Sunday, October 31, 2010

Adventures in Multicultural Living: Minorities pummeled by ethnic stereotypes at Halloween and election time - AnnArbor.com

My neighbor was cleaning out her college-aged daughter’s room and gave me a large sombrero for the kids. Maybe for Halloween, she suggested, if they do not already have a costume.

Six-year-old Little Brother already had a costume, but he was thrilled to discover his new sombrero when he came home from school, so stately and grand, with its sweeping green brim, pink accents, and fancy blue stitching, that he immediately put it on and ran outside to “show the guys.”

The older neighbor boys good-naturedly teased him: “Where’s your horse? Where’s your guitar?”

He came home puzzled and embarrassed that he had thought it was a cool sombrero when, by their comments, it must have been some sort of cowboy hat. But it did not look like what he thought a cowboy hat looked like. So what did they mean exactly?

How to explain this? How to protect him? Little Brother knows some (real) Hispanic Americans, but none who wear that kind of garb. (Hey NPR’s Juan Williams! Check out Muslims Wearing Things at Tumblr.com.) (click on link for more)

Minorities pummeled by ethnic stereotypes at Halloween and election time - AnnArbor.com

Thursday, October 28, 2010

AML: Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) celebration at downtown library Monday - AnnArbor.com

From 7-8:30 p.m. Nov. 1, the Downtown branch of the Ann Arbor District Library will have a celebration of the Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, for adults and teens (grade 6 and up) with local artists Gabrielle and Juan Javier Pescador and a performance by a traditional Aztec Dance Group directed by Estrella Torrez.

From an Ann Arbor District Library announcement:

Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) celebrations in Mexico date back almost 3,000 years! The festival that became the modern Day of the Dead fell in the ninth month of the Aztec calendar, about the beginning of August, and was celebrated for an entire month. (click on link for more)

Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) celebration at downtown library Monday - AnnArbor.com

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

AML: 'Indivisible' South Asian American poets to have reading at U-M on Monday - AnnArbor.com

I once read back ten years’ worth of "The Best American Poetry," cover to cover, volume after volume, systematically going back in time, not understanding why

I was not “getting” this poetry that was supposed to be the best, wondering if I just was not smart enough. The last poem I read, the one that made me finally stop, took place in a Thai restaurant, with a Chinese gang scheming in a back room and the restaurant owner’s son dressed as a (Japanese) samurai warrior, snarling. Snarling! It was a strange juxtaposition of tired old stereotypes, but I did not get the sense that the writer knew they were tired old stereotypes. I think the scene made sense to him.

Then I realized one of the reasons the poetry was not resonating with me was that I had such a different experience of the world. I then started reading Asian American poetry and although not all the experiences were the same as mine, finally, I could see the images and feel the emotions and hear the music in the words. The best American poetry comes from a wide range of Americans.

At 4 p.m. on Nov. 1 at 3222 Angell Hall, we have an opportunity to hear the South Asian American poets featured in "Indivisible: An Anthology of Contemporary South Asian American Poetry". There will be a discussion facilitated by Ph.D. candidate Manan Desai at 4 p.m., and a poetry reading at 5 p.m. by "Indivisible" authors Neelanjana Banerjee (editor), Faisal Mohyuddin, and Sejal Shah. (click on link for more)

'Indivisible' South Asian American poets to have reading at U-M on Monday - AnnArbor.com

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Adventures in Multicultural Living: Learning about the world through the humility and idealism of the Peace Corps - AnnArbor.com

When I was living in Kathmandu, Nepal, many years ago, working for various international development agencies, I was often mistaken for a Peace Corps volunteer, usually as I was hovering around a buffet table.

The nice people who were hosting whatever party or reception I had crashed would invariably ask: “Honey, are you Peace Corps? You must have just come in from the field. Here, have another piece of pizza.”

I was embarrassed, of course, to be caught hovering, and I worried about how hungry and dirty I must look, but since my mouth was invariably full, I could not stop them from loading up my plate.

Today, I am still not sophisticated and I still hover chronically around buffet tables, however, with all the Peace Corps’ 50th anniversary celebrations at the University of Michigan last week, I cannot help but be moved by the idealism that inspired it. (click on link for more)

Learning about the world through the humility and idealism of the Peace Corps - AnnArbor.com

Friday, October 22, 2010

NAM EthnoBlog Adventures in Multicultural Living Unwittingly changing the world around us

Oct 22, 2010 10:40 AM New America Media Ethnoblog

A Palestinan American friend, upon learning where I lived, recalled that while growing up in Ann Arbor, his best friend’s family used to live at the end of my street. It was like his second home, and he and his friends used to go back and forth between the two houses all the time, especially during the summer. He said that even though the other family has long since moved away, his mom still goes there to pick grape leaves that now grow through the back fence into the park. Unwittingly touching and changing the world and people around us.

click on link for more: Adventures in Multicultural Living - NAM EthnoBlog

Thursday, October 21, 2010

AML: Wu Wenguang's 'At Home in the World' documentary film being shown Saturday - AnnArbor.com

During the University of Michigan’s LSA ChinaNow Theme Year, 2007-2008, Wu Wenguang’s film "Bumming in Beijing: The Last Dreamers" was shown to great applause at the Michigan Theater. It was followed by a conversation with the filmmaker, who is considered to be one of the founding figures of Chinese independent documentary. The film examines the lives and art of five Beijing artists who reject their state-assigned jobs and housing security to pursue their artistic vision.

