Archive for February, 2009|Monthly archive page

Remember the (API) ladies…

In Politics on February 28, 2009 at 5:57 am

The 16 women senators of the 110th Congress. In the current 111th Congress, only 2 out of the 95 women in the House and Senate are Asian Pacific Islanders. Photo from http://www.mikulski.senate.gov/images/16%20Women%20Senators.jpg.

The administration and Congress under President Obama is more diverse than ever.

In our latest issue of Pacific Ties (available soon online), Elizabeth Park reports on seven prominent Asian Pacific Islanders (APIs) in Obama’s administration and First Family.  I am pleased to see a variety of ethnic backgrounds and areas of expertise represented in his picks.

But with the exception of Obama’s half-sister Maya Soetoro-Ng, all of them are male.

And it’s awesome that Nancy Pelosi is the first-ever female Speaker of the House and that a record number of 95 women now serve in Congress.

But only two out of these 95 women are Asian Pacific Islander American, despite the fact that as of 2008, API Americans comprise 5.3% of the U.S. population collectively.

It seems that one-category minorities (such API males or white females) are increasingly represented in politics, but double minorities such as API females are still largely absent from the scene.


Any thoughts or insights?  Leave your comments below!

— posted by Debbie Chong


Pick up your copy of Pacific Ties TODAY!

In PacTies News on February 26, 2009 at 8:10 pm

cover_smallFebruary is drawing to a close and Pacific Ties has pushed out yet another fantastic issue.  Fellow online friends and strangers, we have arrived.

If you’re a student at UCLA, you can pick up a copy on the news kiosks around campus.

You can also request a free subscription by emailing us at pacties@media.ucla.edu.

Look for lots of exciting online content in the next few days!

  • A flippable flash version our Dialogue Issue
  • Exclusive photos from Kollaboration 09
  • Follow us on Twitter!
  • Feature articles right here at pacificties.org
  • Preview of our Spring 2009 issue

Thanks for everyone’s support!

Supporting Student Media

In PacTies News on February 26, 2009 at 7:45 am

Most schools have a journalism department.  They have professors who are renowned journalists, teaching lecture classes of eager students who are equally eager to get into the journalism field.  Internship programs are offered and they’re competitive.

But even though UCLA is one of the largest and most well known universities in the world, with record 55,000 freshmen applicants a year, we don’t have a journalism major, department, or program.

Thus UCLA Student Media was created to give students hands on experience on writing, reporting, editing, designing, and producing a real live publication. Over the years, we have expanded to include a daily newspaper (Daily Bruin), a radio station (UCLA Radio), 7 newsmagazines (Al-Talib, Fem, Ha’am, La Gente, Nommo, OutWrite, and Pacific Ties), and a yearbook (Bruin Life).

But as the economy turned sour, the funding for these programs were the first to get cut.  And it’s unfortunate because our only mission is to serve the campus community, to inform and to educate.  So I want to ask you to take this very short survey to reaffirm our importance in the UCLA community.  Thanks for your continuous support.

Click here to take the Student Media Survey

L.A. Asian communities receive close to $500,000

In NEWSPRINT on February 22, 2009 at 10:50 pm

In an announcement on Feb. 21, five Los Angeles Asian communities learned that they would be dividing amongst them approximately $500,000, which is to be used for the preservation of their history. The money comes from the National Park Service’s $250,000 grant that the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency will nearly match by $211,327.

Cecilia Estolano, head of the CRA, reported, “This grant provides funds that will help expand the efforts of the local businesses and residents to promote their unique heritage to a greater audience.”

The neighborhood groups that will be sharing this money are in Chinatown, Filipinotown, Koreatown, Little Tokyo and Thai Town.

– posted by Emily Ho

Mark your calendars! Little Tokyo walking tour on Sat, Feb 28

In Culture on February 22, 2009 at 3:23 am

For those of us in the LA area, the Japanese American National Museum holds historical tours of Little Tokyo at the end of each month.  This month’s tour is on Saturday, February 28 at 10:15 am.

The website’s description of the tour:

Relive history and learn about present-day Little Tokyo with National Museum docents. $8 Members; $13 non-members, includes Museum admission. Comfortable walking shoes and clothes recommended. Weather permitting.

For more info on visiting the museum, click here!

— posted by Debbie Chong

Cool API cartoonist: Deb Aoki

In A&E, Culture on February 21, 2009 at 4:25 am
Deb Aoki offers a lighthearted look on living life as an API American.

Deb Aoki offers a lighthearted look on life as an Asian Pacific Islander American. Check out more of Aoki's work on http://www.debaoki.com.

I love the comics section of the LA Times, except for one thing: the dearth of cartoon heroes of color.

I appreciate the inclusion of Jump Start, Frazz, and La Cucaracha, which acknowledge the presence of African Americans and Latino Americans in our society.  However, the majority of human comic strip characters are white.  And where, may I ask, are our Asian Pacific Islander (API) and Native American cartoon heroes?

In the February/March issue of Audrey Magazine, I first discovered Deb Aoki’s Bento Box, a cartoon featured in The Honolulu Advertiser.  Deb Aoki is a 3rd generation Japanese/Okinawan American woman who was born and raised in Honolulu and now lives in California.

It is so refreshing to see a comic strip written and illustrated by an API woman.  Her content is a nice mix of the joys and hassles of everyday life, cultural differences between Hawaii and “the mainland,” and a lighthearted look at API identity issues.  I especially appreciate that Aoki portrays her character as an everyday person and refrains from perpetuating API stereotypes.

The inclusion of more ethnically diverse comic strip characters in our national newspapers would be extremely beneficial to our society.  It would debunk stereotypes and affirm ethnic minorities of their presence and value in American culture.

