Blog Contest Winner–Bad Romance

Congratulations to anonymous submitter Aaron X! Here’s an excerpt from her blog, Vanity

I’ve been having a terrible week.
http://www.mediabistro.com/agencyspy/files/original/bad-hair-day.jpg
….
Let’s just say I made my IMTHESHIT playlist.
http://images.contactmusic.com/videoimages/sbmg/beyonce-diva.jpg
It’s been playing on repeat.

Blog Contest Runner-up: The Future of China

Congratulations to Tony Wu, TC ’13, for his submission!

TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE

The year 2010 saw China surpassing Japan and becoming the world’s second largest economy by nominal GDP – merely one spot away from what most Chinese feel is their country’s inevitable position as the leading global superpower. As the son of two Beijingers, I am proud of how far the nation of my heritage has come since the beginning of Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms in 1978, but China’s growth is fractured.

Annual growth rates have averaged 9% for the last decade, and yet China’s GDP per capita hovers below $4,000, lower than that of Botswana, South Africa, and even Algeria. Corruption spans 15% of the entire economy and the wealthy elite exploit privatization to further perpetuate and widen the socioeconomic gap. Economic liberalization has hardly occurred – the state still has absolute power to censor, prosecute, and kill on a whim. All of these problems thrive behind the mask of China’s status as the poster child of globalization.

TIME TO STOP BARKING

There’s no doubt that China wants to assume the helm of world leader. It craves unrivaled global recognition and power that once defined (and perhaps still does) the United States at the dawn of the postmodern age.

China today has the money and might to accomplish great things, but while Chinese leaders complain about the West’s antagonism toward their country’s questionable development, their own behavior, in the words of the The Economist, has “done too little to reassure the outside world that China’s rise is something to be celebrated everywhere.”

For a country with as much to fix as it has gained, China retains a century-old nationalistically defensive attitude against international opinion and desperately needs a lesson in utilizing the soft power that has secured the longevity of the Western World. China is militant in its suppression of domestic transgressions (take Tibet) and hypocritical in its desire for tolerance from the global community – the PRC is openly critical of Western political and cultural standards without being able to stomach reciprocal commentary. The country as a whole seems just as ready to war with the world as it tries to garner respect.

In 2010, China may have become the second richest country on paper, but as an international leader it remains far from exemplary.

“Ground Zero Mosque” Imam talks tolerance

Guest Contributor Sam Greenberg, SY ’13

Imam Feisal Rauf, founder and chairman of the Cordoba Initiative, will give a talk on religious tolerance and interfaith cooperation at Yale on March 23 at 7:30 p.m. in Sheffield-Sterling Strathcona Hall, 1 Prospect Street. The discussion, organized by Jews and Muslims at Yale, will be moderated by Rabbi James Ponet, head of the Slifka Center for Jewish Life. It is free and open to the public.

Imam Rauf has received national and international attention for his efforts to increase understanding and acceptance between Americans and the modern Muslim world, which is the stated goal of the Cordoba Initiative. Among his projects is the Cordoba House near the World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan, the controversial proposal to build an Islamic Community Center to serve New York’s Muslim population. Imam Rauf also founded the American Society for Muslim Advancement, a nonprofit that works to build understanding between the general public and the Muslim community through dialogues in faith, identity, culture and arts.

The Imam’s talk will emphasize how moderate-minded Americans of all faiths and backgrounds can join together to promote peace and work against the forces of extremism. The undergraduate organization Jews and Muslims at Yale strives to create understanding and dialogue between Jews and Muslims in the Yale community on religious and political issues. The group seeks to foster strong ties and lasting friendships among its members that can help break down barriers and create new perspectives on present conflicts.

The event is generously co-sponsored by the Intercultural Affairs Council of Yale College, the Slifka Center for Jewish Life, the Yale Divinity School, and the Chaplain’s Office.

For more information on the Imam and the “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy, check out some articles on the topic here.

Interview with Phil Yu, Angry Asian Man

Phil Yu, founder of the blog Angry Asian Man, came to speak at the Korean American Students Conference (KASCON) at Yale. Celebrating its tenth anniversary, the blog draws tens of thousands of readers a day, covering everything Asian American from the recent outcry against UCLA student Alexandria Wallace to a quirky website featuring Asian perms. After attending his workshop packed with students eager to see the face behind Angry Asian Man, I got to chat with Mr. Yu about what gets him so angry.

