LA Honors APA Month, Rice Daddy Ishmael, And More John Liu

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Three quick snippets from some articles that caught my eye.

Los Angeles confers honors to Asian Pacific Islander Americans at Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

The mayor presented awards to Administrative Operations Deputy Chief of the LA Fire Department (LAFD) to Emile Mack; East West Bank President Dominic Ng, and renowned artist Tyrus Wong, whose achievements embody this year’s APAHM theme of Hope, Spirit, and Dreams Flow to the Future.

"Angelenos come from every corner of the earth," Villaraigosa said. "We are the most diverse city anywhere in the world, and we are bound by a unifying force that is stronger than many of our differences."

After handing the awards to Mack, Ng, and Wong, the mayor said, "Asian and Pacific Islander American Heritage Month pays homage to the rich cultural imprint of the Asian Pacific Islander community on the city’s identity. We are honored to recognize Emile Mack, Dominic Ng and Tyrus Wong for their achievements in public safety, business and the arts. Their creativity and courageous spirit have made them models in the Asian Pacific Islander community and to all Angelenos."
Call Me Ishmael

As we enter Asian American Heritage month, I can't help but wonder What is American? And how does it differ from Asian American? Why is it assumed my perceived Asian habits? mannerisms? beliefs? culture? fall outside of the bucket of characteristics that make something or someone simply American? America as melting pot and mosaic, doesn't my "Asianness" make me uniquely American? Why do I need the surname?

As a Second Generation dad, one that was born here but whose parents were newly immigrated, I have the same challenges my parents did - What to keep and what can be left out of an ethnic identity? Already, my wife and I struggle with language. We both want our children to speak Chinese. However, she wants them to learn Mandarin. I speak passable Cantonese and she speaks Vietnamese. At home, our native tongue is English.

We also suck at celebrating the holidays. Every year despite our best intentions we miss the Autumn Moon festival. We hang decorations for Chinese New Year but have not always followed its customs most of the time out of pure ignorance and forgetfulness.
Nothing Personal: John Liu Is Running for Comptroller

"The only way that you can make ‘John Liu’ easier to pronounce is you change the spelling of my last name to something like ‘L-o-o,’ at which point both my first and last name really would be just like slang for ‘toilet,’” said the councilman and city comptroller as he rushed his black Nissan Altima hybrid the short distance from a downtown press conference to City Hall for a couple of land-use votes.

While Mr. Liu chattered at the steering wheel, aides Juanita Scarlett and Sharon Lee passed a laptop back and forth, hurriedly editing a media advisory.

“And I represent Flushing,” he said, continuing the apparent stream of consciousness.