Hidden API issues and what Stanford students are doing about them

fall 2005, v.v, issue no.1
cover graphic by Stephanie Nguyen

4 10 15 18

Unspoken Issues.............................................................................................3
Hidden API issues and what Stanford students are doing about them

Abandoned in the Streets of Thailand......................................4
Witnessing the firsthand effects of prostitution among the orphans of Thailand

The Silent Killer...............................................................................6
Hepatitis B and the API Community

communicASIANS is published quarterly by the Asian American Activities Center (A³C). Views expressed in communicASIANS are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the A³C. communicASIANS welcomes all signed letters of opinion, which are subject to editing for length, accuracy and grammar.
contactcommunicasians@lists.stanford.edu Asian American Activities Center Old Union Clubhouse, Room 13 Stanford, CA 94305-3064

Saving More Than the Planet................................................8
APEN combating environmental racism

The Invisible Minority.......................................................................10
Kapatid’s efforts to encourage Filipino HS students to pursue higher education


Aid Exchange..............................................................................12
The ethics of receiving and giving aid when natural disasters strike

A Nobel Worthy Endeavor......................................................................14
Hidankyo fights for the “complete and unconditional elimination of nuclear weapons”

The Tennis Boom in Asia...........................................................................15
On the recent increase in the popularity of tennis in Asia

Three New Asian Americans on the Board of Trustees.........................16
The Board of Trustees welcomes Dr.Ying Ying Goh, Ross Walker and Jerry Yang

The A³C is Moving.................................................................................17
Starting winter quarter, the A³C will move due to the reconstruction of Old Union

Hai Binh Nguyen: The Racial Implications of Hurricane Katrina...................18 Liang Dong: Political Spaces and Transnational Politics.........................20

This issue of communicASIANS focuses on hidden Asian and Pacific Islander (API) issues and what Stanford students are doing about them. While brainstorming ideas for this issue’s feature, I started to think about the status of the API community in the United States. This made me wonder: Why focus just on hidden API issues? Clearly, there are many equally important concerns that affect people of all ethnicities. Why publish a magazine solely devoted to the API experience? The topics discussed in this magazine are relevant to students of all colors. Perhaps, the broader question I was asking was: With the accepting and egalitarian ideals of our



“Is race still an issue?”

Y2K generation, is race still an issue? Clearly, the days of overt racism in America are over. With the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, discrimination in public settings and in hiring practices effectively became illegal. Many people would argue that Martin Luther King Jr’s dream is very much a reality today. For instance, the recent Proposition 54 was loosely based on King’s vision of a future where all people “will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Also known as the Racial Privacy Initiative, Prop 54 was a California constitutional amendment that proposed a ban on the collection of racial or ethnic data by state agencies. Sounds good, right? If government agencies do not know a person’s race, discrimination against both minorities and majorities would cease to exist. Who better to set an example of equal treatment than the government? While superficially Prop 54 seemed like a movement towards equality, I believe the reason this proposition was so decisively struck down two years ago because many Californians realized that race still is very much an issue today. The primary objection to this proposition asserts that ignoring an individual’s race further hides disparities, instead of directly addressing them. Only by acknowledging these differences, addressing the inequalities, and embracing multiculturalism, can we work towards change. Stanford University is the epitome of racial diversity. With over half of the undergraduate student population self-identified as non-White, Stanford supports multiple ethnic centers, ethnic theme dorms, and hundreds of ethnic-focused student groups. The University even provides funding for the publication and distribution of this very magazine. This brings me back to my original question: Why select a feature focusing specifically on only API issues? Or more generally, why is this emphasis on multiculturalism and diversity important? First, I, too, believe that race is still an issue in America. Recently, the devastation of Hurricane Katrina has brought this issue to the forefront. Appropriately, two of our articles focus on the Hurricane and its aftermath. Second, there are many issues that manifest differently in or disproportionately affect ethnic minorities. Our feature articles range from topics on orphans and prostitution in Thailand to the underrepresentation of Filipinos in higher education. Finally, the API community has a distinct culture, history, and background giving them a unique perspective. I believe that there is value in providing a medium through which this voice can be heard. My hope is that this magazine will raise awareness of the many issues that chiefly affect the API Filipino Mentors and Mentees in the Kapatid program community. Furthermore, I believe that reading magazines such as communicASIANS has value for Asians and non-Asians alike. In order to build a truly multicultural and equitable society, Americans of all races and ethnicities must understand these issues and work together towards change.







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unspoken issues

photos courtesy of Amy Carlson, Stacy Magdaluyo, Solina Tith, and Linda Tran

hat comes to mind when someone says “API issues?” Common responses include model minority, immigration issues, and affirmative action. But what about orphans and child prostitution? The high prevalence of hepatitis B? Environmental racism in low-income communities? Or disparate representation in higher education? Though often unspoken and passed over by public attention, these issues do affect the API community. However, although these issues are often hidden from the public, they have not been completely neglected. Concerned and motivated individuals have played active roles in changing the reality of these situations. Some of these people are students, just like you, who acted upon their interest in a issue to make a positive impact on the world.

communicasians 3



Witnessing firsthand the effects of prostitution among the orphans of Thailand


by Amy Carlson

t night, the crowded streets of Pattaya teem with Thai men, who vigorously compete with each other to hustle prospective customers into local bars. Turning the corner onto Pattaya South Road, one of these purveyors traveled alongside me as I searched hopelessly for my companion. The fact that I was a young American female did nothing to discourage him. He only noted the blond hair and blue eyes, which marked me as a foreigner and therefore a potential source of revenue, as he proceeded to regurgitate his well-rehearsed sales pitch to me. I listened warily as he continued to ramble on in his

