September 4, 2015

Deli Ideology by Grace Jung

I react to Deli Ideology as inspired by our long-running partnership with Hyphen Magazine.

Deli Ideology, a Novel by Grace Jung

The basics:

by Grace Jung

In this debut novel from author Grace Jung, questions of race, identity, and history are constantly challenged and examined through the eyes of a 23-year-old Korean-American woman navigating the unpredictable landscapes of New York City and Seoul.

LJ has just returned from a year-long residency in Seoul with a manuscript of translated Korean short fiction that publishers have all turned down. To get by in the city, she juggles two jobs: a copyeditor 5 days a week, and on the weekends, a cashier at a deli in Midtown, where patrons challenge and objectify her based on her looks as an Asian woman. While dealing with pressures to make a decision between her career path and her goal as a writer in an economically depressed state, she makes mental escapes back to her past life in Seoul and the times she spent with Daniel. These memories offer up cues to her self-discovery as an artist, regardless of her background and what lies before her. By simply recognizing herself as a writer, she realizes that alone is a stable basis for her to continue forward; LJ doesn’t feel so oppressed by her future anymore; in fact, she feels liberated.

We at the AAAF have long covered the minority myth which is how the stereotype that Asians are hard-working immigrants who’ve great success owed to hard work in America isn’t widespread truth across our whole community. While we’re proud to have had many successes here, the stereotype disservices many in our community, causing additional hardship which is unnecessary & unhelpful. Also, the myth is largely the result of whites wanting to portray Asians in a way they find helpful to their cause which isn’t our telling our story, it’s whites hijacking it.

Deli Ideology also brings to my mind the problem of the taboo of mental health. Conservative political post-mass-shooting rhetoric is already ruining the cause of funding mental health properly but Asian-American taboo about mental health is a special hurt to the cause in our community. Books like Deli Ideology bring mental health struggles from pariah and shame to daily acceptable human stories.

Lastly, Deli Ideology is a good reminder that our cause of representing AAPIs in public better is also serviced by representing AAPIs together better. The community is large, varied, colorful, and deserving of our intelligent attention.

Fraud Hurts Us All

california birth tourism

Jeb Bush’s remarks addressed Asian immigration fraud. Political talking points removed his remarks’ context which was not to say he denigrated all Asian immigration but rather that anchor babies are often Asian immigration fraud.

Most Asian-Americans don’t know about Asian immigration fraud so I’ll educate you.

Wealthy mainland Chinese, often running Communist Central Party-friendly businesses and in their middle class (just $15-50k income required, much less than here), book baby hotels & conduct maternity tourism. They arrive, give birth in a private housing complex, are taught how to enroll for free Mediaid, get free education (no income need be drawn as those who can afford affording baby hotels already draw incomes bigger than ours in China), a near-free college education (UC, often) then return to China afterwards to start companies using their parents’ CCP connections.

The view from outside the political industry is such baby hotels, exclusively marketed to & booked by mainland Chinese, sully the spirit of American immigration as they’ve little intent of actually immigrating rather collecting our many socialist resources (free public education as they can afford all cash homes in the best school districts whereas most others can’t; then again they could never qualify for a mortgage here so they must go all cash; poor them!) & free healthcare (they’ve no incomes here thus qualify for Medicaid) & free taxation (their assets are all held in mainland with shom we’ve no tax records sharing; compare that with most nations with whom US has tax record sharing). They’re not the type of immigrant you’re thinking of. Google “california baby hotel” or “maternity tourism california” & you might be angry, too.

Hating immigration fraud doesn’t drive a wedge between pro-immigration groups. Unless immigrant groups want to help those such folks. I assure you that there’s no solidarity from such “immigrants”, they’re off as soon as they get what they came for. This sort of brutal benefits (ab)use is expected from people who see the US giving so much for the simple price of a birth.

