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Archive for October, 2012

Truth about Cambodian Murder – Huffington Post

Once the site of the senseless genocide by the Khmer Rouge, Cambodia has still a long way to go to protect the civil rights of its people. Chut Wutty, an environmental and human rights crusader of Cambodia, was shot and killed by the military police while he tried to protect the Cambodian jungle from illegal logging. What is even more outrageous is that those who were responsible for his death were hardly punished at all.

Even though there were witnesses who saw what happened from just a few feet away, analyses of wound trajectory, fingerprints and ballistics that all told one story, the man responsible was effectively only sentenced to two months in prison for committing an “unintentional murder.” Many think that this ruling was politically motivated, and that the government did what it can to help protect the powers who got Wutty killed.

In the US, even if it took a long time, cases of oppression have been stopped in one way or another through its democratic government. In the case of Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court rulings were able to stop the segregation of blacks from schools. What one part of the government was allowing, the other could stop. However, in the oppressive monarchy of Cambodia, parts of the government are only helping each other cover up its wrongdoings, and innocent people are paying the price. As Obama is about to visit Cambodia and possibly change the way that  our countries interact, I hope that soon justice will be able to serve each citizen of Cambodia, and not just its rulers.

-Annie(eac233)

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Read the full article here(http://www.8asians.com/2012/10/26/college-administrator-resigns-over-too-many-chinese-students/#more-13760)

I was first surprised that an admission officer resigned because the university recruited too many Chinese students. University of San Francisco administrator resigned due to aggressive recruitment of Chinese nationals. 781 out of 10071 students are Chinese nationals this year. I think 781 out of 10071 is not a significantly “aggressive” recruitment of Chinese people. Moreover, University officials should not scapegoat just one officials to cover up other people’s criticism that there are too many Chinese students who are not capable of speaking and listening to English. There are English standards that all international applicants should meet prior to get the admission. Moreover, it is the University which issued ‘conditional’ acceptance to those students even though their English efficiency does not meet the criteria.

I think it is not just one admission officer’s fault. It is the University’s fault that they did not follow the standard they set. Moreover, they should acknowledge the fact that they admitted more Chinese people who are capable of paying full tuition without the financial aid from the university. Since their financial strength diminishes due to the financial crisis in 2008, they start to accept more international students who are willing to pay full tuition and does not seek the financial aid from the university. I see a lot of Chinese people and other international students at Cornell. I do not blame Chinese people for the surge in USF or Cornell or many other universities. They are not the one to be blamed. Their English skills may be under the standard because they did not speak English as their native language. However, if the University wants to ask for the responsibility to someone else for allegedly “deteriorating academic atmosphere” because of too many Chinese people, and the diversity is being broken down due to too many Chinese people, the University should blame itself for seeking the money that Chinese and other international students pay in full amount and for trying to make up for their financial hardship by accepting more international students without giving them needed financial aids.

I, myself as one of international students, do not think that the admission officer is not one for to be blamed. I think the University should admit that they accepted more Chinese students because they wanted the money, and try to come up with a solution which is better than just pressuring one admission officer to resign. There should be more rigorous admission standards which the University will not  adjust or interpret as what it wants. If they find some international students who do not possess English skills that they want, they should work on the English standards or on preparing more resources for helping them learn English, not blame admission officers for admitting too many international students.

– Barom(by48)

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Access article here.

Throughout the decades, Asian-Americans have gradually become the best-educated, highest-earning and fastest-growing racial group in the United States. The selected WSJ article explores some of the factors attributable to such success of Asian-Americans – motivations behind the so-called notion of “model minority” as discussed in class during the recent weeks.

Of course, as clearly demonstrated by the case of American Jews, the success of a specific group as primarily measured by economic status and educational attainment is often accompanied by detestation and prejudice from the majority group. One of the article’s explanation for Asians’ avoidance of American hostility (although even this statement itself is questionable) is indicative of Asian’s cultural characteristics and tendencies: that Asian Americans possess deeply ingrained modesty and physiognomies whose expressiveness is often lost on Western eyes.