A smile to brighten your day

ed the thought of going home to Chicago for the summer. I listened eagerly one afternoon as my friend from Berkeley told me about a tiny orphanage located in the southeast region of Thailand. Two days later, I invested all of my personal savings into purchasing a plane ticket to Bangkok and enrolled as a summer volunteer at the Pattaya Orphanage. When I told my mother the news, she immediately voiced her concerns about my “ir-

Street children at the Pattaya Orphanage

Abandoned in the Streets of
broken English. “Hello, beautiful girl! You want sexy man or woman? I make you very happy tonight!” Without looking him in the eye, I mumbled “mai ow” (no thanks) and quickly walked away. To this day, I am still not quite sure how I ended up in Pattaya, Thailand three summers ago. Almost on a whim, I decided to travel to Thailand to spend the summer working at the Pattaya Orphanage, which resided in a more sheltered section of the city. My parents had gone through a complicated divorce during the winter of my freshman year, and I dread4 communicasians

rational” decision to travel across the world to a volunteer in a third world country. Being the stubborn 19-year-old idealist that I was at the time, I decisively told her that I would see her when I returned home in August. The next thing I knew, my mother was back on the phone to inform me of her own decision: she had decided to come with me. Two weeks later, we both boarded a Boeing 747 destined for Thailand, and neither of us knew what to expect. But when I first arrived at the bustling streets in Pattaya’s red light district, I suddenly realized how glad I was to have my

mother’s familiar face alongside my own. Today, the Children’s Rights Protection Center estimates that two million females in Thailand earn their living from prostitution, including 800,000 children under the age of sixteen. During the few months that we stayed in Pattaya, men poured into Thailand from all parts of the world. Despite strict laws banning the act of prostitution, the sex industry seems to be flourishing in this country. At the orphanage, I expected to be sheltered from the harsh realities of the Thai prostitution industry. However, I soon real-

feel increasingly discouraged. How could we even begin to combat child prostitution when it is so deeply ingrained in a society? Did I even have the right to assert my own views in this foreign country? I still do not have answers to those challenging questions – perhaps I never will. Nevertheless, I have returned to Pattaya with my mother every summer since then. I would like to believe that our work in the orphanage is contributing in some small way to the eventual eradication of prostitution in Thailand. If I can provide a small amount of hope and happiness in the life of even a single child, then perhaps that child will be less likely to become a victim of prostitution in the future. That single ray of hope, captured in the bright smiles of the Thai orphans, keeps me from giving up. ■

ized that the children with whom I was working with were themselves direct consequences of the prostitution industry. Sixty percent of the orphanage’s children were products of prostitution and hundreds of other similar children, primarily those infected with HIV virus, were living at a sister orphanage in Chiang Mai. Looking at these adorable children, I found it hard to believe that such beauty could stem from a malignant social institution. As I continued to read book after book on child prostitution in Thailand, I began to

Two million females in Thailand earn their living from prostitution, including 800,000 children under the age of sixteen.

Amy (right) and her sister (left) working in the baby room

photos courtesy of Amy Carlson

communicasians 5



Hepatitis B in the API Community

The Silent Killer
by Solina Tith HBV can be transmitted by blood, sharing needles, and unprotected sex. However, most carriers were infected as infants at birth or as young children. In fact, in a New England Journal of Medicine study of 226 refugees children from Southeast Asia, the greatest risk of infection occurred among children living in households with other children with HBV, suggesting that “child-to-child transmission may be occurring within and between households.” The Center for Disease Control (CDC) provides information for physicians on HBV prevention. For instance, a program for universal vaccination in US-born infants implemented by the CDC has reduced the incidence of HBV infections from 8.5 per 100,000 in 1990 to 2.8 per 100,000 in 2002. Unfortunately, HBV infection continues to be a major public health concern because there are many barriers to actually implementing these recommendations. Barriers include the lack of cultural competency of physicians regarding API patients, knowledge gaps regarding HBV, poor education and training programs regarding HBV, and limited availability of medical resources to physicians seeking such information. Some believe the main reason why HBV has not received much media attention or financial support for medical research and resources, is that the disease is not highly prevalent in Caucasian Americans. In fact, liver cancer is the greatest health disparity between API and Caucasian Americans. About one in ten API have chronic hepatitis B infection, compared to only one in a thousand Caucasian Americans. Additionally, studies have shown that Asians are ten times more likely than Caucasians to die of liver cancer. Studies have shown that physicians in certain areas in the United States do not


n California, liver cancer is one of the top five leading cancer-related causes of death for Asian and Pacific Islanders (API). Furthermore, 80 percent of these cases are caused by chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV). Individuals who have chronic HBV infection can also exhibit lethargy, anorexia, nausea or vomiting, abdominal pain, liver enlargement, or jaundice. However, one of the reasons why HBV infection, liver damage, and liver cancer caused by chronic HBV infection are not diagnosed is because carriers may feel perfectly healthy. Consequently, cirrhosis of the liver can lead to liver cancer and death in individuals as young as 30 years. Thus the disease is often called a “silent killer” because damage from HBV can progress without causing the carrier to exhibit any symptoms.
6 communicasians

photos courtesy of Solina Tith

What’s Being Done

(right) LIVERight, a joint effort by the Asian Liver Center and the Answer to Cancer Foundation, is a 5K run/walk benefiting hep B and liver cancer awareness. First held last May, LIVERight was a great success with almost 600 people participating. (top) Dr. Samuel So, the director of both the Liver Cancer Program and the Asian Liver Center at Stanford, recruits students to help spread awareness about the dangers of hepatitis B in the API community. During the summer, two Stanford undergraduates, Mark Hsu and Claire Liu, worked on projects in So’s lab. The Asian Liver Center remains the only non-profit organization to address the high prevalence of hepatitis B and liver cancer in the Asian community.