Hating immigration fraud isn’t racism but rather anti-fraud. It’s not saying “let’s remove all Asian immigrants” but rather “stop mainlander’s immigration fraud.” Official political talking points allow no room for this view & only insta-outrage with blanket labelling which hurts all immigration policy.

Asian American Action Fund Condemns Jeb Bush’s Divisive Remarks on Anchor Babies

AAAF logo

AUGUST 25, 2015

Contact: Gautam Dutta (415) 236-2048

Jeb Bush’s remarks about Latino and Asian American children are offensive to all Americans and unbecoming of someone seeking the office of President.

First, Jeb Bush sought to devalue American newborns from one or several ethnic groups by using the term “anchor babies.” The term is widely acknowledged as being offensive, as it demeans minority babies by describing them as inferior to and different than “American” babies. Mr. Bush then backpedaled and stated he was mainly talking about the Asian American community.

AAA-Fund Executive Director Gautam Dutta stated: “Jeb Bush claims to have a deep understanding of the immigrant experience. However, his recent remarks reveal a disturbing willingness to scapegoat one group for the sake of winning votes.”

The AAA Fund denounces Mr. Bush’s comments, regardless of whom they were directed at.

Dutta added: “No one – not least babies – should be stigmatized by the color of their skin. We believe an attack against one group is an attack against every citizen of our great country.”


Rep. Duckworth retires from military

Rep. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois recently retired from the military after 23 years of service. AAA Fund congratulates her on her distinguished service.

Upon her retirement, Lt. Col. Duckworth received the Meritorious Service Medal and the Illinois Military Medal of Merit. Lt. Col. Duckworth is a Congresswomen in her civilian life, representing the 8th Illinois Congressional District. She is married to Illinois Army National Guard Chief Warrant Officer 2 Bryan Bowlsbey and the couple has a 9-month-old daughter, Abigail. (PJ Star)

Rep. Duckworth, a new mom who is pursuing the Democratic nomination for the US Senate seat currently held by Sen. Mark Kirk, will probably have a vigorous post-retirement.


Rep. Ted Lieu on American contributions

California Congressman Ted Lieu (a longtime AAA Fund endorsee), tore into someone who testified to Congress and denigrated the contributions of people with less than 10th grade educations. Rep. Lieu talks about the contributions and sacrifices that people like Maria Isabel Jimenez, a 17 year old farmworker, make. Rep. Lieu noted that she died so “you and I can have less expensive orange juice,” and that she’s given far more to society than you or I ever will.”

Rep. Lieu is a veteran and former JAG officer who was voted Democratic Freshman Class President of the House. Lieu replaced the iconic Congressman Henry Waxman, who decided not to seek re-election. Also, if you watch it from the beginning, Lieu gets very technical about the economic benefits of DACA and DAPA and he gets into the nitty gritty of how much net benefit immigrants in these categories bring in via Social Security taxes.

By the way, a number of my family members, including my grandma, lack more than a 10th grade education. Some of them fled the Cultural Revolution but succeeded in raising sons and daughters who contribute to this country.



Campaign 2016 Begins!

Thanks to all who attended the Asian American Action Fund’s 15th Annual Gala last night! It was SRO, with three rows standing in back, all walls filled, and all seats overflowing. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), the current Chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), made a personal appearance to welcome us and welcome Asian Pacific American participation in all levels of the party. Too many office-holders to name here were in attendance, and we thank every one.

Board Member Puja Bhatia emceed an outstanding program, with top level representatives of the Clinton, O’Malley and Sanders campaigns making the case for their candidates. Spririted discussions were heard all around the room before and after the speeches, with everyone acknowledging that the Asian Pacific American community was the margin of victory for many candidates over the last decade, and APAs almost certainly will be a big factor in many federal, state and local races in 2016.

Two highlights of the evening were the announced AAA-Fund endorsements of Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) for the Illinois United States Senate seat, and Maryland State Rep. Kumar Barve, who served for 13 years as Majority Leader of the Maryland House of Delegates and who is now seeking the U.S. House seat in Maryland’s 8th Congressional District.

