Sunday, April 04, 2010
Adentures in Multicultural Living: Sorting through the varied hues of Easter - cultural or religious holiday? - AnnArbor.com
My father and I always sang in the church and school choirs, so every year we celebrated Easter by putting on our choir robes, singing joyously at Easter sunrise mass, and then going out for a Grand Slam Breakfast at Denny’s. After weeks of preparation, we were happy and stuffed and done with Easter by 9am.
Because I went to Catholic Schools, I always had Good Friday and the week after Easter off of school, while the public schools in California had a different week off, so I thought Easter was a straight-forward religious holiday.
I had no idea that there was more to Easter than Easter mass.
Years later, I was surprised when the mother of one of my Japanese American Buddhist friends mentioned that she always makes sure her family has a proper Easter dinner, with a big glazed ham. (I recently talked with another Japanese American friend who recalls not only always having a ham for Easter, but also corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day.) (click on link for more)
Sorting through the varied hues of Easter - cultural or religious holiday? - AnnArbor.com
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Adventures in Multicultural Living: A tale of three tea parties--gestures of concern, respect, graciousness - AnnArbor.com
from IMDiversity.com Asian American Village Editor Frances Kai-Hwa Wang:
A girlfriend was recently reminiscing about the Friday afternoon high teas at Smith College, a tradition held over from a previous era, although by the time she was there, most of the young women came to high tea wearing jeans rather than dresses and white gloves. Still, there was something warm and reassuring about coming home at the end of a long week and finding pots of tea and loads of cookies (especially the cookies) prepared and waiting for you, welcoming you home.
At the Japan Cultural Festival last weekend, I slowed down (for once) long enough to watch a Japanese tea ceremony. A younger kimono-clad woman carefully and meticulously prepared and presented a bowl of tea to an older woman. She brewed the water on an old fashioned brazier, scooped the water out with a long-handled bamboo ladle, stirred the tea with a little bamboo whisk, and poured the tea into a wide-mouthed bowl. Her body movements were disciplined and deliberate. The older woman sat silently and waited patiently for her tea. The relationship between the women could be read like a dance, the care and respect with which the younger woman made and served the tea to the older woman was moving. Everything was in the details, details that nobody has time for anymore. (And so nice to see during Women’s History Month.) Off to the side of the tatami stage, several kimono-clad women made more of the bitter green tea for the audience members and offered each cup with both hands raised. (click on link for more)
A tale of three tea parties--gestures of concern, respect, graciousness - AnnArbor.com
Photo Courtesy of University of Michigan's Center for Japanese Studies
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Adventures in Multicultural Living: Contrasting colors of Japanese Quiz Bowl and Japan Cultural Festival - AnnArbor.com
From IMDiversity.com Asian American Village editor, Frances Kai-Hwa Wang:
For the past few weeks, my kids have been doing nothing but getting ready for Japanese Quiz Bowl! Extra classes, extra homework, extra studying, extra emails from teachers, extra study sessions with classmates—and I do not have to say a thing. Japanese Quiz Bowl is serious business.
According to the University of Michigan Center for Japanese Studies, this 17th annual competition, which took place Saturday, March 20, at the University of Michigan, had approximately 375 students from 26 elementary and secondary schools from across the state competing in six different divisions.
Bet you did not know that 26 elementary and secondary schools in Michigan teach Japanese as a foreign language. (click on link for more)
Photo: Last year’s team from Ohara Language School
Contrasting colors of Japanese Quiz Bowl and Japan Cultural Festival - AnnArbor.com
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Adventures in Multicultural Living Kiss Me I'm Irish. or Italian! Kiss Me I'm Chinese? Wearing our cultural pride on St. Patrick's Day - AnnArbor.com
I used to think that St. Patrick’s Day was a national holiday.
I attended Catholic schools in Los Angeles, and all the Bishops at the time, the ones who set the calendars for all the Catholic schools in the Archdiocese, were Irish. Thus St. Patrick’s Day was always a school holiday. Always. Along with Lincoln’s Birthday, Washington’s Birthday, and All Saint’s Day.
