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Asia-literacy and Global Competence

Asia-literacy and Global Competence

  • Asia-literacy and Global Competence
  • Introduction
  • Midpoint

Collections and Recollections

Alicia Su Lozeron

Introduction

ASIA-LITERACY AND GLOBAL COM-PETENCE is a collection of Alicia Su Lozeron’s vignettes and articles about Asia and the world. In bringing the Asian segment onto the western stage, the author emphasizes the invaluable contributions of the Asian sector to the global village. An irresistible shift of global power renders awareness about global competence ever more important. She aims to raise that awareness and connects the West to the East by researching and analyzing facts as well as describing experiences of cross-cultural nature. Her content is compelling, and her tales, beautifully narrated.

Through her writing as well as her translation and communication management company, Asia-America Connection Society, AACS 亚美合作协会, Alicia Su Lozeron has promoted Asia-literacy and urged global competence. Her diligence in providing quality content related to Asia and the globe has proven to be rewarding, both to her own personal fulfillment, and to the global village’s needs. For herself, the work is her cause and calling. She gains a great deal of gratification through hard work and creation. For the world, her work is beneficial and educational in the ways it introduces peoples and cultures of various heritages and embraces world citizens of the global village, with their fair share of rights to being, to life, and to our magnificent Earth.

Alicia Su Lozeron’s advocacy for mutual understanding and collaboration among cultures is vital for your company or personal accomplishments, on a business, cultural, educational, or entertainment dimension. Below is what readers and audiences have discerned of Alicia Su Lozeron’s work:

• helps me overcome difficulties or fears and find beauty in positive human interactions;

• helps me appreciate people of various backgrounds, and expand knowledge about the world;

• helps me understand interracial or blended family relations;

• helps me savor intricate feelings and emotions about important subjects in life;

• helps me gain enjoyment through poetic narrations;

• helps me realize a new perspective of hope, courage, and respect for others;

• helps me raise awareness about cultural competence;

• helps me nurture a well-rounded global outlook;

• motivates me to promote an open/just community;

• urges me to develop the ability to see the big picture using multiple frames of references;

• helps me strengthen the ability to express genuine love;

• helps me decrease conflict by learning to trust and to resolve disagreements….

[* “Think Global Live Noble” -- together we can build a better world! *]

Copyright © 2017 Alicia Su Lozeron

All rights reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-9981941-6-5

[* Works by Alicia Su Lozeron -- *]

The Un-death of Me: Life of an Asian American Woman

(2016, A Cross-genre “Fictional Memoir”)

Asia-literacy and Global Competence: Collections and Recollections

(2017, English and Chinese Versions)

[* Upcoming -- *]

A Man with Immense Love

The Un-death of Me: Life of an Asian American Woman

(Chinese Version; Japanese and Spanish Versions by Teams of Translators)

I dedicate this book to all the professionals, friends, colleagues, world citizens and travelers I have come across while exploring the world and acquiring knowledge of it. I also thank Robert Alan Lozeron, my dear husband, my love, my life-partner, and my editor who provides me with invaluable suggestions. Those who propel me to reflect on my inner self and the world appear in many facets and aspects of the articles or vignettes collected in this book. They formulate the pillars of the world as I construct and understand.

The factual or fictional world’s intricacy lies in their existences.

With them, this book comes to life.

New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Toronto, London, Sydney

Asia-America Connection Society

Asia-literacy and Global Competence

Collections and Recollections

Alicia Su Lozeron

Weakness creates ignorance, racism, xenophobia, and cruelty. The more self-assured you are, the more open you are to new ideas and people of different origins.

Cultural incompetence is like a shadow personality; it creeps up on you when you least expect or even realize it. When you presume and judge, you cloud your vision by having wrongful perceptions about people.

[* -- Alicia Su Lozeron *]

Content

Introduction

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p<>. From Old Skin to Fairytales

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p<>. The International Bum’s Pendulum

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p<>. Chinese Teacher? English Teacher?

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p<>. Get Down to Business

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p<>. Tapping into the Asian Market Segment Is Crucial

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p<>. Cashing in on the Boost of Chinese Middle-Class Travelers

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p<>. Chinese Consumers Are Shaping the Las Vegas Landscape

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p<>. Asians to Surpass Latinos as Largest Immigrant Group in U.S.

