Author Archive

AMY TAN IS COMING TO GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY ON SEPTEMBER 20TH.

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

YES I AM TEMPORARILY REVITALIZING THIS BLOG TO INFORM ALL OF YOU…ALTHOUGH I DO NOT THINK ANY OF YOU CHECK THIS.

POINT: WE DIDN’T READ HER, BUT IF YOU ARE AS NOSTALGIC AS I AM FOR ASIAN AMERICAN LITERATURE AND DR. SCANLON (ALTHOUGH SHE DOES NOT KNOW EITHER) OR ALL THE WONDERFUL THINGS ABOUT THAT CLASS AND DISCUSSION, YOU SHOULD CONSIDER GOING!

 

I miss all of you.

Love,

Upma

Oh yeah, we’re going back to Mulan

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

I have nothing insightful to say (I do have other things to blog about…I’ll just do it in pieces before tonight) but that entire song in the movie–as much as I do love Mulan–exemplifies the Occidental (and the traditional) image of Asian women. Subversive, domestic, that sort of thing.

And let’s face it, Mulan’s face in the last image is fantastic.

ABSOLUTE GOLD: SOMETHING YOU DO NOT WANT TO IGNORE.

Friday, November 19th, 2010

http://umwblogs.org/wiki/index.php/Caste_and_Class_in_Post-Independence_India

BEHOLD:

The last multi-media report you will have to read.

Enjoy! 🙂

Dulce et Decorum Est

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

While this may have nothing at all to do with Asian American Literature, I thought I would share a poem I was reminded of while reading II of Notes From The Divided Country. I personally had a difficult time reading the poems in the book than in this poem; nevertheless, it’s a poem about war…somewhat relevant. http://www.warpoetry.co.uk/owen1.html

And since we can use the blog for questions/further discussion, I had a question about the title of the poem on page 25, “Animal Farm, or Song of the Colonial Governor-General”. I definitely need to re-read these poems, but does anyone else have a better grasp of the purpose behind the Orwell allusion? Or if it is an Orwell allusion?
This is a lengthy post, sorry. So many questions!

“To Angle, apparently, you’re Latino if you look Latino; you’re Asian if you look Asian.”

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

I don’t even know where to begin with this article. See for yourself how ridiculous Shannon Angle’s claims are. Should be a good laugh, but will probably remind you of the Community 100 article we read earlier in the semester.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2010/10/21/apop102110.DTL&ao=all

The Gangster We Are All Looking For

Monday, October 4th, 2010

*NOTE: Do not watch this until you’ve read past page 79, or the chapter titled “The Gangster We Are All Looking For”. There are tons of spoilers in this post and in the video.

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As corny as it sounds, I love hearing authors read out passages from their books. I stumbled upon this gem of a video friday afternoon, assuming it’d just be her reading a passage; however, it is so much better than that. After 12:54, Thuy answers questions from the students at the community college in regards to her book. The first question is why the narrator isn’t named, and Thuy elaborates in regards to Vietnamese culture and familial relations. There are also questions addressed in this video that we brought up in today’s class regarding to the structure of the book, the narrator’s brother, and others. She even answers what “gangster” means in the book, and that’s pretty handy!

Fun fact: she’s working on a trilogy, so the narrator of The Gangster We Are All Looking For will have a name in the second book!

Aside from analysis, Thuy has such an amazing reading voice. I honestly went gaga over it. She’s very quiet, calm, collected, and charismatic (I really like alliteration…), easily mesmerizing the audience. I know none of you have 40 minutes to spare, but I assure you that during tonight’s reading if you are unclear or need some perspective, definitely check this out for it will help you! The video is also fairly recent, from March 2010 (the book was published seven years ago). Enjoy!

Outsourced on NBC…really!?

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

So for those of you who watch The Office, you’d know that the season premiere of Outsourced follows. Long story short: an American worker goes to India to manage a call center company since he cannot find any work in America and is drowning in student debts.

Of course, stereotypes will be present but dear God, this show is funny in the “racist-Indian-call-center-operator” way–but, how this show is depicting call centers and India in general is downright insulting. They’re being depicted as gossiping, spicy eating, uneducated individuals in a nation where cows climb steps…no, that’s not India.

Definitely check it out if you’re interested in overanalyzing this show like I am right now.

Do YOU want to be a Japanese Nightingale?

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

I have always been eager to know the secret behind a geisha’s beauty, haven’t you? Goodness, to just have that porcelain skin and clear complexion for a day or two would just be the best, don’t you think?