Then our school got a young new principal, Sister Nathaniel. She was Italian American, with dark brown bangs peeking out of her white habit, a matter-of-fact way of speaking, and a brisk efficient stride. She declared that since St. Joseph’s Day (March 19) was about the same time as St. Patrick’s Day (March 17), we would celebrate both saints’ days together.
I have often thought of this story as one which shows the difference one person can make. Because she was Italian American, she understood the importance of St. Joseph’s Day to our many Italian-American families; no one else even knew. (click on link for more)
Kiss Me I'm Irish. Kiss Me I'm Italian! Kiss Me I'm Chinese? Wearing our cultural pride on St. Patrick's Day - AnnArbor.com
Sunday, March 07, 2010
Adventures in Multicultural Living: Reading, sharing, curating, and subverting books to expand the definition of normal - AnnArbor.com
From IMDiversity.com Asian American Village Editor Frances Kai-Hwa Wang:
I just finished reading Lac Su’s memoir, I Love Yous are for White People, a story about growing up poor and Vietnamese American in Los Angeles dodging gangs, alcohol, and an abusive father. It was a tough read, but a sobering reminder that many Asian Americans do not fit neatly into the model minority stereotype.
Now I am reading Bich Minh Nguyen’s memoir, Stealing Buddah’s Dinner, this year’s Michigan Humanities Council’s Great Michigan Read, about growing up Vietnamese American in suburban Grand Rapids and her fixation on American food.
Both writers ache to belong to the world around them. (click on link for more)
Reading, sharing, curating, and subverting books to expand the definition of normal - AnnArbor.com
Sunday, February 28, 2010
During the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, my daughter M and her friend C, the only two Chinese-American girls in Mrs. Schroeder’s first-grade class, were excited about watching Michelle Kwan compete for the gold.
C was planning to invite Michelle to her upcoming 7th birthday party, an ice skating party at Buhr Park. M loved the video clip of Michelle eating dinner with her family—using the same bowls and chopsticks that we did. For them, Michelle was an admired “older sister” that they looked up to. None of the other first-grade girls really knew who Michelle Kwan even was, but after two weeks of hearing about Michelle Kwan every day in class and at soccer, every girl in that class stayed up late that final night of the Olympics to watch Michelle Kwan’s bittersweet final performance.
During those same 2002 Winter Olympics, Apolo Ohno crashed onto the scene with such a flurry of energy and style that we could not help but be transfixed by this hunky hapa “older brother” and the story of his dad’s tough love to keep him out of trouble. We laughed at the images of women fans and even Gov. Gary Locke sporting electrical tape soul patches in his honor. Add on the stories of speedskater Derek Parra who as the first Mexican-American Winter Olympian broke both world and American records, and bobsledder Vonetta Flowers who became the first African American to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics, and we were complete converts. (click on link for more)
Winter Olympians of color - American like us - AnnArbor.com
Friday, February 26, 2010
WASHINGTON – President Obama nominated University of California Berkeley School of Law Associate Dean and Professor Goodwin H. Liu to serve on the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit today.
Professor Liu is a nationally recognized scholar in the areas of education and constitutional law. Before joining UC Berkeley School of Law, Professor Liu was a litigator in private practice. Prior, he was a law clerk to the Honorable David S. Tatel on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the United States Supreme Court, and was Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Education, U.S. Department of Education. He is committed to community service, and his work has been recognized through several awards, including the Pacific Islander, Asian, and Native American Law Students Association Alumni Award (Yale Law School); Asian American Alumni Award (Stanford University); and the Stanford Associates Governors’ Award for Exemplary Volunteer Service.
Professor Liu was born to Taiwanese immigrant parents in Augusta, Georgia. He grew up in Clewiston, Florida and Sacramento, California. A distinguished graduate of Stanford, Oxford, and Yale Law School, Professor Liu was also a Rhodes Scholar, and is a member of the American Law Institute.
“Professor Liu’s nomination is a positive step to address the glaring absence of Asian Pacific Americans on the appellate level,” said George C. Wu, Executive Director of OCA. “As former law clerk to the Supreme Court and recognized scholar on constitutional law, Professor Liu will bring unsurpassed intellect and fairness to the Ninth Circuit.”
