Monday, March 29, 2010

AML: AOKI documentary film Monday on a Japanese American founding member of the Black Panther Party - AnnArbor.com

It's so sad to see the Ann Arbor Film Festival wind up for another year, but before we have a chance to even lose momentum, here comes a film straight from the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival that is not to be missed—AOKI.

From the University of Michigan Asian/Pacific Islander American Heritage Month Committee, in collaboration with the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association (APALSA), comes a screening of one of this year’s most talked-about Asian American documentaries, plus a discussion with filmmaker Ben Wang:

"Monday, March 29 at the 236 Hutchins Hall from 7 to 9 p.m. AOKI is a documentary film chronicling the life of Richard Aoki, a third-generation Japanese American who became one of the founding members of the Black Panther Party....(click on link for more)

AOKI documentary film Monday on a Japanese American founding member of the Black Panther Party - AnnArbor.com

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Adventures in Multicultural Living: A tale of three tea parties--gestures of concern, respect, graciousness - AnnArbor.com


A girlfriend was recently reminiscing about the Friday afternoon high teas at Smith College, a tradition held over from a previous era, although by the time she was there, most of the young women came to high tea wearing jeans rather than dresses and white gloves. Still, there was something warm and reassuring about coming home at the end of a long week and finding pots of tea and loads of cookies (especially the cookies) prepared and waiting for you, welcoming you home.

At the Japan Cultural Festival last weekend, I slowed down (for once) long enough to watch a Japanese tea ceremony. A younger kimono-clad woman carefully and meticulously prepared and presented a bowl of tea to an older woman. She brewed the water on an old fashioned brazier, scooped the water out with a long-handled bamboo ladle, stirred the tea with a little bamboo whisk, and poured the tea into a wide-mouthed bowl. Her body movements were disciplined and deliberate. The older woman sat silently and waited patiently for her tea. The relationship between the women could be read like a dance, the care and respect with which the younger woman made and served the tea to the older woman was moving. Everything was in the details, details that nobody has time for anymore. (And so nice to see during Women’s History Month.) Off to the side of the tatami stage, several kimono-clad women made more of the bitter green tea for the audience members and offered each cup with both hands raised. (click on link for more)

A tale of three tea parties--gestures of concern, respect, graciousness - AnnArbor.com

Photo courtesy of University of Michigan's Center for Japanese Studies

Friday, March 26, 2010

American Citizens for Justice Census and the Community event

American Citizens for Justice Census and the Community event March 27, 1 to 4 pm, Chinese Community Center in Madison Heights. Dwight Dean, Census Regional Director, Kurt Metzer, Demographer with Data Driven Detroit, and Tom Costello of the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion, speaking. Census Bureau plans to have assistants there to help with forms. Free, with food and entertainment.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

AML: Ann Arbor students shine in Michigan Japanese Quiz Bowl competition - AnnArbor.com

Congratulations to our Ann Arbor students who reached the finals of the 17th annual Michigan Japanese Quiz Bowl competition this past Saturday at the University of Michigan. These students rose to the top of the 380 students from 26 elementary and secondary schools from across the state in a competition showcasing their knowledge of Japanese language and culture. The teams were divided into six different divisions, depending on the number of hours of Japanese language instruction they have received. (click on link for more)

Ann Arbor students shine in Michigan Japanese Quiz Bowl competition - AnnArbor.com

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

AML: U of M's Maize Mirchi concert and Taal Dance Team performance Saturday - AnnArbor.com

The University of Michigan's premier South Asian a cappella group, Maize Mirchi will be holding its sophomore concert, "Mirchi Reloaded" this Saturday, March 27, 7 p.m. in the Michigan Union Ballroom.

Maize Mirchi sings a blend of Indian, Western and fusion music in the a capella tradition, without instruments, and all of their arrangements are student-written. They have performed at the University of Michigan Indian American Student Association Show (the largest Indian American student-run production in the nation), Dandia Dhamaka (an intercollegiate Raas-Garba competition), Michigan A Cappella Council’s MACFest and more. They recently placed second in Gathe Raho, the nationwide South Asian a cappella contest held at the University of Iowa.

