Archive for May, 2009|Monthly archive page

Newsprint: Asian Americans least hit by crime

In NEWSPRINT on May 26, 2009 at 9:14 pm

According to Justice Department statistics, Asian Americans suffer the least amount of violent crimes relative to other racial groups.

The government study defined Asian Americans as a group whose ethnic background can be traced to the Far East, Indian subcontinent, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders.

The figures in this government study show that only approximately 11 out of every 1,000 Asian Americans ages 12 and older are victims of non-fatal violent crimes per year, whereas roughly 24 out of every 1,000 non-Asian Americans are victims of these types of crimes each year.

Studies show that in 2006, 360 Asian Americans were murdered, accounting for two percent of all U.S. homicides, but four percent of the entire population.

– by Huong Pham


Newsprint: Vietnamese Americans take action against redbaiting

In NEWSPRINT on May 23, 2009 at 9:40 pm

Though the Vietnam War ended in the 1970s, even today, being accused as a communist or a communist sympathizer is still enough to start up a controversy with protests and rallies. Individuals who have been targeted in the past generally tried to merely tolerate the accusations.

But now, after years of accusations, some Vietnamese Americans are retaliating by suing their accusers for slander and harassment.

According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, those turning to the courts are hoping that their stance against this will help decrease the frequency of redbaiting, especially in Little Saigon, the country’s largest, steadfast anti-communist Vietnamese community.

The practice of redbaiting is called chup mu in Vietnamese, which literally means to put a communist hat on a person.

Individuals who are suing their attackers include Kim Oanh Nguyen-Lam, the nation’s first Vietnamese-American public school superintendent, and the owners of Nguoi Viet Daily News, the largest newspaper in Little Saigon.

One successful lawsuit is that of Tuan Joseph Pham, a former South Vietnamese soldier, who filed against seven protestors. The suit made its way to the state Supreme Court and Pham was awarded $353,000 in damages.

Pham states that the lawsuit seems to have made a difference in St. Paul.

However, Timothy Thieng Chi Ngo, vice president of the Vietnamese American Community of Southern California, states his ambiguity as to whether or not the lawsuits will actually stop the practice because many see themselves as protectors of the Vietnamese community against communists.

– by Huong Pham

Aung San Suu Kyi charged with violating house arrest

In NEWSPRINT on May 21, 2009 at 10:57 pm
Suu Kyi

Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Image from http://www.jghs.edin.sch.uk/images/architecture/pix/communities/kyi300.jpg.

Excerpt from The Independent (UK) article on Thursday, May 14:

Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi could be facing up to five years in prison after being charged with violating the terms of her house arrest.

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi was today charged with breaching the terms of her house arrest and faces up to five years in jail for allowing an American man to stay at her lakeside home, her party said.

Activists denounced her trial, set to begin on Monday, as a ploy by the country’s junta to keep Suu Kyi, 63, sidelined ahead of elections in 2010.

The Nobel Peace laureate’s National League for Democracy (NLD) won a huge victory in 1990 polls only to be denied power by the military, which has ruled the former Burma since 1962.

Suu Kyi, whose latest six-year detention is due to expire on May 27, will remain in Yangon’s Insein Prison for a trial that has been scheduled for May 18, a spokesman for the National League for Democracy (NLD) said.

The article goes on to say that Suu Kyi has been in frail health, suffering dehydration and low blood pressure.

Let’s keep Suu Kyi and the people of Burma in our thoughts and prayers and hope that they will soon win democracy and justice.

— posted by Debbie Chong

Newsprint: Fewer children up for adoption in China

In NEWSPRINT on May 18, 2009 at 9:01 pm

In China, the landscape of child adoption is changing. New regulation on international application has made it harder for prospective parents outside of China to adopt. According to the U.S. State Department, Americans adopted 7,906 Chinese children in 2005, a number that dropped to 3,909 children in 2008.

However, Melody Zhang from Children’s Hope International said that the changing number is not because there are fewer parents who want to adopt, but because more Chinese parents want to adopt.

