May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and the 2nd week of the month is Taiwanese American Heritage Week. TaiwaneseAmerican.org is pleased to present the profiles of a wide cross-section of everyday Taiwanese Americans who many of you have told us that you find personally inspiring or passionate about what they do. Each day this month, we’ll present about three people, of all ages, generations, and careers until we reach 100 people.
Make no mistake, this is NOT the 100 “most passionate” people, because we know there are many more folks to connect with or hear about who also fit this criteria and deserve to be highlighted, too. With your help, we will find them. This project is just the beginning.
For now, this is a glimpse into the diversity of our community and a collection of their stories and opinions. In the future, we’ll be planning other “100 people” projects based on various themes (i.e. tech, community leaders, moms, etc.) and eventually grow our project into a historical archive chronicling the stories of Americans of Taiwanese heritage.
If you know of someone who you think should be profiled this month or in one of our future projects, please send this link to them: http://bit.ly/cSZvf4
I was visiting family in Arizona for Thanksgiving weekend. I spent the Friday after Thanksgiving with my mom, aunt, and uncle making zongzi or Taiwanese tamales, a fitting description that reflects my Pacific Islander/Southwestern identity. 😉 The zongzi are based on my Taiwanese grandmother’s recipe, and includes sticky rice, peanuts, pork, fried shallots, dried shrimp, dried daikon, shiitake, and salty duck egg yolks wrapped in bamboo leaves. The bamboo-wrapped packages are then boiled and steamed. Yum!
As my internship at Creative Commons comes to an end this week, I thought it appropriate to give a shout out to some of the CC-licensed music that I have been listening to at work this summer, in particular, two CDs from Taiwan that I found in the office. (Shameless promotion for the homeland) Both disks feature songs primarily in Mandarin and Taiwanese, but I think they are worth a listen even if you don’t understand everything (I don’t even totally understand song lyrics in English most of the time anyway)
The Asian Variations album is a collection of remixes produced by MoShang in his Chinese Chill style of downtempo electronica, melding deeply laid-back beats with Chinese traditional instruments. Some of these remixes were solicited by the original artists, two were done for remix competitions, and in some cases MoShang approached artists directly requesting permission to remix their work. The artists represe nted on the album are literally from all over the globe; The U.S.A. (Fort Minor, Toao, Lovespirals, Brad Reason), Taiwan (Kou Chou Ching, Chang Jui-chuan, Viba, Andre van Rensburg, MoShang), South Africa (Gordon’s Suitcase), Japan (Akihiko Matsumoto & Chage), Italy (Tafubar), and Slovenia (PureH) and for the most part the collaboration with MoShang was via the web. With the exception of Fort Minor and J-pop star, Chage, none of the artists are signed to major labels and all are working hard to be heard.
Yo yo yo from my parents’ place in Cake City. Just made another batch of banana coconut sticky rice dessert, for my family to try. Just so we are clear on terms: sticky rice = glutinous rice = sweet rice. This time I substituted Sugar in the Raw for my usual blend of brown sugar and palm sugar, and Korean short grain brown sticky rice for Thai long grain sticky rice, because that’s what my mom had around the house.
So I didn’t realize until a couple days ago that there was a difference between long and short grain sticky rice (I knew there was a difference between long and short grain regular rice though). My mom was talking to me yesterday about how she associates long grain rice with “famine” (her word, not mine). WHAT!?
Ok, so my mom grew up in Taiwan. Long before it was the land of fist-fighting politicians and the Taipei 101 skyscraper, it was a poor developing country. There was a rice shortage when she was growing up and they had to import long grain rice from South East Asia. Short grain rice (similar to the kind the Japanese and Koreans eat) is more commonly eaten in Taiwan, so my mom said she couldn’t get used to the taste and texture of long grain rice. She said it was so disappointing it made her cry, and she still won’t eat long grain rice today, because it reminds her of poverty and famine. I, for the record, have no problems with long grain rice.
This reminds of me of the fact that my paternal grandfather, who is from China, won’t eat brown rice, despite the health benefits, because it reminds him of wartime poverty when white rice wasn’t available.
Or one of my fellow former JET assistant language teacher’s students in Japan, who cried when the JET made some American-style rice pudding in class. Apparently the kid was upset that the teacher “ruined” some “perfectly good rice.”
Moral of the story: don’t mess with an Asian person’s rice, just like you wouldn’t mess with a French person’s baguettes.
In totally unrelated music news, the HEPNOVA recording sessions are going well. More music coming soon. Check out what we’ve got so far on HEPNOVA.com. And follow us on Twitter.