At 7 p.m. Oct. 23 at Angell Hall Auditorium A, the University of Michigan Center for Chinese Studies Chinese Film Series will be showing "At Home in the World", another Wenguang film which follows up on the five Beijing artists featured in "Bumming in Beijing" to see where they are years later. The film is in Mandarin with English subtitles. (click on link for more)

Wu Wenguang's 'At Home in the World' documentary film being shown Saturday - AnnArbor.com

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

AML: Congress designates October as Filipino American History Month - AnnArbor.com

Congress has designated October as Filipino American History Month.

On Oct. 18, 1587, the first Filipinos ("Luzones Indios") set foot on what would one day be American soil at Morro Bay, Calif. They were explorers, Filipino sailors working on the Manila-built Spanish galleon Nuestra Señora de Buena Esperanza under the command of Captain Pedro de Unamuno.

In 1763, the first permanent Filipino American settlement in the United States was established in St. Malo, La., by Filipino sailors who abandoned the Spanish galleons on which they served because of chronic mistreatment. They became known in Louisiana as “The Manilamen” and pioneered shrimp harvesting techniques.

Today, the Filipino American community is the second-largest Asian American ethnic group in the United States. Filipino Americans are recognized for their contributions in the American armed services, the medical professions, the arts, business, government, sports, technology, and more. (click on link for more)

Congress designates October as Filipino American History Month - AnnArbor.com

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Adventures in Multicultural Living: Unwittingly touching and changing the world and people around us - AnnArbor.com

A Palestinan American friend, upon learning where I lived, recalled that while growing up in Ann Arbor, his best friend’s family used to live at the end of my street. It was like his second home, and he and his friends used to go back and forth between the two houses all the time, especially during the summer. He said that even though the other family has long since moved away, his mom still goes there to pick the grape leaves that now grow through the back fence into the park.

Hey, I know that house.

My Lebanese American neighbor also goes to the same secret spot to pick grape leaves with which to make dolmas.

That night as I ran my dog around the block, I found an errant grape plant that had migrated and planted itself in the front yard of that house and had begun to trellis itself up a utility pole. I touched its leaves and thought about the immigrants that have come before and how no one knows all the small ways one touches and changes the world and people around us. (click on link for more)

Unwittingly touching and changing the world and people around us - AnnArbor.com

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

AML: University of Michigan kicks off Peace Corps 50th anniversary celebrations with national symposium and more - AnnArbor.com

Posted: Oct 12, 2010 at 6:12 AM [Oct 12, 2010]

This week marks the fiftieth anniversary of the night then-presidential candidate John F. Kennedy stood on the steps of the Michigan Union at 2 a.m. and asked University of Michigan students if they would be willing to help promote peace by taking their skills to work in developing countries around the world, saying:

How many of you who are going to be doctors, are willing to spend your days in Ghana? Technicians or engineers, how many of you are willing to work in the Foreign Service and spend your lives traveling around the world? On your willingness to do that, not merely to serve one year or two years in the service, but on your willingness to contribute part of your life to this country, I think will depend the answer whether a free society can compete. I think it can!


Out of that call was born the Peace Corps.

The University of Michigan is kicking off a year of national celebrations by hosting a series of events this week, including a national symposium on the future of international service, lectures, art exhibits, films, and a commemoration of Kennedy’s middle-of-the-night speech.

click on link for more: University of Michigan kicks off Peace Corps 50th anniversary celebrations with national symposijavascript:void(0)um and more - AnnArbor.com

Sunday, October 10, 2010

ADVENTURES IN MULTICULTURAL LIVING--Welcome to Lake Wobegon—Gateway to Southeastern Michigan???

Principal Karr noticed the words on my sweatshirt peeking out from under my jacket and smiled wryly, “I like your Lake Wobegon shirt.”

Instantly embarrassed, I hurriedly zipped up my jacket a little further to hide the words. A vestige of younger days, I only wear this sweatshirt when I am biking or running so that no one can see it (because I am speeding by too fast). Yet I cannot bring myself to simply throw or give it away because, as the child of immigrants, I cannot waste a perfectly good shirt. I have to “use it up” first. (This is a problem I have, I know.)