Professor Liu’s appointment to the Ninth Circuit is particularly significant for the Asian Pacific American community. Of the approximately 175 active federal appellate court judges, there are currently none who are Asian Pacific American. If confirmed, he will only be the fifth Asian Pacific American federal appellate court judge in the history of the United States. Along with Denny Chin, nominee to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, he is the second Asian Pacific American nominated to the federal court of appeals by the President.
Founded in 1973, OCA is a national organization dedicated to advancing the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans in the United States. OCA aims to embrace the hopes and aspirations of nearly 12 million Asian Pacific Americans in the United States.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
The focal point of Chinese Lunar New Year celebration is gathering the whole extended family together for a big feast on New Year’s Eve.
Just as Thanksgiving has certain special foods that must be eaten like turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes with marshmallows, Chinese Lunar New Year’s Eve also features special food that must be eaten, each dish imbued with meaning and good wishes for the new year. A whole fish is served because the Chinese word for fish sounds like “more than enough” (and one must leave leftovers so there will be “plenty” “left over” in the new year). (click on link for more)
Chinese Lunar New Year feasting and family - AnnArbor.com
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
The NYC march will occur in the wake of -- and likely in answer to -- protests by Asian churches at a California Lunar New Year Parade, which included LGBTQ groups.
Also of interest, see "Backlash against Vietnamese gay groups in parade".
---- RELEASE ----
Groups to March in First-Ever Asian American Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Contingent in
***Contingent Supported by Broad Coalition including
and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn
What: First-ever Asian American Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Contingent in New York’s Lunar New Year Parade, marching for the first time in the parade’s 11-year history and the Chinatown community’s 130 year history.
It is the first time on the East Coast that AA LGBTQ groups have been invited to march in a Lunar New Year parade. Marchers will be traveling from
LGBTQ people of Irish- and South Asian-American descent have been repeatedly excluded from marching in their own ethnic celebrations in
When/Where: Sunday, February 21st11:30 AM - Convene on Mott Street between Hester and Spring (walk up Mott Street until you see our Lunar New Year for All banners & colorful fish kites). Parade ends at 3PM.
The effort is organized by Q-Wave, supported by the Asian Women’s Giving Circle and has been endorsed by a number of groups including: Project Reach, CAAAV-Organizing Asian Communities, Gay Asian Pacific Islander Men of New York, (GAPIMNY), Nodutol for Korean Community Development, OCA-New York Chapter, Queer Asian Spirit, Chinatown Youth Initiatives, Barangay, South Asian Lesbian Gay Association, Metropolitan Community Church of New York, Asian Pacific Islander Coalition on HIV and AIDS, and National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum., Chinese American Planning Council, CPC-HIV/AIDS Services, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Museum of Chinese in America, Asian American Arts Alliance, Asian American Writers Workshop and Asian Cinevision It has also been endorsed by prominent individuals such as Comptroller John Liu, Speaker of City Council Christine Quinn, actor Joan Chen, Community Leader Rocky Chin and Journalist Helen Zia.
Monday, February 15, 2010
The Organization of Chinese Americans has also announced that its national convention will be held on June 17-20, 2010, in Houston, TX. It has made an informational section available at http://www.ocanational.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=120&Itemid= and has announced that it is seeking submissions for program topics.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
From IMDiversity.com Asian American Village editor Frances Kai-Hwa Wang:
I never even heard of Chinese New Year until I was already 12 years old. We had recently moved from Los Angeles to San Jose, and I had just started attending Saturday morning Chinese School for the first time. One of our lessons was about Chinese New Year stories and customs. Of course, being only 12, I was most interested in the tradition of red envelopes, which contain gifts of money. I went home demanding to know why my brother and I had never before received red envelopes, and insisted on years of back pay.
My brother and I forced our parents to celebrate Chinese New Year that year. We invited all our relatives over for a big dinner of Mongolian hot pot and we made a special trip to the really far Chinese butcher’s for the extra-thin cuts of meat needed. Aunts No. 3 and 6 came with all our cousins, and we had so much fun with the house full of relatives, warm with gossip and food, that we did not even notice until everyone had left that we still did not get any red envelopes.
