Melissa Hung is the founding editor of Hyphen. She was the editor in chief for the magazine's first five years and went on to serve in many other leadership roles on the staff and board for more than a decade. She is a writer and freelance journalist. Her essays and reported stories have appeared in NPR, Vogue, Pacific Standard, Longreads, and Catapult, among others. A native Texan, she lives in California. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.
I go to the post office quite often -- at least once a week. If you've subscribed in the last 6 months, I'm the one who most likely mailed your magazine. I send them out in small batches because a) they're heavy and I carry them by hand with me to work (a good 20 minute walk) and visit the post office during my lunch break and b) I don't want the postal workers at the counter to hate me for bringing in so much stuff because they have to press all these buttons on the machine just to calculate the postage for one item at a certain rate.
When I was growing up, I was a total bookworm. I preferred reading to sports, to playing piano, to watching TV. Hell, I preferred reading over talking. In the 5th grade I belonged to the Name That Book club (which is exactly what it sounds like) and we would compete against teams from other schools. They would ask a question like, "In which book does the character such and such do such and such?" Whoever raises her hand first and answers the question correctly scores a point for the team. It was so easy. I remember around this time there were often promotions at Pizza Hut where you got a star for every book you read and after you earned 10 stars, you got a free personal pizza. Also really easy. I skipped class in the 5th grade once. Guess where they found me? In the school library.
We weren't even posing for this picture. Ping pong, drinks, karaoke. All in all, a very good night. Thanks to everyone who came out to the event. More photos to come. Your Hyphen staff is also planning a new event for February. Cough. Once we get well that is. Like Claire, I'm also sick. Seems like half the staff has been sick since December. Well anyway, we promise a fun event in February. Stay tuned.
So, I'm kind of addicted to Alias. Well, I guess there's no such thing as "kind of addicted." I'm not the only Hyphen staffer who watches this show religiously. Jennifer Garner's a spy. Boyfriend's a spy. Dad's a spy. Mom's a spy. What's not to love? We usually have our editorial meetings on Wednesday nights, but now that Alias is on Wednesday nights, well, we might have to move our meetings.
I went over to another Hyphen editor's house last night to watch the 2-hour season premiere. It was a weird episode. Actually, it was lame. The plot sucked. What's that? The big top secret that left us hanging at the end of last season is that your daddy killed your mommy? That's it? We also noticed that almost all the commercials were for watching your weight and aimed at women.
Back in Texas. Houston, my hometown. Everything, as always, is under construction. I can't remember a time when the giant concrete ribbon of freeways weren't torn up or haf built, pillars like cut-off trunks of trees reaching up to nowhere. There's lot of car decals here in the shape of yellow ribbons that say "Support our Troops."
The posters for "Geisha: Beyond the painted smile" were plastered all over the Bay Area this summer. The image stared out from the side of buses and hung from San Francisco streetlamps. There was no way to avoid it. And it bugged the hell out of artist Scott Tadashi Tsuchitani.
Today was our first day of the Hyphen giftwrapping fundraiser at Bay Street mall in Emervyille. I'm pretty certain that we spent more than we made while shopping and eating. Oh well. If you're in the area, stop by to chat with us. Proceeds go to three great causes -- the YMCA, the Boys & Girls club, and Hyphen.
There's an Abercrombie & Fitch in this mall. It always bugs me how there are lots of Asians and blacks shopping in that store.
Lots of good discussion at the Hyphen editorial retreat this weekend. Look out for a new and improved magazine in 2005. Besides planning for the next year, we also ate a lot of kalbi and shared stories of personal injuries. Adrienne fell on her face in a bathroom (and hit her head on a wall too on the way down). Stef couldn't move for 3 days after doing squats. And topping it all, Neela zipped up her eyelid once. Ouch!!!