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p<>. The Benefit of Diversity

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p<>. Why Asian-Americans Are Successful in America

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p<>. Expansion of Las Vegas Convention Centers

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p<>. The Generosity Behind “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas”

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p<>. Housing Market Leaps and Bounds

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p<>. T-Mobile Arena with the Park

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p<>. Vegas Connections

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p<>. Beyond the Las Vegas Strip

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p<>. Asian American Voters

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p<>. Asian Americans’ Earnings

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p<>. Las Vegas Caters to Chinese Tourists

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p<>. Direct Flights from China

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p<>. Under Suspicion

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p<>. A Volatile and Pivotal 2017 for Taiwan and China

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p<>. Global Competence Revisited

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p<>. Asia Week around the Globe

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p<>. A First in Asia: Taiwan Banned Eating Dog or Cat Meat

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p<>. The Play of Language and Ideas

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p<>. How about Global Travels

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p<>. When the World Celebrates Mothers

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p<>. Celebration of Fathers

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p<>. Wedding Customs from around the World

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p<>. How the World Welcomes New Babies

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p<>. How the World Treats the Elderly

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p<>. Funeral Rites from around the World

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p<>. How the World Rears the Young

 

Appendix:

Discussion Questions for The Un-death of Me

Thank you for Reading!

About the Author

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. From Old Skin to Fairytales

The character of Avery Mingli Liang in my debut book called The Un-death of Me, embodies a version of me who wanted to get away from the confined, pressure-ridden society of the tiny Asian island of Taiwan. Effacing the traditionally subservient female role of a daughter, pupil, or sister, I took off soaring freely into the wild wide world, unto New York City’s sophisticated living as well as Las Vegas’s brutal reality checks. Twenty odd years later, I am embracing an adjusted outlook that sustains healthier interactions with my inner self, with my heritage, with others, and with the world as a whole. The process was convoluted and only became evident after many a life lesson. Here I am, set to rethink how my roots and experiences have nurtured, and propelled me to teach global competence. Like Avery’s character, I owe it to my heritage to see the world through healthier lenses:

How was it right to slither free of an old skin and walk away to wear only a healthy membrane of a hide? Avery came back to a

 

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A Vicious Typhoon

All Too Strange and Familiar

 

vicious typhoon that reminded her of her old skin all too strange and familiar at the same time. She came, she experienced, she took away, and she left behind. Her survival from the anguish, torment and regret must have been unconditionally granted. She was unscathed yet again, feeling completely home with Abbey beside her -- no matter how the world would fall apart in front of her eyes.

If she had suffered from any cultural indiscretion and was fettered by her upbringing, her limbs would always bear traces of these shackles. Breaking free of Taiwan and building a home in the west and the world, what she struggled to fight off and lost was her identity, the fairytale of her young soul. She looked at the remaining traces and saw mere distortion, or at times, she blocked the marks entirely and saw nothing. Either way, she had no means to tell the story of where she came from. She only gripped her injuries, as much as her successes, and divulged them like in a storybook. And gradually and eventually, she could regain the comportment of her true self, and acquaint with the true colors of herself as well as the world around her again.

Abbey and Avery visited the destroyed villages after the disaster; they helped with their relocations and donated necessities. They felt belonged. One day, Avery would be old enough to read fairytales again.

-- Excerpt from The Un-death of Me

 

Taipei 101

 

 

 

 

 

2. The International Bum’s Pendulum

 

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The wanderlust of my youth belonged to a traveling soul akin to international roaming, aimless and carefree. My travels across numerous countries, in all continents, were done in the name of love. I was free from judgement, bound to err, and it was all destined to come to an abrupt stop.

I was entitled to explore and to “learn from my mistakes,” as if that had been the right way to live and spend my youthful days. The travels only came to a halt when a “real” 9-to-5 job in New York City made sense and helped me to build a “permanent” home in the US. I became a corporate executive, attaining acumen that “grown-ups” achieve to solve problems in the real world.

What I didn’t realize was the ongoing struggles of my soul: between the corporate world and the wild wide world of expeditions, between the tender subordinate female role and the tenacious determined working executive function, between the free-spirited creator of arts and the logical sequenced numeric calculator of business data and fiscal returns, and between my East and West identities.

What I didn’t see was, a pendulum of a sort, gravitating me towards a center, a pivot. No matter what I do, where I am, I can always swing freely from a centered position. I understand that my life, however I choose to live it, will always be charged with a restoring force. At times, my pace is accelerated, and other times, staggered or obstructed. But, I’d manage to return to that centered position, back into the rhythm of my own making. I have always strived to live my life to the fullest. As my husband has described: “Alicia always gives 110%…. Alicia can get the job done and then some! “

An Equilibrium of the West and the

East, Ying and Yang, Strong and Tender

3. Chinese Teacher? English Teacher?

 

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The first job interview I got when simultaneously applying for Chinese and English teaching positions was one for Chinese. I wasn’t even licensed to teach Chinese at that point. My licensed area, in accordance with regulations, was English Language Arts -- to obtain the endorsement in Chinese, I would first have to take courses for non-native Chinese speakers!

I fought to demonstrate to the Education Department Director that the first half of my life was spent speaking and learning in Chinese. I had attained a relevant graduate degree in my native country before finishing another at Columbia University, and yet another in Las Vegas. I scored in the top percentile on the Chinese Praxis (proficiency test) after all. I ended up obtaining the Chinese Mandarin endorsement I sought, but still continue teaching English Language Arts to secondary public school students.