Taking a closer look at the occupational distribution among Asian American population, this is rather plausible; Asian-Americans are undoubtedly underrepresented in realms of activity like politics and entertainment, reflective of Asian cultural prohibitions against public emoting play a role in these choices. Instead of appearing at a political debate or on televised shows, many have found satisfaction in doing pro bono work as lawyers, or to serve in public clinics as doctors.

At the same time, however, the perceived success of Asian-American assimilation into the United States poses a very interesting question: is this necessary a successful adaptation? First of all, the idea of model minority is a concept crafted by the Americans. By putting efforts to fit into this definition of success, there  is inevitably a slight implication of Western superiority and admittance that the Western standards are correct. While the West has benchmarked wealth and educational attainment as measures of success and assimilation, as some of the class-readings suggest, some racial groups – such as Cambodia Americans – may have alternate definitions of success and happiness that drive them to take up occupations that may not be thought of as respectable by the Americans. In such a case, then, are Cambodian immigrants necessarily less successful in adapting in living in the United States, even if they may be content – often times more so than other racial groups who attempt to abide to the ideal minority model – with their immigration lives as well?

Therefore, when we speak of the rise of the tiger nations and cases of successful Asian immigrants in the United States, we must also think about the potential dark sides of the implications as well. The possibility that they have lost their colors and mold and shape themselves into the righteous model minority figures is definitely one form of cost that we should not overlook.

-By Jill (ds632)

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Read Article Here

The Japanese occupation of the Korean peninsula is a dark time in histories of Japan and both Koreas.  One of the most controversial aspects of the occupation is comfort women, the term used to describe women, not only Korean but also Chinese and even Australian, taken as sex slaves for the Japanese army.  While women were undoubtedly gathered and forced to serve as sex slaves, the Japanese government has an inconsistent past recognizing comfort women and in their efforts to compensate them.

As discussed in the blog post, Japanese officials approached the mayor of Palisades Park, New Jersey to remove a small monument for comfort women earlier this year.  The request represents more than simply a physical monument but it demonstrates, once again, the unwillingness to acknowledge their actions.* My grandparents actually reside in Palisades Park and the article fails to mention the town is essentially an ethnic enclave of Koreans (over 50% of the population).  For Koreans (especially the older generation), this bold move by the Japanese government resurfaces painful memories of occupation and its aftermath for Koreans worldwide.  For example, during the occupation, Koreans in the Hawaii united to form organizations to support their homeland.  While the Japanese occupied the Korean peninsula, Koreans in America lost their political identity and they were barred from becoming American citizens.  Thus, not only does the request further exacerbate tensions between Japan and Korea but also builds upon the issues of belonging Koreans, and other Asians, have faced.

*Some scholars juxtapose this with the great lengths the Germans have gone to repair relations with Israel.

– Johanna

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Read the article here.

The state of the economy is one of the most addressed topics in the upcoming presidential election. As part of addressing the economy and foreign policy, both candidates have brought the relationship between the U.S. and China center stage.  Although both candidates have expressed that they are displeased with China’s tactics, Stan Grant states in his article that we should come to respect, rather than fear China’s growth. This article drew many parallels to the Chinese migrant experience, and the exclusionary nature of American politics.

An interesting aspect of this article is that it frames China as the “land of opportunity”- a title previously held by the United States. Grant interviews an American, Jonathon Levine, who took a position abroad after he was unable to find a job in the U.S. This is very similar to Asian migrants who left their respective homelands to seek work in America. One reason these migrants left was that the economy in their homeland began to decline due to competitive international trade. This is similar to Levine’s case in that he left because he could not find work, saying “In the States everyone is so mopey — it is the end of the world, no jobs, and income inequality is through the roof”. Therefore, in both cases, migration to another country with a thriving economy was the solution to unemployment and unstable income.