“In the past, Chinese people would not consider adopting someone out of the family, but more and more people are educated, and they understand the important part is to raise the child, not necessarily a blood tie,” she said.

Also, the growth of the economy in Asia has given people more means to raise a child and less likely to give up their children. Additionally, Chinese parents are more comfortable in raising a daughter than before, which may contribute to the decreased number of orphans at adoption centers.

There are currently 30,000 international applications waiting to be processed in China. One American couple, Chris and Tammy Watkins are in the process of adopting a new child. “They need a family to love them,” said Tammy Watkins.

– by Tommy Chen

Spring 2009 Issue Out NOW!

In PacTies News on May 18, 2009 at 2:44 pm

smallcoverIt’s that special time of the year again.  Pacific Ties, your favorite LA based, 31 year-old AAPI news-mag is back again with another issue.  Titled “Grassroots,” this issue explores your roots, my roots, and how are roots all came to this moment in time.  Not really, but you have to read it to find out!

3 ways to get your PT fix:

1. Pick up a copy from one of the news kiosks on the UCLA campus.

2. Email us at pacties@media.ucla.edu to request a free subscription.

3. Read it online here.

If you’re a new reader – thanks for making us a part of your lives.  For old fans…thanks for your continual support. PT loves you all!

Celebrating Asian American Studies Center and Nakanishi, a Visionary

In NEWSPRINT on May 17, 2009 at 8:32 pm
Words by Malina Tran // Photos by Claudia Li
Nakanishi thanks several individuals for contributions.
During his speech, Nakanishi thanked several individuals for their contributions to the Center.

After 19 years under Don Nakanishi’s leadership, the UCLA Asian American Studies Center bids farewell to its longest-term Director and Professor, who will receive Emeriti recognition. On Saturday, May 16 the 40th anniversary celebration of “the Center” was a tribute to Don Nakanishi. Nakanishi plans to return and help advance his hometown, East Los Angeles.

In the span of four decades, “the Center” has established a record of achievements: tenure for Director Don Nakanishi, a department with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Asian American Studies, scholarly literature such as Amerasia Journal which was established by Nakanishi as an undergraduate and AAPI Nexus.

The celebration was an echo of the community: Angela Oh, Professor Keith Camacho, Vice-Chancellor Claudia Mitchell-Kernan, Elsie Osajima. From Koreatown’s Freedom Sounds to multi-generational faces in the audience, the collective recognition of Don Nakanishi resonated throughout the plaza.

“Many of us consider Don as a visionary, but also as a personal friend and mentor,” said UCLA Professor Tritia Toyota. “His tenacity has made us a viable Center with students who are very committed.”

Professor Paul Ong of Urban Planning and Asian American Studies attributed Nakanishi’s leadership abilities to his success. “Leadership is about mobilizing people and I know no one else who can do that better than Don Nakanishi.”

“He is a true visionary,” remarked geography professor Cindy Fan, who notes cohort Nakanishi as “gentle and humorous, yet not [hesitant] to stand his ground.”

Freedom Sounds of Koreatown celebrated community and culture.

Freedom Sounds of Koreatown opened the ceremony, and represented the celebration of culture and commmunity.

Amid the speakers, members of the audience were also moved by Nakanishi and the role of the Center in their lives.  “As the first journal in Asian American Studies, issue we covered have become significant, for example the first sexuality issue,” said assistant editor of Amerasia Journal Stephanie Santos. After attending graduate school in New York, Santos seized the opportunity of working at the Center.

Jih-Fei Cheng received his M.A. in Asian American Studies at UCLA and is currently pursuing his PhD at USC. In New York, Cheng was a board member of FIERCE (Fabulous Independent Educated Radicals for Community Empowerment), which was created for and by queer youth of color. FIERCE has battled gentrification especially in Greenwich Village, Manhattan.

A transfer from Mills College, Yuka Ogino is an Asian American studies student and event volunteer with several others. “[Being an Asian American studies student] I was able to see how powerful student voice is, which also inspired me to be involved in and run for leadership position in Asian Pacific Coalition.” Ogino will serve as next year’s Academic Affairs Coordinator for APC.

