This is one of a series of profiles of outstanding Asian American women Hyphen is presenting for Women's History Month. In honor of the passing of this landmark healthcare reform bill, the last three profiles will address healthcare issues.
It doesn't always take a long life to accomplish great things. I was 27 before I even felt I knew who I was, or what I wanted to do with my life. But Vineeta Rastogi's life ended at 27, leaving a lasting impact on the world.
Well! Hyphen's not the only one profiling outstanding Asian American women this month!
Our very own Lisa Lee visited the Asian American Studies Department at the University of Maryland last month, and their online magazine, Public Asian, just posted an article about her:
Well, March is a busy, busy month and I've gotten off track with my Women's History Profiles. But now I'm back, and back to a new America: one with a reformed healthcare landscape. So in honor of "Obamacare," my last three profiles of outstanding Asian American Women will address health issues.
Mai Neng Moua is in many ways typical of the type of Asian American overachiever we like to notice (and to be) here at Hyphen: literary, community-oriented, a magazine founder, an anthology editor; a Gen X, 1.5 generation immigrant from a war-torn country, busy empowering her own generation, and reaching back to bridge the gap with her elders.
But end-stage kidney disease almost put an end to that trajectory before she finished college.
Having just survived a winter Olympics season pre-empting our favorite sit-coms, perhaps we're particularly aware of the Asian female domination of figure skating in recent years. But the US has been fielding Asian American women Olympians in less obvious sports for far longer than we'd credit.
The Asian American Superhero Anthology
Edited by Jeff Yang, Parry Shen, Keith Chow and Jerry Ma (The New Press)
What's that I'm hearing? Is it fireworks or firecrackers? What's my motivation today: scare away ghosts or invite double happiness? Dang. I don't know whether to sweep my house or have sex. Gung Hay Be Mine!
Today you really don't have any excuse, because even if you're one of those pseudo-independently-thinking-hipster-bots who parrots "Valentine's Day is a fake holiday invented to sell stuff!" every year, there's still a major ethnic holiday for you to prove your multiculti cred on by celebrating it accurately. And the color of both Holidays is red!
So put on your hearts 'n' cupids boxers or that lacy red bra, and meet me on the corner of Waverley and Lonely St. We're off to the lion dance of looooove!
Okay, today's brain teaser will consist in deciding which headlines below are real and which ones I just made up.
- Doctors Without Borders
- Oxfam America
Yele Haiti:I would caution you about sending money to Yele Haiti, though. This Smoking Gun report
has been making the rounds of Facebook, claiming that Yele Haiti,
Wyclef Jean's foundation, has been playing fast and loose with IRS
reporting and with rent and payments to Jean for performing (at
fundraisers for his own charity!) Check it out and make up your own
- Partners in Health
please give generously. Right now they're estimating that thousands of
people have been killed, and that millions will be affected.
ETA: More on Wyclef Jean's foundation Yele Haiti and why you shouldn't give money to them. One reason is that money given to smaller orgs often can't clear for several days, whereas larger orgs are able to receive those funds more quickly. Another note: text messaged donations don't get paid out until you pay your phone bill, so you might be better off giving online.
ETA: Moveon.org has removed Yele Haiti from its list of recommended orgs for Haitian relief.
Why are the viral infant musical prodigies on YouTube always Asian? Here's the latest:
Which is less fun because the kid looks like he's having no fun at all. There's also this one I posted recently:
I'm having visions of stern Asian parents hanging their six-month-old infants' queues from a hook in the ceiling to keep them from falling asleep while they practice "Stairway to Heaven." But it's probably not abuse, per se. Because it's not that there are no non-Asian baby musical prodigies, it's just that the Asian ones are the most popular. Now why do you suppose that is? Can it be because having an Asian infant play pop music doubles the poodle walking on its hind legs effect? Is the child funnier or more incredible because he's Asian?
What do you think?
ETA: from comments, a tiny hip hop dancer.
What is going on? Why so many links this week?
This is SOOOO apt, because the past week has been all about inflating boobs!
Yes, all by myself, suckas! Well, mostly by myself, with a little bit of help from several hundred Cal students. And, as you can see above, I ATE it all myself too! ... with similar help.
Why did we do this?
Now, I'm not sure that the unfortunately titled The Future Project: Sunday Will Come will revolutionize live stage performance as we know it, fix the health care crisis, and make you love your mother more. But it is a terrific piece ... and I am having trouble describing it.
Let's try this: ever feel like you're living in a fish bowl?
Yeah, we're glad when an atypical Asian American family gets some press and breaks some stereotypes. But I'm pretty sure this is a family I don't want to claim. You might not feel so much sympathy for Balloon Boy when you see him in this video. (Video N exactly SFW, owing to three little boys swearing like sailors while promoting outrageous exaggerations of machismo.)
I'm sad to report that journalist, writer, and community leader Gina Hotta died last night of a heart attack.