The Asian Liver Center (ALC) and the San Francisco Health Department joined together to create a unique program to provide low-cost hepatitis A and B vaccinations as well as testing for being a carrier of hepatitis B. The 3-shot vaccine offers protection against hepatitis B and the risk of liver cancer.

The ALC offers brochures, entitled Silent Killers: What Every Asian and Pacific Islander American Should Know About Hepatitis B and Liver Cancer.

consistently educate pregnant patients about the HBV vaccination. In a survey of 250 obstetric physicians in San Francisco, most respondents believe that even with recommendations and support from the medical community, additional barriers to complete HBV vaccination of infants exist. For instance, there is lack of education materials available in many different languages. Although the physicians have knowledge about the effectiveness of the HBV vaccination and acknowledge the importance of administering the first vaccination at birth, only 50% of the physicians actually educated parents about the HBV. Studies have also shown that over 50% of Asian American children between the ages of 5 and 18 have not received the HBV vaccination. Also, it is estimated that eight out of ten college students have not received the hepatitis B vaccination. To promote awareness about the disease, the Stanford students working for the Asian

The mission of the Jade Ribbon Youth Council is to encourage API youth to become leaders in the prevention and eradication of hepatitis B. The Jade Ribbon was selected as the emblem of the campaign because Asians consider jade to be the essence of heaven and earth. It is believed to bring good luck and longevity while deflecting negativity. Folded like the Chinese character meaning “person” or “people”, the Jade Ribbon also symbolizes the spirit of the campaign in bringing the API community together to help each other by spreading the message of hepatitis B and liver cancer prevention.

Liver Center (ALC) at Stanford University launched the Jade Ribbon Campaign in the Bay Area in May 2001. Since its inception, this multimedia campaign has launched public service announcements, radio shows, bus ads, informational lectures, and pamphlets available to the community. The ALC has also launched “3 for Life,” which offers lowcost screening and hepatitis B vaccinations for San Francisco residents. Most recently, the ALC organized “LIVERight,” the first

annual 5-kilometer run to raise awareness about hepatitis B and liver cancer at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. From my experiences as an ALC volunteer and as an independent researcher on issues surrounding hepatitis B, I believe that to decrease the prevalence of HBV in the API community, it is essential for the medical community to continue to develop and implement prevention activities, such as vaccine programs. ■
communicasians 7



Saving than the Planet
APEN combating environmental racism
by Linda Lee and Linda Tran



nvironmental issues or environmentalism is often associated with movements to preserve natural resources, saving trees and animals, and recycling. While all of these actions are important and necessary to building a sustainable world; it is crucial to note that discussions of significant issues about the environment often exclude the environment’s relationship to race, class, and gender. Thus, these environmentalist efforts fail to connect issues of pollution and degradation of the Earth to the people who are living in those areas of desecration. The Environmental Justice Movement emerged in the 1990s to redefine and expand notions of environmental work, making connections to the ways in which race, class, and

gender define who is and is not affected by environmental injustices. By expanding the definition of environmental work to include the communities that are affected, environmental justice organizations recognize that understanding people and the places in which the people live are crucial to accomplishing their environmentalist goals. Furthermore, environmental justice work is rooted in a critical understanding of environmental racism, or the fact that low-income communities of color are disproportionately affected by environmental injustices. According to the Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN), environmental racism refers to “any environmental policy, practice or action that negatively impacts

communities, groups, or individuals based on race/ethnicity.” Studies confirm that toxic facilities in the U.S. tend to be located in communities of color more often than in white communities. A local example of this is the current toxic waste dump in East Palo Alto, a large community of color located adjacent to Stanford. The fact that these practices consistently occur in low-income communities of color is no coincidence. These communities do not have the money or political clout to force policy makers to move these industries elsewhere. Thus, it is important for organizations such as APEN to work with and organize communities affected by environment injustices. Started in 1993, APEN “believes that the environment includes everything around us: where
10 communicasians The APEN Staff

Former AXT workers at a rally in front of the Alameda County District Attorney’s office

photos courtesy of Linda Tran

we live, work and play.” APEN works with Chinese, Vietnamese, Laotian, Mien, and Cambodian immigrants through its Power in Asians Organizing (PAO) and Laotian Organizing Project (LOP) programs to empower these communities to “achieve environmental and social justice.” This past summer, as interns at APEN, we worked on building community power and fought environmental racism in local API communities. For instance, a semi-conductor factory in Fremont, called AXT, knowingly exposed their lowincome, immigrant Chinese workers to toxic chemicals such as arsenic. Although fined 21 different times by the California government to bring their company up to health and safety standards; the company ignored these calls to clean up their act. Instead AXT laid

off all the workers in the Fremont factory and moved its production to China. Now, workers are left with serious health problems such as dizziness, difficulty breathing, rashes, and higher risk of cancer. APEN’s AXT campaign

