Thursday, August 23, 2007


A theme (I guess you can say) that I have grown to really embrace is one that focuses on the concept of empathy, which revolves around the idea of looking outside one's perspective and seeing the world through the eyes of another. I mean, how can we really understand what someone else is feeling unless we actually take a second to see how things are through their perspective. We all have different experiences and have grown up in various environments, which mean that certain words/actions may be taken to be offensive in certain contexts to some people than to others. Are some people more sensitive than others? Of course there are sensitive people (I at times can be sensitive to controversial situations), but it is not just sensitivity alone that results in individuals taking a certain road over another.

When I was in high school, I was bombarded by degrading remarks and harassed by a group of Indians (people of my same ethnicity) only because I didnt fit the supposed 'norm' of what it meant to be Indian. I didnt partake in the "recreational activities" that they did and didnt want to associate myself with that kind of behavior. They took as me thinking Im too good for them or something along those lines and for the last two years of my high school run, I felt a great deal of their wrath in so many ways: words, actions, threats, etc. It seems like years ago when this went down, but Ive grown from that. The scars remain (figuratively speaking) and I use those scars as a reminder of the kind of pain that people all over the world must be feeling. Regardless of the degree, pain is pain and we need to realize that sometimes our words/actions can hurt others in ways we may not fully understand. Our grasp of the world (our own perspectives) are limited: what we see and believe is not gospel. There is so much out there that we have yet to tackle or even taken steps to comprehend, but it's still out there.

Racism, terrorism, disease, etc. are only a few of the many problems that are affecting people all over the world. The unfortunate reality is that it is impossible to fully eradicate all the problems that plague the world we live in, but we (those of us who are privileged to live in this great United States) can take steps to help those less fortunate: those who wake up in the morning and feel as though no matter what they say or do, their day will not be any different from the day before and that process will continue indefinitely. Every human being deserves a chance to live their lives to the fullest with respect and appreciation. Im not saying you have to go out there and raise a couple trillion dollars to make a difference: donate to charity, volunteer, learn about issues affecting your community and educate those who seem to be confused or misguided. These are the little things that can make the biggest impact: it's just a matter of having faith in yourself and a drive to make change.

Regardless of what I experienced in high school, the irony is that it catapulted me to wanting to do so much more for the cultural community as a whole and really work hard in regards to advocacy. I hope that at least someone reading this entry will be inspired to make that type of difference in the world. There's nothing about me that makes me a better leader than anyone else: Im just someone who knows what he wants in life and just went straight for it. That's all Im asking....follow your passion and make a difference...


I apologize to all those who have been looking forward to reading the various blog entries that are aimed to educate the wider public on the issues and news-worthy events that are of great significance to the Asian American community (in some capacity). With the transition back into the academic setting (this being my senior year in college), it took me awhile to get back into the swing of things. Rest assured: I aim to let this blog continue riding the course that it was intended to do.

And so, it begins once again...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

OCA's 2008 National Annual Convention

Save the Date!
OCA's 2008 National Annual Convention
July 31 - August 3, 2008
Washington Hilton | Washington DC
Celebrating 35 years of leadership and commitment!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Monsoon Death Toll: 2000

The one thing I have a hard time understanding is why there is little to no actual media coverage on the catastrophic monsoon that has taken the lives of 2000 people, as well as resulting in thousands suffering from severe health issues. Millions have been displaced from their homes and the situation is growing more and more unfortunate for those who reside in the certain areas of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.

Besides the coverage of the war in the Middle East, there does not seem to be much of an effort placed upon characterizing such environmental catastrophes that have greatly affected the lives of millions. Why is important that we take the time to actually understand what is going on in the world? Well, at least to me, I would like to think that this would be a gateway for individuals to take some type of initiative to making an impact that could greatly assist those who are in dire need of help.

I personally feel that it is important for individuals like us, who are so fortunate to have the opportunities and luxuries that come with living in America, to actually remember that there are people in this world who are less fortunate (a lot less) and it is not because of any wrong-doing, but rather, they unfortunately were dealt a life of hardship. You know, we hear stories about children in developing nations who dream of going to school and who wish they could experience sanitary living conditions and yet, we take these things for granted without realizing that what seems standard for us, is a luxury for millions around the world.

It is devastating to think about how those affected by the monsoon must be feeling right now, because their lives are greatly changed by an environmental catastrophe that was evidently out of their control and now, all they can do is rely on some miracle that they will receive the proper aid and care to move on. The unfortunate reality though is that there is not enough money or resources to really help those in need.

In some way, shape or form: make a difference. It really does not take a lot of time to set up charity drives or fundraisers with the goal of using whatever is raised to help those who could really benefit from it. I know I have not done my full share yet, but it is a personal goal of mine to set something up that could evidently make an impact in regards to raising awareness of global issues, and helping those much less fortunate than we are.

I will keep you all posted once I figure something out and any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. It's all a matter of taking that first step and I really believe that those of us who support MAASU can make an impact through this way....

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Elaine Quijano (White House Correspondent for CNN)

From time to time, I want to be able to put up articles that don't focus heavily on issues, so that we are able to see the more optimistic side to the cultural world. I found this informative interview with Elaine Quijano, who is the current White House Correspondent for CNN (and who happens to be an alumna of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign...whoo!).

Definitely check out the article and see what Ms. Quijano is all about....

Monday, August 6, 2007

Asian Americans: Eating Disorders

This is probably one of the most informative articles I have read in awhile. It focuses upon how eating disorders seem to be a growing concern for Asian American women as they try to emanate what the American culture has deemed "beautiful". I mean, let's face it: growing up in today's world, a great majority of us are constantly concerned with how we look in hopes that we don't fall outside of what is considered acceptable in regards to physical appearance: any deviation from this standard would result in personally feeling self-conscious and an outsider to the rest of one's peers. Do you remember the old saying that 'it's not what is on the outside that counts, but what is on the inside'? Realistically though, this unfortunately does not always apply...