The truth is, I am highly qualified in both English and Chinese literacy. I had taught both English and Chinese to different peoples of various ages before I became a public school teacher. Either way, teaching English or Chinese, I was bound to feel partially unfulfilled. Planted in me is a soul that bears no national boundaries. I have an insatiable need to always step beyond and look far and ahead.

I will always look Chinese. For those who cannot see beyond skin color, I am an odd English teacher, framed as a foreigner. For others, I am also unusual as a westernized Chinese teacher, positioned in between the West and the East.

Roll the dice if you will, the result is the same: I am a Chinese teacher, and an English teacher. I am either, and I am both.

4. Get Down to Business

The strange English-and-Chinese-teacher shall be able to see the inside of society from the outside. If there is one thing I came to this place in life to do, it would be to paint a picture of the world with as little bias as possible.

I set out to collect aspects and facets of my home continent and the world. I hope, you the reader, would gain insights to Asia-literacy and elicit a greater sense of Global Competence. This book is the beginning of that journey.

5. Tapping into the Asian Market Segment Is Crucial

Asian influx is transforming Las Vegas.

Over the past 15 years, Nevada’s Asian population has more than doubled in size. This significant surge will trigger demographic and economic changes. The Asian groups’ spreading influence is wide and large as Asians in Las Vegas are well-educated, and they spend lavishly. Notably, high-profile investors as well as high rollers from Asian countries also continue to bring large amounts of money.

Corporations and entrepreneurs seek to penetrate Asian markets.

According to the National Association of Realtors, Chinese buyers’ U.S. real estate expenditures exceeded $286 billion in 2014-2015, showing an annual growth of 30%. That figure is 2.5 times that of the second largest foreign buyer, Canada. Furthermore, the average amount of a Chinese buyer is way ahead of property buyers from other countries: an average of $832,000, compared to India’s 460,000, Canada’s $380,000, and the national average real estate transaction price of $256,000. Las Vegas shares prominently in that real estate market.

To a business or individual operating in Las Vegas or the US as a whole, it becomes crucial to tap into that Asian market segment. Asian organizations, on the other hand, need to capitalize on the connection to the main-stream market via enhanced and accurate communication.

(Originally published on: [+ http://www.aacs.website/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/AACSNL7.15.pdf+])

6. Cashing in on the Boost of Chinese Middle-Class Travelers

 

The increasing number of Chinese travelers in the recent years provides opportunities for business expansions. Las Vegas’s huge convention productions and tourist attractions will lure travelers to come to Las Vegas first, and then take excursions to California and the Southwest.

Brig Lawson, director of business partnerships with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, said Las Vegas doesn’t play one airline off another because they don’t have to. “These executives are smart, and they know their networks and those of their competitors….We don’t have to explain the benefits of flying directly into McCarran. They already know them.”

At the end of the fourth quarter in 2013, Delta showed an average 35 passengers a day passing through Seattle to Las Vegas from Asia. Now, the average is at 158 a day. Asian markets have surged, particularly in China, mostly as a result of a middle-class customer who now has the means to travel abroad. Airlines will want to seek expansions to meet that demand.

In the past decade, airline carriers have tried and failed nonstop routes from Asia to McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas: Japan Airlines from Tokyo, Singapore Airlines from Hong Kong, and Philippine Airlines from Manila, via Vancouver, British Columbia. The steadiest carrier has been Korean Air, which began nonstop flights between Las Vegas and Seoul in 2008, but cut them back at the peak of the recession. Its full schedule was resumed in 2011. While there weren’t enough customers then, the current flood of Asian traveler will force airline decision-makers to rethink their strategies.

Delta Air Lines, the second-busiest commercial air carrier at McCarran International Airport, has adopted an aggressive West Coast strategy to cash in on the increasing number of Chinese middle-class travelers. Delta has 311 Las Vegas flights a week to and from nine destinations, and is expanding rapidly on the West Coast. To support the flow of Asian traffic, the airline has beefed up capacity to domestic destinations in Seattle, San Francisco, and Portland, Ore.

Airline decision-makers rethink their strategies on LV routes.

Delta has grown capacity by 35 percent in Seattle, 27 percent in Portland, 20 percent in Los Angeles, and 7 percent in San Francisco since July 2014. A slice of that benefits Las Vegas, which has 54 weekly nonstop round trips to and from Los Angeles and 34 a week to and from Seattle.

At the same time, Delta has new aircraft in its acquisition pipeline to replace its aging Boeing 747 and 767 long-range, wide-bodied jets. The airline will take delivery of the first of 50 Airbus A350 jets, which are more fuel-efficient than existing planes, by the second quarter of 2017. Not only will the Airbus jets be more efficient to operate, but they will have greater range than the existing fleet.

