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Asian American Studies @ RU: Interview with Leader Cabinet Dave Lam


American Leader Cabinet is a political activist organization dedicated to educate and empower the Rutgers community. Laurence Louie, also one of the founders of Native Tongue, created it to provide Asians with a stronger voice and control at Rutgers. Currently Anna Phung leads AALC along with a small group of influential and bold individuals. Relating to their mission statement and goal, AALC is currently trying to bring an Asian American Studies Program to Rutgers.

environmental major. Right now I’m an active member in Leader Cabinet, while also being active in both the Engineering and Greater Rutgers Activist Community. And something personal about me, I’m actually working during the weekends as a cook and head chef.

David Wong: First, lets start off with a brief description about you. Laurence Louie, founding member of NT and LC at a Anna Phung: Hi, I’m Anna, a senior and Head Coordinator of the Asian American Leadership Cabinet (AALC), which aims for the importance of activism and social justice in the Asian American community. I am also involved in Bridge, which is like a safe group for Asians Americans in LGBTQ community. One personal fact is that I enjoy playing the Guitar.

rally for Asian American studies at Rutgers

Connie Phung: I’m Connie Phung. I’m a first year here at Rutgers University and an active member of LC and Bridge. I guess I could say I’m trying to integrate myself into the school and learn about Asian Americans in general and the inequality going on here. And some personal information is that I like to sing.

Long Pham: Hey, my name is Long. I’m a senior majoring in Women Gender Studies. I am a member of LC and I volunteer at one of the Women’s Dw: What is Asian American Studies about Center. One personal hobby of mine is reading. and what do you want to learn from it?

transnationalism, people moving across bases. The reason why we have this notion of Asian American is the fact of people migrating from Asian countries to America. However, we don’t know what that means because we don’t have any way of viewing or analyzing the history or dynamic of being an Asian American or how we get here or how we fit in. RR: My view would also incorporate transnationalism. It’s not Asian American, as United States of America, but Asian American as in North America and South America. In regards to the United States, Asians Americans have had such a strong impact in the Americas but it just hasn’t been shown in our textbooks. For example, there’s no mention of the Filipino American communities that settled in New Orleans around 1500s, plantation workers in Hawaii, or even the Chinese immigrants working around the east coast during the industrial revolution. American history lacks all those details even though they were all important in the growth and progression of the US. AP: It’s really about breaking the whole two lines we get in history textbooks. You probably only hear about Japanese interments, or gold rush, and maybe about the Chinese workers working on the railroad. It’s really all we learn and is emphasized in like less 20 minutes of the class. We want to broaden that and make sure everyone knows how significant we were in history.

Ryan Ramones: Hi, my name is Ryan Ramones. I’m currently a junior and a civil and

LP: For me Asian American Studies is about

Reviving The Rising Sun

Rutgers Homecoming 4th Annual Bed Race

Jorelle Baker

Irene Grandeza

After a series of earthquakes, tsunamis, and

nuclear disasters, the Japanese government has decided to open its land, giving away 10,000 free tickets for guests to visit. Winners from around the world will have their flight and accommodations completely paid for. The goal of this surprising event is to have the tourist population return to their great land. Ever since the natural disasters, tourism has decreased by 50%, crippling the economy. In order to win these free tickets, applicants must submit a form stating why they wish to go to Japan and where they would prefer to stay during their visit. The Japan Tourism Agency, the company sponsoring the event, has yet to reveal where and how the forms will be received. Much of the land has recovered from the terrible incident, and the only immediate dangerous areas are located near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant is the nuclear facility where the radiation spread. Although this area still has certain levels of radiation, the town surrounding the area will be opened to the public. More information is still being developed and released after the first announcement made on Monday, October 11, 2011.