Gina was perhaps best known as the executive producer of Apex Express, the API show that's been hosted on Berkeley-based radio station KPFA since 2001. Since KQED's Pacific Time shut down a few years back, she had been the voice of Asian America. She produced a number of documentaries and more recently branched out from print journalism into creative nonfiction and fiction writing, appearing in KSW's APAture festival reading in 2006.
In recent years we've lost many community leaders of the Baby Boomer generation: Sachiko Nakamura, Chiori Santiago, Bill Sorro, Al Robles, Ronald Takaki, and many more. The Movement leaders are passing, Asian America. Let's remember to honor our elders before they leave us.
And let's also remember that heart disease is the number one killer of women in the US. If you feel so moved, you might make a donation to WomenHeart. And be sure to read and pass on this information about how symptoms of heart disease may be different for women, and what the risk factors are.
Here's a much more expressive tribute from Digitron (Adriel Luis) of ILL-Literacy.
APEX EXPRESS will honor Gina tonight (Thursday)
KPFA 94.1 FM
A public memorial will be held in late October. Details TBA.
For more information and to post memories and condolences go to: www.firstvoicemap.org
ETA: from Michael Yoshida's comment below:
A public celebration of the life of Gina Hotta will be held on
Sunday, October 25 from 5-7pm, with a reception following. We will
gather at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center, 388 9th street 2nd floor,
in the Pacific Renaissance Plaza.
If you are interested in sharing your memories or music, please contact us by Friday, October 16.
You can contribute photos or other small items to the Community Altar, or an appetizer for the reception.
We also encourage you to bring a cranes to add to our 1,000 cranes installation in honor of Gina’s legacy.
Contact: Apex [at] kpfa.org
510-848-6767 x 464
It's all drama, all the time here, down Hyphen way. There's love, hate, love, hate, love/hate, reconciliation, weirdness, weeping, and then somebody dies.
Grace Kim models her minority ass. "Model Minority" my ass!
Just an action alert here: please call your Congresspeople today and tell them that you support the public option for health insurance reform. (Dial 202-224-3121 and tell the operator your zip code to get a list of your representatives in both houses -- or just tell the operator which representative you wish to be connected with. Be sure to leave a message, if you don't get an actual person. Your message should include the fact -- if true -- that you will vote at the mid-term elections based on your representatives' performance on this issue.)
Obama is making a speech tomorrow that could be in support of the unacceptable "trigger" option, which postpones public health insurance. You can contact the White House as well, but it's far more important to keep the pressure on the legislature to hold firm on the public option.
Duuuuude. Have you ever posted on your blog drunk?
Me, I haven't. I never durnk posting. Durnk pot. Durnk post. Dru ... what?
Awwwww! My kitty is so cute! Lookatim! So cute! All curled up there so cute and fluffy. Aw! Ow! Hey that hurt! That hurt ...
Anyway, where was I? Was I? Wait, no be quiet. I'm poasting on my blog. The blog. Not my blog. The blog that we all posts on. Noooooo, not yoooouuu. Just Asian Americans. Nooo, not aaallll of us. Just some of us.
I shit you not: it's an Asian German rapper. I shit you not.
You know how during the election everyone was complaining that Americans were getting their news from Jon Stewart? Well, there's a reason for that: news is boring! Extremely! It's much more fun to hear shit that ain't true!
Real news doesn't do the interesting things that overprivileged people from Hollywood do inside their heads except for Paris Hilton who is as boring as the news and over too, and also Paula Abdul. No, I take that back, Paula Abdul is better than fiction because she's craaaaaazzzaaaay, and so is Gwenyth Paltrow. No, I take that back. Goop is crazy but not in an interesting way. And Bai Ling is annoying. And Asian.
Anyway, let's make some movies, is what I'm sayin'. For today's lynks, we're gonna compare the real news with some totally made up shit and you can decide which one you prefer. Then you can go here to vote on it, and the voter who best predicts how everyone else votes will win a huge-ass prize. Not really.
I was just watching The Daily Show on hulu.com, and when it ended this advertisement (screengrabbed above) showed up. It's an ad for some antidepressive drug (which I won't link to), but the interesting thing is that the ad features an Asian man. An Asian man looking depressed.
Uh ... was anyone actually suggesting that Obama invade Iran? I mean, other than crazy mans on da streets?
Because (m)O('bettah)bama is the very opposite of a brutal regime dictator tyrant evil axis thingie. (m)O('bettah)bama is good. It is Ahmadinejad who is brutal 'n' evil. And Kim Il thingie. And, like, Angela Merkel, and Johnson & Johnson. And Metallica.
Actually, if you look around, the Brutal Regimes are everywhere. Everywhere. Wow. It's frightening.
It seems, in fact, that now somebody's written a book about them ... that somebody being a white dude married to an Asian woman. Sigh.
For news and conflict junkies, and those of you who are just wondering what the hell's going on with the post-election protests in Iran, the BBC offers this round up of places to go on the web to follow along.
Exhiliratingly, and exhaustingly, Ahmadinejad's government is playing "whack-a-mole" with the various applications protestors are using, and finding it particularly difficult to tamp down Twitter. To follow along on Twitter, check out "#iranelection" or follow "mousavi1388" (Mousavi's official feed) or this Mousavi supporter feed "StopAhmadi."