...dizziness, difficulty breathing, rashes, and higher risk of cancer.
demanded long term health monitoring for workers and for the AXT company to be held accountable for its dehumanizing practices. As part of the campaign, we helped organize a rally outside the District Attorney’s office in Alameda County demanding the District Attorney pursue the AXT case and prosecute

the company. At the rally, workers spoke about their experiences at AXT and their lingering health problems. Protesters then marched up to the D.A.’s office to deliver 1,200 postcards in support of their cause. As a result the D.A., who had formerly declined the case, later announced that he would help the former AXT workers seek justice. Environmental justice extends beyond “saving the planet” and it extends beyond stereotypical notions of environmentalism which disregard social justice. Communities of color, like the API community, lose a voice when environmental racism is not included in the framework of environmental justice. And just like APEN, we students have the power and responsibility to defend our communities and push for positive change in our communities. ■
communicasians 9



The Invisible Minority
by Stacy Magdaluyo idden in the rich cultural heritage of Filipino Americans is a plight oddly unique to an Asian American group. In general, Asian Americans are perceived as highly successful in the academics, often attending the nation’s most prestigious universities in disproportionately high numbers. Yet an issue often unspoken of and greatly overlooked is the lack of Filipinos in higher education. Filipinos have thus been coined “the invisible minority.” Although Filipinos constitute the largest Asian group in California and are second to the Chinese nation-wide, they are grossly underrepresented in universities and college across the nation. Only 40 percent of Filipino Americans have a bachelor’s degree compared to 70 percent of Chinese Americans. This under representation is important because, of the 2.4 million Americans identifying as Filipino, over 30 percent are under the age of 20. These youth represent the America’s future. Many believe that the youth of all ethnicities have the potential to change the future. However, for the Filipino youth to reach this potential, the stereotypes surrounding Filipinos in higher education first must be broken. Fremont High School in Sunnyvale, CA has one of the highest percentages of Filipinos in the nation at 14 percent. Bo Buhisan, a Fremont guidance counselor and the advisor of the school’s Filipino Youth
10 communicasians Kapatid mentors advise eager Fremont HS students after the college panel

Kapatid’s efforts to encourage Filipino high school students to pursue higher education

Organization (FYO), explains his thoughts on the underrepresentation of Filipinos in higher education. “One of the big issues I feel FHS Filipino students face is not getting the ‘college talk’ at home. The majority of the Filipino students I work with come from lower socio-economic backgrounds and have parents who did not attend college. Many do not know about college or what it takes to get in. Unlike students who come from higher socio-economic backgrounds where the question is not whether you are going to college, but which college are you going to attend, these kids have no college conversation at all. In fact, many of their parents work long hours at jobs, which leaves them exhausted

after work. Some [parents] even work two or three jobs to support the family and extended family.” Tackling educational issues is not an easy task, but the hope that every student should have the opportunity to develop their abilities and achieve future goals through a college education is a worthy challenge. In the fall of 2004, Kapatid, the first ever Stanford Filipino mentoring program, was formed in response to these issues. Kapatid means “sibling” in Tagalog, a Filipino dialect, and aims to inspire the younger brothers and sisters in the Filipino-American community to break through the statistics and stereotypes that surround Filipinos and higher education. This program is just one of

Fremont High School students listen to a panel of Stanford students for an inside scoop on what it’s like to be a college student

Mentors and mentees gather for a group shot

Pilipino American Student Union (PASU)’s many activities. Twice a month, Stanford mentors visit Fremont High School to discuss issues such as academic success strategies, life after high school, the generation gap, and FilipinoAmerican identity. “The program is important because it shows mentees that there are Filipino achievers who have a firm stance against drugs, alcoholism, and violence, and

are dedicated to their education,” says sophomore Larissa Co, a Kapatid mentor. “It was a powerful experience for the students to see “brown” faces staring back at them when PASU first introduced themselves to FHS students,” recalls Buhisan. “Not only did these [mentors] look like them, they were going to one of the best universities in the world. I felt a sense of pride in knowing that in some of the students’ minds, the unattain-

able [became] in fact attainable.” Only in its second official year, Kapatid is already making big waves in the Bay Area. On Saturday, May 14th, Stanford PASU and Fremont High School collaborated to host a “Day at Stanford.” Fifteen FHS students arrived on Stanford campus for a sneak peek into college life. They attended a veteran conference and learned about PASU’s efforts in the struggle for Filipino WWII veteran’s equity. Afterwards, the eager students toured the campus and even experienced one of Stanford’s greatest traditions when they went fountain hopping with their mentors. From a broader perspective, massive nationwide action is needed to drastically change the Filipino struggle for educational attainment. Yet, through these seemingly small means, such as the Kapatid program, great dreams are achieved. True, Fremont High School and Stanford University are only two schools in an entire nation facing this issue. However, for the forty high school and college students whose lives have been positively affected by this program, the impact of the Kapatid program is enough to change the future. ■ To become involved with Kapatid, contact Stacy Magdaluyo (stacym@stanford.edu).
communicasians 11

photos courtesy of Stacy Magdaluyo

the news



merica’s role in the developing world is a controversial topic. On one hand, we are criticized for playing the policeman or an unwanted protector. On the other hand, as a wealthy nation, many feel we are obligated to give aid. A recent example is the tsunami natural disaster this past December, which affected many countries surrounding the Indian Ocean. However, what happens when the U.S. faces sudden crises? On August 29, Hurricane Katrina demonstrated that even developed countries sometimes need monetary and food support. Offers of aid from nations that recently were affected by the tsunami have been welcomed by U.S. government officials. Katrina prompted outreach from over 115 countries across the globe, including Russia, France, the United Kingdom, Mexico, China, South Korea, Thailand, Israel, Uganda and Afghanistan. However, the most striking offers of aid have come from nations still recovering from the destruction caused by the tsunami. In a September briefing, National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice noted a “touching” cash donation of $25,000 by Sri Lanka. The following week, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs, Donald Camp, traveled to Sri Lanka to discuss post-tsunami reconstruction projects. There, Camp repeated President Bush’s thanks to Sri Lanka. “We have excellent bilateral relations with Sri Lanka, as evidenced by the large donations of post-tsunami assistance Americans provided as well as Sri Lanka’s help to Hurricane Katrina victims.” In addition to monetary donations, Sri Lanka has urged Sri Lankan-born doctors currently residing in the U.S. to volunteer their efforts to treat hurricane victims. Sim12 communicasians