NT members (L to R) Jordan Biason, Abrar Qaium, Joyce Ho and Aj Delgra

On Thursday, October 13th, Native Tongue par-

ticipated in the Charity Bed Race with other organizations. The race was held on College Ave and featured about fifty various organizations that came together to participate in the charity event. In order to enter, each team had to donate at least twenty-five winter hats or gloves to the New

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Brunswick School District. Each team was judged in four categories: speed, design/decoration of the bed, design/decorations of the team uniform, and number of gloves/hats donated. Teams raced down College Ave two at a time and at the end, the eight fastest teams raced against each other again. This year, Native Tongue decided on a Lilo and Stitch theme with Hawaiian decorations. The team consisted of Jordan Biason, Joyce Ho, AJ Delgra, and Abrar Qauim. Although Native Tongue did not place, a lot of people took notice and complimented the outstanding costume design on the members. Jordan described the event as “fun, exhilarating, and quite the experience.” When asked if he would do it again next year, he said “heck yes.” All in all, the team had a wonderful time and helped contribute to the charity. The total glove/hat donation of all the teams exceeded 1,000, which is an amazing contribution to the school district. Native Tongue will participate again next year and hopefully you readers can support us on the sidelines.

CONTENTS Staff 2 Culture 3 Entertainment 4 Page 1

Sweet & Spicy Asian Flair David Lam


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 Kathy Wu

Public Relations Chair PR Officers

Rensa Chen

Connie Ngo Jordan Biason Irene Grandeza Kelvin Knudtamarn

Treasurer Webmaster Administrative Assistant Historian

Joyce Ho Francis Eusebio Fadila Noor Gabe Aquino

Fundraising Chair Fundraising Committee

Teresa 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!

Even some types of food created in the United States are influenced by Westerners’ objectifiAm I talking about the sauce from your neighbor- cation of Asians and Asian Americans as being hood Applebee’s restaurant or am I talking about exotic and mystique. This preconceived notion the exoticism of the hyper-sexualized Asian fe- of Asian cultures and its people being weak and male? The first one of course! feminine dates back to historiI remember one night in the cal times, mainly in the age of beginning of September when colonialism and imperialism. I went to Applebee’s with a In the East-West interactions group of friends and I ordered centuries ago Western travelers these wings. Those wings came have depicted Asia as “the othwith a few different options of er” as Asia was seen as drastisauces that you could order cally different from the Western from. As I scanned the list I viewpoint of what is normal. noticed something that stood They brought back home with out. Among the list of sauces them misrepresentations as well was the flavor, “Sweet & Spicy Asian Flair.” That as stereotypes that would remain to this day. was when I thought to myself, “what’s that sup- I’m not suggesting that you should avoid trying posed to mean?” Since when was there such a the sauce nor eat any foods like Oriental chicken thing as “Asian sauce?” And did they really have salad (where they just add some type of “Asian to add the “flair” just to make it seem more ex- sauce”) or Mandarin orange chicken salad (laotic? I mean I’ve never seen a “Sweet & Spicy beled because of the Mandarin orange slices). European Flair.” Is this what people really think These names just reflect what society thinks of of Asians and Asian Americans? Asians and Asian Americans. All in all it is still This brings me to the latter topic aforemen- food so just remember to enjoy the foods you like tioned. and to savor their taste.

Continued: Interview with Leadership Cabinet DW: What are some of the approaches we’ve taken towards this program? LP: Based from I know we had a proposal, petition, and support from faculty, student governments, and even administration, but was put on the back burner, basically due to funding. Recently there has been another set back, we’ve been notified many heads of the departments feel that we don’t need an Asian Americans studies because we have an Asian Studies. AP: Basically 4 years ago, there was a real movement. One of the founding members of Native Tongue and Leadership asked why we don’t have an Asian Americans studies, when many other schools had a fully developed Asian America programs. So they came together and researched and compiled a proposal of why we need an Asian Americans studies and how it can benefits Rutgers. The proposal was brought to many faculty and administrative department, and a petition was developed to show the need for Asian Americans Studies program. During this four-year time there has been a Asian American symposium to get other members from the east coast to come together to discuss what an Asian American Studies program means, however it was put on the back burner again. So last year we came up with another petition to not only

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show that it’s about the Rutgers community but also about equality in the whole United States. We even met with Dean Greenberg, so now the next step is to get an Asian American Studies program here at Rutgers. RR: Adding to Anna, last year of spring semester AALC approached RUSA and they unanimously passed a resolution for supporting the creation of an Asian Americans Studies programs at Rutgers. DW: It’s not that many people don’t support the creation of an Asian American Studies Program, but it takes too much dedication in devoting their time to achieve this goal. What message do you want to provide them? RR: I just want to say having an Asian American Studies program is more then academic or the topic of having a major or minor. It represents Rutgers showing support of one of its longest constituents in New Brunswick. It’s about Rutgers reaching out to Asian Americans and embracing their community. This shows how Rutgers wants to provide the students with the most complete curriculum available. In a simple sense, it gives the opportunity for people to learn.


