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The idea of marriage makes my hands sweat, not in a good way. I’m trying to figure it out though, really I am. Therapy has helped me realize that it’s one part rebellion to the South Asian obsession with weddings, one part my parent’s divorce ... and the rest is still murky. I mean, I’ve always been a bit of a cynic: the whole concept of “forever” that marriage is predicated on just doesn’t compute for me. The idea of celebrating that idea by spending thousands of dollars for a huge party just seems like asking for it … but at the same time, I love champagne.
Jake* is a delivery boy at a mom and pop pizza parlor in west L.A. He gets paid $5.50 an hour under the table and gets to keep his tips. In this part of the country, a wage that low is illegal, but Jake doesn't have a green card, so he'll take any job he can get.
Jake moved to Los Angeles with his family from his native Taiwan when he was only two-years old. He doesn't know much about the island. Ever since he can remember, he has lived with his parents in a run-down motel that they operate in a seedy part of Eagle Rock. "Special skill"-less, his parents came to the U.S. on a B1 visa in order to run the business for silent investors still living in Taiwan. During the last 20+ years, their resident status has remained unchanged, which is a major problem for Jake and his siblings: they are now legal adults no longer under their parents' visa.
A press conference in New York City last month addressed an issue that often goes ignored but is already affecting many Asian Americans in the 21st century – Chronic Hepatitis B.
A study released by pharmaceutical giants Idenix and Novartis revealed some alarming figures. A survey of 301 CHB patients (55% of whom were Asian American) indicated that not enough CHB patients or the general population are properly informed about CHB and its causes, although the similarities to the HIV epidemic are obvious.
In the U.S. and estimated 1.25 million people are critically infected with HBV 2 -- Asian Americans make up more than half of this number.
* One in 10 Asian-Americans has CHB, compared with one in 1,000 for the general U.S. population:
* 1 in 10 Chinese Americans
* 1 in 12 Korean Americans
* 1 in 8 Vietnamese Americans
Have you heard of MATCHA Thursdays? If you haven't, today will the day to find out! Our buddies over at the Asian Art Museum are hosting a Live Action Remix.
What does that mean? Good question. Think Astroy Boy, Manga, and DJ Nako!
In Stockton, California, a community group is fighting to restore and preserve Little Manila, one of the oldest Filipino immigrant communities in the US.
The Little Manila Foundation aims to raise $2 million to purchase several buildings that constitute historic Little Manila. The first on their list is the Mariposa Hotel, a former "residence hotel that also served as a headquarters to labor unions and other organizations when Stockton was home to the largest population of Filipinos outside of the Philippines," describes the Recordnet. They hope to convert Mariposa into a community space and museum, then preserve the only two other remaining buildings of historic Little Manila-- the Rizal Social Club and the Emerald restaurant.
Dr. Martin Luther King's legacy is looking like the streets we named after him -- permanently under construction...
Directed by Zia Mohajerjasbi, Blue Scholar's "Back Home," off of the recently released Bayani, is powerful, poignant and necessary. Sure, the video's not terribly original (cemetery setting, weeping widows, kids holding portraits of lost loved ones) but it captures the inevitable suffering and pain that comes with war.
I know I've posted about Blue Scholars before but I'm just geeked off the fact that there are still some rap cats making meaningful music instead of those annoyingassdance songs. If only the masses would start taking note...
I've never been one of those New Yorker magazine junkies, like many people I know. I guess I'm more of a secret New Yorker junkie because I have enough things piled up in my life to feel guilty about not getting to. But the annual "Summer Fiction Issue" is kindof a must for me. I picked it up a few weeks ago on the way back from a trip to Mexico and have been carrying the increasingly more tattered thing around with me ever since.
The New York Academy of Medicine released a report in May on the needs of APIs living with HIV/AIDS in the New York City area.
Some key findings show no real surprises (many barriers to care like cost and language, evidence that APIs delay testing, and overall low knowledge of HIV prevention and treatment), but something to note:
• Extreme Isolation and Mental Distress Because of HIV Stigma. Reluctance to disclose one’s HIV status because of HIV stigma was a major theme in the qualitative interviews. Many participants experienced extreme social isolation because of their fears about disclosing their HIV status and the sometimes negative responses they received when they did disclose. Social isolation appears to have had significant negative mental health consequences. 71% had low or very low mental health scores, compared to 50% for the cohort. (emphasis mine)
Yet even given these high levels of isolation and mental distress, relatively few had utilized mental health services; providers said the barriers were both clients’ reluctance to seek mental health services and the lack of appropriate services. Once again, we see mental health as a major unaddressed issue in our community.
There are many APAs around the country trying to bring more attention to the issue of AIDS in our community and prompting folks to get tested (Boston City Councilor Sam Yoon got an oral test in front of the press in May). But at the same time, HIV clinics and researchers are seeing their funding slashed as the result of an administration that prefers to promote abstinence instead of sex ed to combat AIDS. Here in San Francisco, a Japanese American researcher at UCSF who worked with Asian and transgender communities was recently fired (he claims racial prejudice and lack of concern for transgendered communities).
I wrote about undocumented Asian immigrants living with HIV/AIDS in New York City in HYPHEN’s Fall 2006 issue (The Music Issue), and it never fails to amaze me how invisible this issue is to our community. Maybe people think it’s a nonissue; it has fallen off our radar since the ’80s and ’90s when it was on all the celebrities’ lips and lapels. Or, more disturbingly, maybe people think that Asian Americans simply don’t get AIDS. I once read a submission from a writer who didn’t use condoms because he assumed the Asian women he slept with were “clean” (his words).
So what to do? Volunteer with or donate to APA AIDS/HIV research and service groups, don’t assume HIV is just a gay or White issue, get tested regularly and for God’s sake, use a rubber.
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