embracing the dual identity that has enriched our experiences, endeavors, and perspectives
Boston College’s premier Asian American literary magazine  is now accepting applications for open eboard positions. Class of 2017 encouraged to apply!
Complete the following form by Thursday 10/17/13 
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1TzT-fDcYO8wnBqjmr760HeQoUFVnLEINYiTb1ZrULlo/viewform

Boston College’s premier Asian American literary magazine  is now accepting applications for open eboard positions. Class of 2017 encouraged to apply!

Complete the following form by Thursday 10/17/13 

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1TzT-fDcYO8wnBqjmr760HeQoUFVnLEINYiTb1ZrULlo/viewform

2013 marks the 20th anniversary of ASIAM’s first publication. Originally called True Colors, Boston College’s only Asian American literary magazine has changed considerably since its first publication in 1993. Throughout the years, ASIAM has gone through periods of inactivity and resurgence, featuring a variety of content including recipes, candid yearbook style photos and informational articles in addition to poetry, prose and visual art.

The above photoset includes cover art from a few past issues of ASIAM. We hope future issues will contribute to the rich history of ASIAM.

Alonsozana And Pan Win Aquino Scholarships

The following Heights article by John Wiley mentions ASIAM’s outgoing editor in chief, Lucilla Pan. The original article is here.

On Tuesday, the Asian Caucus awarded Matt Alonzosana and Lucilla Pan, both A&S ’14, with its Corazon and Benigno Aquino scholarship—an honor recognizing Boston College juniors with exceptional achievement in academics and community service to the Asian American community. The two were chosen from a pool of 39 applicants, and were among five finalists recognized at an honorary banquet held for the Aquino scholars.

Founded in 1995 as the Asian-American scholarship, the Aquino scholarship was renamed in 2010 to honor husband and wife Benigno and Corazon Aquino, the Filipino political advocates who together worked to end the rule of Ferdinand Marcos, whose 21-year regime effectively eradicated democracy in the Philippines through corrupt practices and human rights violations.

“Behind this scholarship are two people, two people who set the direction for the country which my ancestors call home,” said scholarship recipient Alonzosana, who served this year as co-president of the Asian Caucus, and will next year assume the role of UGBC executive vice president. “Right now, that country is undergoing an election process which will consolidate the progress of decades past.”
Benigno Aquino was assassinated in 1983 while running in opposition to Marcos, and left behind a long legacy of public opposition to Marcos’ regime. In 1986, Corazon went on to become the first female president of the Philippines after the People Power Revolution restored democracy in the country, ending the rule of Marcos.

“I think one thing we forget is a dictum which Demosthenes gave us two millenniums ago, which was that all speech is vain and useless unless it be accompanied by action,” said Alonzosana of the Philippines, a country in which he served as the Visiting Research Associate at the Ateneo de Manila two summers ago. “Truly I think that is what distinguishes Corazon and Benigno Aquino, because they devoted their lives to contribute to the edifice of greater principles which unite us all.”
Pan, who received this year’s Aquino scholarship alongside Alonzosana, will serve as co-president of the Asian Caucus next year, and has begun writing a comprehensive history of the scholarship as Secretary and Historian of the Asian Caucus this year. She expects to publish it this spring.

“Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to just do things and get involved and taking a chance with me,” said Pan upon receiving the scholarship. “I’m so honored to be here.”
Keynote speakers Grace H. Lee, former First Deputy Treasurer and General Counsel for the Massachusetts State Treasury, and Jason Chou, Executive Director to the Massachusetts Asian American Commission, addressed issues of the Asian American community—particularly through anecdotes of prejudice and adversity in their respective careers—and also discussed the formation and function of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Asian American Commission, a state agency focusing on the welfare of Asian Americans.

“My highlight at the treasury—and it’s about doing what you can in your venue—was working with the state treasurer, with the governor’s office, with the state legislators in passing a commission to advance and protect the rights of Asian Americans in Massachusetts,” Lee said.