Connie Ngo

Question: What do you do with disposable chopsticks after you’ve used them? If you answered, “throw them out”, you’re not alone. Over 57 billion chopstick pairs are manufactured in China, with 45% made from 3.8 million trees, make their way all around the world. Countries like China, Japan, and South Korea consume the vast majority, while a “mere” 2% of the total manufactured gets shipped to the United States. So what’s the point? With major deforestation knocking on the doors of Asian countries, it’s hard to leave this problem unacknowledged. Donna Keiko Ozawa, a third-generation Japanese American, brought to light this increasingly devastating situation through her Waribashi Project. Through the use of recycled, disposable chopsticks, she sculpts abstract – and not so abstract – forms that capture the enormity and gravity of how careless people have become towards the environment. With mounds upon mounds of these wooden sticks at her disposal (no pun intended), it raises an alarming concern at the rate in which we tear down forests just for the sake of having “sanitary” chopsticks. The problem with disposable chopsticks isn’t even that they create lots of waste. It’s our carelessness of our environment that we need to be more conscious of. Trees are meant to combat some of the pollutants in our air, but the more we take down, the more air pollutants there are. Perhaps chopsticks made from sustainable tree or bamboo farms could be an answer, but not every chopstick manufacturer has heeded this call to action. However, Asian countries are al-

ready aware of the problem. Some restaurants have switched over to reusable chopsticks, which are in fact, more cost-effective than dispos ables. The cost of washing each chopstick seems to be far less wasteful than making (over and over again) new, single-use chopsticks. You may want to think twice about disposable chopsticks the next time you use them; Chinese manufacturers sometimes have little supervision over their production, which can lead to possible contamination of substances like sulfur, paraffin (a carcinogen), and hydrogen peroxide. Though not all chopstick factories run these risks, the ones that have higher risks can possibly contaminate soil and bodies of water when they are improperly dumped. The movement to “go green” has been encouraged, albeit lightly, by Asian governments. If chopsticks are your go-to utensils for Asian cuisine, then you may want to consider getting yourself a pair of reusable chopsticks made out of wood or bamboo (but remember – they’re reusable), metal, or plastic. Though the choice is completely up to you, if you do choose to reuse your chopsticks, then at least you’re making a statement about being more earth-friendly.

Wedding of the Dragon King Fadilla Noor A country that measures the personal happiness of its people as Gross National Happiness is known as one of the happiest places in the world. Also, known as The Last Shangri-La, its main attraction for tourists is its culture and tradition. A place that requires all citizens to wear the national dress, where there were no paved roads or currency until the 1960s. A place that still has no traffic lights and where television and internet were only introduced in 1999. Bhutan, previously an absolute monarchy, has recently become a constitutional monarchy meaning that the monarch is now bound by a constitution. It is the first country in the world to ban tobacco; a country where the two main religions are Buddhism and Hinduism. Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck, crowned king of Bhutan in 2008, is the world’s youngest reigning monarch. He married Jetsun Pema in a traditional Buddhist wedding on October 13, 2011 and their reception was held October 15, 2011 in Punakha. No foreign officials were invited to the wedding as the king wanted to keep it simple and traditional, which comprised mainly

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of their ordinary citizens. October 13th was declared a national holiday so that the nation’s 700,000 people could join in the celebrations. The Royal Couple also had a Hindu marriage on October 18, 2011 in Thimpu. Bhutan is also called, ‘Druk-yul’ or “Land of the Thunder Dragon.” The Queen, Jetsun Pema, was a commoner before her marriage to the Bhutanese King. Her father is a pilot with Bahrain Air. “Druk Gyalpo” refers to the Bhutanese King. Polyandry has been done away with, while polygamy can be practiced with the permission of the first wife. In fact, the former king Jigme Singye Wangchuk had married his four sisters who served as his four queens! Bhutan has been blessed with abundant natural beauty. Its stunning scenic beauty has to be seen to be believed! It is as yet unspoiled with the problems of pollution and overpopulation. Therefore, anyone who wants to be close to nature and get away from the “madding crowd,” as the English author Thomas Hardy would say, should just head for Bhutan and enjoy the quiet, peace, and solitude that the surroundings offer in abundance!

