Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Movie review: "Miss India Georgia" by Lillian Sangha

Miss India Georgia Documentary
Recently, I went to the Asian American Resource and Cultural Center (101 Taft Hall) to watch a documentary called “Miss India Georgia” which was directed by Daniel Friedman and Sharon Grimberg in 1998. I watched it for one of my classes at UIC, ASAM 105 which is taught by Professor Karen Su. This movie primarily focuses young South-Asian American women who are competing for the title “Miss India Georgia” at the beauty pageant. The cast consists of first generation South Asian Americans: Nisha Nizam, Anu Yallapragada, Mistry Seebachan, and Mini Rao.

Honestly, I thought it was an interesting movie because it captured the feelings of these young women as they were facing different challenges to fit into the pageant. There were instances when some of them felt if they weren’t Indian enough to win the pageant. This made me wonder what does being too Indian or not being Indian enough mean. After brainstorming with friends and family, I came to an understanding that there really isn’t anything such as being too Indian or not being Indian enough. There isn’t a checklist that you can check off in order to be Indian on various levels. In the movie, Misty feels that she isn’t Indian enough as she has friends from other races but Indian. But having friends that aren’t Indian doesn’t make you less Indian. In the same way, being surrounded by Indian friends, doesn’t make you very Indian. In my opinion, society can’t judge you if you follow a certain tradition or not. I think it is one’s personal choice to indulge in a particular tradition if they want. For example, I sometimes do not wear Indian outfits to Indian events. This does not mean I’m not Indian enough. It could just mean that I had a long day and didn’t have time to dress up in Indian clothes.

Fighting for diversity, sign the petition!

Faculty members and students holding signs during the demonstration.
(Photo is taken with Liz Thomson's camera.)
Diversity.
That is one of the main reasons the other student leaders and I gave for choosing to attend UIC when we first met with Chancellor Amiridis in February.  While visiting colleges during my senior year of high school, I was attracted to UIC’s diverse student population. As I walked around campus, I was excited to see and meet students from different cultural backgrounds. What truly makes UIC a home for me is the Asian American Studies program on campus. Before attending college, I knew nothing about Asian Americans, their immigration journey to America, or the restrictions placed on Asian immigrants. The only thing I read related to Asian Americans from my U.S. history class in high school was about the Japanese internment camp, and there was only a tiny paragraph about the topic in an entire chapter dedicated to World War II.

It wasn’t until I took the Introduction to Asian American Studies course at UIC that I learned about Asian Americans, the immigration process, and the discrimination they faced in the American society. The more I am exposed to their stories, the more I want to know because through their stories, I have discovered myself and reconnected with my culture. Their stories have become my stories. After declaring my minor in Asian American Studies freshman year, I have been taking courses for the minor one after another. By the end of this semester, I would have completed my minor and would have taken almost all the Asian American Studies courses offered by the university, which is not many.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

The UIC Perspective: Finals Edition

The UIC Perspective: Finals Edition

            At this point of the semester, we all try to save our GPA. It’s the last chance to boost that borderline grade or to basically not fail. We must strive and complete this crazy semester and year. The oh-so-overused-hashtag #finishstrong is utilized. It’s also the time where Facebook and other social media sees an increase in activity.
           For me, I just hope the grades that were my midterm grades are the same for the final grade. I also blast my study playlist of movie soundtracks starting with none other than “How to Train Your Dragon 2”. Let’s see how the rest of UIC feels about it this semester. I present to you the 2nd edition of The UIC Perspective.

“Finals: learning a semester in a deadline-induced panic”
~Karla Goo, Class of 2016

“It's just something I gotta do, so I can eventually do what I wanna do”
~ Sam Khasawneh, Class of 2016

"These are my last finals as a freshman. This is merely the beginning. All my classes are borderline for the grades I want so I just have to put my head down and get it done. "
~Anurag Gupta, Class of 2018

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Growing up. Or at least trying to grow up...