Delta’s overseas expansion will become successful, and open up booming Asian tourism for Las Vegas and the Southwest region. Ask yourself; are you ready for the influx of Asian travelers? Are you looking at this increasing Asian market as new and emerging business for your company? Are you providing sufficient services or education resources to optimize the Asian segments? It is time to rethink, re-plan, and respond.

(Originally published on: [+ http://www.aacs.website/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/AACSNL8.12.pdf+])

7. Chinese Consumers Are Shaping the Las Vegas Landscape

According to the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration, nearly 2.2 million Chinese visited the United States in 2014, an increase of 451 percent from 2007. Southern Nevada is poised to capitalize on the market segment, as retail centers, entertainment venues, restaurants and casinos tailor their tourism strategies to meet the needs of the Chinese consumers.

Rafael Villanueva, senior director of international marketing for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, indicated that 300,000 Chinese visited Las Vegas in 2014, and they tend to spend more than other international travelers -- according to 2013 figures, Chinese tourists spend $3,200 per person per trip, and stay longer. In a survey by the International Trade Administration, to determine how Chinese travelers spend their vacation days in America, 89 percent cited shopping as a must-do, while 51 percent said fine dining, and 13 percent planned to visit a casino.

“Las Vegas is a very service-driven destination, and we must understand who our guests are,” said Villanueva, “On the casino side, we’ve been very good at (addressing the needs of the Chinese), but in other hotel operations, we are still learning. As far as shopping centers go, Fashion Show and the Grand Canal Shoppes more than any other properties have taken a very aggressive approach in reaching Chinese tourists.”

The Active America China trade show hosts more than 200 travel industry guests and 80 travel agents from China every year. The show was co-sponsored by the LVCVA and the Grand Canal Shoppes in 2015, and an opening reception was at Fashion Show.

Meizhou Dongpo, an upscale Sichuan restaurant with numerous locations in China, opened a 30,000-square-foot flagship location in spring 2016 at the Grand Canal Shoppes. Chinese visitors looking for a taste of home can also choose from other high-end restaurants on the Strip, including Blossom at Aria, Jasmine at Bellagio, Fin at Mirage, Hakkasan at MGM Grand, and Wing Lei at Wynn Las Vegas—and Chinatown lies just west of the Strip on Spring Mountain Road.

Resorts World Las Vegas, developed by Genting Group on the site of the former Stardust, is expected to include 3,500 rooms, multiple towers and 100,000 square feet of gaming space. Genting broke ground in May 2015 and is scheduled to open the resort in mid-2018. The $4 billion, Chinese-themed resort has “the multitude of accommodation, dining and retail offerings, and will cater to visitors from all over the country and the world, including China,” said Michael Levoff, senior vice president of public affairs at Genting.

Retail centers, entertainment venues,

restaurants and casinos tailor their tourism

strategies for the Chinese.

Genting’s World Resort has been the focus of attention before its anticipated opening in mid- 2018. In addition, another project, the Lucky Dragon, is a 10-story boutique hotel with about 200 rooms on Sahara Avenue west of the Strip. The resort, designed to create an authentic Far East cultural and gaming experience, is being developed by Andrew Fonfa, who owns the adjacent Allure condominiums.

(Originally published on: [+ http://www.aacs.website/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/AACSNL9.6.pdf+])

8. Asians to Surpass Latinos as Largest Immigrant Group in U.S.

Asians are likely to surpass Latinos as the nation’s largest immigrant group in the mid-21^^st^^ century, as the wave of new arrivals from Latin America slows but trans-Pacific migration continues apace, according to a new study of census data.

The projections indicate that immigrants and their children will make up 88% of the country's population growth over the next 50 years. The foreign-born, who made up just 5% of the nation's population in 1965, when Congress passed the 1965 Immigration and Naturalization Act, make up 14% today. They are projected to be 18% of the population by 2065.

Increasingly, that population growth will involve Asians. The census category of Asian takes in a vast array of ethnic and language groups, including Japanese, Chinese, Koreans, Filipinos, Indians, and Pakistanis. Already, Asian Americans make up about 6% of the nation's population, up from just 1% in 1965. By the middle of the century they will total 14%.

Asians are expected to constitute 36% of the immigrant population by 2055, surpassing Latinos, who by then will be 34% of immigrants, the study indicates. Since many Latinos are third- or fourth-generation Americans, they will remain a larger share of the total population, close to one-quarter of all Americans by midcentury.

The 1965 law abolished a quota system based on national origin, barring most immigrants from outside of West Europe. It led to a sharp increase in immigration from Asia, Africa and Latin America. Today, 62% of Americans are non-Latino whites, down from 85% in 1965.

The survey found that people's attitudes toward immigration depend on their political affiliation -- with Democrats more favorable than Republicans -- and also on whether a person knows an immigrant personally, said Mark Lopez, director of Hispanic research at Pew and a coauthor of the report.