Maize Mirchi writes in an email: “Join us as our superhero alter egos save the world on the big screen, while we sing live Bollywood and American fusion music.” (click on link for more)

U of M's Maize Mirchi concert and Taal Dance Team performance Saturday - AnnArbor.com

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Adventures in Multicultural Living: Contrasting colors of Japanese Quiz Bowl and Japan Cultural Festival - AnnArbor.com


For the past few weeks, my kids have been doing nothing but getting ready for Japanese Quiz Bowl! Extra classes, extra homework, extra studying, extra emails from teachers, extra study sessions with classmates—and I do not have to say a thing. Japanese Quiz Bowl is serious business.

According to the University of Michigan Center for Japanese Studies, this 17th annual competition, which took place Saturday, March 20, at the University of Michigan, had approximately 375 students from 26 elementary and secondary schools from across the state competing in six different divisions.

Bet you did not know that 26 elementary and secondary schools in Michigan teach Japanese as a foreign language. (click on link for more)

Photo: Last year’s team from Ohara Language School

Contrasting colors of Japanese Quiz Bowl and Japan Cultural Festival - AnnArbor.com

Thursday, March 18, 2010

AML: "Reel Bad Arabs" and "Journey into America" documentaries look at Arab and Arab American stereotypes - AnnArbor.com

My last year in college, I saw the documentary film, “Slaying the Dragon,” about stereotyped portrayals of Asian American women in the media, and I cried all the way home. So that is how people see me. So that is why they sometimes act so strangely around me. So that is where much of it originates. Seeing the history of how Asian American women have been portrayed in the media, one clip after another, from Anna Mae Wong to Connie Chung, let me see what I look like through other eyes. That was how even I had been brainwashed by Hollywood and the media.

How else can we feel so certain that we know all about a people when in real life we have met very few of "those people"? How else can we know what people really think of us (since most nice people do not intentionally make racist or stereotyped comments to one's face)? (click on link for more)

"Reel Bad Arabs" and "Journey into America" documentaries look at Arab and Arab American stereotypes - AnnArbor.com

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

AML: Kiss Me I'm Irish. Kiss Me I'm Italian! Kiss Me I'm Chinese? - NAM EthnoBlog

I used to think that St. Patrick’s Day was a national holiday.

I attended Catholic schools in Los Angeles, and all the Bishops at the time, the ones who set the calendars for all the Catholic schools in the Archdiocese, were Irish. Thus St. Patrick’s Day was always a school holiday. Always. Along with Lincoln’s Birthday, Washington’s Birthday and All Saint’s Day.

Then our school got a young new principal, Sister Nathaniel. She was Italian American, with dark brown bangs peeking out of her white habit, a matter-of-fact way of speaking and a brisk, efficient stride. She declared that since St. Joseph’s Day (March 19) was about the same time as St. Patrick’s Day (March 17), we would celebrate both saints’ days together. I have often thought of this story as one which shows the difference one person can make. Because she was Italian American, she understood the importance of St. Joseph’s Day to our many Italian-American families; no one else even knew.(click on link for more)

Kiss Me I'm Irish. Kiss Me I'm Italian! Kiss Me I'm Chinese? - NAM EthnoBlog

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

AML: Prom Night In Mississippi at AADL Thursday - AnnArbor.com

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 desegregated our public schools and workplaces. In 1967, with the Loving v. Virginia case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional.