"Me Lounging Around at the Gym  Instead of Working Out" - Alzen Santos

Growing up can be summed up in two words: IT SUCKS
I mean the interesting thing about growing up is that I used to think it was all about trying to fit into a different world and paying taxes and getting a mildly expensive education (which comes in the form of a piece of paper called a diploma) and getting rid of “childish” things. I guess growing up meant the following:
  • I could no longer fit into the playground swings (my butt was large to begin with)
  • Digimon episodes have ceased to be aired by primetime networks and there are way more Pokemon fans (seriously)
  • I have to act more mature and grow up quickly to become a man

One thing is for sure though; growing up meant one thing:
I get to attend the University of Illinois at Chicago

Monday, April 27, 2015

A Race to Fix (awareness to sustainability)

We are a species that is constantly evolving and growing, but it’s at the cost of our planet. We have accelerated the rate of global warming, destroyed a good junk of our natural resources, and killed a lot of animals to extinction. To top it off, we still continue to add more sustainable problems to the pile. The trigger is none other than capitalism and greed (in my opinion of course)!

Like all broken things, we attempt to fix it. The solutions range from recycling to raw veganism. In fact, sustainability is now a new field of the job market for the Millennial Generation. My mind is blown away by this fact. It has become a worldwide phenomenon. In fact, most East Asian and European countries are on their way to becoming number one in practicing this movement.



Thursday, April 23, 2015

My sassy review of My Sassy Korea!

My Sassy Korea (MSK) is Korean American Students Association’s (KASA) annual mini spring Korean festival. MSK starts with educational booths that inform people about different facets of Korean culture such as popular media, language, history, technology, and fashion. Along with learning about the many faces of Korean culture, MSK participants are also encouraged to try some Korean cuisine which includes japchae, kimbap, ddeok, and the beverage known as “Milkis.” While the audience enjoys the food, they can enjoy performances lined up by the MSK planning committee. This year, our main headliner was Jun Sung Ahn AKA JunCurryAhn.

MSK aims to educate the public about the Korean culture in many modes possible. Student volunteers stood by each informational board and explained the importance of each board that represented a specific angle of Korean culture. My favorite was the informational board concerning Liberty in North Korea. A lot of people are not aware about the reality of the everyday lives of North Korean people and the reality of the leadership that they are under in. LiNK aims to raise money to help North Korean refugees escape and seek safety. From what I’ve learned, when North Korean refugees seek safety in China, there is a possibility of China sending the refugees back to North Korea potentially due to much economic and political concerns. It is a vital issue especially in the ever-more aware world dude to technology and that it is our responsibility to know more about world affairs especially since communication is much easier with the evolving technology.


Photographed: Alzen Santos, Michelle Aggacid
Photo by: Nathan Lee


Interview with Alice Zhao!

In celebration of our upcoming graduation (and even if you aren’t, your opinion is still precious to me) I would like to ask you a series of questions. They’re not difficult or pressing but they do require a bit of time travelling and recollection. Hope you have fun answering these and I can’t wait to share it with AARCCorner and the rest of UIC

Okay, let’s do some basic questions. And not so basic questions!


Alice Zhao
Computer Science

What’s your ethnicity?
Chinese-American

Do you enjoy what you study? Be honest!
Of course! I love coding and I’m heavily interested in coding programs and such

What is your chosen career track? It’s alright if you don’t know yet. Choosing a career path can be stressful!
I’d love to become a programmer and code programs for space research programs

What do your parents think about your career track/chosen major?
Initially they wanted me to become a medical doctor but I explained to them the relevancy of my field to today’s work force. Then I convinced them. It took some time, though.
Do you feel like you have to please your parents when it comes to your chosen career track/major?
Not anymore!

What message would you share with people who might need help picking out their career track/major?
Follow your passion and actively learn and listen to ideas.


Now, let’s bring it back home. As in AARCC.What does AARCC mean to you? (asides from what the acronym stands for obviously)
I go to University of Chicago but I have visited before thanks to Alzen. AARCC was a very welcoming space and I enjoyed everyone’s company.