“Often enough, people don’t care about any of these issues until it affects us, and we don’t know where to go for assistance,” Chou said of his experience championing Asian American issues in Massachusetts. “That’s why I like to encourage people to be involved before these issues come back to you. That’s what the Commission is really about, to be of preventive care.”
Last year’s recipient of the Aquino scholarship, Krystle Jiang, A&S ’13, also shared remarks on the struggles of Asian Americans in Massachusetts, stressing the importance of engaging in the often uncomfortable conversations about prejudice at BC.

“Racism and sexism and heterosexism and all these negative isms aren’t that blatant all the time, but they still happen at the time, and that’s what’s forcing our parents and our friends to feel like they don’t belong in this country,” Jiang said.

Upon presenting this year’s Aquino Scholarship, University President Rev. William Leahy, S.J., urged an openness in sharing stories of identity at BC.

“As I listen to Grace Lee and Jason Chou and the stories about our finalists and then Krystle Jiang, it occurred to me once again how everybody has a story, and how important it is to know those stories,” Leahy said. “We value those and learn from them, because if we’re going to be a community, that means we’re going to have to have things in common, and it’s that story, that personal history that makes BC so strong.”

 

the wait is over!

Check it out—ASIAM’s Spring 2013 issue is here! 

coming soon…

We are excited to announce that ASIAM’s Spring 2013 online publication is expected to be available starting this Wednesday, 4/17/13.

There will be no printed version of this issue but our eboard will look into the possibility of obtaining funding so that our next issue can be printed. Therefore, it is crucial to demonstrate that people are reading, and have an interest in this Asian American literary magazine. But for now the online format is great because ASIAM will be readily accessible, not only to the Boston College community but to the greater APIA community.  

We don’t want to give away too much but there are some really thought provoking submissions in this upcoming publication. Titles of pieces include:

  • The Day Chairman Mao Died
  • I Have  a Question
  • When My Name was Mispronounced
  • Past Future Past

 

Logos by Minje Shin

Phaedrus: Tell me, Socrates, wasn’t it somewhere round here by the Ilissus that Boreas is said to have carried off Oreithuia?

Socrates: Yes, it was.

Phaedrus: Was this the place? The water seems lovely and clean and clear –just the place for young girls to be playing

Socrates: No, it was further down, about quarter of a mile or so, where you cross over to get to Agra. There’s some sort of shrine there, to Boreas.

Phaedrus: I’ve never really noticed. Seriously, though, Socrates, when you come across a legend of that sort, do you really believe it to be true?

Socrates: I’d be in good company if I didn’t. I could say, like any rationalist, that she was playing on the rocks nearby, with Pharmaceia, and that a gust of wind made her overbalance.

(Phaedrus 229.b-d)

………………………………………………………………………………………………

The first speech that I ever remember giving was in the third grade. I was running for class president of Mrs. Jackson’s third grade class. Granted, it was given in front of a camera but I can still to this day remember so vividly my acute nervousness. Thank God the camera only showed my face because below the waist my blue-kneed bird legs were shake, rattle and rolling. But despite how much my lower limbs were trembling, my countenance and voice remained confident and steady. I don’t really remember what I said in that speech, but I do distinctly remember concluding my speech with a snazzy “see you in office”, complete with a point and a wink to boot. This stands out particularly in my mind because that was precisely what happened. I won the election. I guess that was the first time in my life where I experienced the power of oration. In all honestly, the speech probably had nothing to do with my winning; but even so, it was a sensual encounter with public speaking that left me wanting more.

 

Socrates: I’ll speak with my head covered. That’ll be the quickest way of getting through my speech. Otherwise, if I look at you, I shall dry up in embarrassment.

(Phaedrus 237a)

 

I’d like to fast forward quite a ways now, from the first speech of my life to the most important speech of my life: My high school graduation speech. Well actually, the audition really.          It is May and I am living in Portland, Oregon at this time. It has been an emotional year for me to say the least. The previous summer, my parents and my sister had moved to New Jersey due to financial hardship among other things. But my parents allowed me to stay behind for my senior year. I was living alone with a close family friend. I’m sure you can imagine all the things that involves.