When natural disasters strike the world’s most populated countries, how do leading nations like the United States react? And when these powerful nations find themselves amidst a crisis, what are the ethics of receiving aid from the countries they once helped?
ilarly, Indonesia and Thailand, countries who received grants from U.S. following the tsunami, both sent medical personnel to Katrina-affected areas. President Bush said of Thailand, “This good country has just come through a tsunami, and they’re on their way to recovery. And…because of their generous hearts, [they are still able to] ship help.” Other Asian nations that were not affected by the tsunami have also offered aid. Japan, Korea, and China have all made substantial contributions through donations to the American Red Cross and the U.S. government Katrina relief efforts. The Singapore Air Force sent Chinook helicopters and rescue personnel. Contributions have come from community and private religious organizations, businesses, and individuals as well. Japanese businessman Takashi Endo donated $1 million toward hurricane relief funds. Khondker Zunaed Rabbani, a 23-year-old Bangladeshi student, brought a box of 22 winter jackets made by his father’s garment factory to Katrina victims. Rabbani was in the U.S. as part of a leadership program when the hurricane struck. Some Americans question whether or not the U.S. should accept or even needs help from foreign countries. “While many affected by Hurricane Katrina are among America’s poorest, the country’s wealth, if fairly shared, should leave absolutely no need for

by Ada Yee

overseas financial contributions,” journalist Nick Cater wrote in an editorial for AlertNet, the Reuters Foundation Humanitarian News Network. At a White House press conference, this issue of accepting aid from “poorer nations” was broached. Opponents argued that accepting aid would in effect be taking back what we had already given. To this Rice responded, “people have said without fail that the United States is a compassionate country that has helped so much when there has been devastation around the world … [these countries] want to give back to the United States.” Most Stanford students disagree with critics of the aid exchange. Sanskriti officer and sophomore Divya Nettemi argues that the U.S. is justified “considering how much aid [the U.S. government] has given other countries in times of need.” She cites the $100,000 in disaster relief funds USAID pledged to the Bombay floods this past July. Sophomore Sunthar Premakumar is an international student from Sri Lanka. This past summer he returned home with the University of Wisconsin wrestling team, who collectively raised $100,000 in aid for the tsunami. Premakumar expressed a practical view about Sri Lanka’s

Despite objections from media critics, b students and our government se welcome foreign aid from developing


the news


gestures towards aiding the Hurricane victims. “It’s nice to help someone who has already helped you. It is not the [quantity of] money that counts. [Rather, it is knowing] that there is someone to help you out.” Despite objections from media critics, both Stanford students and our government seem to welcome foreign aid from developing countries. In the light of the devastation and tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, Americans should take comfort in knowing that we are not alone in our struggle and that we have the support of the international community. 

both Stanford eem to g countries.

....... ......
communicasians 13





the news

A Nobel Worthy
Comprised entirely of victims of nuclear warfare, members of Hidankyo fight for the “complete and unconditional elimination of nuclear weapons.”
by Jazib Zahir




s the world observes the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombs being dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, potential for nuclear warfare has never been more pervasive. Developing nations, such as Pakistan and Iran, possess the capability to launch nuclear attack. While rogue states, such as North Korea, overtly threaten world stability with aggressive nuclear designs. Thus, this year’s Nobel Peace Prize was appropriately awarded to the International Atomic Energy Agency for its efforts to check nuclear proliferation. However, another group who has also made commendable contributions to the disarmament efforts and who was another major contender for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize is the Japanese group, Hidankyo. Hidankyo prides itself on being the only organization solely comprised of survivors of the atomic bombings on Japan. The primary goal of the organization is to pursue the complete and unconditional elimination of nuclear weapons. At the same time, Hidankyo sees itself as the spokesperson for all survivors of the 1945 bombings. It strives to ensure that survivors are adequately compensated by the Japanese government for their continued losses, such as their medical bills and lost earning potential. Hidankyo has sent representatives across Japan and abroad to raise awareness about the dangers of nuclear war. For instance, the group has sent special envoys to approach countries recently entering into the nuclear arena to warn of the potential consequences of possessing nuclear weapons. The Japanese government has responded to pressure from Hidankyo and passed several laws ensuring proper compensation for survivors. Finally, members of Hidankyo frequently appear before the United Nations to testify in favor of nuclear disarmament. Often disfigured and maimed, many survivors find it difficult to publicly speak about these issues. As the group’s secretary general,
14 communicasians


(clockwise, from top right) Hidankyo members protest against underground nuclear testing in Pakistan and India; Director of Shizuoka Hindankyo, Hideo Sugiyama, leads the annual Peace March; Delegates march in a U.S. peace tour; A woman weeps viewing Hidankyo’s “The A-Bomb and Humanity” exhibit.