Kamal Kishore Kspur Memorial Prize

The Kamal Kishore Kapur Memorial Prize honors undergraduate students’ voices that engage with social and political issues of Asian American experience and that seek to transform the worlds around us.
Background
Kamal Kishore Kapur was born in a small town in North India and was the sixth of his parents’ nine children. He joined the Indian Railways at the age of twenty-one, two years before the Indian independence from the British and the Partition of the country. Although he was able to work his way up the ranks in railway service to retire as station-master, throughout his life he just made enough money to make ends meet. He led an ordinary life, but he had unflinching belief in education and its power to transform people’s lives and render them extraordinary. He could only afford to send his children to make-shift schools with thatched roofs, but because of his faith in education, his children achieved great academic and professional success and have gone on to occupy important positions. He instilled in his children and grandchildren the idea that finding one's voice is transformative and that academic reading and writing play an important role in finding that voice. He consumed politics with a passion and recognized that ultimately finding one’s voice is a political act. He passed away in February 2006. In his memory, The Kamal Kishore Kapur Memorial Prize honors undergraduate students’ voices that engage with social and political issues of Asian American experience and that seek to transform the worlds around us.


Mary Chaudhry is currently a sophomore in the Honors College pursuing a degree in biological sciences as a pre-medicine student. She is interested in public health and hopes to practice in third world countries like Pakistan while introducing campaigns to lower the rate of preventable diseases. She believes education is the key to creating any change and is specifically interested in educating women and children about sanitation and family planning.

I am a senior at UIC majoring in Psychology. My research interests include Asian American Studies, focusing on war and memory. I aim to make positive and impactful changes in life that will also benefit others. 

Alzen interviews Rohan Patel!

In celebration of our upcoming graduation (and even if you aren’t, your opinion is still precious to me) I would like to ask you a series of questions. They’re not difficult or pressing but they do require a bit of time travelling and recollection. Hope you have fun answering these and I can’t wait to share it with AARCCorner and the rest of UIC

Okay, let’s do some basic questions. And not so basic questions!


Rohan Patel
Biochemistry (Pre-Medicine) and Psychology Minor, 2016


Whats your ethnicity?
Indian American and Fijian American

Do you enjoy what you study? Be honest!
If there is anything I love, it is the specific discipline of science I am studying. Biochemistry is so amazing, so unique, so applicable. I wouldn't change it for any other major (maybe Korean language but we don't like that :p)

What is your chosen career track? Its alright if you dont know yet. Choosing a career path can be stressful!
Like indicated before, I am a pre-medicine track, hoping to go to med school and further specialize in pediatric cardiology.

What do your parents think about your career track/chosen major?
My parents believe that whatever I choose as a career path, it should be something that I am passionate about. However, they seem to have some type of say on what type of speciality I want to choose in medicine...

Do you feel like you have to please your parents when it comes to your chosen career track/major?
I think that I don't have to really please my parents in what I want to choose as a career path, because it is my life and my decision. My parents support every decision that I make, so I think that I don't have to please them because what I do is enough for them.

What message would you share with people who might need help picking out their career track/major?
I think that it is important to do what you believe in. So many of my friends are biology majors and pre-health. There is absolutelty NOTHING wrong with that, but why did you choose biology? Because you want to fulfill those pre-requistes to apply to a pre-health program? Or are you doing it because you are passionate about the disciple? I think that even if you are a sociology major and pre-health, or a Chinese language major and pre-law. As long as you are passionate and interested, then you should continue with it. All the colleges at UIC will give you the required course. But if you are miserable while studying your major, then you will hate every second of it.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Rising from the Ashes (a poem)


Wo shi Feng Dan,
I am Feng Dan,
born into a world of obstacles,
unwanted by the Chinese society,
unaccepted by the American society.
I am stuck between TWO WORLDS.

I am Hu Hai, son of Emperor Qin Shi Huang.
I force death onto my older brother and take the throne
as the second emperor of the Qin Dynasty.
My father builds Chang Cheng, the GREAT WALL,
to hold me within my own country,
to protect me from the unknown.

I am a railroad worker, the “head man” of my gang.
I live in a tent and eat dried food.
I shoulder the WEIGHT of heavy metal,
and die amongst the railroad tracks.