By Yvonne Le
Everyone knows that “tiger moms” are the types of parents you see yelling at their children about a low A or getting second place in a spelling bee. Obviously this is not a default setting for all asian parents, but from a personal standpoint, I’ve experienced both types of moments where my own parents fit the stereotype but also the heartfelt times that they’ve broken it.
I remember a time when I signed up to play in a talent show, but my dad had supervised my piano practice and promptly determined that I was definitely set to fail and it scared me from participating and I ended up dropping out. “Don’t try it if you can’t do it.” While this value scared me for a good portion of my youth, it slowly began to dawn on me, as I got older, what it really meant and how my father really wasn’t the “tiger dad” that he made himself out to be. The meaning behind this tough love was that he wanted me to pursue my highest potential before presenting my skills and talents to other people. He wasn’t trying to protect “family honor” or his own, he wanted my first performance to be one that I was proud of– no mistakes, plenty of confidence. He wasn’t discouraging or insulting my skills from overseeing my practice, he knew that if I presented what I had at that point in time, I would have never gained enough confidence to play again.
At the beginning of this story, I stated that he had determined me “not good enough”, but in reality, I had missed notes, hesitation, uneven articulation; and all of these mistakes were a week before the show. How could I have fixed them beforehand? One could argue that if I had performed, “failure is the best teacher”. But if I had thought that those mistakes were acceptable at that point in time, I would not have become the perfectionist I am now. I would not have nitpicked and practiced more until I was proud of how I sounded.
Now, I’m a pianist and violinist, and I’ve made a reputation as the concertmaster of my school orchestra as well as a 7-time all-county participant. I am proud of the musician that I have become today and it’s all because my dad was the “tiger parent” that he was supposed to be.
By Colin Poon
In a year of historic firsts for the AAPI Community in the Media, I personally am most proud of our representation for the eyes of AAPI Youth. As embarrassing as it is, Sesame Street was one of my favorite shows as a child, just like many Americans since Sesame Street first officially aired on November 10th in 1969. And after more than 50 years of airing on PBS, they are introducing their first AAPI Muppet, Ji-Young.
According to the Associated Press, Ji-Young is depicted as a 7 Year Old, Korean American born in the USA. Her name is even a hidden hint to show that she belongs on the show, with Ji having the meaning of sesame, though the more traditional definition is smart or wise. And that plays along with the reasoning and need of the creation of Ji-Young as one of the characters on the show. As part of the “Coming Together” Initiative made by Sesame Workshop, Ji-Young was in part a way to combat Anti-Asian Hate and Asian stereotypes.
Even through Ji-Young’s personality, who loves to play the Electric Guitar as well as Skateboarding, she helps combat Asian stereotypes like the Model Minority myth. And the need for her presence was shown during an offscreen incident where one of the children tells Ji-Young to, “Go Home”, which shows the discrimination that Asians often face abroad in Western Countries, where they are seen as “perpetual foreigners”.
But Ji-Young isn’t just a way to combat hate, she is something that promotes inclusion and diversity in the multicultural aspect that is so lovingly taught by Sesame Street. One of my favorite ways that she does this is by cooking tteokbokki, which are chewy rice cakes, with her halmoni (Grandmother), according to AP News. This brash yet loving character truly truly embodies what should and is proper AAPI Representation.
All in all, Ji-Young is not just a symbol of inclusion and racial justice, with one of Sesame Workshop’s executives promising that she will be very active on the show. But Ji-Young will debut amongst AAPI Icons like Simu Liu and Naomi Osaka during the historical moment in introducing an AAPI Character to a Young Children’s Audience across the nation. But this certainly will not be the last time that something like this happens, and I cannot wait to see what is next for AAPI Media Representation in the coming new year.
Arizona PBS: https://azpbs.org/2021/11/sesame-street-special-introduces-new-korean-muppet/
Sesame Street on IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0063951/
Christmas In South Korea
Christmas in the Philippines is unlike any other. For starters, the Christmas season starts not in December, but as early as September 1st. Their celebration lasts throughout all the -ber months and it is then when Christmas traditions such as putting up Christmas trees and decorations up are done. In this season, many stalls are also put up around the neighborhoods where decorations and fireworks are sold.
A specific decoration found in the Philippines is the Parol which is a star shaped lantern made of wood and paper, sometimes metal, with a shell called capiz on the outside usually used for window panes. It is a beautiful ornament that glows in the dark at night. Furthermore, another unique tradition in the Philippines is Christmas Carolling.
As early as September, many children gather to go around their own neighborhood to Christmas Carol door to door using makeshift instruments as their accompaniment. Christmas also has more of an emphasis on Jesus rather than Santa Claus to the people as well. This all together truly creates a festive and distinct celebration for Christmas and one of the longest in the world.
With Vietnam being a predominantly Buddhist country, many would believe that the Vietnamese people would not celebrate christmas. However, this is not the case. Although not many people in Vietnam are Christians, there are still country wide celebrations of the holiday. The small minority of Christians were the ones that are spreading this holiday around to non-Christians. The influence spread to children to where they believe in Santa Claus, who is also known as, 'Ông già Noel'. Attributed from Christian influence, people would go to Midnight Mass services to listen to Christmas music and watch many plays. Vietnamese people celebrate this holiday differently than what we are used to.
There is a huge emphasis on Christmas eve and that is when the majority of the celebrations are happening. On Christmas Eve, the streets are filled with the people as they close down the street just for Christmas Eve. During Christmas,there are a variety of games played ranging from traditional drinking games to western games such as Monopoly and Uno. Vietnam has a heavy drinking culture so one of the games played would be to see who can outdrink everyone else! If you aren’t a heavy drinker, Monopoly and Uno would be the perfect game to play with the Vietnamese since these games are one of the more popular western games.
Christmas has only become widely celebrated in Japan in the last few decades. Several customs from the United States, such as gift and card giving are popular in Japan. Unlike the West's family gatherings, Christmas represents a time for friends and couples to celebrate. Moreover, Christmas is not seen as a religious holiday or celebration as there aren't many Christians in Japan.
Many families celebrate Christmas by eating Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), a popular Japanese Christmas tradition. This tradition started in 1974 with an ad campaign called "Kentucky for Christmas." This campaign was successful and kick-started KFC's popularity around Christmastime in Japan.
Another popular Christmas food is the Japanese Christmas Cake (kurisumamu keike). It's a sponge cake decorated with layers of whipped cream, topped with cut strawberries. This beloved dessert is sold on practically every corner around the winter months.
From gatherings to fried chicken, holiday traditions allow vast cultures to celebrate Christmas uniquely!