Compiled by Staff
Northwest Asian Weekly
In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage month, we asked some cool people what their favorite part about being Asian American is, and their responses ran the gamut, from the poignant to the ones made us laugh out loud.
The IMPORTANCE of DIVERSITY:
“It’s a tremendous opportunity to be Asian American. The Obama administration recognizes the importance of diversity and its role. He gets it. I cannot even keep track of the number of Asian Americans Obama has appointed in senior positions.”
— Ginger Lew, attorney and former Clinton administration staff member
A TALL BUILDING:
“My favorite part about being Taiwanese is the pride I take in the wonderful food, technology, and people! Not to mention we have the world’s tallest building, too.”
— Nina Huang, Northwest Asian Weekly reporter
“It’s an advantage to be Asian American. President Obama was born in my state. Look at all the people he highlights, people like Gary Locke.”
— Mazie Hirono, U.S. Congresswoman of Hawaii
My favorite part about being Chinese is the closeness I feel with my family. That, and all the great food.
— Derek Wing, director of communications and outreach of National Asian Pacific Center on Aging
“My favorite part about being Filipino is three-fold. Number one: Filipino history and culture is rich and, despite any missteps in history, is one of great interest and elegance. Two: As a light-skinned Filipino, I’m ethnically ambiguous, and I like to keep people guessing when they try to figure what ‘kind’ of Asian I am. And three: Filipino food is ridiculously good.”
— Ryan Pangilinan, Northwest Asian Weekly reporter
“I am very proud of my Japanese American heritage. I love sharing my culture, such as teaching obon odori, a Japanese style of dance.”
— Elsie Taniguchi, president of the Puyallup Valley Japanese American Citizens League and member of the Women of Color Luncheon committee
My favorite part about being Filipina is the comfort in knowing that family is always nearby. Filipinos hold strong family values. At some gatherings, my family has as many as four generations in one room!
— Evangeline Café, Northwest Asian Weekly reporter
A SECRET IDENTITY:
“My favorite part about being Chinese is having an identity that is unique and secret to me except for my closest friends and family. While my American-English name defines who I am to everyone in society, my Chinese name is like a hidden secret identity that I feel truly defines my being. It makes me prouder of my cultural heritage and encourages a desire to preserve my roots for future generations.”
— Amy Lu, math teacher at Hamilton International Middle School
“My favorite part about being Filipina is having a large family — having 30 uncles, aunts, and cousins makes for great weekend get-togethers. You know there’s always going to be good food, funny jokes, and good times.
— Jennilee Bennett, student and Seattle Examiner’s Frugal Fashionista
An ALTERNATE PERSPECTIVE:
“What makes being Asian American special is our culture, history, and contributions. We have rich cultures. We give America an added perspective.”
—Gary Locke, U.S. Secretary of Commerce
COFFEE and SANDWICHES:
“From managing a Vietnamese newspaper, I am familiar with the wide range of Vietnamese small businesses and service providers here. Vietnamese are very resourceful. In the few short decades that we’ve been in this country, we’ve made pho, cafe sua da, Vietnamese sandwiches, and nail shops a part of American life.
— Julie Pham, managing editor of Nguoi Viet Tay Bac newspaper
“[My favorite part about being Chinese is the] love, culture, traditions, closeness of the family, and the way we were brought up, how we support each other and take care of one another.”
— Mona Locke, executive director of Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s Puget Sound affiliation
LESSONS from GHANDI:
“My favorite part about being Indian is that we carry forward the legacy of Great Mahatma Gandhi, who laid the foundation of simple living with the principle of non-violence, service to the community, and tolerance. ‘Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary’ — Mahatma Gandhi (Satyagraha Leaflet No. 13, May 3, 1919).
— Debadutta Dash, co-chair of Washington State and India Trade Relations Action Committee
“Through records, it shows that Asian Americans have displayed wills for public service, strong family ties, good education, and the ability to contribute to this country. I am proud to be an American and proud of my Japanese ancestry.”
— Norm Mineta, former U.S. Secretary of Commerce and former U.S. Secretary of Transportation
HOT and SPICY:
My favorite part about being Korean is being able to eat incredibly spicy food and mocking people who can’t.
— Eleanor Lee, former Northwest Asian Weekly editor
The VALUE of HARD WORK:
“[The best part about being Asian American is] our culture, the things we were taught, how our parents taught us about hard work, don’t complain but get it done, don’t expect to get free rides, continue to follow through, and be proud of differences. Asian Americans have made significant contributions in government, military, architecture, farming, and in many other areas.”
— Gen. Eric Shinseki, U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs