Monday, November 30, 2009

November MAASU Vlog

MAASU Updates! Brought to you by our ECC PR Co-Chairs David Mason and Kha Ly!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

'A minority in Several Senses'

This past Saturday, the House of Representatives passed a major health care legislation, something many Democrats were happy about. Among those who helped pass this bill was Representative Anh 'Joseph' Cao, a Republican from Louisiana. In Mr. Cao's statement, he said he had listened the stories of many citizens whose costs of health care are sky
rocketing and that primary care, mental health care, and expanded health care for children and seniors are what the people of Louisiana need. He also voted for the bill "to keep taxpayer dollars from funding abortion and to deliver access to affordable health care to the people of Louisiana".
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Having left Vietnam after the Fall of Saigon in 1975, Mr. Cao is the first Vietnamese-American to be in Congress. "Mr. Cao, a lawyer, is a minority in several senses: a Republican amid a crowd of Democrats; a Vietnamese-American in an overwhelmingly black district."

In a phone interview, Mr. Cao said that there have been hateful remarks and racist comments. Regardless of the negativity that followed his vote, he does not regret it. He said, "If there is no first step, there could not be a second [...] I believe that we have to take that first step. We have to go beyond partisan politics, and do what I believe is right for America."

A political figure who is bringing about much discussion, Mr. Cao is someone who is taking a courageous stance, leaving a mark, and making Americans think. This congressman's voice is one that we will most likely be hearing from again.

To read more check out The New York Times articles from Nov. 8th and Nov. 10th.

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Noble Issue

October was Nobel Prize month and an amidst the Physics Nobel Laureates was an Asian American, Professor Charles Kuen Kao, who was the chief honoree. Being that he was awarded 50% of the prize (the rest being distributed to two others), his photo was not shown in an October 7, 2009 article of The Columbus Dispatch. Other sources did put his photo in their articles so this could have just been a simple mistake.. or not? Is this is an issue of discrimination? Are Asian Americans still being overlooked? Was it just an error on the writer's or editor's part? That's for you to decide.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Getting Popular as We Speak

As a slight continuation of the last article, here are some recent updates!

FarEast Movement's song, 'Dance like Michael Jackson' was featured in last week's episode (episode 4) of Gossip Girl.
Jay Sean's song, 'Down' made it to No. 1 this week, making him the first Asian-American male artist to do so! More here.

These guys are catching on fire!

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Craze, Wonder, and Movement

(also featured in this month's MAASU newsletter)

With the start of a new decade right around the corner, a new era of music is underway. Listen up because this sound is just going to get louder. Hailing from all corners of the globe, Asian artists are bringing forth something that has been long overdue and it is exactly what many Asian Americans have been waiting for. The days of Coco Lee are long gone and enough time has passed for many to have recovered from the infamous American Idol audition of William Hung. This new wave of talented Asian artists is on the rise, breaking free of the stereotype, and trying to break into the ever-so-selective U.S. music industry.

The electronically-infused hip hop tunes of Far East Movement (FM) are gradually making their way across the country. originating from popular radio stations and clubs in Los Angeles. This dynamic trio made up of a Japanese, Chinese, and Korean- American, Kev Nish (Kevin Nishimura), J-Splif (Jae Choung), and Prohgress (James Roh), started in the underground scene and are gradually made their way to becoming internationally known. When asked about the meaning of their name for a interview, they responded with “We wanted a very straight forward name… something that represented exactly what we want to do... so that we don’t have to be constantly rapping about it :)... what we wanted was a 'far east movement' into mainstream media and music. What the word 'movement' represents to us in regards to our name is that we spread one city at a time, east... touching everyone in the world until we're back where we started and opened peoples’ eyes and ears to something new”.

The chart-topping British artist of Indian decent who is currently gaining much recognition here in the U.S. and internationally is Kamaljit Singh Jhooti, better known as Jay Sean. In an interview for ‘The Asian ID Documentary’, Jay Sean says how “being Asian allows me to have a more rounded personality.. best of the west but also [… best] of the east.. I’m glad that I have that….Regardless of your [background], we all go through similar experiences… music, songs, and lyrics, transcend all those barriers… if a song strikes a chord with you, the first think is.. ‘oh I can relate’ not ‘brilliant song, but what color is he’s none of that. For me, I like to write songs that can touch a 15 year old girl in Southall, [England] and a 38 year old Brazilian woman.” When asked about other people being aware of his cultural background, Jay Sean responded with, “I think you can’t ignore it.. the fact that I’m [one of] the only Asian R&B singer in the world is a bit weird and it’s obvious, so people will notice it.. Just like when they noticed when Eminem came out, ‘look he’s a white boy and he’s very, very good at doing hip hop', of course to ignore it would be ridiculous.. so people are aware.. but after a while.. I don’t think they care.. now when I do shows.. it’s a loving mix of people at my shows.”

Popular artists from Asia, especially Korea, have tried to tap into the U.S. music scene as well. Artists include Boa, Se7en, and the current pop sensations the Wondergirls. The Wondergirls, made up of 5 ladies, Sunye, Ye-eun, Sunmi, Sohee, and Yubin, recently made their U.S. debut and toured with the Jonas Brothers this past summer. They have caused an international phenomenon and were chosen as a top girl group by Virgin Media, putting them among the Pussycat Dolls and Danity Kane. Their fan base is growing by the day especially since the world has not ever seen an Asian girl group like them before.