Among Democrats, 55% said immigrants were making American society better in the long run, while 24% said immigrants were making things worse.

Views were nearly the opposite among Republicans, 53% of whom said immigrants were making American society worse in the long run, and 31% saying they were making things better.

Younger Americans were more likely to see immigration as a positive thing, reflecting in part the ethnic diversity of their generation. According to the poll, 54% of Americans younger than 30 saw immigration as making the country better, while 27% said it was making the country worse. Those 65 and older split, 39% to 39%.

Asian Americans are generally viewed as bringing more positive impact on America.

Overall, concerns about the effects of immigration were highest around crime and the economy. About half of Americans say immigrants have made crime worse and have hurt the economy.

On the other side, about half of Americans say immigrants have had a positive effect on American culture, improving food, music and the arts.

(Originally published on: [+ http://www.aacs.website/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/AACSNL10.7.pdf+])

9. The Benefit of Diversity

The immigration issue fuels emotions as we have seen both in the recent presidential contest and in the world throughout history. Many politicians such as Donald J. Trump find that their poll numbers rise the further from reality they drift. Republicans are far more certain than Democrats (53 percent versus 24 percent) that immigration is making our society worse.

As Ted Widmer affirms in the New York Times (Oct. 6, 2015), history provides some clarity about the relative costs and benefits of immigration over time. Fifty years ago Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 at the foot of the Statue of Liberty. It made the United States a stronger nation. What ensued was arguably the most significant period of immigration in American history. Nearly 59 million people have come to the United States since 1965, and three-quarters of them came from Latin America and Asia.

The flood of new immigrants promoted prosperity in ways that few could have imagined in 1965. Between 1990 and 2005, as the digital age took off, 25 percent of the fastest-growing American companies were founded by people born in foreign countries.

The 2010 census stated that more than 50 percent of technical workers in Silicon Valley are Asian-American. Google was co-founded by Sergey Brin, who emigrated from the Soviet Union with his parents at age 6. The C.E.O. of United Airlines is Mexican-American. And an extraordinary number of Indian-Americans have risen to become chief executives of other major American corporations, including Adobe Systems, Pepsi, Motorola and Microsoft.

In countless other ways, we might measure the improvements since 1965. A prominent AIDS researcher, David Ho, came to this country as a 12-year-old from Taiwan. Immigrants helped take the space program to new places, and sometimes gave their lives in that cause (an Indian-American astronaut, Kalpana Chawla, perished in the Columbia space shuttle disaster). Furthermore, American culture, in all aspects of music, art, cuisine, and others, became more interesting as it grew more diverse. A careful consideration of the 1965 Immigration Act shows that America’s willingness to lower barriers made it a better country.

Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Immigration and Nationality Act on Oct. 3, 1965.

  The Immigration and Nationality Act made America a genuinely New Frontier, younger and more diverse, truer to its ideals. On the other hand, it certainly increased American security from a more conservative standpoint. Significant numbers of immigrants and their children joined the United States military after 1965, and the armed forces became more ethnically diverse.

(Originally published on: [+ http://www.aacs.website/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/AACSNL11.111.pdf+])

10. Why Asian-Americans

Are Successful in America

Asian-Americans are disproportionately stars in American schools, and in American society as a whole. Census data show that Americans of Asian heritage earn more than other groups, including whites. Asian-Americans also have higher educational attainment than any other group.

Does the success of Asian-Americans suggest that the age of discrimination is behind us? Is the difference driven by differences in intelligence? What are the deciding factors of their success?

Richard Nisbett, a professor of psychology who has written an excellent book about intelligence, cites a study that followed a pool of Chinese-American children and a pool of white children into adulthood. The two groups started out with the same scores on I.Q. tests, but in the end 55 percent of the Asian-Americans entered high-status occupations, compared with one-third of the whites. To succeed as a manager, whites needed an I.Q. of 100, while Chinese-Americans needed an I.Q. of only 93.

So the Asian advantage, Nisbett argues, isn’t intellectual firepower as such, but how it is harnessed. East Asia’s long Confucian emphasis on education plays a crucial role in employing intellect. Likewise, a focus on education also helps explain the success of Jews, who are said to have had universal male literacy 1,700 years before any other group.

Asian-Americans have higher educational attainment than any other group in the United States, including whites.

Immigrant East Asians often try particularly hard to get into good school districts, or make other sacrifices for children’s education, such as giving prime space in the home for kids to study.

Let’s not use the success of Asians to pat ourselves on the back and pretend that discrimination is history. The stereotypes are there and the discrimination remains. Only continual high expectations and strong work ethics can propel success against all odds.

(Originally published on: [+ http://www.aacs.website/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/AACSNL12.6.pdf+])

11. Expansion of Las Vegas Convention Centers

A $3 billion expansion in convention space has built up Las Vegas to accommodate all sorts of trade shows and meetings. High-end environmentally friendly facilities attract domestic and worldwide industries. Technological and business initiatives add to the entertainment sectors. What the city offers has exceeded expectations.

