From Canton, China to Canton, Massachusetts

Traveling far from home, Mary developed an interesting tale that recollects her experience as an immigrant. Along the way, she has picked up a few memories that she will never forget. All these events compile into a story that is her life.

As an American citizen in Canton, Massachusetts, she is 7926 miles away from where she spent most of her childhood in Canton, China. Her world was turned upside down during her teenage years.

With no prior knowledge of English, Mary was thrown into an environment that required her to speak and understand as much English as a native in the area. To say the least, she was overwhelmed. Returning to her new home after a long first day of American high school, her after school activity included crying from exhaustion of trying to understand what the heck people were saying.

Mary found hope when she met others of the Asian community at her high school. Taking special English classes, she made friendships that still exist today. Rather than studying, Mary spent her days of high school hanging out with friends and going to local convenience stores. Although it is now a blur, high school for Mary was remembered to a fun time. She not only made connections with new people using her mother tongue of Cantonese, but also eventually overcame her embarrassment of not knowing the foreign language of English.

Now as an adult, she can look back at those difficult years and say that “I have no regrets.”

 

 

Korean Pop Band Makes History

On May 21st, South Korean boy band BTS made headlines after they were the first Korean pop group to be awarded a Billboard Music Award that took place in Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena. Winning the title of the “Top Social Artist”, BTS beat some of the most well-known US celebrities that include Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez and Shawn Mendes.

Debuting in 2013, the seven-member band has been gaining popularity for their unique music that intertwines hip hop, electronica and rock. The members consist of Jeon Jeongguk, Jung Hoseok, Kim Namjoon, Kim Seokjin, Kim Taehyung, Min Yoongi, and Park Jimin. Despite their accomplishment, the band reacted to the win in disbelief and felt a sense of honor to be able to stand next to some of the top artists.

BTS is living proof that the South Korean music industry is spreading on a global scale. This is known as the Korean Wave, the phenomenon of South Korean entertainment and pop culture washing over the world through music and film. Further evidence of this is shown as they were on a sold-out world tour that include concerts in Newark, Chicago, Anaheim, Australia and Japan.

Because of foreign bands like BTS, the American entertainment industry is becoming more and more diverse. One might see this as a step away from the cliche lovey-dovey pop music you hear on the radio and a step closer into a deeper realm of music originating from a different country with a different culture.

 

 

 

Across the Atlantic

Xiaoyi Ma, also known as Simon by his friends, was qualified for the Future Problem Solvers International Conference at the University of La Crosse in Wisconsin. Following a 13 hour flight, he was introduced to a new place with a new culture and new people. Like the 11 hour time difference, the transition from China to the United States needed some time to get used to. Even while jet-lagged, Simon experienced what he called a “culture shock” that made him realize the societal differences between his hometown of Shanghai, China and La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Over the course of five days, he discovered what it’s really like in the United States and was able to practice his English more with one-on-one interactions with native speakers. He claimed that the people that he talked to in America were more blunt in comparison to others in China. From his own experience, he noticed that the social climate regarding education was a lot more tense in China than in the United States. He also expressed his favor of how the American education system stressed the importance of arts and physical activity more than the Chinese one he went through back home.

With big dreams, Simon explained his future plans when he moves to Alabama for school. Due to his interest in science, he hopes to go to medical school and become a doctor. Based on this, he saw America as the land of hopes and dreams. Studying English in school, Simon was ready to take on the Western world by storm.

 

The Aftermath of an Idol

Who do people think of when they hear “Asian actor”? As silly as it might sound, Jackie Chan is a role model to me. From personal experience, he is an exemplary example for other Asians to follow. Most definitely, I am biased being Asian American and all. Jackie Chan has had an influential effect on me since I was a little kid. Of course, I have particular views that have been installed in me during my early impressionable years. I mean, he’s basically the Hugh Jackman of China. With a career like acting, he essentially works to entertain an audience. Even after achieving such success in the United States, he never forgets his native roots. Although his movies like Rush Hour received love from all over the United States, he still returns to China more often to shoot other films. I’ve grown up watching his movies and listening to his songs. At first glance, Jackie Chan had little to no meaning to me. He was just another ordinary Asian actor in another ordinary movie. As seconds of watching him turned into hours, I realized the pride and happiness he stirred up in me by just doing his job and what he loves. Let’s face it. There aren’t many Asian Actors in American films. However, Jackie Chan broke that stereotype and gained success in the American film industry. The very least you could do is give him some props. Jackie Chan is a living embodiment of the intertwining of Asian and American culture and that’s one of the many things I admire about him. He isn’t afraid to step out of his comfort zone and couldn’t care less about what critics say. Jackie Chan is a great man and I’d be lucky if I was at least half as successful as him one day.