Every year after that, I would ask my parents what they were planning for Chinese New Year, and the usual response was, "Oh, I don’t even know when it is. I’ll have to check the Chinese calendar." If I was home, and insistent, then they would cook a meal and invite some relatives over; if not, then they would forget. They were modern Chinese who did not need these old world superstitions. But I did. (click on link for more)
Discovering the meaning in Chinese New Year's celebrations - AnnArbor.com
photo courtesy of Andrew Fang photasa.com
Sunday, February 07, 2010
Adventures in Multicultural Living: Raising confident daughters of color while not forgetting Obama is black - AnnArbor.com
Years ago, I took a seminar called, "Raising Strong and Confident Daughters." My husband laughed at me, "Could our daughters be any stronger or more confident?"
The class was an eye-opener, not just in how to raise my girls, but also in understanding my own Chinese American childhood. I had no memory of dealing with a lot of the issues the instructor talked about as being so important to preadolescent girls, such as friendships and physical appearances.
At first I thought that I must have been just so low on the social totem pole, because of race and nerdiness, that I had given up hope of competing in those arenas. Then I found a Wellesley study of Boston middle-school girls’ self-esteem along racial and ethnic lines and discovered that girls of different ethnic backgrounds based their sense of self-esteem on different factors. It made perfect sense once somebody said it out loud. (click on link for more)
Raising confident daughters of color while not forgetting Obama is black - AnnArbor.com
Friday, February 05, 2010
ImaginAsian: Identity and Experience in Contemporary Asian Pacific America
Fundraising Exhibition April 2- May 9, 2010
In celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2010 and to generate funding for materials and sources for Asian American Studies collections at the Purdue University and Indiana University libraries, Kate Agathon, the Council on Asian American Studies, the Tippecanoe Arts Federation, and the Asian American Network of Indiana (AANI) are sponsoring a fundraising installation/exhibition of donated art addressing identity and experience within contemporary Asian Pacific America. The exhibition is intended to raise awareness and understanding of the Asian American community as articulated through a variety of art including photography, visual, and literary.
Open to everyone, submissions are being solicited nation-wide. Celebrity contributors include writer Maxine Hong Kingston, director Michael Kang, actor Parry Shen, hip hop group Far East Movement, Congressman Mike Honda, artist Stella Lai, illustrator/graphic designer Jerry Ma, poet Bao Phi, writer Tao Lin, comic legend Larry Hama, and many other prominent stakeholders within the Asian American community. Contributors do not need to be of Asian descent to participate!
For a donation of $5 or more, contributors are asked to fill an 8.5 x 11” space with creative art, writing, photography or any other artistic medium that addresses contemporary Asian Pacific American identity or the Asian Pacific American experience. Each submission will be vetted by a team for common themes and appropriateness.
Inspired by the Greater Lafayette Art Museum’s Mosaic, ImaginAsian will comprise of a display of 8.5 x 11” creative gifts celebrating the contemporary Asian Pacific American experience. The exhibit will be displayed April 2- May 9, 2010 at the Tippecanoe Arts Federation located at 638 North Street, Lafayette, IN 47901.
Bidders can bid on their favorite pieces of work by taking part in a silent auction that will take place throughout the duration of the exhibit. Submissions must be received by February 28, 2010 and can be sent to:
1809 Bengal Place
Lafayette, IN 47909
Checks made payable to the Asian American Network of Indiana are welcome. The Asian American Network of Indiana is a not-for- profit organization. All gifts are tax exempt. For more information, contact Kate Agathon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, January 31, 2010
Adventures in Multicutural Living: The 'Asian fail' and having fun with the model-minority myth and other stereotypes - AnnArbor.com
From IMDiversity.com Asian American Village Editor Frances Kai-Hwa Wang
Three summers ago, my 70-year-old father, who has been after me for years to finish my PhD, had a sudden post-retirement revelation, “It does not matter how many degrees you have; what matters is that you are a good person and live a happy life.”
He then turned to the kids and said, “You do not have to get good grades or go to a good college, you just have to learn how to be a good person and be happy.”
