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A Word from the President
On behalf of the Asian Students Association of the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill, we proudly present the first-ever issue of the East Wind:
The Asian American Student Voice. It is with our sincerest hope that this publication
will educate each of us on Asian American issues, as well as serve as a voice for a
minority that has historically been silent in America.
From the 1840s California gold rush to recent Los Angeles riots involving
Korean shop owners, Asians in America have long been portrayed in many different
roles by the media. We believe that the East Wind will be a positive step in exploring
the Asian American identity from an Asian American point of view.
We find it fitting that the East Wind* s first issue arrives amidst the University's
bicentennial celebration. Who would have imagined a substantial Asian American
presence at UNC 200 years after its founding? The news magazine marks this special
We hope the East Wind will be a forum for education, social understanding,
and diverse opinions for us all.
A Little Hit of Our Philosophy
As a kid, I didn’t particularly want to be Asian.
I wanted hamburgers and french fries, not tofu and fish head soup. I wanted
to play outside on Saturdays, not go to Chinese school. But most of all, it was so
hard to fit in if you were the only one with slanted eyes in a sea of black and white
faces. So, like many others, I grew up not caring about Asia, trying my hardest to
ooze into the melting pot.
Then college rolled around. I joined the Asian Students Association, and
suddenly, it was cool to be Asian. I found a place where others had buried their roots,
like me, only to wish that they could find them again.
Eating at Lenoir truly made me appreciate authentic Chinese food (but I still
don't like fish head soup). I realized that, although I've learned about the Greeks,
Romans, Europeans and Americans over and over again, I know sadly little about
Asia. And I miss speaking Mandarin, even with my limited vocabulary.
I was offended when I had to check my race off as "other" as I registered to
vote last year. I felt cheated when I found out that many minority scholarships and
programs don't include Asian Americans. We are the forgotten minority. But a large
part of the blame lies with ourselves.
It's not too late to remember.
On the other hand, our culture is quite different from that of our parents or
grandparents. The ASA was where I learned to call myself an Asian American, a
term that means so much more than just “Oriental.” Ours is a dual heritage. And,
more and more, I feel lucky to be able to draw from each culture the values I like
best. Values like work hard, and you can achieve anything. Respect your elders
because they are wiser than you. Be humble. And values like carpe diem. Speak your
mind. Have fun.
Since my freshman year, the ASA and other Asian American groups on campus
have grown. We've had guest speakers. We've had social activities. We've had
discussions and debates. We've had cultural learning experiences. All these things
were happening on campus every week, but the only witnesses were those who were
actually at the meetings. We needed a voice.
So the East Wind: The Asian American Student Voice was bom. We spent all
summer fighting about what we should call the news magazine, and we came up with
some pretty far-out names in the process (the Gong, Monsoon, the Bamboo Bridge,
the Opiate, and Stir Fry were just a few). But despite the many titles we went through,
our philosophy was the same: to unite all the different Asian American groups in one
publication that will teach everyone — no matter what color they are — about the
richness and diversity of Asian American life.
In these pages you will find a mix of issues that concern not just the Asian
Students Association, but also the Korean American Students Association, the
Vietnamese Students Association, Sangum (the organization for South Asians) and
other Asian American groups. We'll talk about our campus events and activities, as
well as share our unique experiences and viewpoints through editorials and opinion
columns. And we hope to feature Asian culture, entertainment and controversial
topics that concern Asian Americans all over the United States.
This semester has been a learning experience for all of us on the staff. There
are two journalism majors among us, as well as a few liberal arts majors. The rest
of us are in computer science, biology, chemistry, applied sciences and, of course,
pre-med. Some of us have worked on publications before; others of us had never
written a news story. But the one thing we all had in common was a fascination with
the issues facing young Asian Americans today. I hope that passion shows.
Korean Language Classes Start
Sangum Hosts AIDS Forum
Journey into Asia
Li Lu Kicks off Bicentennial
Are We Asians or Americans?
Yes, We Have No bananas
Take a Cruise on the Love Boat
Entertainment: The Joy Luck Club
Vicki Cheng, East Wind Editor
Please send letters, comments or questions
to the ASA:
Chapel Hill, NC 27514