Terumi Tanaka, says, “There are still many members who hesitate to talk about their experiences. Talking about such experiences is painful itself.” One of the Hidankyo’s biggest concerns is how to continue its mission as members grow older and gradually pass away. However, there is hope that the group’s message will be widely received and implemented before this happens. This is important because Hidankyo offers inspiration and lessons that are applicable beyond the issue of nuclear weapons. For instance, its members have overcome personal misfortunes and despair by adopting a healthy and optimistic approach in life. The organization has renounced re-

venge for their misfortunes. Instead it favors learning from past errors to build a safer tomorrow. These lessons are universal and hopefully will not be forgotten even after the group ceases to exist. While Hidankyo did not win this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, it was a favorite among the 199 nominees and has been very successful in raising awareness of its goals. Hidankyo is determined to continue its mission with the same intensity it has shown in the past. As chairman Yamaguchi states, “Many people think this year is special because it’s the 60th anniversary [of the bombings], but members of Hidankyo have struggled throughout the years and we will continue struggling.” 



The Tennis in Asia

by Jazib Zahir

With the new QiZhong Stadium, the popularity of tennis in China and its surrounding countries has soared.



arlier this year, Shanghai unveiled the newly constructed QiZhong Stadium, which seats up to 15,000 avid tennis fans. The stadium has been built specially to host the Tennis Masters Cup this November. With invitations only offered to the top eight players in the world, it is the most exclusive event in men’s tennis. An architectural marvel, the stadium’s unique eight-piece roof opens like a blooming magnolia flower. Interestingly, this is an appropriate metaphor for how tennis has been blossoming in the region. While other Asian countries aren’t quite ready to host a tennis event of this scale, smaller tournaments have mushroomed all across the Asia Pacific region. Vietnam hosted a tennis championship earlier this year, making it the first international sporting event in the country. Japan, Korea, Thailand, and India have been hosting similar events for some years now. Why the surging interest in tennis in Asia? Most ascribe the recent proliferation of Asian tennis tournaments to a combination of globalization and economics. In the United States, professional tennis has failed to captivate audiences the way football and basketball have. Tennis trails behind these more popular sports in terms of air time and sponsorship money. Thus, tennis officials have cleverly exploited tennis’ strength as an international sport by ‘outsourcing’ several tournaments to Asia. Without the NBA or NFL competing for their attention, Asian fans have been filling tennis stadiums and generating welcomed revenue for the sport. But while watching world renowned players in their backyards has caught the imagination of the Asian public, Asia has been less successful in grooming indigenous tennis talent. In a sport dominated by players of Caucasian, Latino and African descent, players of Asian descent are surprisingly scarce. One Asian player who has gained prominence is the Thai player, Paradorn Srichaphan, who briefly burst into the top ten in the rankings in 2003. While his recent performances have not lived up to expecta-

tions, he remains a national celebrity. For instance, passengers on Thai Air are invariably treated to videos documenting his greatest matches. Some sports analysts have suggested that the pressure of representing an entire nation, and in some ways even an entire continent, has contributed to his recent decline. Nonetheless, there is still hope for Asian tennis talent in the future. Acclaimed tennis writer Jon Wertheim has pointed out that a decade ago, there were only a handful of recognized female Russian players. Today, Russia is the most well represented nation in the rankings. This progression has been dubbed the “Russian Revolution.” Similarly, China has recently had Rising Indian Muslim tennis several female players that have player, Sania Mirza been rising in ranking. However, this growth will have to overcome the challenges of the Chinese bureaucracy. Earlier this year professional Chinese players were forced to withdraw from some important international tournaments that conflicted with local competitions they were required to enter. Furthermore, Asia’s more traditional culture often stands in opposition to the development professional tennis players. Take the case of Sania Mirza. This 18-year-old Indian Muslim tennis player had to battle conservative criticism for her “revealing outfits” – outfits that are standard in women’s tennis. Many Asian and Asian American youth can testify to the lack of visible Asian role models in professional sports. Hopefully, with the West taking more interest in developing the sport in Asia, talented and committed Asian youth may be inspired to pursue professional tennis for the opportunity for excellence and glory. ■

communicasians 15

on campus

New Asian American Faces on the Board of Trustees


Michael Choo, who has been on the Board of Trustees since 2003, converses with a group of Asian American students

This past June, the Board of Trustees welcomed Dr. Ying Ying Goh, Ross Walker and Jerry Yang

resented on the Board of Trustees, it is crucial for Asian Americans to gain representation on the Board.” Four out of the thirty three Board members are Asian American. This meeting also gave the trustees the opportunity to hear the concerns of a wide range of students from the Asian American

Who are AA board of trustees?
All four of the AA trustees are recent Stanford alumni and have strong ties to University.
Michael Choo graduated from Stanford University in 1996 with a B.A. in Public Policy. He worked at Goldman Sachs & Co. and govWorks Inc. before earning an MBA from Harvard Business School in 2002. While at Stanford, Choo was active in the Asian American community and attended many of the A³C’s programs. He was also a Senior Student Body President and Deputy Chair of the ASSU Senate during his junior year. From 1994 to 1996, he served as a student representative to the Board of Trustees Committee on Academic Policy, Planning and Management. Aside from being a member of the Board of Trustees, Choo has remained very involved in other aspects of the Stanford community. For instance, he was chair of his five-year Reunion Committee and was a Leadership Gifts volunteer. Choo is currently Vice President of Atticus Capital in New York City.