“Being in [the Master’s] program had a big impact on the way that I work with students, the people within the University and communities,“ said former graduate student Thomas Tsutsumoto, whose thesis on Pacific Islanders in higher education was overseen by Nakanishi. “Don helped me by challenging me to look at different ways of thinking.” Tsutsumoto currently works as a counselor at the University of Hawai’i.

Despite Nakanishi’s departure, the tone was not somber. The overcast sky and chilly weather clouded over Dickson Plaza; nevertheless, good spirits persevered throughout the ceremony.

The ceremony was draped with banners, and framed photos as centerpieces.

The ceremony was draped with banners and decorated with framed photos as centerpieces.

“I think that under the stewardship [of Don Nakanishi] that eternal question of whether or not the Center is connected with the community,” said Assemblymember of the 55th district Warren Furutani, “has been a resounding yes.” Furutani’s longtime friendship with Don started in Yale, during the time of Amerasia’s conception. “Even though you are wearing the same glasses you wore at Yale, you have come a long way, brother.”

“There are two Don Nakanishis,” said Assemblymember of the 49th district Mike Eng, “The one you call Dr. Don Nakanishi and bow humbly to [and is] recognized by people like President Bill Clinton and the Smithsonian Institute. The other Don I want to talk about is one whose just plain Don, who inspired me to conceive the first course for Asian Americans in law.”

Eng reminisces of how, likewise, there are two Asian American Studies Center. The first is recognized for its establishment of academic chairs, endowment of more than six million dollars, the only university-based press to publish on Asian Pacific Islanders, the departmentalization of Asian American Studies.

“The second center is the Asian American Studies Center in my heart,” said Eng, “The Center that was against male chauvinism, against imperialism, against our communities [being] victimized in neglect, the Studies Center that protested institutionalized racism of a society that we did not belong to. It was not defying what we were against; it was the Center that we came to understand what ideals and values we were for…peace, justice, intellectual honesty, and yes, for love.”

In recognition of the past, the prospect of the future lingers nearby. For the Center, the Amerasia Journal archives have recently become accessible online, allowing the history of writing from scholarly activists to be preserved. Podcasts of Asian American authors are in the process of being developed. This past year has moreover been focused on finding a new Director for the Center. For Nakanishi, returning to unincorporated East Los Angeles is coming to a full circle. For both the Center and Nakanishi, great changes are bound to come in future years.

Sierra Club honors Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

In NEWSPRINT on May 15, 2009 at 10:11 pm

In honor of May, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the Sierra Club’s Scrapbook blog highlights some of the Club’s recent collaborations with Asian Americans and Asians.

Below are excerpts from the Club’s blog entry.  Read the entire post here.

[This spring, Sierra Club President Allison] Chin will address the EPA in San Francisco and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in Washington, D.C., relating her own story as an Asian American environmentalist and stressing the importance of the Blue Green Alliance. She will also speak at two events in Southern California…
The Sierra Club has long been partnering with Asian Americans. In New Orleans, Delta Chapter activists helped parishioners at the Mary Queen of Vietnam Church form the Mary Queen of Vietnam Community Development Corporation, dedicated to sustainably rebuilding New Orleans’ Viet Village neighborhood…

Viet Village protest

Viet Village residents gather in the fall of 2007 to celebrate the closing of the landfill and demand state action to clean up toxic debris remaining there. Image and caption source: http://sierraclub.typepad.com/scrapbook/2009/05/club-marks-asianpacific-american-heritage-month.html

Minnesota Inner City Outings leaders run monthly outings for participating youth from the Hmong American Partnership, among other local youth groups…

SC inner city outings

Minnesota Inner City Outings leaders run monthly outings for participating youth from the Hmong American Partnership, among other local youth groups. Image and caption from http://sierraclub.typepad.com/scrapbook/2009/05/club-marks-asianpacific-american-heritage-month.html.

Club Executive Director Carl Pope met in 2007 with Zhou Wenzhong, the Chinese Ambassador to the United States, in Washington, D.C., to discuss solutions  to environmental challenges in both countries, and how the U.S. and China can learn from one another.