The children and I stared at him, mouths dropped open in disbelief, “Who are you and what have you done with my real father?” (click on link for more)
The 'Asian fail' and having fun with the model-minority myth and other stereotypes - AnnArbor.com
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Adventures in Multicultural Living: We gain so much from wading in the water of each other's cultural experiences - AnnArbor.com
IMDiversity.com Asian American Village Editor Frances Kai-Hwa Wang's Adventures in Multicultural Living column:
Two years ago, my father’s choir at the University of Hawaii was invited to sing at a big international diversity concert at Lincoln Center in New York for MLK Day. Choirs from around the world had been invited to sing together, and a Hawaiian choir adds instant diversity with its multicultural population of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, Portuguese, Caucasians and native Hawaiians. That summer, over a breakfast of Chinese pancakes and Portuguese sausage, my father told us about the difficulties he had had the night before at choir practice pronouncing the words in the spirituals that they were learning, “You have to say the words like a Negro,” he said.
Twelve-year-old Hao Hao gently corrected him: “African American. These days you should say African American.” (I bet Senator Reid wishes his grandchildren had told him this, too.) (click on link for more)
We gain so much from wading in the water of each other's cultural experiences - AnnArbor.com
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Adventures in Multicultural Living: Living in harmony in a great world house on MLK Day - AnnArbor.com
IMDiversity.com Asian American Village editor Frances Kai-Hwa Wang writes in her Adventures in Multicultural Living Column:
In Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Nobel Peace Prize lecture, given in 1964, he talks about the idea of a house, “We have inherited a big house, a great ‘world house’ in which we have to live together - black and white, Easterners and Westerners, Gentiles and Jews, Catholics and Protestants, Moslem and Hindu, a family unduly separated in ideas, culture, and interests who, because we can never again live without each other, must learn, somehow, in this one big world, to live with each other.”
I love the imagery of that house, so easy to picture. A nice Victorian, neat and trim, brightly painted, purple and pink, warm lights shining through lace curtains, with all the peoples of the world living in harmony together inside - everyone happily cooking together, feasting and celebrating, sharing the bounty of the garden, raking leaves and shoveling snow with the seasons, emptying the dishwasher, doing the laundry, vacuuming the floor, fixing the car, fighting for the bathroom…
Wait. But how do you do that, exactly? (click on link for more)
Living in harmony in a great world house on MLK Day - AnnArbor.com
Sunday, January 10, 2010
From IMDiversity.com Asian American Village Editor Frances Kai-Hwa Wang:
At 10:00 pm every Friday night, Mr. Pao, the Administrator of Students, rings the bell for everyone to go home, and…nobody moves. What kind of Chinese School is this that nobody is anxious to leave at 10:00 pm on a Friday night? Everyone, parents and teachers and students, are still talking and laughing, lingering a few more moments together, just one more person to catch. I slowly round up all my children from all their extracurricular classes—gu zheng, kung fu, yo-yo, art—find their coats, pick up their backpacks, and slowly make our way towards the front door.
But where is Little Brother?
I walk up and down all the hallways, ask the parents of all his little friends, check the upstairs and the gym and outside the back door. I finally find him in the multipurpose room, in the center of a big circle of teenagers, all twice his height (which is why I did not see him earlier), holding forth about his favorite Pokemon. Serious stuff.
Two of the teenagers, Brian and Stephanie, are fighting over him again, “Who do you like better? Me or her?” (click on link for more)
Little Brother's many older brothers - AnnArbor.com
Sunday, January 03, 2010
Adventures in Multicultural Living: Swine Flu: How the "colorblind" H1N1 virus reveals our cultural differences - AnnArbor.com
From IMDiversity.com Asian American Village Editor, Frances Kai-Hwa Wang:
I was invited to a special ethnic media briefing at Dossin Great Lakes Museum on Belle Isle organized by New America Media (informally known as the AP of the Ethnic Press) with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to get the word out about the H1N1 (swine flu) virus and vaccine to our ethnic communities.
At first, I was naively surprised to receive this invitation. I thought that the H1N1 virus ought to be “colorblind” and not care about race, ethnicity, or culture; that it ought to make our bodies sick the same way. Why would ethnic communities need special briefings? (click on link for more)
Swine Flu: How the "colorblind" H1N1 virus reveals our cultural differences - AnnArbor.com