Dr. Ying Ying Goh earned a B.A. in Public Policy in 1994 and an M.D. in 2002 at Stanford University School of Medicine. As an undergraduate, she was active in the Asian American community, a member of the Council of Presidents, and an ASSU Senator. As a medical student, Goh co-founded Public Service Medical Scholars (PRISMS) and was a class representative for the Faculty Senate. She also served a one-year term as a Graduate S t u d e n t Representative on the Alumni and External A f f a i r s Committee of the Board of Trustees.

photo courtesy of Shelley Tadaki


by Cindy Ng and Stephanie Nguyen fourth Asian American trustee, Michael Choo, has served since 2003. On October 11th, the Asian American Activities Center (A³C) hosted a reception/roundtable to give students the unique opportunity to engage in intimate conversations with three of the four Asian American trustees. (Jerry Yang had a prior engagement, but he sent his regrets to the Center.) That night, several select graduate and undergraduate students met with the trustees. “[This meeting was important] for students to understand the priorities of Trustee members and how they go about making decisions for the school” commented Senior Ankit Garg. “As a burgeoning minority that is underrep-

ew students know the extent to which the Stanford Board of Trustees impacts their lives. With ownership of all of the University’s endowment and properties, the Board is the highest governing body at Stanford University. Essentially, the Board administers the invested funds, sets the annual budget, and determines policies for operation and control of the University. The trustees also appoint the President of the University, who is responsible for the management of the University and all its departments. This past June, the Board welcomed five new members. Three of the five new members, Dr. Ying Ying Goh, Ross Walker and Jerry Yang, are Asian American. Furthermore, a

The A³C is Moving
by Jessica Wang After a year of discussion and planning, renovations of Old Union will finally move forward. The primary objective is to retrofit the historic building to be earthquake safe and handicap accessible. There is also talk that the renovations may give more space to the community centers currently housed in Old Union. The Asian American Activities Center (A³C) would definitely benefit from these changes as the current two-room space has reached maximum capacity accommodating over 40 different Asian American clubs, workshops, speaker series, and social events. Starting winter quarter, the A³C will be housed temporarily, along with El Centro Chicano and the Native American Cultural Center, in trailers located next to the Black Community Services Center. The project is estimated to be completed by orientation of next year. ■

community. “I think it’s important for students to meet with the Trustees to have our opinions heard,” added Garg. “Despite its lack of ethnic/cultural diversity, the Board of Trustees is very concerned about diversity issues.” Small group discussion covered issues such as future building projects, the advising system,

the need for more Asian American Studies courses, labor issues, and the experiences of first generation students. The insights and concerns shared by these students will hopefully help inform the work of the trustees in the coming years. ■

Ross Walker graduated in 1998 with a B.A. in Economics and then again in 2005 with an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Walker helped establish the Travel and Hospitality Club, a GSB student organization that explores issues related to leisure and business travel. In 1999, he was also part of the founding team for a K-12 education technology venture focused on developing online curriculum for use in grade schools. Walker is currently the Vice President of Real Estate Development and Acquisitions at Wolff Urban Development in Los Angeles.

Jerry Yang graduated with B.S. and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering in 1990. While working on his Ph.D. in computer science at Stanford in 1994, Yang and classmate, David Filo, co-founded the Yahoo! Internet company, which is an acronym for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle,” Since then, Yang has maintained close ties to the University. In 1997, he and Filo became the youngest donors ever to endow a professorship. Yang has also served as a national co-chair for the University’s Campaign for Undergraduate Education. In 2001, Yang was inducted into the Asian American Activities Center’s Alumni Hall of Fame.




The Racial Implication
Exploring the Ra
Hurricane Katrina created a critical moment for all of us. With the poor and people of color comprising the majority of those who were left behind to endure the storm and Hai Binh Nguyen later devastation, we must ask: why that is the case? What implications does this issue have on the rebuilding process? What does this mean for the rest of us who were not affected by the storm? I believe that the lesson that we must learn from the Hurricane Katrina disaster – the lesson that’s not being talked about in the media – is that this isn’t just a natural disaster. Rather, Katrina is also a man-made disaster, one that was unjust and preventable. As Americans, it is especially important not only to support those most affected by the storm – namely poor African Americans, Southeast Asians, and Latino immigrants – but also to understand our role in a racialized and classed society. New Orleans sits five feet below sea level and is surrounded by water on three sides: the Gulf Coast, Lake Pontchartrain, and the Mississippi River. Because of this, once rain or water reaches the city, there is little drainage and massive flooding may result. In 1995, Congress authorized the Southeast

(above) Oct 8. New Orleans residents’ personal belongings – now debris – in front of homes. (left) Sept 2. Five days after the hurricane hit the Gulf Coast, Vietnamese immigrants arrived and packed Hong Kong Mall in Houston. During the first few weeks, many Katrina victims slept on the floor of the mall and depended on local businesses for food and services

(left) Oct 9. Wind and rain from Katrina swept the walls off of a Vietnamese temple in New Orleans