— posted by Debbie Chong

Winter 2009 Issue in Your Hands

In PacTies News on February 20, 2009 at 5:19 am

cover_smallWinter 2009: The Dialogue Issue will officially be out the week of Feb. 23! That’s right, we’re writing about conversation with a feature on blogs!

Featured blogs:






Thanks to the PacTies staff for all their hardwork, for their sweat, for overcoming writers block and the miracle of coffee.

The magazine is distributed all over the UCLA campus and the Los Angeles Area.  To request a copy of of the magazine FOR FREE all you have to do is email us at pacties@media.ucla.edu

How Asian is the Asian Voice? [WINTER ISSUE PREVIEW]

In A&E, Features on February 18, 2009 at 6:35 am

kollabwebBeing Asian has nothing to do with it.

That’s the message that Kollaboration 9, a talent show that celebrates Asian American empowerment through the arts, wants to leave us.

“I just want to be as good a musician I can possibly be, whether it’s an Asian American person watching me or any other person watching,” said Paul Dateh, a hip-hop violinist who will compete at the Kollaboration stage along with other musicians for some of the $10,000 in prize money.

Dateh was trained classically in the violin for 15 years before enrolling in a jazz improvisation class at USC. Soon, he began playing with a band in clubs, blending his unique style of virtuosic violin-playing with hip-hop. He soon worked with a disc jockey named Inka One on a YouTube video that has been viewed by more than 2.7 million people.

“I have no idea” was Dateh’s response when asked how his video’s popularity has taken off so quickly. His surprising recent success has allayed fears that he might not make it in such a tough industry.

Although his parents were initially concerned that he switched majors from classical music to jazz, Dateh’s current success and the launching of his first album, “Be More,” has convinced them to his way of pursuing musical identity, Asian or otherwise.

Dateh has also been writing and singing songs that cross the boundaries between musical styles like R&B and jazz, which reflects how Dateh’s own life has been a fusion of Japanese and Caucasian heritage.

“I don’t know what to call anything (I do),” noted Dateh on his current mix of musical styles. Dateh refuses to label his music as one particular genre, but instead relies on his current experience and musical influences to direct him to where to go.

“I’m still searching for where I am musically,” said Dateh. “In this album [“Be More”], this is the way I am, but in the next album, I may be completely different.”

This mixture of musical influences can also be seen in the work of another competitor in Kollaboration, Lilybeth Evardome.

Evardome has been singing in churches and choirs since the age of four. While attending La Sierra University, she sang Mozart’s “Exultate Jubilate” with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. She came to Kollaboration after being discovered by producer Roy Choi when she sang at a friend’s wedding.

“Singing for me is a side thing,” said Evardome, who teaches music to K-12 kids and has a three-year-old of her own.

Evardome brings a patience to her music that comes with years of dealing with “kids with hormones”—a patience that is reflected in her sonorous, full singing style.

Evardome, who is of Filipino heritage, was inspired by Lea Salonga’s pioneering role in “Miss Saigon,” which opened the door for Asian American singers in theater. But she doesn’t think of herself as an Asian artist.

“America looks at who is marketed the most,” said Evardome, who attributes the lack of Asian American vocal stars to the perception that Asian Americans haven’t found the right avenue yet.

Yet for her, the lack of popular success is not a problem.

“I think I’ll always teach,” said Evardome, who performs mostly independent gigs in the weekend.

One independent folk artist who is getting a lot of publicity around the Internet is Jane Lui, who will also be performing in Kollaboration 9.

“I have never seeked [sic] out an Asian following,” said Lui, who, like other competitors such as singer-songwriter David Choi and singer Kinna Grannis, thinks Kollaboration is a platform for advancing their budding careers.

“It’s not like I have this huge Asian pride in me,” said Lui, who sees herself as just “a girl who’s trying to do music.”

All this may sound contradictory to the basic premise of Kollaboration 9: to empower Asian Americans by introducing AAPI talent to a broader audience. But if we look closer, this kind of attitude is the only way to debunk racial stereotypes in the media.

It doesn’t matter being Asian, and it doesn’t matter being any other race either.

Kollaboration 9 takes place at the Shrine Auditorium on Feb. 21, 2009

By Ray Luo, A&E Editor.  This article will also appear in the print edition of the Winter 2009: the dialogue issue.

Photo by Christophe Wu.

Fantasty-comedy “Ixnay” to premiere on Wednesday

In A&E on February 16, 2009 at 11:44 pm

ixnay2For last quarter’s issue, Ray Luo wrote an article exploring the East West Players’ production of “The Joy Luck Club.” The theater company’s next production, titled “Ixnay,” opens this Wednesday at the David Henry Hwang Theater.

Written by Paul Kikuchi, “Ixnay” is a comedy that revolves around Raymond Kobayashi, a Japanese American who ends up at the Reincarnation Station upon his death. When he discovers that he is slated to remain a Japanese American in his next life, Raymond adamantly refuses to accept his fate. What follows is comical havoc as Raymond’s newfound stubbornness prevents other souls from returning to Earth.

Read more here.

For information about performance dates, times and ticket prices, click here.

– posted by Emily Ho

V-day treats, API-style

In Culture on February 15, 2009 at 2:39 am

Happy Valentine’s Day!  Want to break out of the ol’ chocolate and roses routine?  Try out these API-inspired dessert recipes, courtesy of IMDiversity.com.

Bring these recipes along the next time you visit an Asian supermarket!

Photo from Remembering Diamond Head, Remembering Hawaii, a cookbook memoir by Shirley Tong Parola and Lisa Parola Gaynier

Photo from Remembering Diamond Head, Remembering Hawaii, a cookbook memoir by Shirley Tong Parola and Lisa Parola Gaynier

— posted by Debbie Chong