However, it was not until 2008 that Charleston High School had its first integrated prom, paid for by Academy-Award winning actor and Charleston native Morgan Freeman and documented by Emmy-award winning director Paul Saltzman in the documentary film, Prom Night in Mississippi. This film was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize for World Cinema Documentary at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. (click on link for more)

Prom Night In Mississippi at AADL Thursday - AnnArbor.com

Monday, March 15, 2010

Eastern Michigan University: Center for Multicultural Affairs

I'll be speaking at a panel discussion of Hapa Issues at Eastern Michigan
University Monday, March 15, 11 am, 310A Student Center, as part of their Taste of Asia event. (click on link for more)

Eastern Michigan University: Center for Multicultural Affairs

Sunday, March 14, 2010

AML: Kiss Me I'm Irish. Kiss Me I'm Italian! Kiss Me I'm Chinese? Wearing our cultural pride on St. Patrick's Day - AnnArbor.com

I used to think that St. Patrick’s Day was a national holiday.

I attended Catholic schools in Los Angeles, and all the Bishops at the time, the ones who set the calendars for all the Catholic schools in the Archdiocese, were Irish. Thus St. Patrick’s Day was always a school holiday. Always. Along with Lincoln’s Birthday, Washington’s Birthday, and All Saint’s Day.

Then our school got a young new principal, Sister Nathaniel. She was Italian American, with dark brown bangs peeking out of her white habit, a matter-of-fact way of speaking, and a brisk efficient stride. She declared that since St. Joseph’s Day (March 19) was about the same time as St. Patrick’s Day (March 17), we would celebrate both saints’ days together.

I have often thought of this story as one which shows the difference one person can make. Because she was Italian American, she understood the importance of St. Joseph’s Day to our many Italian-American families; no one else even knew. (click on link for more)

Kiss Me I'm Irish. Kiss Me I'm Italian! Kiss Me I'm Chinese? Wearing our cultural pride on St. Patrick's Day - AnnArbor.com

Thursday, March 11, 2010

AML: U-M Zell Writers Series this month at UMMA Thursdays - AnnArbor.com

I recently met a new young professor named Tung-Hui Hu from the English department who just graduated from UC Berkeley’s film studies program. It turns out that he is a very talented poet too. The Los Angeles Times describes his work as a "contained surreal style that deftly shapes a philosophical argument." Check out this review of his second book of poetry, Mine, in Raintaxi Review of Books. Two poems from his forthcoming collection, Greenhouses, Lighthouses, can be found at the University of Mississippi, where he was poet-in-residence. He is also doing a really interesting sound installation called The Last Time You Cried on exhibit at the Michigan League and U-M Art and Architecture Building March 24 to April 6.

It is spring in Ann Arbor, time for poetry. (click on link for more)

U-M Zell Writers Series this month at UMMA Thursdays - AnnArbor.com

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

AML: Ann Arbor Palestine Film Festival March 10-13 - AnnArbor.com

I was talking to a Palestinian American woman once about dabke dance when she suddenly wished out loud that people could see the beauty of her culture instead of automatically and only thinking about war and political conflict whenever they heard the word, “Palestine” - that there is more to her people than that. (click on link for more)

Ann Arbor Palestine Film Festival March 10-13 - AnnArbor.com

Monday, March 8, 2010

AML: What's On Your Reading List This Month? - NAM EthnoBlog

I just finished reading Lac Su’s memoir, "I Love Yous are for White People," a story about growing up poor and Vietnamese American in Los Angeles dodging gangs, alcohol and an abusive father. It was a tough read but a sobering reminder that many Asian Americans do not fit neatly into the model minority stereotype.

Now I am reading Bich Minh Nguyen’s memoir, "Stealing Buddah’s Dinner," this year’s Michigan Humanities Council’s Great Michigan Read, about growing up Vietnamese American in suburban Grand Rapids and her fixation on American food.

Both writers ache to belong to the world around them. (click on link for more)

What's On Your Reading List This Month? - NAM EthnoBlog

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Adventures in Multicultural Living: Reading, sharing, curating, and subverting books to expand the definition of normal - AnnArbor.com


I just finished reading Lac Su’s memoir, I Love Yous are for White People, a story about growing up poor and Vietnamese American in Los Angeles dodging gangs, alcohol, and an abusive father. It was a tough read, but a sobering reminder that many Asian Americans do not fit neatly into the model minority stereotype.