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Interview with Korean American artist Clara Chung

Yale recently hosted Korean American singer Clara Chung at Transmission, an Asian American arts festival, on Feb. 27. Clara first rose to fame through her YouTube videos and has won numerous competitions, including Kollaboration, ISA 09: Los Angeles, and the KAC Media Creative Juice Night. Paul Han CC’14 and Brandon Wang JE ’14, writers for KASY’s publication, the Pulse, had a quick interview with Chung after the performance.

iheart(asian)cinema

Aside from the Oscars, co-hosted by James Franco (wouldn’t you hate to be working with that guy on a big project due on Monday?) and “that annoying girl” Anne Hathaway (my mother’s words; I’m rather fond of her), Yale also had the honor of playing host to renowned Japanese filmmaker Koreeda Hirokazu. I had been a fan of his ever since I saw the critically acclaimed 誰も知らない or Nobody Knows (2004), which a friend had recommended to me as being the most depressing movie she’s ever seen. And indeed, it was heartbreaking, but it was also a beautiful piece of work, subtle and poignant as a lot of the best in Japanese cinema can be.

I wasn’t able to attend the two workshops that were held over the weekend, but I did manage to catch a screening of Koreeda’s latest? work, Still Walking (2008). A narration over the course of roughly a day, the film is an in-depth portrait of a middle-class Japanese family, coming together in a clash of personalities while sharing an in an important common bond. Through the voice of older son, Koreeda tries to convey that family life is to be cherished and nourished. Beautiful and moving, the film certainly succeeded in invoking these sentiments.* I don’t think anything that I can write could do it justice, so maybe you should just check it out for yourself.

I could go on and on about East Asian/Southeast Asian cinema (Bollywood is a different genre altogether), but perhaps I’ll just leave you with this: Yes, there’s been a lot of film screenings this year—I don’t know when all the organizations started popping up/why they all decided to let us watch free movies—but I’m certainly not complaining. They’re really worth checking out if you can spare 2 hours of your regularly scheduled Hulu-watching. And I’m always open to movie (and drama!) recommendations, so drop a line if you’ve got something that everyone needs to see.**

* Actually, I was reminded of Tokyo Sonata (2008), another Japanese film that I had watched recently that also explores the Japanese family but with a slightly higher focus on the struggle of individual personalities to shine through in Japan’s familial structure and roles. It actually made me really angry for a good three-quarters of the film, but the mood it manages evokes modern-day Japanese society so poignantly that it’s hard not to look back on it fondly. Also worth a watch.

** Despite the content of this post humor is actually preferred! Not that I really understand absurdist Japanese humor (but so many puns ♥)…

Tomorrow — The Future of Afghan Feminism

Monday, 2/28 @ 4:30 pm: A talk with the co-founder of Women for Afghani Women in WLH 116. Sponsored by the Yale Afghanistan Forum, Women’s Center, Asian American Cultural Center, Reach Out, ISO, Muslim Students Association, and South Asian Studies Council. Read more about the Yale Afghanistan Forum at their blog.

LimeLight Launch Party: Watch the Oscars with us!

LimeLight Launch Party
Sunday, February 27th
7:30pm @ LC 211

Join us for some pizza and popcorn as we watch the unveiling of the Oscar winners this year!

We’ll also be talking a bit about our new organization LimeLight!
Come and learn about how to get FREE trips to Asian American Arts events in New York and New Haven area!

Everyone is welcome but you MUST RSVP to about.limelight@gmail.com if you are interested in attending, we’ll be ordering food for this and have limited spots!

Facebook Event Page: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=147530541975498#!/event.php?eid=147530541975498

That’s Why I Chose KASCON!

Video by Allen Zhang ‘TC ’11

KASCON, the largest ethnic specific conference run by students, will be held at Yale on March 18-20, 2011! Don’t forget to register at http://kascon25.eventbrite.com/ by the regular deadline on Feb. 16!

http://www.kascon.com/

The Case of the Zainichi: Preserving an Identity

“Ahnyoung…hase…you.”

He had a Korean last name, but he stumbled through this simple Korean phrase of hello, offering a series of quick bows as if he was embarrassed at his less than perfect Korean. As part of a mission trip to Tokyo last winter, I found myself fascinated by the conversation I had with the Waseda University student who was a third-generation member of the Zainichi Korean community in Japan. Even an ocean away, I could relate to the Waseda student’s question of identity and assimilation to the issues Asian Americans face in the U.S.

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