Thanks again to Lida Peterson and the gala planning committee for another great job, and thanks to all who attended or donated to make it a wonderfully successful evening. If you still want to make a donation to help elect more APAs and promote our community issues in the political sector, then please go to our website today.

As the evening was winding down, it was clear to everyone in attendance that Asian Pacific Americans are poised to play a big role in Campaign 2016. With your support and active involvement, the Asian American Action Fund will definitely be in the forefront of making it happen.

Rep. Tammy Duckworth on the costs of war

An excerpt from Rep. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois’ op-ed in Politico. Full disclosure: The AAA Fund endorsed Rep. Duckworth’s run for the U.S. Senate today.:

The U.S. military has been a part of me since long before I signed up myself. I saw war up close early. I was born in Bangkok in 1968 and grew up in Southeast Asia with my Thai mom and my American father, who first came to the region to fight in Vietnam and stayed to work assisting refugees. I remember my mother taking me as a very little kid to the roof of our home in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to look at the bombs exploding in the distance. She didn’t want us to be scared by the booms and the strange flashes of light. It was her way of helping us to understand what was happening.

Southeast Asia was home for much of my childhood, but I moved to Hawaii when I was in high school. My first direct encounter with the military was when I joined ROTC as a graduate student, although my father, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps, can trace the military service in our family all the way back to the Revolutionary War. I was interested in becoming a Foreign Service officer; I figured I should know the difference between a battalion and a platoon if I were going to represent my country overseas someday. What I didn’t expect was to fall in love with the camaraderie and sense of purpose that the military instills in you and even with the misery of training. The thing is, when we were exhausted and miserable, my fellow cadets and I were exhausted and miserable together. When the instructor yelled, he wasn’t singling anyone out, but yelling at all of us, together. It took all of us working as a team to succeed.

As for war, families like mine, with fathers and brothers and sisters and mothers in the service, are always the first to bleed. We will serve and serve proudly. We will go wherever the country needs us. I am not a dove. I believe strongly that if the country’s national security interests dictate that we put boots on the ground, then let’s do it and be aware of the true costs, both economic and human. I’m also not a reckless hawk, with scant appreciation for what the men and women in uniform—and their families—sacrifice every single day to keep the rest of us safe.

Our efforts in Iraq cost our economy more than a trillion dollars, and we will be caring for our Iraq and Afghanistan veterans for at least the next 50 years. The next time we go to war, we should truly understand the sacrifices that our service members and the American people will have to make. Which is why, when my colleagues start beating the drums of war, I want to be there, standing on my artificial legs under the great Capitol dome, to remind them what the true costs of war are.


Tomorrow (July 23): Meet the Clinton, Sanders and O’Malley campaigns

Over the last 15 years, the AAA-Fund has been in the forefront of supporting Asian Pacific American (APA) candidates at all levels, welcoming young APAs into the political process, and working with elected officials and Democratic party operatives to make sure that our community’s issues get addressed.

Tomorrow, Thursday, July 23rd at 6pm, we will celebrate 15 years of work. As always, we expect a wonderful mix of campaign veterans, elected officials, PAC and individual donors, Democratic Party staff, and leaders of the local and national APA community. Our goal is both to publicly celebrate our leaders and our achievements, while also creating the informal space that allows attendees to find volunteers, donors, jobs, and contacts for future campaigns.

Highlighting tomorrow’s event will be representatives from the three leading Presidential campaigns: Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) will be representing the Hillary Clinton campaign, and high-ranking operatives from the Sanders, O’Malley and Clinton campaigns will be on hand to answer questions, listen to advice, and hear from the APA community.

Please plan to join us there and let your voice be heard. If you cannot come, please make a donation so that we can continue to provide a forum where Democratic candidates at all levels can interface with our community.

See you tomorrow!