I greatly appreciate the work of the Sierra Club, Sustainable South Bronx, and numerous other environmental and community-based organizations that incorporate and celebrate racial and ethnic diversity in their programs.

— posted by Debbie Chong

Poll finds Asian Americans “strong environmentalists”

In Culture, NEWSPRINT on May 15, 2009 at 4:12 pm
Giant coreopsis

Recent Asian American immigrants strongly support environmental protection and legislation. How do the environmental attitudes of U.S. born and/or raised Asian Americans compare? Photo by Debbie Chong.

An article by Ngoc Nguyen in today’s New America Media website reports that “among California’s Asian Americans, 83 percent describe themselves as ‘environmentalists,’ compared to just 52 percent of all California voters, according to a first-ever poll on the environmental attitudes of Asian-American voters.”

The groundbreaking multilingual poll surveyed 1,002 Asian-American voters on their views about environmental issues and compared results to a poll of 564 state voters. Interviews were conducted with Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese and Asian Indian voters…

Eighty percent of Asian Pacific Islander (API) voters polled said they would vote for a candidate who has a strong environmental record, and 85 percent said they would support a ballot measure to protect the environment.

According to the article, most respondents were recent immigrants rather than U.S.-born, and their environmental concerns encompassed both local and global scales.

As one can see, outreach to Asian American immigrant voters will be key to gaining votes for environmentally-friendly political candidates and legislation.  This  survey refutes the stereotype that Asian immigrants are more concerned with money than the environment.

Now what I would like to see is a survey among 1.5-generation and U.S.-born Asian Americans.  What are the environmental attitudes of Asian Americans who were raised in the U.S.?  What are important issues for us?  Do we live, vote, and promote green?  How are we similar or different from our parents and grandparents?

What do you think?  Leave your comments below!

— posted by Debbie Chong

Newsprint: Troubling health issues found among AANHPI community

In NEWSPRINT on May 12, 2009 at 4:25 pm

Paul Ong, UCLA professor of public policy, social welfare and Asian American studies, and Ninez Ponce, UCLA professor of health services, recently wrote “The State of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Health in California Report,” which is the first to use statewide health data on this population and split into subgroups by ethnicity.

Among the professors’ findings is that California’s AANHPI population numbers more than 5 million and accounts for more than 14 percent of the state’s total population. For them, liver cancer, cervical cancer and prostate cancer are the leading causes of death. They also suffer the most compared to other races in tuberculosis and hepatitis B as diabetes overwhelmingly increases among the population.

The report also states that Adult Filipino males have a higher percentage in smoking than the state average for all adult males. Koreans have the highest uninsured rate of 33 percent compared to the state average of 15 percent. Vietnamese and NHPIs experience the highest rate of mental distress among the AANHPI population, while Vietnamese hold the highest in lacking mental health coverage.

This study is beneficial to providing insight to policymakers and health care providers to create programs that will improve this situation, according to California Assemblyman Mike Eng. “By providing disaggregated data, it provides necessary insight for policymakers and health care providers to design and implement programs that will improve the health of this vital population,” he said.

– by Stepfanie Aguilar

Count Me In featured on ANGRYASIANMAN

In NEWSPRINT on May 12, 2009 at 1:15 am

UCLA’s very own Count Me In campaign, which successfully got all the UC schools to disaggragate data on AAPI students, was featured on angryasianman’s Top 30 under 30 most influential people for the month of May! Congrats to:

Soetheara Chhay, Lisa Chorn, Christine Corrales, Craig Ishii, Alex Lowe, Jason Osajima, Tina Park, Kevin Peanh, Melissa Phatharanavik, Alma Riego, Nefara Riesch, Pamela Saelieb, Sopheap Sam, Christine Santos, Candice Shikai, Jonathan Tran, and Cynthia Vuong

and our friends at Asian Pacific Coalition for making this possible. With better data on how different groups of AAPI students are performing, we can now create better policies about aid and education to assist those who have been underrepresented in the past.

angryasianman – 30 under 30: “count me in” campaign
Asian Pacific Coalition at UCLA