Growing up in America with immigrant parents meant we ate food that my Mom knew how to make. In my lucky case, this meant Chinese/Taiwanese foods. (No matter what, the yummiest food anywhere is food made with love by Mom!) I can honestly say that until I was 18, I had McDonald’s less than a dozen times in my life.
It’s been 10 years since I’ve been back to Taiwan and one of my favorite parts of going back is the cheap and yummy food you eat off of carts. It was always trippy to go into Taipei and people would want to take me to McDonald’s or Pizza Hut or Sizzler because people thought I preferred “American foods.” I would oblige to be polite, but aside from not liking any of these places too much in first place, the “American foods” served there tasted weird. I did not enjoy the cut corn pieces on my Taiwanese Pizza Hut pizza. And the cheese on my Taiwanese McDonald’s cheeseburger always tasted too sweet. But hey, I know they’re catering to “local tastes,” so whatever. The point is, eating at a McDonald’s while travelling didn’t seem too appealing.
Fast forward 10 years and the knowledge from Will Work For Food’s post about special McDonald’s foods from around the world. Here’s a sampling:
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Last week, I wrote about how parental pressures in education drove some students to stress, depression, suicide, and even sneaking into universities and pretending to be enrolled students. I even suggested that the disadvantaged backgrounds of Asian immigrant parents contributed to these pressures, though for the best of intentions.
(I should note that it’s not just academic pressure alone that leads to such consequences, but a lack of emotional support and awareness as well. But since these all stem from the same root issues that cause academic pressure, for the purposes of this entry, I’m considering them all one issue.)
But that only describes some of the Asian immigrant parent population. There are also parents who come from advantaged backgrounds.
During my recent trip to Hong Kong, one parent told me how his son skipped ahead one grade in an American school because the higher grade better matched the academic level his son was used to in Hong Kong. He also feared that the slower pace of the American education system would pull his son’s education down, so he hired a private tutor. And this was all in a top school in Silicon Valley.
After surfing Arjan Writes (one of my favorite blogs about pop music, highly recommended, by the way) I stumbled across the the page for Dave Liang from the Shanghai Restoration Project. What, a Chinese American AND he makes electronica music? Sounds like a post for 8 Asians!
The UCLA Asia Institute has a great interview him, where he talks about Asian America and the art/music scene. (You think they wouldn’t ask a question like this? Of course they would.)
What’s funny, I think, is that Asian-American culture is very risk-averse. When you have options to become a doctor, a lawyer, or a businessperson, and have a good family and not worry financially, that’s a very appealing track to take. But in the world of arts, if you want to break through, you have to go through a huge period of struggle, and you have to go through not having that consistent paycheck that comes through.
It’s become cliché: Asian parents browbeat their kids into pursuing prestigious professions in technology, medicine or law, and their children suffer the resulting stress and depression.
So writes Pueng Vongs in her article “Inside the Asian Pressure Cooker“. From a 2001 survey of middle school students in San Francisco, she reports that “Chinese, Filipino and other Pacific Islander youths topped the charts of groups reporting symptoms of depression.”
For some, this “push to achieve is also often cited as a factor in suicide“, although other factors may also be involved in these situations.
But if you didn’t get a chance to enter, not to worry, we still have some more to give away. Round TWO Entries start today and new photos are found at the bottom of this post.
And if you’re feeling a little timid – don’t. Just see what the contest winners came up with …
… and also, some of you out there have a really twisted sense of humor … anyways.
Shelly from Illinois and her winning entry at POPcast88.com
(girl sitting) Mom, why won’t they let me join the cheerleading squad?
(Woman standing) It’s because you don’t have nose ring.
(girl) What! but can I get a tattoo instead…everyone knows all the
cool cheerleaders have tattoos..
(woman) Your father and I will only approve of the nose ring.
Jennifer from NYC and her winning entry at 8Asians.com
Caption: “God, how many more bottles of soju will I have to drink before I realize that perming my hair is a horrible idea?”
We will be contacting the winners shortly through email.
CONGRATS AGAIN! – And now for ROUND TWO!
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hello, intarweb. hello world!
I had wanted very much for my inaugural post here to be in response to something substantial. Unfortunately i’ve been so exhausted as of late that i’ve been unable to come up with much of anything. every day I approach this site and just as quickly turn away from it; I find myself actively resisting racial discourse at the moment. I’m not entirely sure why. Maybe I’m still stubbornly occupying the affective dead-zone that asserts itself in the wake of any trauma, private-personal or public-national (the VATech rampage, after all, took place just one month ago.)
My suspicion is that we are all still coping with the remainder of Cho’s violence, though life has largely returned to normal. The moment of trauma has incurred, the seeming coherence of the Real has shattered and over the past few weeks has quietly reassembled itself. And now is the time for the ironing out of pleats, time for the Nietzschean active forgetting — what is necessary, I suppose, for the social world to move forward.
I haven’t completely forgotten Cho though. I still feel a vague sense of pity and unease when I think of him. I confess I don’t remember him as much as I do the media’s response to him, and the implications for both Asian Americans and Asians on Eastern soil. And what I take note of now is the extent to which the frenzied, highly public speculative aftermath — those crazy few days when google-news showered us with nothing but headline after headline, OMGZR the killer is from tEh Korea!! we must tighten immigration laws! (nevermind the slew of insipid reactionary commentary barring the teaching of race/class/identity/literary issues in the classroom) — has permanently altered my semiotic compass, my practices of reading and interpreting, my way of sense-making as i go about my day. Such are very minor shifts, barely perceptible, but they are always deeply personal. Take this site, for instance.