…apparently we can: http://www.shizukany.com/geisha-facial.htm

Presenting the GEISHA FACIAL: a facial treatment that unlocks the secrets of Geisha beauty!

Really? I understand that this is simply a marketing technique, but I still have the feeling that this is a classic example of Orientalism today. How we may characterize the Orient as exotic, sensual and feminine (and after all, geishas are [traditional] female entertainers…

Anyways, thought this would be interesting to share.

Porte de Choisy

Sunday, September 5th, 2010

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/yH8-vfclSfU" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

*Sorry, but this is the best I could find and it doesn’t have English subtitles. It’s basically a beauty salesman trying to sell his products to Xi Lin, the owner of a salon in Chinatown. Initially, she’s a tough customer, but then they fall in love. The film is meant to be a little “out there” and funny. I suggest you skip over to 2:51…

“Porte de Choisy” is one of the short films featured in the collection Paris Je T’aime directed by Christopher Doyle. Granted, this is in France but I figured that this short film applies to Said’s Orientalism and Ting’s The Power of Sexuality. After three minutes, we see Xi Lin opening the door for Henny in a strapless dress with a rather wide slit. That thirty second scene echoes the Occidental’s idea of the Orient–rather, their initial and romanticized idea–as the women being exotic, sensual, and with the help of that dress, sexually available. At this point in the film, Xi Lin is attracted to Henny and starts playing with her hair. She doesn’t think she fits Henny’s standards as an Asian woman because she looks different; thus, leading her to dye her hair blonde and straighten it to fit into what may be deemed “Western standards”. I can’t exactly remember the term we discussed in class, self-hatred? Something like that.

Yes, it’s a happy ending and yes, it is a bit bizarre. I don’t know why but during our discussion on Friday, I thought of this short movie. All of you probably have a better shot of analyzing it than I do.

The Hart-Cellar Act–A South Asian Perspective?

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

*Please pardon the apparent dearth of eloquent language and length of the following post.

Zhou and Gatewood’s introduction presented one of the primary reasons for the rapid influx of the Asian American population in the United States: the Hart-Cellar Act of 1965 (which went into effect in 1968). Zhou and Gatewood mention that the act was established to reunite families and bring in laborers from Asian nations that had many refugees (i.e. Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore and Hong Kong).

I knew my uncle was the first on my father’s side to came to America shortly after 1968 (meaning the act was still fairly recent around that time period), but I was never completely aware of how he actually came here. Out of sheer curiosity, I called my dad and asked him how my uncle came to America (and no, this is definitely not one of those beautifully heartbreaking transnationalism stories, in case you were as excited as I was initially).  My dad only knew that his brother left for Hong Kong back in 1973 to see a friend for a month before deciding he would leave for California [with the same friend]. I figured the Hart-Cellar Act could not have prompted this migration in any way because my uncle is Indian. They lived in a rather remote (not necessarily rural) area where nobody was very aware about worlds outside of India. Plus, as the Zhou-Gatewood article mentioned, the Hart-Cellar Act applied to those trapped in camps in “Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, and Hong Kong”–so how could my Uncle have a friend in Hong Kong anyways? He never left India before then!

I suppose you can understand my confusion by now, so I simply called my uncle and bothered him about this. He left for Hong Kong to start a business with his friend; however, what my Uncle did not tell the rest of my family was that him and his friend wanted to start the business in America. I asked if this friend was a non-residential Indian. His friend wasn’t Indian, but American. Odd. After a month with that friend mapping out their potential business (selling jewelry on the street…), they left for Honolulu, Hawaii followed by Scranton, California. After a year of selling jewelry with his so-called business partner, the business partner cheated him and ran off with all the money. Harsh, right? This blog post is far too long now, so I will cut straight to the point: I was really confused about how and why my Uncle came here. I asked my grandmother and relatives in India: nobody really knew of an “American Dream”. Indians did not know much about America, or even about Hong Kong…so how did my Uncle? I asked him if him and his friend knew anything about the Hart-Cellar Act since he left India only five years after the act went into effect. He paused momentarily. It may be hyperbolic to say that it felt like forever, but I can assure you it was quite the pause. He didn’t say anything, to be honest. It was just quiet on the line so I asked him again and he said he couldn’t tell me.

Isn’t that strange? I know I’m probably making a big deal about this, but this creates a whole different diversion to the Asian migration to the United States (or at least the South Asian perspective of it).


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