Matthew Salesses’ I’m Not Saying, I’m Just Saying is the first flash fiction I have ever read. And admittedly, I am fascinated by the storytelling not only because flash fiction is a novel idea for me, but also because of the simplicity and precision of the narrative. After poking around on the internet for a phrase that defines flash fiction, I have come to understand that, flash fiction is in ways similar to a Twitter post, which allows a user to post 140 characters or less.
In the world of flash fiction, it is best for a person to use the smallest number of words possible to tell a story. Although the storytelling can sometimes be fragmented, a piece of good flash fiction should present vividly the explosion of moments. By this I mean, good flash fiction demonstrates the flashes of inspiration that were going through the author’s head as he/her wrote it. Another fascinating aspect of flash fiction is its subtlety. Similar to how a story is told in a film, flash fiction can not include all the things that happen; instead, it only shows the most essential moments of all.
Chang-Rae Lee is author of Native Speaker, a novel that we recently finished reading as a class. I personally think that Native Speaker is the best piece of Asian American literature that we have read this entire trimester. Due to my love for the book, I decided to conduct a little research on the author himself.
So Lee was born in Seoul Korea in 1965. Not long after he was born, he would immigrate with his parents to the United States when he was 3 years old. As a second generation Korean-American, Lee fulfilled his parents’ expectations by demonstrating excellence in his life; he became a Wall Street stockbroker not long after he had graduated from Yale. However, things took an unexpected turn when he decided to abandon his profitable profession of a stockbroker after a year of working. Lee was determined to devote himself to writing fictions. Native Speaker is, I believe, a demonstration of Lee’s devotion to writing, as the work itself was meticulously crafted, and in a sense , resonated with Lee’s own upbringing.
With my Senior Exhibition focusing on the difference between entrepreneurship in China and the U.S, I am beginning to understand gradually what it takes to be an entrepreneur. It is true that as an entrepreneur, a person needs to go through ups and downs of life. Although that sounds mundane, the challenges faced by entrepreneurs are at times incredible hardships. People like Mark Cuban, Sean Parker and Mark Zuckerberg must have gone through countless denials and defeats before reaching success. Their entrepreneurial journeys must be ones of self-discovery, especially finding where the limits of their potentials are.
Being a successful entrepreneur takes a tremendous amount of tenacity, courage and determination. At the same time, the taste of success after the suffering must be an experience unparalleled to any other things in life.
College, college, college. As I am nearing the application deadline for my early school, I naturally begin to reflect on what I have done throughout the process.
I realize this whole college process is a period of time in which a person needs to put down all the impressive things that he/she has done to impress those admission officers who will be reading the person’s application. In a larger sense, aren’t people always trying to impress others in order to achieve excellence and obtain success? In school students need to impress their teachers with their knowledge; in workplaces people need to impress their higher-ups with their achievements; sometimes people(Asians) need to keep healthy relationships with their parents by showing them that they are living good lives.
Although impressing others is seemingly a established rule in the world, I believe there should be times when people try to learn to do things in their own way, and not worry about others’ perceptions of them.
As the son of a Chinese film director, I have been exposed to Chinese films throughout my life. Just recently, I had a conversation with my father over the phone, discussing his latest project “The Monk Comes Down the Mountain”. He has been making films for almost 30 years, but this is the first time that his film will be a co-production between a Chinese and an American film distribution company.
I asked him why he would launch a cooperation with a foreign film company. He simply told me that time is changing. With China’s consuming power for entertainment rising, the audience wants something that will greatly entertain them. However, I believe that cooperation does not mean a betrayal of what he wants to express in his films; instead, cooperation with more experienced film companies will only strengthen his message.
On September 19th, a Chinese e-commerce company almost unknown to the Western world had its initial public offering (IPO) at the New York Stock Exchange. Jack Ma, the founder of the company Alibaba, not only instantly became the wealthiest person in the entirety of China, but also made himself well-known in the international business world. Similar to many underdog stories, Ma had a legendary “comeback” in life.
Having been born in a Chinese family in a small town of HangZhou in 1964, Ma was strangely drawn to English at a young age. He reflects that when he was in middle school, he would ride his bicycle to tourist attractions in HangZhou and ask foreign tourists to teach him English. English would definitely help Ma later in his life, because in the 1990’s, Ma had the opportunity to visit America. It was during his trip to America when he discovered Internet and the Silicon Valley.
Ma then decided to start his e-commerce company Alibaba when he returned to China by first introducing the use of Internet. Initially Ma’s partners thought he was crazy, as they did not understand at all the concept of the Internet. However, no one would have guessed that Alibaba would become the largest privately owned Chinese company 20 years later.
In the first week of the study of Asian American literature, Ms.Sohn taught the class the idea of “diaspora”. According to dictionary.com, diaspora’s official meaning specifically applies to “the scattering of the Jews to countries outside of Israel.” With the large influx of Asian American immigration to the United States in the late 1800’s and the racial hardships Asian immigrants endured, the word diaspora can be appropriately applied to the Asian American race.
With no purpose to reiterate the degree of racism the Asian Americans received, it is interesting to look at some of the initiatives that Asian Americans, especially young ones, took to counter the White society’s racial oppression. It is fascinating to learn that Asian American studies was first initiated at Berkeley “as a result of a 1969 student strike.” In the 1960’s when many liberal movements came into being, the Asian American community was also a part of the protestation against racism. The picture below is one that documents the collaboration of Asian Americans, African Americans and Chicanos in the fight against non-white racism. AAPA, the Asian American Political Alliance, was a major force of Asian protestations. It was believed by Manuel Ruben Delgado, who was a Chicano strike leader and on the right of the picture below, that AAPA was the “heart and soul” of the strike. AAPA fought against not only domestic non-white racial oppressions, but also against racist wars that the United States was involved in in Asian countries such as Vietnam. The the same time, the demand for a free access to education was also addressed by the Asian American movement.
Until this day, when people like us have more exposure to the studies of Asian Americans, the Asian American diaspora can be understood in a larger and more meaningful context.
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