The National Iranian American Council is liveblogging translations of tweets and posts in Farsi.
Feel free to post updates, particularly on Iranian American responses, in comments.
Missed this one a couple weeks ago:
The study, titled "Addressing Ethnic Profiling by Police: A Report
on the Strategies for Effective Police Stop and Search Project," is the
result of 18 months of research on police stops in Spain, Bulgaria and
In that study, the Justice Initiative worked with police
to collect data on ethnicity and criminality, comparing the ethnicity
of people stopped by police to those actually found to have committed a
crime or offense. "In every pilot site, police were profiling people
based on ethnicity or national origin," the study reports. "Minorities
were more likely to be stopped, often more likely to be searched, but,
almost without exception, were no more likely to be found to be
offending than the majority group."
... At pilot sites in Hungary, for example, police
were three times as likely to stop Roma as ethnic Hungarians, "yet the
rate at which each group is detected in the commission of an offense is
almost identical." In some areas, the data showed ethnic minorities
were even less likely to be offenders than the local majority.
I've always been opposed to racial and ethnic profiling on moral and ethical grounds. But this study seems to argue that racial and ethnic profiling should be opposed on efficacy grounds. I have to say, I think the two are inextricably linked. Racism is an extreme example of poor judgment and unsound thinking. Assuming that people of a particular race or ethnicity will all have exactly the same outlook, goals, and prejudices is ignorant and stupid. It's not the kind of thinking that holds up in real life, and it's not the kind of thinking that illuminates human nature in a way that will become useful in social life, working life, or the study of criminal psychology.
So, ethnic profiling doesn't work? Duh. If I continued to insist that babies DID come from cabbage patches, because my parents told me so, would somebody have to do a study of the natural cycle of cabbage to help me design a policy to raise the US birthrate? But now we're getting dangerously close to other immoral and ineffective policy myths.
We've seen the extreme of ethnic profiling in Japanese internment. And we all know that's bad (except for M!ch3ll% M@lk!n, who shall be eternally disemvowelled for her sins), not least because it was ineffective: not a single Japanese American was ever shown to have spied for the Japanese. But just because police harrassment is less extreme, doesn't mean it's any more right ... or any more effective. So score a win for soft science ... let's hope.
You know you've wondered about it.
Please save this Sunday, April 17, from 12 tp 5 pm in San Francisco, for the memorial for Manong Al Robles.
This is more than a community event. Even if you didn't know poet and lifelong community activist Al Robles, his passing is the end of an era.
I just got the news via email. Manong Al died today. I didn't even know he was sick.
Al Robles was a community activist and poet, long involved in the I-Hotel community and Kearny Street Workshop, and subsequently in the eviction protest and rebuilding of the I-Hotel through the Manilatown Heritage Foundation. He published a classic collection of poetry, Rappin' with 10,000 Carabaos in the Dark in 1996. He knew everyone in the community, and always had a kind word for you, even if he hadn't seen you for a while. See the Manilatown is in the Heart trailer above for some images.
I'm just shocked and saddened right now. Updates later.
ETA: Please save Sunday, May 17th from 12 - 5 pm for Manong Al's memorial. It will be at SomArts. I'll have another post with all the information as soon as it's nailed down. In the meantime, I'm helping recruit volunteers for the event, so if you'd like to take a shift, please contact me at "claire" at the domain of "hyphenmagazine" with a dot "com."
It's May, peoples! It's Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month! This year is also the 20th Anniversary of the publication of Amy Tan's classic Asian American immigrant novel, The Joy Luck Club.
We have a love/hate relationship with that book. Love because it was our first foray into the mainstream of American fiction, a moment of broad self-acknowledgment many Asian Americans remember with fondness. Hate for many reasons: because it focused on women to the detriment of men (for a perspective, see Alvin's comments here); because it proposed an immigrant arc similar to that of Europeans, glossing over the continuing issues Asian immigrants have in this country; because it was so successful it coerced a generation of Asian American novelists to Joy Luck their way into a writing career.
So, to express our ambivalent Happy Birthday, here's a bouquet of tiny immigration tales. These are 300-word, true stories, from real Asian Americans, that complicate and argue with the story The Joy Luck Club tells. The complete awesomeness, vitality, and real diversity of these stories is exactly what my problem with the Joy Lucking of Asian American writing is about. We always knew these stories were out there; I just didn't know we could get so many great ones in such a short time.
(My only caveat is that we didn't get enough stories from men. Imagine how much broader the range would be if we had! Maybe next year ...)
You came to Hyphen blog for fun and entertainment with your information? Fooled you twice! Shame on You!
Hey all, just a leetle reminder that you still have ONE WEEK to submit your 300-word immigrant stories for the "Joy Luck Hub" blog carnival ... to honor, or argue with, or dump on, The Joy Luck Club, which turns 20 this year.
All stories are due May 1! Just in time for Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Here's the rules 'n' stuff.