The need to fall within the realm of "beauty" is an issue that many women are confronted with and as can be seen from this article, many feel that the only way to come even close to being "truly beautiful" is to unhealthily lose weight in order to embody America's depiction that beauty exists predominantly in those who are slim. Since Asian American women usually cannot embody characteristics that distinguish Caucasian women from other cultures (blonde hair, blue eyes, etc), weight seems to be the easiest means for these women to attain that mark of beauty.

What is shocking is that there are some who assume that Asian American women are "immune" to eating disorders but the reality is that this belief is far from the truth. There seems to be a rising trend among Asian American women to embody the Western perception of beauty and thus, puts many women in serious risk in regards to their health.

The clash of the American culture with that of one's Asian American is expected to occur with individuals of Asian descent growing up in a country with a distinct culture from that of many Asian nations. Trying to find that balance or a means of defining themselves in this complex environment is truly a difficulty that many grapple with quite often in life. But with the added pressure of living up to the stereotype that Asian Americans should be standing on a higher pedestal than that of their peers (Model Minority Myth), many feel they have no choice but to bottle up all their frustrations, insecurities, etc. and just live their lives hoping that things will fall into place one day. That, however, is one of the biggest problems: without a means of opening up and just being able to express oneself (whether it be anger, sorrow, happiness or whatnot), individuals may feel isolated from the rest of the world for they feel that they are tackling issues and problems head-on without any means of support. These problems that are rising among many Asian American women are quite prevalent among individuals of both genders in cultures all across the globe, but the reality of the situation is that unless we find a means of reaching out to those who may feel out of place and reassure them that they do not need to reshape themselves so that they can fit the "Abercrombie" look.

It's hard not to think about fitting this mold when we are constantly bombarded by the media with this but hopefully, we can steps now to educate those around us and hopefully help those we feel may be experiencing such problems. It really is amazing how powerful a listening ear can be....

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Pakistan: Obama = Ignorant

Awhile back, I wrote an entry characterizing how the Obama campaign made a remark against the Indian American community due to the belief that they are one of the main reasons that America is suffering from the effects of outsourcing. Now, it seems that Barack Obama has taken another swing at the South Asian community, but this time, Pakistan is the target of his remark.

As mentioned awhile back (but reiterated nonetheless), MAASU does not endorse any particular presidential candidate nor aligns itself with any one political party. Obama stated that if he were elected to the presidency, then he would make sure to send US troops into Pakistan in order to attack the terrorists that are presumed to be dwelling there (with or without President Musharraf's approval). The problem with this remark is that Obama seems to automatically assume that he can deploy our nation's troops into any country as long as there is a strong belief that terrorists are there. For some reason, the "Iraq War" seems to pop into my head all of a sudden...

Though America may be viewed by many as a leading superpower in the global community, it should not automatically assume that it has the right to throw its troops anywhere without the consent of the leaders of the targetted nation. I do understand that many feel strongly against the terrorists who wreaked so much havoc on 9/11 and would want nothing more than to bring those responsible to justice, but the unfortunate reality is that the only way we can do this is to learn to cooperate with other leaders, rather than spearheading a project and assuming that the world will join our bandwagon to end terrorism (didn't work with the war in Iraq and I'm doubting it will work now...)

What we may not even realize is that in the news when we hear about car bombings and suicide bombers killing a certain number of individuals, what we may not realize off the bat is that these individuals targetted are mostly innocent civilians who are unfortunately caught in the middle of a conflict with no resolution in sight. The US should be trying to be making allies with the world, rather than throwing its weight around and asserting a level of dominance that may place those who live in such areas in far greater danger than one may realize.

Foreign policy is a key area in regards to the role of the President of the United States and Obama's statement that Pakistan should be targetted is in many ways a foolish remark, because it places a negative light on the people of Pakistan, as well as creates the assumption that this nation should be the next on America's terrorist hitlist: there are innocent civilians who live in that nation and who may unfortunately feel the effects of America's attacks that are supposed to be aimed elsewhere.

Let's hope that Obama learns to modify his foreign policy and that whoever attains the presidency at the 08 elections has a better grasp of how to handle the current foreign crisis that has been left by the Bush administration and place the world in a better standing....

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Virginia Tech: Moving On

I'm sure we all remember the tragedy that occurred on April 16 at the Virginia Tech institution. It was truly a difficult time as students, very much like ourselves, were thrown into harm's way when one student attacked his peers in what is considered one of the worst tragedies to happen in an educational setting.

It was only a little over four months ago, but one can only wonder how those in Virginia Tech are coping with this situation. I definitely give props to the performers who will be giving a free concert in hopes that it will ease the tension that so many of these students feel they must carry.

It's not always easy picking up where you left off and going right back into the swing of things after a tragedy. I remember a very motivational statement I heard awhile back that really stuck to me when I first heard it a few years ago: "It's not the changes that matter; it's how you react to them that makes you who you are".

We all have experiences struggles in our lives, but rather than dwelling on these things, we should be more concerned with trying to determine how to overcome our problems and just make the most of ourselves. Obviously, it is a lot easier said than done, but for those who can rise above adversity to continue paving a road that transcends that of normality, they are the ones who have truly grasped what it means to enjoy life to the fullest and deserve a lot of respect for that.

I wish the best to all those who attend Virginia Tech: moving on will be difficult but it really makes an impact to just stand up and keep walking...

....and for those of you wondering, I first heard that quote from probably one of the greatest sources of motivation out there: the television show "Boy Meets World"

.....I kinda watched a lot of tv growing up.