MGM Resorts designated Aria to be the latest site of additional convention and conference space in 2016. The $154 million Aria expansion, which added 200,000 square feet to the property’s convention center, came after completion of a $70 million, 350,000-square-foot addition to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center and the unveiling of a $2.3 billion plan to enlarge and update the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The convention business has come back strong from the recession. Las Vegas welcomed about 5.2 million convention attendees in 2014, generating an economic impact of $7.4 billion, as reported by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor’s Authority. More than 22,100 meetings and conventions were held in Las Vegas convention centers last year.

That’s a half-percent increase from about 22,000 conventions and 5.1 million convention-goers in 2013. Almost 5 million annual convention visitors came to Las Vegas 2012 and 2011.

The most recent numbers are still well short of their pre-recession peak years of 2006 and 2007, when Las Vegas drew an average of more than 23,000 annual conventions and nearly 6.3 million convention-goers.

For the Las Vegas Convention Center, which focuses primarily on top 250 trade conventions like the International Consumer Electronics and National Association of Broadcasters shows, need for expansion seems to have come from the major vendors themselves, other than competing with other cities.

An LVCVA report quotes executives from CES, NAB and five other major shows suggesting the convention center’s expansion was necessary for the conventions to continue.

Las Vegas’s easy access to airports and hotels, combined with its fame as a world leader in entertainment and nightlife gives Las Vegas an innate advantage over competing cities -- this city is all about the hospitality and it continues to drive the steam.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitor Authority plans used the site of the closed Riviera as part of a $2.3 billion Las Vegas Global Business District project, which included a 1.8 million-square-foot expansion of exhibit and meeting space.

Competition with such cities as Seattle, Chicago, Orlando, Fla., and Austin, Texas -- is helping drive the growth.

In June, officials in Seattle announced that the Washington State Convention Center would undergo a $1.4 billion expansion, which would double its size by adding 440,000 square-feet of usable space.

Chicago’s McCormick Center, Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center and the Austin Convention Center also have expansion plans in place, totaling more than $3 billion.

(Originally published on: [+ http://www.aacs.website/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/AACSNL1.5.16.pdf+])

12. The Generosity Behind “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas”

Las Vegas’ bright flashing neon lights can be seen from outer space, but neon signs often get replaced and junked due to ever-changing business scenarios in the city. Established in 1996, the Las Vegas Neon Museum collects many old signs, capturing the fleeting tastes of a place called Sin City. However, Las Vegas’s iconic neon sign, “WELCOME TO FABULOUS LAS VEGAS,” has proudly survived the test of time, standing at the south end of Las Vegas Boulevard since 1959.

The designer of the fabulous sign, commercial artist Betty Willis (maiden named Whitehead), passed away on April 19, 2015, aged 91. For all her life, she insisted on loyalty-free usage of her sign, and gave her creation to the city of Las Vegas as a gift. Her generosity imparts to the world many treasured souvenirs and fond memories. Visitors to Las Vegas flock to the sign to take pictures. Downtown Las Vegas and the Boulder City even replicated the iconic mark, and each holds a slightly different version of the sign (“WELCOME TO FABULOUS DOWNTOWN LAS VEGAS” and “DRIVE CAREFULLY come back soon”).

Betty’s parents arrived in Las Vegas in 1905, pioneering the development of the city. Her father, Stephen Whitehead, was the top officer of Clark County Department of Taxation. Betty was born in 1924, and had eight brothers and sisters. At the age of 19, she went to Los Angeles to study art illustrations. She then came back to Las Vegas to work for the court, and on the side, designed signs for businesses and stages for shows.

In 1959, Las Vegas Travel Expo selected Betty’s sign as the emblem of the city’s tourism. At an interview with the media, Betty said that the 1950’s advertising industry was a man’s world. She had to study and overcome many technical issues, including how to work with neon lights and power sources, balancing pressure points and watts and so on. She had worked with a salesperson named Ted Rogich to examine other cities’ signage and decided that the diamond-shaped silver plate was most suitable to convey the excitement of Las Vegas. In 2005, the New York Times published an article on Betty’s design, and the neon sign has since become famous and renowned the world over.

Betty’s ingenuity was also present in other pieces of work, such as the famous “Blue Angel” motel statue as well as the Moulin Rouge design. Her “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign was officially added into the list of historical heritage sites in 2009.

(Originally published in Chinese, on http://www.lvcyp.com/news.php?id=14449)

13. Housing Market

Leaps and Bounds

Since the housing rock bottom of 2011, inventory of both new and existing homes has shrunk significantly. The slow turnaround over time, has amassed promising growth. Las Vegas, being the hardest hit city in America, paints an auspicious picture for the housing market as a whole

After a traditionally choppy winter season, the housing market is looking up. The median price of a single-family resale jumped 7.5 percent year over year in February 2016, to $220,350, the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors reported.

