APIA Month 2013 Recap… and Epic Ramen Time!! & the APIA Activists Panel

Well hello there~

How are you today? I hope that everything is going swimmingly this week :) And to all the Swatties currently on the struggle bus/train/transportation vehicle – you can do it! ONEMOREWEEKLEZGOOOO

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If you haven’t heard the news, to some dismay but also to much relief, APIA Month 2013 is over! WOW! After spanning a long 36 or so days and with 12+ events across various APIA groups on campus, it was a blast. So thank you to everyone who participated in planning events, attended the awesome events, and just had fun with it – it was a real pleasure, and I hope everyone enjoyed. We sure did!

And I just have to say again, to everyone who came out and hung out with us:  thanks a bunch – our events wouldn’t have been anything without you guys!

Now that that’s out of the way, lets start shall we?

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EPIC RAMEN TIME (ERT)!!

So the story behind this event:  our great Co-Pres Allison chatted with one of her friends in BAASA, Brandeis Asian American Student Association, who hosted a similar event on their campus (s/o to Brandeis!). We’ve adapted it slightly to fit our budget and resources but it’s pretty much the same. Essentially, Epic Ramen Time!! (or ERT!! for short) follows the same format for the popular cooking show Iron Chef/Iron Chef America, in which each team has, in our version, 45 minutes to create dishes that showcase the unveiled secret ingredient, which the contestants figure out at the beginning of the battle. We provided a bunch of ingredients and the four teams went to work!

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Our participants:

  1. group 1  Weite Liu, Jianyi Ye, Zige Jiang, Yikai Wang, Sizhao Wu

  2. group 2  Stan Le, Nate Lo, Rebecca Teng, Cally Deppen, Supriya Davis

  3. group 3  AJ Valera, Tatsuya Ueda, Klarissa Khor, Shabbir Vahanvaty, Yein Pyo

  4. group 4  Yin Guan, Htet Win, Paul Chung, Lucas Chen, Tommy Laux

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It was messy, it was hectic, it was ridiculous, it was…epic. As the first time that SAO has ever tried something like this, it went over pretty well! There was a great turnout for the event, which definitely made things much more fun and exciting – especially the minigames (s/o to everyone who participated!).  And of course, let’s not forget our charismatic and fanTAStic chairmen, Patrick and Richard Monari! What a dastardly duo of brothers. You two rocked it. A big thanks to our three faculty judges as well: Dean Alina Wong, Kenyetta Givans, and Professor Lu. They knew their ramen, alright.

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And of course, congrats to the winners, Team Dancing Dragon! Perhaps this won’t be the last ERT!! that Scheuer Stadium has to offer…but until next year, I hope you all enjoyed~

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APIA Activist Panel

As our last event and perhaps our most important event, I was pretty excited for the Activist Panel. Even a former SAO president, Gloria Chan ’02, showed up on campus for the first time since she graduated! Our eclectic cast of guests included (from left to right) Mia-Lia Kiernan, Jeffrey Yamashita, Gloria Chan ’02, and Nancy Nguyen.

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A few short bios to catch you up:

Mia-Lia Kiernan:  Mia-Lia is a co-founder and organizer for 1 Love Movement, a grassroots community organization that was born out of a deportation crisis in the Cambodian American community in Philadelphia in 2010. She works to strengthen communities by addressing immigration and deportation policies.

Jeffrey Yamashita:  Jeffrey is currently a graduate student in Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley, and hold interests in areas such as Asian American Studies and Racialized Masculinity. As a fourth-generation Japanese American, he has gained much insight from his family’s experiences in World War II.

Gloria Chan ’02: Gloria is the founder of Chinatown Youth Initiatives (CYI) and the former President and CEO of the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS). Currently a Life and Leadership Coach, Gloria’s insight comes from her previous experience with APIA issues in the government.

Nancy Nguyen: Nancy is currently the Delaware Valley Branch Manager of Boat People SOS (BPSOS), which aims to “empower, organize, and equip Vietnamese individuals and communities in their pursuit of liberty and dignity.” The work that Nancy and BPSOS have done centers around many different aspects of social justice.

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As an engineer and someone who has only taken Natural Science courses over the past school year, I walked into the panel not really knowing what to expect, thinking that everything I heard would go straight over my head. Boy, was I wrong.

The panelists each started out by addressing a few questions that were handed to them – questions such as “What is your current work in activism? How did you become involved in this work?” to “What do you think are some of the most pertinent political issues affecting APIA communities today?”.  They then opened up to questions from the audience, which was fantastic. All the panelists did such a wonderful job of answering questions and providing their own insight on the state of the APIA community, and I really enjoyed listening to the conversation that formed in the room.

I didn’t take any notes (shame on me.), but I do remember a few things that stuck out. During the first part of the discussion, Nancy talked about a few “Oh Shit” moments that really changed her perspective. The one that really caught me was when someone told her that “Asian American studies does not belong to higher education.” The fact that Asian American studies should not START or BE LIMITED TO higher education isn’t such a crazy thought if you think about it. And Jeff, as one of his points, talked about a frame in which to view activism – How can you change the frame to include multiple people, to include groups with the same issues? We can’t be pigeon-holed by the frames of reference that are created by the media, or other sources. Something like that (don’t quote me, please). Gloria chimed in as well with some great and empowering advice to a few seniors (Ruben and Mina) who were interested in beginning their journey into APIA activism.

Post-panel, there was a nice little reception outside the room where everyone was able to talk to the activists. It was a great time!

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I dunno. I really loved the panel. It was especially inspiring to hear how much passion the panelists had for the subject! To anyone who came, I hope it was everything you were hoping for – and more.

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And there you have it. The end of APIA Month 2013, and boy was it great. You know, when I look back on this past month, I think the first thing I’ll think is:  “That was pretty tiring, but wow was it FUN.” Thanks to everyone who came to any (or all!) of our events. Thanks for all the laughs, the tears (j/k), and of course the ramen — it wouldn’t have been APIA month without you! Are you getting tired of all of this thanking yet?

Most of all though, please give a hand (not literally, we don’t want that) to SAO board and to all the groups who organized events. Our co-presidents Allison and Wendy especially – they worked insanely hard to plan this APIA month and it was so fantastic because of it. *clap clap clap*

With that, I bid thee farewell. Get pumped – next APIA month is only a year away!

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Smell ya later~

Karl

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