Auditions for “senior speeches” had actually officially passed a couple days before. I missed it because I had a tennis match. After much deliberation, I decided at the last minute to submit my audition. The committee of three graciously allowed me to read my speech before them.

I can only imagine how routine they thought this audition was going to be.  After all, this was a late audition and all that I was really expected to do was sit down and read off my paper. No gesture, no expression, no umph, no funk, nothing, just read. So I did precisely that. Holding up my speech right before my face, I blocked my vision of everything else in the room. All I was concerned about was not stumbling through the words. For 10 minutes I felt and heard nothing but my own breath gently bouncing off the few sheets of paper in front of nose. When my reading was completed, I brought the obstruction down from before my face to reveal that my three evaluators were all in tears. Now when I mean tears I don’t mean a slight case of the sniffles, I’m talking about some serious crying: redness, puffy eyes, snot, the real deal. To have been unveiled to that image was the shock of my life. I mean it was an audition for crying out loud. I remember walking away from that room. I was at a loss for words. But I know that underneath the utter confusion and puzzlement, somewhere deep inside I was grinning a nearly sinister smile. It was the first time in my life where I felt, that at least for just one moment, I had a superpower –that with nothing but the sound of my voice, I could move a person; that I was capable of producing in another person a breakdown of that capacity, all with my hands tied behind my back. It was intoxicating. This was the moment I came to realize just how powerful these things we call words can really be.

Now it is not to say that I think this moment is evidence of some God-given, prodigy-like ability to speak; but undoubtedly, it has forever since driven a blooming interest for oration. And of course it is not a pursuit that comes without obstacles. In fact, there is one impediment in particular that is foremost in my mind; it is the fact that I am asian. A friend of mine filmed my graduation speech. I tend to watch it from time to time. Admittedly, I try to relive every moment up on that pulpit. After all, it certainly is the proudest and most important moment in my life.  Yet every single time, this experience is always ruined by one searing piece of contempt: I hate the way my voice sounds. I sound so Asian. I can hear it. It’s always there. This struggle against an infinite regression, threatening to return me to a pitiful diction nestled in my subconscious. It’s funny, sometimes I can’t help but want to blame my father for the way I sound; as if subliminally, my shortcomings are somehow the result of listening to his broken English all my life. I feel as though my ideas and thoughts are toiling across the clumsy tongue of my heritage; striving to make it to the other side clear, refined, and robust. But above all else, I am diminished by this nameless and mysterious disposition that loves to constantly remind me, “You’re not meant to have a voice. You’re not supposed to be eloquent. You’re Asian. Remember?”            

And when take I hard look at the world around me, I guess it really is somewhat of a novel idea: “an asian with a voice”. But on the other hand, I don’t really know how my voice has anything to do with an ethnicity. I like to think of my voice as being nothing more than a projection of my own soul; and for all I know my soul is colorless.

Some of you may be wondering why I chose to include that strange excerpt in the beginning. If it seems a bit out of place, it’s probably because it is being used extremely out of context. But in any case, Pharmeceia in Greek mythology is a nymph of toxin or poison. From it, we derive the word “pharmacy” or “drug”.  The great Greek orator Gorgias described language itself as a drug, capable of moving people. In this sense, Sometimes, I like to think that it is language that drives Oreithuia off the ledge, and that language itself is a power that is capable of influencing people in such a way.

My dream is to move people, to inspire them, to shake them out of their apathy. But I have come to learn that you cannot move anything until you yourself have been moved. Thinking back to those three individuals in the room that fateful, I realized that what moved them was simply my being in harmony, my thought in motion, my soul and spirit on fire. And I take it from them that all other obstacles are as thin as the sheets of paper I held before my face.

 

The above essay by Minje Shin ‘13 was originally published in ASIAM’s Spring 2011 publication. Minje is a philosophy major and is the current president of Boston College’s Korean Students Association.