photos courtesy of Hai Binh Nguyen

A selected w we should reco Word have Ste Poet d

Despite the ge


18 communicasians


ns of Hurricane Katrina
cial Underpinnings of this Unnatural Disaster
Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project, or SELA, to build levees and pumping stations to prevent future flooding. Unfortunately, the federal government reneged on this aid and reallocated the funds to homeland security for use in the occupation of Iraq. By spring 2003, the promised SELA funding was so small that the proposed project was not even started. In contrast to this governmental oversight, many New Orleans residents recognized that without the levees, a major storm would pose a major security issue in the future. Ironically, the initial costs of building the levees was set at $300 million, or about 0.2% of the $150 billion projected cost of rebuilding the New Orleans today. Although a voluntary evacuation order was issued two days before the storm made initial landfall, many residents did not leave. Only people who had the cash, access to a car, and relatives in nearby counties were able to leave. Thus, many of the people who stayed behind were poor people of color. After the storm hit, residents were stuck in their homes without running water and a limited food supply as they wait to be rescued. Federal and state resources dedicated to the rescue effort, such as ambulances and helicopters, did not arrive until two days after the storm hit. Moreover, the nation is all too familiar with horrific media images portraying tens of thousands of people gathered at the Superdome following the flooding. Conditions were barely tolerable as Katrina victims were forced to sleep outside, had to sit in 90 degree heat, and lacked clothing, food, sleeping spaces, and medical aid. The bodies of the recently deceased were left lying on the ground around the center. In addition, many victims were trapped in the Superdome by armed guards who supposedly there to guard against possible “looting.” Over 50,000 Asian Americans living in the South were affected by the storm; the majority of those affected were Vietnamese immigrants. Churches, temples, and local ethnic community organizations led the relief efforts in these communities. For instance, many Vietnamese immigrants fled to Houston in search of aid. There, Houston immigrants were able to help victims complete Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) registration and provided daily food and housing. Unfortunately, Bay Area volunteers who traveled to Houston reported a lack of a community-organized effort. For instance, many complained that FEMA registration was inaccessible in English, let alone Vietnamese. As a result, many Vietnamese survivors had little access to federal services. Recently, reports from independent immigrant organizations have stated that the Red Cross refused benefits to “suspected illegal immigrants” lacking proper legal documentation. However, they failed to recognize that many of these possible “illegal immigrants” probably had lost their immigration papers in the flooding or during transit. Reports confirmed those in question included both Latino and Vietnamese immigrants. Despite the generous outpouring of community support and financial donations, we should recognize that the government could and should have done more to prevent the suffering and devastation that resulted from the hurricane. Given that these Southern residents were initially neglected by the government, it is even more crucial that now during the rebuilding process, their voices are heard. Although our community was not directly affected by the storm, we must still lend our support by working with organizations devoted to the relief efforts. For instance, Community Labor United is a collection of multiracial grassroots organizations in New Orleans formed to unite the voices of local residents. On November 13th there will be a Bay Area API fundraising effort in Oakland. Finally, I encourage you to talk to your friends, discuss with your professors, and continue to learn about this unnatural disaster.  Hai Binh is a Stanford alum, Class of 2005. She currently supports the relief effort through a volunteer organization called VietUnity, which was started by community members and Stanford students two years ago. Her e-mail is: hai.binh@stanfordalumni.org.


work from the government could and should gnize that Rice University Spoken ephen Bor: to prevent the suffering and one more

nerous outpouring of community support and financial donations,

station that resulted from the hurricane.

communicasians 19



Political Spaces and Transnational Politics:
Stanford University has had a long and fabled history with Asia as a continent and an imagined space. On campus, vocal organizations serve the interests of Stanford’s nearly 25 percent Asian American student population with a variety of support groups, events, and publications. In addition, there are many other programs that send eager students to countries in different parts of Asia for business and Liang Dong social ventures. Throughout the school year, groups try to bring the sights, sounds, and tastes of Asia to the Stanford community through cultural events and performances. These events inform how we imagine and construct Asia as a geographic location rife with symbolic meanings. As the new overseas campus at Beijing’s Peking University seems to demonstrate, the social, economic, and political linkages between these two sides of the Pacific now appear as facile as ever. Why is it then, that many members of the Asian American community see very little connections between their politics and the politics of greater Asia? How are these two spaces—the political space of Asian Americans and the physical space of the Asian continent—mutually constitutive? Finally, what are the implications of this relationship for our politics, self-representations, and identities? As a member of an Asian and Asian American interest sorority, Sigma Psi Zeta, this is an issue that has long been on my mind. Last spring, I asked several of my sisters for their thoughts on the relationship between issues they face in the United States as Asian Americans and the issues facing the people in the geographical location of Asia. Not surprisingly, many of them responded by saying that they saw little connection between this political space and the geographic space. Likewise, many Asian American student groups seek to raise awareness about the cultural traditions of Asian countries. Ironically, this privileging of national customs of the past often obscures the ongoing cultural practices of the present. While there was a powerful surge of awareness and community activism for the countries of the Pacific Rim after the tsunamis last December, this type of widespread interest in the modern day politics and practices of countries in Asia is an exception, rather than the norm. This is a time when power inequalities between the East and West, South and North, the developing and the developed, are still very much present. Orientalism, or the view of the “Orient” as a racialized “other,” is not merely a thing of the past. These ways of thinking and writing still deeply infiltrate the representations of Asia and Asian America. From the racially tinged rhetoric currently used to describe China’s rise to the paternalism inherent in U.S. policy towards the Koreas, these dominant narratives are not only locally specific to Asia as a physical space, but also come to describe and inscribe us as ethnic minorities in America. Because these complex issues of race, ethnicity, and politics are so integral to our Asian American community, it is especially important to be aware of the larger transnational issues at stake. This places the Asian American community in an interesting and often complicated position. We must be both informed global citizens as well as minority activists. Politically speaking, there is the obvious need to concentrate on domestic issues to galvanize coalitions for change. At the same time, our identity politics here in the Asian American community at Stanford cannot afford to be disengaged from the larger issues of cultural representation and transnational relations of power. Through such constant and critical engagement with these complicated issues, Asian Americans here at Stanford can begin to form global solidarities for empowerment and justice. 

Representing Asia in

Asian America

The Asian American community [finds itself] in an interesting and often complicated position. We must be both informed global citizens as well as minority activists.
20 communicasians

communicASIANS fall 2005

Non Profit Org. U.S. Postage Paid Palo Alto, CA Permit No. 187

Published by the Asian American Activities Center, Old Union Clubhouse, Room 13, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305 (650) 723-3681 http://a3c.stanford.edu

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