Skin Whitening

Jordan Biason

The definition of beauty typically varies from culture to culture; there is no true definition. Some people prefer tall while others prefer short. Another person may like light brown eyes over dark brown eyes. In the Philippines, the need to have lighter skin is always a topic that flies. If you have every watched television in the Philippines, you may have noticed something about the actors or actresses. Most of the people on TV are good looking and light skinned men and women. Society seems to be fixated on the idea of being light skinned because of all the products that are advertised as skin whitening products. Many are listed in magazines, shown in commercials, and displayed on billboards. Some products include skin whitening/bleaching lotions, creams, and soaps. I have personally used skin whitening or Papaya soap. You use it as if you were normally using soap in the shower and completely lather yourself up. As long as you don’t continually go outside and counter the whitening, results will be seen. One other product that people have taken is a pill containing GSH or glutathione, which is an antioxidant. It provides a radiant glow, improves skin hyperpigmentation, controls acne, and makes the skin smoother and clearer. In the Philippines, dark skin is typically associated with the working class. This is because they are usually working outside doing hard labor in the sun thus, causing tans. If you have light skin, it is assumed you probably have air-conditioning (a luxury in the Philippines) and spend most of your time inside for an office type of job. We all should be happy with what we have, whether we are short or tall, or even light skinned or dark skinned.

Rensa Chen

MYX TV: A Growing Asian American TV Channel

How often is Asian-influenced entertainment broadcasted on national television? Lately, the Asian American community has grown quite large and in order to accommodate for the increasing numbers of Asian and Asian-American audiences, there needs to be some kind of entertainment geared towards them. Many of you may or may not have heard of MYX TV, the only nationally-distributed channel that broadcasts Asian-influenced entertainment. Stemming from its ABS-CBN Network counterpart in the Philippines, MYX TV was established in 2007 and is currently in over 5 million households. Similar to the well-known MTV channel, MYX TV’s agenda consists of music, shows, and movies. The primary aim and intention of the channel is to support the continuously growing Asian-American population and to give entertainment geared

Racial Discrimination in Gran Torino

more towards viewers that may otherwise feel unacknowledged by the mainstream media. The website,, includes some of the channel’s shows, highlights, community events, and even blogger posts from people like us! In addition to providing the communities with the latest music from Asia, MYX TV includes a variety of broadcastings. Their section ‘Movie So Good’ features many carefully selected Asian movies that are shown weekly. “Music Bang” is their famous music video show that puts on the latest and hottest MVs from all over Asia, taking requests from bloggers through their online website. Another show, “Distortion 2 Static,” shows influential trends focused on hip hop and features many artists that may have not been heard of yet. MYX TV is indeed home to many talented youths of the Asian community and the contents of the channel cannot be fully described as it has an large variety of entertainment that one will just have to check out. Currently, MYX-TV is available in: Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, Boston, Washington DC, Northern Virginia, Houston, and recently, the San Francisco Bay Area. Although it is not available in NJ yet, there is no doubt that this hit channel will soon be in our very own Jersey homes. If you’re ever bored of the mainstream television shows and are looking for a more diversely cultured channel to watch, come discover MYX-TV to be more aware of the Asian community and see what it’s got to offer.