 

Failure: Mother of Success Pt. 2

If you haven’t already, please go read “Failure: Mother of Success Part 1.” before reading this.

Click here to read my poem called “Failure: Mother of Success Pt. 1”.

In a previous post, I shared a personal poem of mine that I wrote for an English class assignment. If you couldn’t tell, it was an autobiographical narrative that explains the story of how my mother moved from China to the United States. I wanted to portray the struggle my mother experienced through the simplicity of the lines. I hope the poem was a clear representation of my mother’s past and did justice for her. My motive for this poem went beyond the urge to complete a school project. Unlike, I suspect, of the majority of students, what I really wanted to do was spread the message of this kind of lifestyle. It was a very meaningful assessment to me it. It was essentially my way of telling my mother what she’s worth and how much of an influence she has on me.

Call to Action: Connect to Your Roots

It’s a dream-like sensation that pulls on my heart strings and tickles the depths of my brain. Imagine the pride your elders could feel and the honor you could give them. When participating in cultural activities, I get a sense of belonging and a taste of my identity. I encourage other people, especially Asian Americans, to be more open minded and engage in activities, as simple as listening to music in their mother tongue, in efforts of connecting to their ancestors. Of course, I am biased as a first generation Asian American that was born in the United States. What I noticed in the 14 years of my life is that a majority of my friends and family members that were born here lost touch with their roots. Most couldn’t speech their native tongue, didn’t eat traditional foods, and didn’t truly appreciate their culture. From personal experience, I’d say some are even ashamed of their Asian heritage. Living under western culture has “americanized” them. People within this new generation no longer have the same point of view as their grandparents or even their parents. In the past, my grandmother grew up in an age where people had arranged marriage and never had a choice. During World War II, she lived in a time of constant conflict. Now, I have everyday first world problems. I have a freedom of choice and and have so many more opportunities than my grandmother did back then. For the most part, I can do what I want and say what I want. Looking back at my grandmother, immersing myself into Chinese culture is the least I could do for her. This is why I hope my children and my children’s children will face their background with pride and embracement. Culture shouldn’t be something feared or something embarrassing. It should be looked at with love and pride. Take it from me, I learned my lesson and I urge others to do the same. 

Failure: Mother of Success Pt. 1

Immigrant from heaven

Traveling across the world, over an ocean

From east to west, village to town

Her world turned upside down

Converting values and beliefs, translating the language

With a deep connection to her roots

Dig a hole and she’ll be right back from where she came from

Carrying her luggage full of love and worry

Bringing nothing but a burden

It’s clinging on top of her shoulders

Weighing her down

Not a trace of selfish thoughts

With her head held up high

Facing whatever the future has in store for her

Leaving everything behind

For a better life

It’s a clean slate, a fresh start, a new beginning

In the greater good of her children

Struggling to get a taste of the American Dream

Click here to read “Failure: Mother of Success Pt. 2” which is an explanation of this poem.

Me, Myself, and The Tiger Mom

Unlike the stereotypical tales about the perfect Chinese child, the story of my life is quite the opposite. I grew up watching my aunts asking for perfection from my cousins as they valued the attendance of most prestigious Ivy League schools. My own parents had the bare minimum taste of education and expected nothing of me. From the lack of a tiger mom and the dominant presence of Chinese culture, I became obsessed with the idea of being the best. You’d expect that a child raised with no emphasis on hard work couldn’t care less, but that wasn’t the case. Cultivated by Chinese behavior and lifestyle, I am who I am today. Before I knew it, I became my own tiger mom. I pushed myself to the limit, put myself down, and scolded myself when no one else would. I could never believe I was good enough because there was always someone better than me. At one time, I was willing to sacrifice everything just to be better than someone. I lived to learn and endured to be the best. Education was everything to me and I was “dying” because of it. I can especially relate to the book called “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” by Amy Chua in which she speaks of her “traditional and strict Chinese” parenting. Through this blog, I hope to highlight who I am and what I can do just like what Amy Chua did in her well known book. In future blog posts, my goal is to get my message across to an audience. 

Click here for photo credits and further information on Asian culture.