In college, my best friend Martin and I used to listen to A Prairie Home Companion together every Sunday afternoon—he in his apartment, I in mine two blocks away, and then we would call each other afterwards to discuss. (I don’t know; it made sense at the time.) When A Prairie Home Companion was going off the air in 1987, we entered the lottery for two free tickets to see the last show—with nary a thought of how we would get there if we actually won.

click on link for more: Welcome to Lake Wobegon—Gateway to Southeastern Michigan??? - AnnArbor.com

Voices of Adoption RainbowKids.com--AML: Rhythms of the Season - getting grounded at our local chinese grocery store after a long summer away

October 10, 2010/ Frances Kai-Hwa Wang/ Voices of Adoption RainbowKids.com

After a long trip away from home, one of the first things I always do upon our return is take all the kids to buy groceries at our favorite Chinese grocery store. I love watching them zip around, squealing as they load up our basket, “Ooooh! It’s been so long since we’ve had cong you bing!” “Xiao long bao! I want xiao long bao!” and “I haven’t seen this kind of zhu rou gan in soooooo long!”

At Tsai Grocery, the kids and I all know what and where everything is. There is none of the uncertainty that comes with travel and being in new and unfamiliar environs. Our tested and favorite brands are there where they always are. We recall our favorite dishes that we have missed all summer. We find comfort and grounding here among the steamed buns. We have not really come home until we replenish our pantry and cook our first meal together.

click on link for more: Adventures in Multicultural Living--Rhythms of the Season - getting grounded at our local chinese grocery store after a long summer away

Friday, October 8, 2010

Adventures in Multicultural Living: 'Living Dreams' recalls youth during the 80s; play to premiere to Saturday - AnnArbor.com

A set of two plays, together called “Living Dreams: Memories of the 1980s Generation,” will premiere 7 p.m. Saturday, October 9 at Stamps Auditorium in the Walgreen Drama Center on the University of Michigan North Campus. Entirely written, directed and acted by students in the University of Michigan Chinese Student Drama Club, Zhen Shi Yin, the plays recall the youth and education of this generation of students born in China during the 1980s.

The first play is performed in English and tells, with humor, about the culture in which these students grew up, went to school and began dating. It is a light and easy cultural exchange with singing and dancing and martial arts and hopes to introduce American audiences to the students’ background so that both groups will better understand each other as they study and work together now.

The second play is performed in Mandarin Chinese with English subtitles and engages more sentimentally in the memories and longings and identities of these students recalling their favorite music, books, school traditions and pop culture while growing up in China before setting off for study in America. Again, the hope is cultural exchange, to recall and share the details of youth, including fun things like radio gymnastics.

click on link for more: 'Living Dreams' recalls youth during the 80s; play to premiere to Saturday - AnnArbor.com

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Adventures in Multicultural Living: Dia de la Familia celebration planned at Ann Arbor District Library on Sunday - AnnArbor.com

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, the Ann Arbor District Library will be celebrating with Dia de la Familia, or Day of the Family, on Sunday, Oct. 10 from 1-4 p.m. at the downtown library branch.

Dia de la Familia will feature Latino-focused entertainment, games, crafts, food, face painting, health screenings and resources that address mental, physical and social health issues in the Hispanic American community.

click on link for more: Dia de la Familia celebration planned at Ann Arbor District Library on Sunday - AnnArbor.com

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Advenures in Multicultural Living: Only in the Midwest: Trying to line up stereotypes, cultural background, intuition and reality - AnnArbor.com

Starting a new season, cycle 3 for Adventures in Multicultural Living, and what a way to begin! (lots of interesting comments on what i thought was a completely innocent article about the Midwest)


My son and I were biking on our cool blue and gold Trail-a-Bike down Green Road on our way to soccer practice Thursday evening, when a tall, trim, gray-haired, nicely dressed, 50-ish gentleman in a shiny black BMW pulled over in front of us and waved at us to stop.

My first reaction came out of my old big city training, “Who is this crazy old white guy and what is he trying to do to us? Kidnap us? Dismember us?”

(I have been reading Maya Angelou and she cannot help worrying about what crazy thing white people might do next, her experience finds them completely unpredictable.)

click on link for more: Only in the Midwest: Trying to line up stereotypes, cultural background, intuition and reality - AnnArbor.com

Friday, October 1, 2010

Adventures in Multicultural Living: "Getting Home" kicks off UM Chinese Film Series Saturday - AnnArbor.com

Starting a new season, cycle 3 for Adventures in Multicultural Living

The University of Michigan Center for Chinese Studies kicks off this semester’s (free) Chinese Film Series in Angell Hall Auditorium A with a showing of Zhang Yang’s Getting Home (Luo Yu Gui Gen), a “soulful and humane comedy,” in which a middle-aged migrant construction worker struggles to fulfill his best friend’s dying wish to be buried in his hometown, China’s Three Gorges region, hundreds of miles away—by carrying him there.

Based on a true story, the filmography promises to be stunning (filmed in Yunnan), with interesting food for thought about the lives of migrant workers and the stratification of society. It has also been described by BeyondHollywood.com as “a road film in the purest sense.”

click on link for more: "Getting Home" kicks off UM Chinese Film Series Saturday - AnnArbor.com
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