The other theme from Asian American history that is present in this article is the exclusionary nature of American politics. The article includes multiple quotes from the presidential candidates which present China as a “currency manipulator” and insist that the U.S. needs to put “trade pressure on China”. Both presidential candidates also isolated China in their discussions of foreign policy and presented Chinese growth in a negative manner.In response to these views, the United States has  “boost[ed] its military presence” in Japan, South Korea, and Australia. Instead of building a trade relationship based on trust, the U.S.’s actions are seen “as an attempt to block the emerging super power’s rise.” These politics are reminiscent of the Chinese Exclusion Acts and the Immigration Act of 1924. Both acts limited the number of people who could immigrate to the United States due to fear that the immigrants may infiltrate the population. The United States therefore passed legislation in order to preserve the dominance of its’ citizens. The current U.S.- China relationship shows a similar perspective: the United States, instead of embracing change and building strong ties, is taking action to protect its economic position. Although some efforts have been made towards strengthening this relationship, the recent U.S. military actions and the Chinese reaction to Clinton’s recent visit reflect distrust between the two nations. In order to move forward, the United States should work closely with China to benefit both nations, instead of singling out China as an economic enemy.

-Rebecca (rv88)

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Article Link

Representative Steve King defended his comment comparing selecting visa recipients with choosing bird dogs. He originally said that just as you don’t choose the bird dog “that’s sleeping in the corner,” you should have a similar mindset when selecting immigrants to grant visas to. He claims that the purpose of the comment was to simply say that there is a great selection from all over the world, and the US has the power to take the best of them. However without this explanation, it seems like what this comment does is try to itemize immigrants by their value only. It pretends like human beings are nothing more than commodities that a country can choose to reject or accept.

Regardless of King’s benign intentions, a parallel can be drawn between this comment and the mindset of Americans in the 19th and early 20th centuries. At that time most immigrants came as laborers. As such a high number of young Asian males were admitted into the country compared to women. Farmers also preferred single male workers over married couples or families because it was much easier to shove all the young male workers into a crowded barn than it was to provide individual houses for families, like the Spanish or Mexican immigrants demanded (Espiritu). This led to a terribly skewed ratio of men and women among early Chinese immigrants, and stripped them of their chance to form nuclear families.

It makes sense that countries would want brilliant doctors and scientists or other influential people to come into their countries instead of someone who showed no promise at all. But more care could be given to the analogies one uses to describe this if one wanted to avoid offending  all immigrants out there.

-Annie

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Read the article here at the New York Times.

This article is a good example of the ways different minority movements in America intertwined, and people found common ground with one another. Filipino-American history has taken a slightly different turn from the experiences of other Asian Americans since their status of U.S. nationals exempted them from the 1924 immigration exclusion act and allowed them to be exploited as colonized peoples in ways other Asian immigrants were not. But their struggles to attain citizenship and acknowledgement for their contributions to America follow a similar narrative. Male Filipino workers, like many male Chinese workers, came to America as cheap labor and lived in segregated bachelor communities. Other Filipino men felt they could prove their loyalties and worthiness of citizenship by fighting in WWII for the American army, like Japanese Americans. One can see how the fights of one ethnic identity can be linked to others into a larger racial history.

Here, Mr. Itliong’s life also demonstrates the way in which the Asian American experience was able to reach out and connect with other groups. Filipino and Latino workers put aside historical enmity to join together to make the United Farm Workers. As we said in class, Asian Americans didn’t confine themselves to only Asian American activism. There was a conscious effort to form bonds with other oppressed minorities over shared and similar experiences to fight for a better future. At a time when the country’s immigration policy was changing and would affect Asian and Latino immigrants in different ways, here was a merging of interests for the common minority laborer.

Unfortunately, Mr. Itliong and his fellow Filipino Americans have been obscured in the history of this labor movement. Asian Americans sometimes have to reassert their presence in America, to prove that they have taken part in American events, and that they too are part of America’s long history; it seems that here is one more place where they must do so.

– Rachel (ryw6)

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