I know. I suck for not writing in here earlier. I'm swamped trying to put together our editorial retreat for this weekend, answering Heeb magazine's table tennis challenge. (We're on! On December 10th, the paddles will fly and we will see once and for all, who rules this sport! Details TBA), and that thing called a day job, which I need to get up in 5.5 hours for. Oh, the joys of running a volunteer-run magazine with a shoe-string budget. (Feel free to send us Starbucks coupons.)
I had the first Hyphen-free weekend in ages. But only because I had to travel for my day job. Now that I've exhausted myself running a conference for 500 people, it's back to Hyphenland, which means lots of meetings. This week is absurd. There's three.
Filmmaker & comic book writer Greg Pak has put together a new website encouraging Asian Americans in Hawaii to go to the polls for Kerry. The race is tied in Hawaii. Since Hawaii is the only state with an API majority, APIs have a real chance at swinging this state!
I don't know about you, but tomorrow I'll be sitting on the couch and biting my nails while I watch the returns. This stuff is nervewracking.
And now, for the goody two-shoes public service announcement of the day: A coalition of civil rights group called Election Proctection 2004 is asking for volunteers to help monitor voting in polling places & distribute info about voters' rights. Got legal expertise? Even better. You're needed to help staff a hotline where people can report voting problems. What kind of problems? Besides the obvious (hello uncounted votes), lots can happen, like polling places closing when there are still people waiting in line, poll workers harassing voters, and the failure of some polling places to provide translated materials.
The coalition includes many vernerable organizations including the NAACP, National Asian Pacifica American Legal Consortium, the Asian Law Caucus right here in the Bay, Asian Pacific American Legal Center in So Cal, and AALDEF in NYC.
Click here to volunteer.
I've been so busy at my day job today that I didn't remember it was my turn to blog until I was walking home from work.
We spent last Thursday night stuffing Issue 5 into envelopes and slapping labels on, so keep an eye out for your mailbox. We had two distinct piles: one with renewal letters (if you started with issue 1 or 2, your subscription has expired!) and one with just the mag that we ended up calling the "naked" pile. Special thanks to Andy, who made our labels; Ann Ninh, our new Bulk Mailing Mistress; My, who lugged the things to the post office, and Audrey--for the pizza and beer!
A couple statistics of note from Issue 5:
* 25 percent of APAs voted in the last presidential election compared to 55 percent of the census average
* 84 percent of APAs aged 18 to 24 didn't vote in the last presidential election
* 74 percent of APAs aged 25 to 44 didn't vote either
* Asian Americans are split among the parties. 40 percent claim to be Republicans, 36 percent Democrats, and 24 percent other
* Only 52 percent of Asian American who are U.S. citizens of voting age are registered to vote, compared to 70 percent of all citizens 18 and older
Issue 5, our politics issue, comes back from the printers tomorrow and I can hardly wait. There is nothing as satisfying as seeing the finished product, hot off the presses. This, however, is quickly followed by the back-breaking work of having to move the damn things, stuff and sort them for mailing, and drive them around for distribution at bookstores. By that point, you’ve noticed the few inevitable typos. And you are no longer in love. I think a lot of staffers have this love/hate relationship with Hyphen because we all volunteer a lot of our time and we do everything ourselves.
This Wednesday evening I’m speaking on a panel at San Francisco State University about new publications. I get asked quite a bit to speak on panels, often at Asian American or media events, probably because there are only so many Asian American publications. You tend to see the same panelists over and over again. It’s a small world. But apparently, according to this post by former Hyphen staffer Oliver Wang, even a small world can’t keep people from thinking all Asians look alike. Our very own Todd Inoue was mistaken for Oliver. If you know these two, then you know they don’t look anything alike. Classic.
Exploring boundaries in art with Shahzia Sikander.
In the painted world of Shahzia Sikander, veils float, griffins stare, and bodies twist in ethereal, layered landscapes. Sikander, a native of Lahore, Pakistan, has pioneered a revival in the traditional and highly stylized form of Indian and Persian miniature painting by imbuing it with her own personal context and history.