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Archive for November, 2009|Monthly archive page

The Changing Sounds of Chinatown

In Culture on November 23, 2009 at 1:04 am

Ever since I can remember, walking the streets of San Francisco’s Chinatown, I could hear the sounds of Taishanese, my family’s native dialect, floating everywhere, amidst the dim sum restaurants and the souvenir shops.

Taishanese, a Chinese dialect derived from and similar to Cantonese, came from Southern China in the Guangdong province. It had dominated the streets of Chinatown, as most of the Chinese who had immigrated to the U.S. since the end of the 19th century originated from Taishan.

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Santa Anita Race Track Japanese Assembly Center

In Culture on November 16, 2009 at 11:28 pm

Santa Anita Race Track in Arcadia, Calif. is usually associated with racing and being next to a large shopping mall but now it is also home to a new exhibit on the use of the track in World War II history. Dara Dunn, curator of The Arcadia Historical Museum, hopes that people will have a better understanding of the history and the exhibit brings some collective healing and better cultural understanding.

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WANTED: Asian Bone Marrow Donors

In Health, NEWSPRINT, UCLA Events on November 9, 2009 at 2:43 am

Who has spare time? Heck, go ahead and squeeze this into your schedule: Lambda Phi Epsilon is collaborating with Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches in holding a bone marrow drive. Minorities, especially Asian Americans, are highly encouraged to sign up because of the lack of registrars. Bone marrow matches greatly depend on ethnicity. Thousands of patients diagnosed with leukemia and other life-threatening diseases rely on these bone marrow transplants. All they need is to swap your saliva with a cotton swab, fill out some paperwork there, and you will be registered under their system.

UCLA alumni Matthew Nguyen was able to find a match when cooperating with Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches last quarter. He is now recovering after the recent transplant.

Now it is Janet Liang’s turn to find her match, who was diagnosed with leukemia this August. She is a fifth-year International Developmental Studies student currently going through chemotherapy that might last only up until May. Her family has been assisting this week’s bone marrow drive in hopes of finding a matching donor soon and to increase possible future donors for other patients.

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My Mom is a Fob

In Culture on November 4, 2009 at 8:26 pm

We affectionately call each other a “fob” when we speak ungrammatically, watch anime, or even eat chicken feet for Dim Sum, but at one point in the past, the term “F.O.B.” had been derogatory.

When the term F.O.B. was first coined in the 1980s, it was used as a racist and derogatory term to describe a person with an ethnically diverse background, specifically to those who had recently immigrated to the U.S. from another country.

F.O.B., which stands for “Fresh Off the Boat,” was a term to stereotype immigrants and those of “foreign” descent. It was also used to describe those who had not yet assimilated to American culture.

However, the term has taken on a vastly different connotation, one that is endearing and tongue-in-cheek. Those of us with immigrant parents can now embrace our differences in culture and language, and can now feel proud of our roots and what makes us different from everyone else.

The term F.O.B. has transformed into the term “fob,” which is a term to describe something, essentially, “super-Asian.” The pronunciation has also changed, from pronouncing the letters as an acronym to pronouncing it as an actual word. With the change in pronunciation, the meaning has also evolved.

The websites mymomisafob.com and mydadisafob.com are filled with humorous photos, messages, and sayings that are dedicated to “fobby” moms and dads. The entries can be submitted by anyone, and the websites have garnered popularity and attention from within the Asian American community.

The websites were established in October of 2008 by Serena Wu, a recent graduate of U.C. Berkeley, and Teresa Wu, a senior at U.C. San Diego.

Defending the term “fob,” Teresa Wu has said:

We think our moms and dads are awesome; we’re not embarrassed by them. Maybe they can’t speak perfect English, but the things they do are so lovable that we just want to share them.

The websites are a way of showing off pride in your fobby parents, and for relating to one another the humorous and endearing things that parents say and do; Asian Americans growing up with immigrant parents can share their stories and express their affections and bond over their experiences with their fobby yet lovable parents.