Now I am reading Bich Minh Nguyen’s memoir, Stealing Buddah’s Dinner, this year’s Michigan Humanities Council’s Great Michigan Read, about growing up Vietnamese American in suburban Grand Rapids and her fixation on American food.

Both writers ache to belong to the world around them. (click on link for more)

Reading, sharing, curating, and subverting books to expand the definition of normal - AnnArbor.com

Voices of Adoption RainbowKids.com: AML: Winter Olympians of color - American like us

March 07, 2010/ Frances Kai-Hwa Wang/ Voices of Adoption RainbowKids.com/ Adventures in Multicultural Living

During the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, my daughter M and her friend C, the only two Chinese-American girls in Mrs. Schroeder’s first-grade class, were excited about watching Michelle Kwan compete for the gold.

C was planning to invite Michelle to her upcoming seventh birthday party, an ice skating party at Buhr Park. M loved the video clip of Michelle eating dinner with her family—using the same bowls and chopsticks that we did. For them, Michelle was an admired “older sister” that they looked up to. None of the other first-grade girls really knew who Michelle Kwan even was, but after two weeks of hearing about Michelle Kwan every day in class and at soccer, every girl in that class stayed up late that final night of the Olympics to watch Michelle Kwan’s bittersweet final performance.

click on link for more: Adventures in Multicultural Living Winter Olympians of color - American like us

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Adventures in Multicultural Living at JACL's Pacific Citizen: Who You Callin’ Uncle?

“I’m not your ‘mom!’” my girlfriend finally exploded at her kids.

The teenagers looked puzzled, “Then, whose mom are you?”

I know what she means, though. She does not want her children to call her the English word, “Mom,” but to call her by the Chinese term, “Ma Ma.” The dictionary may give the same meaning for both terms, but “mom” does not have the same feel, the same nuance, as “Ma Ma.” My children are not allowed to call me “Mom,” either. (click on link for more)

Who You Callin’ Uncle?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Voices of Adoption RainbowKids.com: AML: Winter Olympians of color - American like us - RainbowKids.com Voices of Adoption

During the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, my daughter M and her friend C, the only two Chinese-American girls in Mrs. Schroeder’s first-grade class, were excited about watching Michelle Kwan compete for the gold. (click on link for more, including thoughts on adult adoptee Toby Dawson and Korean Heritage Camps)

Adventures in Multicultural Living Winter Olympians of color - American like us Rainbow Kids Voices of Adoption

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

AML: "The Garden" documentary film at AADL Tuesday - AnnArbor.com

The Ann Arbor District Library will be showing the documentary film, The Garden, at the downtown branch, 343 S. Fifth Ave., at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 2. The film has been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. (click on link for more)

"The Garden" documentary film at AADL Tuesday - AnnArbor.com

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

AML: Putting Islamic Finance in a Western Perspective at AADL Thursday - AnnArbor.com

My father once told me that although it was nice to learn about other cultures’ festivals and foods, it was a bit quaint. He said that if one really wants to understand another culture, one should look at how they deal with money — how they save, how they spend, how much they invest, how hard they work, what is considered a necessity versus a luxury, etc. — all their values will show up clearly when you follow the money.

Wait, isn’t that a line from a movie? (click on link for more)

Putting Islamic Finance in a Western Perspective at AADL Thursday - AnnArbor.com

Monday, March 1, 2010

Adventures in Multicultural Living: Winter Olympians of color: American Like Us - NAM EthnoBlog

During the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, my daughter M and her friend C, the only two Chinese-American girls in Mrs. Schroeder’s first-grade class, were excited about watching Michelle Kwan compete for the gold. (click on link for more)

Winter Olympians of color: American Like Us - NAM EthnoBlog
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