordan Biason and Danielle Maglente (MadMahalTV), Jenny Suk (msxjenixe), JR Aquino (JRAquinomusic), and Jennifer Chung (JenniferJChung).
However, not all Euro-American designers that utilize the Eastern influence have their collections come off as trite and cliché. There indeed are some designers that have Asian models and do not go overboard with the gaudy Asian look. In fact, take notice on some of the rising Asian American designers such as Vera Wang, Vivienne Tam, Anna Sui, and Alexander Wang’s collections and compare their arts to the ones mentioned here. Vera Wang, arguably one of the most famous fashion designers in America, is known for her collections of wedding gowns and semi-formal designs. Her few Eastern cultural pieces, without exaggerating any Asian stereotypes, exemplify her cultural influence on her designs. Rather than imposing sexual innuendos within her collections, she chooses to subtly intermix traditional Chinese values with her own romantic style. Likewise, Anna Sui adds more colorful and chic styles in her take on Eastern attire. The Asian American take on Eastern fashion is very much different than how the Euro-American artists portray them. Whether these EuroAmerican fashion artists are seen to be racially offensive or not, it is up to the consumer to decide if they want to support an art which expresses Eastern culture or an art that is supported by racial implications.
National Basketball Association vs. Philippine Basketball Association Jordan Biason Typical NBA off-seasons consist of summer basketball leagues, trades, and free agent signings. However, the National Basketball Association has just entered its fourth lockout in NBA history. Professional basketball players are now free to do as they please, and many need to find a way to supplement their income. Some players are in the process of taking their talents overseas while many others have already done so. A small group of NBA players decided to take their talents straight to the Philippines for two exhibition games. They faced Smart Gilas, a select team comprised of all-stars from the Philippine Basketball Association. However, the NBA team did not just sign a bunch of secondrated players. This NBA team consisted of players such as star shooting guard Kobe Bryant and league MVP Derrick Rose. When it comes to basketball, Philippines is no powerhouse in comparison to the United States. However, Smart Gilas did not go down without a fight. Leading the way was Arwind
Santos, star player of the Petron Blaze. He was the only player for the Philppines to score in double figures (25 points). Arwind had the toughest assignment, defending Kobe Bryant, who scored 12 points in their first meeting.
lights. The final score of the game was 131 - 105. The second meeting between the two teams was even closer than their first. Smart Gilas was down, but not out for three of the four quarters. The NBA All-Stars led by as much as 22 points in the 3rd quarter. JV Casio helped spark the national team’s run by scoring 11 points in
“When it comes to basketball, Philippines is no powerhouse in comparison to the United States. However, Smart Gilas did not go down without a fight.”
the 4th quarter alone. However, Kobe Bryant would lead the NBA All-Stars to a 98 - 89 victory by leading the team in scoring Javale McGee lead the way for the NBA team scoring 25 points, and following behind him was league leading scorer Kevin Durant, with 22 points. The NBA team put on quite a show by providing the crowd with dazzling dunks and amazing high-
Both teams put forth a valiant effort, but the NBA All-Stars came out undefeated with a 2-0 record. Although they lost, the Philippine All-Stars represented their country proudly.
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Published on Nov 18, 2011
The fall 2011 issue of the Rutgers University Asian-American Interest Newspaper, Native Tongue. Not just a paper, but a movement.