Supporting Asian Hollywood

January 13, 2009 at 7:51 am | Posted in Masaoka Fellow | Leave a comment

Hollywood’s award season has begun and there are a lot of movies that I feel I need to see. Honestly, the holiday season has left me a bit warm-and-fuzzy, and I’m not in the mood for depressing, sobering, thought-provoking films. I don’t want to pop the bubble just yet.

Still, the nominees from last night’s 65th annual Golden Globe Awards have got me feeling a bit cowardly and ignorant for not supporting them.

The buzz surrounding new, non-mainstream movies like Slumdog Millionaire and Gran Torino has me on a guilt trip for not seeing these films featuring Asian actors and Asian stories.

Hopefully I’ll get over the holiday high from Marley & Me and make room for these other films before the Oscar nods go out.

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Planning ahead

January 6, 2009 at 7:57 am | Posted in Masaoka Fellow | Leave a comment

Ok, ok, so as 2009 gets started, I’m making one of my many personal resolutions to be a little more active—or at least timely—in my blog posts.

Although I’ve said farewell to a city where I like to think I was becoming one of the many transplanted locals, DC has not paused for my departure—and why would it?
The global economy continues to struggle and according to President-elect Barack Obama, the national economy is “bad and getting worse.” As Congress gets back to work with a new session, The New York Times had some recommended financial resolutions for Washington.

Despite the economic gloom, it’s encouraging to know that Asian Americans are part of soon-to-be President Obama’s vision for the future. Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA) noted the diversity in the president-elect’s new administration in an article for AsianWeek. (I should note that AsianWeek, once the oldest and largest English-language newspaper for the APIA community, is now exclusively an online publication, leaving a significant hole in the coverage of Asian Americans and APIA issues.)

For me, personally…as the new year begins, I guess I’ll be corny and vague. I’ll reflect on the good and bad of 2008, and look forward to new days and new, promising experiences.

December 7

December 7, 2008 at 12:11 pm | Posted in APA News, Masaoka Fellow | Leave a comment

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the significance of today.

It’s been 67 years since Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, forcing—or encouraging (depending on your point of view)—the United States of America to become a major player in the second world war.

All across the national mall today, flags flew at half-staff, remembering the day when an “enemy” caused bloodshed and chaos on American soil.

Yes, President Roosevelt declared December 7 as a date, which will live in infamy. But 67 years later, I feel that it’s also a date that will forever be a ghost, haunting my American experience. I can speak only for myself as a yonsei (fourth generation Japanese American), but today I carried December 7 as both a cultural burden and an opportunity.

When Japan, the enemy, attacked Pearl Harbor, Americans of Japanese ancestry became the enemy in the eyes of the federal government. On December 7, Japan turned its back on its brethren and allies, just as America turned its back on its people, herding 120,000 Americans into internment camps.

It’s a burden to know that my great-grandparents’ siblings fought against America. When I visit the National World War II Memorial, I feel guilty. It’s a burden to know that my great-grandparents and grandparents suffered behind barbed wire fences. When I visit the National Japanese American Memorial, I feel a mix of anger and nostalgia.

But dwelling on the past isn’t helpful.

I look at December 7, also as an opportunity.

It’s important to remember, but it’s also important to move forward, make new history, grow from the past. As a Japanese American, I feel a responsibility to create new days, new reasons, for remembrance and recognition.

December 7, 1941: Pearl Harbor attacked.

December 7, 2008: Anh “Joseph” Cao (LA-02) becomes the USA’s first Vietnamese American elected to Congress. (read the New York Times article)

Keeping the promise

December 2, 2008 at 11:19 am | Posted in Health, Masaoka Fellow | Leave a comment

World AIDS Day (1988-2008)On this day, December 1, a lot has happened:

  • 1955: Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man aboard a Montgomery, Ala., city bus.
  • 1959: Antarctica became a scientific preserve, free form military activity.
  • 1963: The Beatles’ first single, “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” was released in the United States.

And in 1988, the World Health Organization established December 1 as World AIDS Day to raise awareness about the global AIDS epidemic.

Continue Reading Keeping the promise…

Here we go…

November 4, 2008 at 8:47 pm | Posted in Masaoka Fellow, politics | 2 Comments

We are only hours away from making history, and our voice still counts.

Check out this youtube video:

Developing Tomorrow’s Leaders Today

November 2, 2008 at 2:02 pm | Posted in Event, Masaoka Fellow | Leave a comment

I’m the first to admit that I’ve lived a pretty sheltered life from the cause of the Asian Pacific American; but since moving to D.C., I’ve been bombarded.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. It’s great and quite satisfying to see and learn about the several APA national advocacy groups. The only thing I can complain about, I guess, is the vast number of acronyms I have to remember.

Here’s one: CAPAL–the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership.

Founded in 1989, CAPAL is a nonprofit organization dedicated to building leadership and public policy knowledge within the APA community.

So if you like supporting APAs and programs that promote diversity in the public service workforce, then you should check out CAPAL’s 19th Annual Benefit Gala on Tuesday, November 18 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Continue Reading Developing Tomorrow’s Leaders Today…

APAs, sleeping giants?

November 1, 2008 at 3:25 pm | Posted in Masaoka Fellow, politics | Leave a comment

Countdown to history: 3 days

On Tuesday, November 4, Americans will elect a new commander in chief to lead a nation with some big problems: a suffering economy, an inefficient health care system, a war, the list can go on and on (especially when compared to other industrialized nations).

Americans have a tough choice to make, but what about the Asian Pacific American community? For such a large, fast growing population, how will this group affect the election?

The National Asian American Survey (NAAS) released data supporting what the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) and other Asian Pacific American (APA) organizations have always known: APAs are a powerful component of the American electorate. They are “sleeping giants” in terms of their population size, their purchasing powers and their opinions.

Continue Reading APAs, sleeping giants?…

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