cousin. Soon Thaos sister is kidnapped, this then leads to Walt trying to rescue her but loses his life in the end. Thao attends Walt’s funeral, finds out later that Walt had given his Gran Torino to Henry Tse Thao, the very car he was trying to steal at the beginning. Racial discrimination – we see it everywhere This movie has many messages, even though nowadays, especially in the social media and Walt was prejudice towards Asians in the beginfilms. There is one movie that rushes to my mind ning, he later had a change of heart. Walt figures when I think of the racisms that we Asian Ameri- out that his perceptions of Asian were wrong. The cans face in life, and that is Gran Torino. change of heart occurred all from the time spent Gran Torino, which was re- getting to know Thao. Before Walt passes away leased in 2008, starred ac- he leaves his car to Thao. Goes to show how eastors Clint Eastwood (Walt ily everyone can have misconceptions about any Kowalski) and Bee Vang race, which in this case deals with Asians. (Thao Vang Lor)as the two main characters and antagonists of the movie. Here What the Hell is Minecraft? is a synopsis of the plot: It starts out with Walt Kowal- Connie Ngo ski, a widowed Korean War veteran who is angry at the Upon first glance, Minecraft is just a simple game world and has become extremely hostile. Thao, a composed of cheap, pixelated graphics and cubes young Hmong who has moved next to Walt tries – nothing special. This top-rated indie game, deto steal his prized 1972 Ford Gran Torino in order spite its horrendous graphics (relative to the top to gain acceptance into his cousins gang. When game consoles’ like those on PS3 and Xbox), has Walt finds out that Thao tries to steal his car, he captured the hearts of millions of gamers. The points a gun at Thao, but luckily Thao’s parents totally freeform, sandbox gameplay allows for come out to protect him. However, Thao’s cous- the user to create a myriad of things, from fains’ gang comes in and causes more trouble with mous landmark replicas to 2D pixel sprites, out Walt, causing him to hate all Asians because of of block-shaped materials like dirt, stone, and this and having been through the Korean War. colored wool. To Walt the reasoning to hate entire races are justified by the actions of certain individual Asians. These reasoning may sound foolish and idiotic, however it is the core of how racism begins. These actions from a small selective group of ethnicities are more than enough reasoning to label them with certain images. Prejudice s then formed from this hate of a certain group of peo- Its appeal doesn’t extend to everyone; in fact, ple. In the movie this hate slowly built up in Walt most people who love Minecraft were avid Lego causing mass hatred towards Asians. However, block users in their younger days (so if you there was a turn of events toward the middle of thought Legos were stupid, then you will most the movies. likely will not appreciate the full potential of Thao is later sent to work for Walt, to pay back Minecraft). This game is rather nostalgic, digfor the attempted theft. Slowly yet surly they ging up from the deep corners of our brains the develop a nice bond between each other. How- kind of creativity that our teachers and parents ever, all that time spent with Walt angers Thao’s used to encourage, once upon a time. But MinePage 4

craft isn’t just about building (unless you choose that game mode); it’s about survival against the enemy “mobs” that can whittle down your health points and cause you to drop all your belongings, while collecting material blocks and building grandeur structures. To many gamers’ pleasure, the RPG-like aspect of Minecraft gives it all the more charm to play. The cooler thing about Minecraft is that there exists an entire community dedicated to this game. Of course, you can argue and say that there are many games with communities – like World of Warcraft and Call of Duty – but because Minecraft allows for the creation of worlds to be shared through multiplayer servers, people all over the world can play with one another through the internet. A single world can have up to 256 players logged in at one time (though, this tends to lead to a lot of lag [you gamers know what I’m talking about]). Cooperative building becomes a must, and for the most part, people are friendly towards one another in the Minecraft world. Since its alpha testing days, the development of Minecraft has been rapid. What started out as a small, lowly-funded game with roots in Sweden suddenly boomed into a new gaming phenomenon. Its graphics were originally worse than they are now (imagine that!) and the gameplay was very simplistic: survive the first night, collect materials, and then just build, all-the-while avoiding those darn hissing Creepers (they’re green, pixelated, walking rectangles that blow things up when you get too close). But now, it’s more than that; one has to make sure that his/ her hunger bar doesn’t go down, that the animals within the area are contained and bred, and that the now-creepier Endermen don’t suddenly pop up to try to eat you. People these days are dazzled by high-definition graphics. Minecraft contains none of that, and is definitely a step back from the visual hubbub. Even with the lack of fancy graphics, the game still shines through with its very unique gameplay, which is so freeform that sometimes people get frustrated that there is “no point” to the game. But what’s so great about Minecraft is that it’s a game that allows you to play…just for the hell of it.

Native Tongue - Winter 2011 Issue  

The Winter 2011 issue of the Asian American interest newspaper of Rutgers University, Native Tongue

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