Chalk this one up in the “Asian-themed indie movie I actually really want to see” category: Colma: The Musical, which is a musical… about Colma, California. Us Bay Area folk also affectionately know Colma as “the town by Daly City where it’s cold and there’s hella cemeteries.”
And that, in a nutshell, is what the musical is about. With two of the three leads being Filipino-American and an Asian-American Director/Producer, Colma: The Musical looks to be like a cross between Rent and one of those Pilipino Cultural Nights, except not about AIDS and totally better:
In Wednesday’s San Francisco Chronicle, reporter Carla Marinucci covers presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton’s effort to lock up the Asian-American vote in California and across the nation in her article, “Clinton pushes hard to lock up Asian support.”
Since the Californian 2008 presidential primary election has been moved up from June to February 5, 2008, California is now in a HUGE role in deciding who will win the nominations for each candidate for all the major parties. That is why California has been seeing a plethora of presidential candidates visit the San Francisco Bay Area so early and will continue to do so before February.
“Clinton’s drive among Asian Americans is noteworthy not only for its early timing — a full eight months before any voters will even begin to go to the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire — but for its scope, which far outpaces her Democratic rivals. Not only has the Clinton camp signed up key Asian American leaders in seven targeted regions — Northern and Southern California, New York, Florida, Hawaii, Texas and the mid-Atlantic states — but her campaign has also tapped more than a dozen “ethnic-specific” co-chairs; California Assemblywoman Fiona Ma of San Francisco, for example, co-chairs Chinese Americans for Hillary. Other Clinton support groups include those specifically for Korean Americans, South Asians, Filipino Americans and Vietnamese Americans.”
This is pretty remarkable! Most candidates would lump Asian-Americans into one big melting pot for scale, but given the accelerated 2008 election season, increased voter segmentation by Clinton shows the aggressiveness of her campaign.
Like in this article in Asiance Magazine, for instance: “Dating Advice Q&A by a seasoned NYC dater”
The article is in a question & answer format. It’s written by Rhoda Roc, who “has dated in New York City for a long time. Here she gives her expert dating advice for all women dating all over the world!”
(Huh, so dating in NYC gives a person the expertise to offer global dating advice? Neat! I’ve lived & dated in NYC, maybe I should offer some advice too! Like: Guys, whacking the weasel can calm you down before a date. And girls, if he has some “hair gel” hanging on his ear, don’t, oh please for the love of God, don’t touch it.)
In Yul Kwon’s segment on “Cost of Diversity (video),” Kwon talks to some Asians who claim that college diversity programs may unfairly target them. Kwon interviews UCLA Law (& Asian American Studies) Professor Jerry Kang who promotes that [racial] diversity makes an overall better academic environment.
Kwon then interviews Asian American Legal Foundation Lee Cheng stating that when compared to under-represented minorities, Asian Americans are at a 2-to-1 disadvantage for admissions into universities. Critics complain that university diversity programs put Asian-Americans at a disadvantage. Kwon then cites that in a study done by two Princeton University professors, “The Opportunity Cost of Admission Preferences at Elite Universities” (Social Science Quarterly, June 2005)
“…Removing consideration of race would have little effect on white students, the report concludes, as their acceptance rate would rise by merely 0.5 percentage points. Espenshade noted that when one group loses ground, another has to gain — in this case it would be Asian applicants. Asian students would fill nearly four out of every five places in the admitted class not taken by African-American and Hispanic students, with an acceptance rate rising from nearly 18 percent to more than 23 percent. Typically, many more Asian students apply to elite schools than other underrepresented minorities. The study also found that although athletes and legacy applicants are predominantly white, their numbers are so small that their admissions do little to displace minority applicants.” (Source: Princeon University, News Release: Ending affirmative action would devastate most minority enrollment (6/6/05))
Ok, now that I’m done with that insightful commentary, I just want to say that not getting straight A’s has never been so horrifying to me that I would want to commit suicide over my grades. (That doesn’t stop me from petitioning my school to reinstate my A from last term so my GPA doesn’t drop.)
In all seriousness, in 2005, the United States Department of Health and Human Services reported that Asian American females between the ages of 15 and 24 had the highest suicide rate among all women in that age range.
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Today, in the on-going American Morning series, Yul Kwon covers the topic of “An Asian glass ceiling? (video)” As I’ve written in a previous post, “Working While Asian/Asian-American,” Kwon covers the topic of Asian-American stereotypes in the workplace. Challenging authority, self promotion and taking risks are some of the attributes that are valued in Corporate America that clash with classic “Asian values” of respecting authority, being modest, etc. as brought up in the segment (i.e. The nail that sticks up, gets hammered down.”
Kwon also interviews executive coach, author, and diversity strategist Jane Hyun, who wrote “Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling: Career Strategies for Asians (2005).” I’ve actually read this book (I was trying to get Jane as a speaker for an event once) and found it pretty interesting. As Fortune Magazine noted when writing about the book:
“Even in Silicon Valley, where Asian Americans represent 30 percent of technology professionals, only around 12 percent of managerial positions are held by Asian Americans compared with 80 percent held by Caucasians.”
Now that is pretty startling…. If you work in Silicon Valley (or beyond), have you noticed this? Do you think there is a Asian glass ceiling in America?