The median cost of a condominium or townhome swelled even more, gaining 15.7 percent to end February at $121,500.

Realtors closed on 2,676 homes through the association’s Multiple Listing Service. That was up 9.1 percent compared with 2,452 sales in February 2015.

Association President Scott Beaudry said: “Considering that we just made it through what is traditionally our slowest time of the year in the local housing market, I’d have to say we’re in pretty good shape.”

Beaudry added that housing supply is still tight. At February’s sales pace, the market has a four-month inventory of existing homes on the market. A balanced housing climate would have a six-month stockpile.

The number of available single-family properties without offers was flat, up 0.2 percent to 7,328 homes year over year.

Distressed sales also continued to ebb.

All forecasts leaps and bounds of an upward housing market.

Just 6.6 percent of February 2016 closings were short sales, in which the lender allows the homeowner to sell for less than what is owed on the mortgage. That was down from 9.3 percent of closings in February 2015.

Another 8.6 percent of the month’s sales were bank-owned, compared with 9.7 percent a year before. Up to the first quarter of 2017, new-home sales has risen 33.5 percent. The housing market’s resilience is evident and promising.

(Originally published on: [+ http://www.aacs.website/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/AACSNL3.10.16.pdf+])

14. T-Mobile Arena with the Park

On Wednesday April 6, 2016, MGM Resorts International and Anschutz Enter-tainment Group open the T-Mobile Arena with a concert by The Killers. Along with the Park opening on April 4, the company is invoking a cultural change in the way people attend sporting events and concerts.

While T-Mobile Arena gives a Titanic impression, the 5.5-acre Park, sandwiched between New York-New York and Monte Carlo, offers a transition point between the Strip and the 20,000-seat venue. MGM Resorts spent $100 million on The Park, including the cost of renovating the New York-New York and Monte Carlo plazas.

Instead of mobile vendors, The Park has retail kiosks owned and operated by MGM Resorts. The space offers culinary variety from Bruxie Gourmet Waffle Sandwiches, a fast casual brand new to Las Vegas; Beerhaus, an MGM Resorts-owned beer venue; California Pizza Kitchen; and Sake Rok, part Japanese restaurant, part karaoke club.

“The connectivity of Monte Carlo, New York-New York and the new T-Mobile Arena ultimately gave us the ideal opportunity for pulling all of it together in a neighborhood environment,” Thrasher said. “The Park, Toshiba Plaza and T-Mobile Arena will all flow as a single neighborhood, and feel to the visitors like a seamless environment.”

“This Park is unlike any other, because it is a park for Las Vegas to celebrate Las Vegas and to celebrate the great desert that we live in,” MGM CEO Jim Murren said in a video promoting the development.

T-Mobile Arena hosts more than 100 events a year; The Park might stage its own, too.

“We’re exploring everything from art shows and classic auto shows, to wine events and culinary programs. Visitors will also enjoy a variety of daily entertainment that includes musicians, artists and specialty acts,” Thrasher said. “We may even have special events like basketball tournaments in The Park but we’re still working out what those details will be there.”

It is all about the guest experience. The development transcends the marketplace and provides a safe, enjoyable space for all.

T-Mobile Arena

Little to Do with Gambling

Like Caesars Entertainment’s Linq promenade before it, the Park is a large outdoor space that has very little to do with gambling. “All great cities have wonderful public gathering spaces. This was an opportunity for us to do something different on the Strip -- create a public space where people could gather to enjoy entertainment, beautiful surroundings, fun dining, take in the majesty of desert landscaping, public art, and enjoy meeting new people or possibly Vegas’ best pastime, people-watching,” said Don Thrasher, president of The Park.

(Originally published on: [+ http://www.aacs.website/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/AACSNL4.10.16.pdf+])

15. Vegas Connections

Clark County plans to build an elevated expressway along portions of Koval Lane, Tropicana Avenue, Swenson Street and Paradise Road near McCarran International Airport. The county unveiled the $200 million proposal in January 2016. The idea is to build two-lane, one-way elevated roads over the tops of existing street rights-of-way.

For Koval and Tropicana, the southbound piece, the elevated highway would begin just north of Flamingo Road and would have entrance ramps at Flamingo and Harmon Avenue. When the highway approaches Tropicana and heads east, the elevated portion would dip down to grade level as it crosses in front of McCarran’s north-south runways. Tropicana Avenue traffic, however, would not be able to merge in or out of the expressway.

Once the road turns south onto Paradise, traffic could merge in preparation for splitting to either Terminal 1 or Terminal 3.