One common ground that all these artists share is the fact that they are Asian artists who want to serve as good examples of making it in the music industry to other Asians. Something that many thought would never happen is happening right in front of us, right now. It is about time that these Asian artists are making some noise here in the U.S. and around the world, catering not only to an Asian crowd, but to people who love their music. Hopefully this new wave of Asian musicians is here to stay, but time can only tell where this will lead. In the mean time, keep your eyes and ears open for Asian artists whose tunes might just be the next hit.

Check out and support these other artists (signed artists and popular youtubers):
AJ Rafael, David Choi, Gabe Bondoc, Heather Park, Jane Lui, Jazmin, Jennifer Chung, Jin the MC, Justin Nozuka, JR Aquino, Kina Grannis, Magnetic North, Marie Digby, Priscilla Ahn, Paul Dateh, Tatum Jones, Tim Be Told

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Racism Incident at Tufts

A couple weeks back, a racism incident occurred at Tufts University between a white freshman and members of Tuft's Korean Student Association.

There was a bias incident involving members of the Korean Students Association (KSA) that took place in the early morning hours on Thursday, April 9, in Lewis Hall Lounge, while the club members were practicing for their culture show.

Thirteen members of the KSA were preparing for their culture show at approximately 1:45AM. A white freshman male living in Lewis Hall approached five male members who were practicing their dance. He claimed that he had been drinking at a bar prior to arriving at Lewis Hall. He insisted several times that the KSA members teach him the moves to their dance and was repeatedly asked to stop. Despite this request, he continued to molest the dancers, imitating the dance moves and declaring, "This is the gayest shit I've ever done." The KSA members then asked him to leave, to which he responded, "Fuck you. Fuck you, I could take all of you. I'll kill you all." He then threatened to get his fraternity brothers to help him retaliate. At this point, he began to physically harass the dancers, spitting at one member and shoving another one of the guys. An altercation ensued during which the freshman ripped two shirts and inflicted minor cuts to a member's forehead. In order to restrain him, the KSA members pinned him to the floor and put him into a headlock, at which point the freshman mentioned that he could not breathe and the person holding him down immediately let go.

At this moment, the freshman's friend and his girlfriend, who watched from the side, stepped in to take him away. When he got up, he started cursing "Fuck you, fuck you" and spitting at the dancers again. As he was being dragged away, he shouted, "Fuck you all, you fucking chinks, go back to China! Go back to your fucking country, you don't belong in this country." His friends took him to the bathroom, where he could be heard repeatedly shouting, "If I see them again, I will fuck them all."

The fight was reported to an RA, who wrote and sent in a bias incident report. According to the RA, submitted within the report was testimony from his girlfriend supporting the fact that her boyfriend initiated the altercation.

Thirteen people, members and friends of KSA, were present during the fight. In the aftermath of the dispute, members were shocked and saddened that such racism and hostility could be found at our school. It is the collective wish of KSA and affiliated students, both of Asian and non-Asian heritage, that this event come to the attention of our community in order to shed light on discrimination among our peers and our ongoing fight for cultural understanding.

It is unfortunate that issues like this arise and that people who mind their own business are victims of these acts of racism. Fortunately, the student wrote a sincere apology for what he did. Now only if everyone could be this sincere for all of their wrongdoings.

Bringing this blog back!

MAASU's blog hasn't been touched since Ajay Alexander was Advocacy Chair ('07-'08) so I hope to do my best and discuss various issues, topics, and points of conversation that are important to the APIA community.

Please feel free to share this blog with others and spread the word!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Pakistan: Bhutto Assassination

Probably one of the most shocking news to hit the international community was the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the leader of the opposition party in Pakistan. There had been a great deal of tension in the area for some time with the dictator-like ways of current President Musharraf striving to maintain control of the nation by any means necessary. Who is to blame for such a heinous crime is something we would all like to know, but the reality is that whoever it is should be ashamed of themselves....

Its shocking the extent that individuals would go to retain power. Bhutto's death is not just a travesty because she was a political figure, but mainly because she was an individual who sought change and progression: who wanted to utilize her knowledge and experience to bring Pakistan into a better position in the international community. Her assassination sheds light on the unfortunate reality that progress is not always welcomed with open arms. Whether her party can truly rebuild in so short of time is something we can only cross our fingers and hope for...

This heinous act of murder is truly barbaric and a cowardly move on the hands of those who partook in this action. To take the life of an individual just because their views differed from yours or even that their course of making progress would clash with your desire to retain power/wealth/prestige is pathetic in so many ways. Every individual carries their own beliefs, experiences, etc. and no one has a right to challenge an individual in such a way as to be afraid of standing up for what you are proud of. Benazir Bhutto is truly someone to admire, especially for her desire to stand up for change, even when she knew that her life was constantly in danger. My prayers go out to her family and all those who placed their hope in her hands. The world we live in isnt perfect, but such acts are truly unacceptable. This act of terrorism should not be a wrench in the gears for progress, but hopefully Bhutto's party will be able to bring forth the dream and changes that Bhutto herself carried so proudly and passionately. There truly needs to be more leaders like her in this world...

Let us hope that Pakistan will be able to shift gears and be able to truly conduct matters in a way that gives the Pakastani government and its civilians the amount of respect and freedom that they all truly deserve.