By: Karen Lee

Oakland City Council considers moratorium on nail salons

In NEWSPRINT on November 4, 2009 at 8:22 pm

Oakland city council has decided to consider regulation on nail salons and possibly a moratorium on these businesses in the city. Most of the nail salons employ Vietnamese immigrants who would be severely affected economically by a moratorium. The city’s business leaders stated a high concentration of one kind of business can be fatal for a neighborhood and there are also worries about health and safety hazards at nail salons.

Vice Mayor Ignacio De La Fuente states, “Right now we have absolutely no controls or regulations over nail salons, which have proliferated and, I think, become a problem. I wouldn’t be surprised if Oakland has 1,000 of them.” Pamela Drake, director of the Lakeshore Business Improvement District, adds “A neighborhood shopping district only works if it serves the neighborhood. A proliferation of nail salons is not serving the neighborhood.

The city also wants to crackdown on health and safety hazards as workers often suffer from respiratory and reproductive problems because of the toxic chemicals in nail polish, polish remover and cleaning supplies. Meanwhile, the nail salon owners want to assist with the writing of regulations that would be implemented. They hope the new rules are not too burdensome and that Vietnamese immigrant workers are adequately informed.

Dana Paredes, organizing director of Asian Communities for Reproductive Justice, reminds us that “Nail salons are the cornerstone of the Vietnamese community. People are already feeling pinched by the economy. Workers don’t want to have to choose between their health and a paycheck.”

A customer of the nail salons, Michelle Robinson, tells the San Francisco Chronicle, “It’s tranquil. It’s relaxing. And they work with integrity. There’s so much competition, they’ve raised the bar. Why would you go anywhere else? It’s not the same. You’re wasting your money.” For now, the nail salons will continue their business as the issue has been referred to the Planning Commission and will return to the council in a few months.

by Tran Le

Charges dropped against Hmong community leader

In NEWSPRINT on November 3, 2009 at 1:27 am

Charges dropped against Hmong community leader Vang Pao in connection with alleged plot to overthrow the government of Laos

Federal prosecutors have dropped criminal charges against prominent Hmong community leader Vang Pao. The original charges were from the summer of 2007 relating to a plot to violent overthrow the government of Laos.

Arrests were conducted when it was claimed many of the defendants had immediate plans to travel to Thailand to execute the plot against the communist regime. As charges against Vang Pao have been dropped, two new defendants have been charged in a new indictment. The twelve other defendants named in the new indictment are charged with violating the Neutrality Act and scheming to overthrow a government at peace with the United States.

In each court appearance Pao made, supporters rallied outside the federal courthouse in Sacramento. There was much protest from the Hmong community, Vietnam War veterans, and some members of Congress over Pao’s indictment. An editorial in the New York Sun states that “it is hard to recall a prosecution as misguided as that which was brought against the general whose army, in league with the Central Intelligence Agency, played a heroic role in the fight against the communists during the long war in Indochina.”

When Vang Pao was originally arrested, the Sun wrote, “He is a freedom fighter who will tower over any courtroom into which he is brought.” There is substantial support for Vang Pao as shown by the thousands of Hmong who came out in numbers across the country from Sacramento to Minnesota. In an LA Times article Vang Pao’s youngest son stated “His supporters can’t wait to see him to celebrate this momentous occasion.”

by: Tran Le

Asian Americans Heading to the Polls

In NEWSPRINT on November 2, 2009 at 10:38 pm

I’ve been on a mission to get people to register to vote recently. In the midst of wrapping up my mission, I read a short article on Asian American’s and voting. With a rapidly growing population, it only makes sense that more Asian Americans are heading to the polls. In fact, according to a recent LA Times article the Asian American voter turnout rate went up by 39% in last year’s presidential election. Bye bye apathy. Hello civic engagement. Naysayers of Asian Americans’ political involvement can move aside. Asian Americans are a political force to be reckoned with and we do have the power to rock the vote to make a political statement.

by: Shirley Chau

Hungry adventurer ready to travel to her next destination.