The northbound elevated section would begin on Swenson Street just south of Tropicana and includes an option to go over Tropicana, travel west and then merge onto it. The northbound expressway would curve along Swenson near the Thomas & Mack Center, then veer to Paradise Road just north of the Thomas & Mack parking lots. There would be exit ramps at Harmon and Flamingo and the elevated portion would return to grade level just north of Flamingo.

Alternate to the expressway is a light rail system in the works for more than three years. In December 2015, tourism and transportation leaders unveiled a summary of a 2,400-page report to be reviewed by local, county and state leaders to begin the process of initiating what’s being called “a blueprint for growth and transformation.”

Light rail, new pedestrian bridges over the Strip, a downtown Las Vegas trolley system and the connection of the city’s major convention centers were planned under an ambitious transportation proposal that would cost more than $12 billion and take decades to complete.

A 20th-Century Solution

Both Tom Skancke, a public re-presentative on the state Transportation Board, and Robert Lang, director of Brookings Mountain West at UNLV, criticized the elevated expressway concept as a “20th century solution to a 21st century problem.” They both advocate the county dedicating its resources to building a light-rail system from the airport to downtown Las Vegas via the Strip. A light-rail system, they argue, would move far more people more efficiently to where they want to go without cars.

How can Las Vegas best connect the airport, the Strip and downtown? Elevated expressway now; light rail in the future? Vegas connections—certainly grandiose.

(Originally published on: [+ http://www.aacs.website/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/AACSNL5.10.16.pdf+])

16. Beyond the Las Vegas Strip

The Strip is good for a quick visit, but it’s not the only memory Las Vegas can offer. In the vicinity, numerable ghost towns, mountain ranges such as Red Rock Canyon, Mount Charleston, Spring Mountains, as well as attractions like Valley of Fire, Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, cater to various demographics. Further, Las Vegas is a jumping point for Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon and Death Valley national parks.

Nevada State also has its rich history and beautiful geography to mystify tourists. Northern NV cities other than Las Vegas, Mesquite, Laughlin, such as Tonopah, Reno, Sparks, Virgin City, Carson Valley, and the stunningly beautiful Tahoe, are all studded with mining historic sites, presenting abundant activities and festivals. Lake Tahoe, the jewel of Nevada, is the nation’s largest alpine lake, 22 by 12 miles of sparkling water surrounded by 72 miles of pristine shoreline. During the warm summer months, it’s a water-sports paradise; during the winter, it’s an Alpine wonderland.

From the desert oasis of Las Vegas in the South, up and over the mountain rises and sagebrush-covered valleys of the North Central region to the adventure-packed Northwest, unlimited experiences await for you to discover, explore and conquer. Out-of- this-world road trips take you to backcountry gems, while hustles and bustles of Las Vegas extend 5-star luxuries and riches. A world within; myriads of possibilities beyond.

(Originally published on: [+ http://www.aacs.website/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/AACSNL6.7.16.pdf+])

17. Asian American Voters

Asian Americans are the fastest-growing minority in the nation, and will make up more than 10 percent of California voters by the time America elects the next president. Democratic and Republican parties have not made sufficient efforts to appeal to Asian voters, and will need to do so promptly.

A new study centered on the concerns and behaviors of Asian voters questioned more than 1,800 Asian American registered voters in Los Angeles. The study suggested that Asian Americans are moving toward the Democratic Party, while age and country of origin are the biggest issues that divide Asian-Americans.

Those from the ages of 18 to 29 think much differently than older Asians. Most of the millennials were born in America. They know English very well. They get their news from the English language media. Their main source of news comes from the Internet. Oder Asian voters are mostly foreign-born and get their news from foreign language media.

Political parties seeking support must find Asian candidates for office. Asian American voters often support candidates with whom they share the same ethnicity, even if they do not share the same political party.

Outreach in politics should differ by age and community. Older Asian Americans attend to traditional broadcasts and print media, whereas younger Asians rely on the Internet or social media. Many recent younger immigrants can become voters and develop a sense of belonging.

(Originally published on: [+ http://www.aacs.website/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/AACSNL7.6.16.pdf+])

18. Asian Americans’ Earnings

A new report shows that men’s and women’s wages are closer to parity than they’ve ever been, but white men and women aren’t necessarily the highest wage earners. Asian Americans are earning more than any other races.

The Pew Research Center found that Asian men’s median hourly earnings were higher than white men’s -- $24 to $21, respectively. Asian women also earned more than white women ($18 per hour versus $17 per hour) and black and Hispanic wage earners regardless of gender, whose median hourly earnings were between $12 and $15.

Other demographics are experiencing growth at a far more sluggish pace than Asian Americans. During the same time period, African-American women only earned 9 more cents and Hispanic women only early 5 more cents. Meanwhile, black and Hispanic men’s wages have remained relatively stagnant. Across the past 35 years, black men still only make 73 percent of white men’s wages. Hispanic men have seen almost negligible growth, from earning 69 percent of white men’s earnings to 71 percent.

But as Asian Americans earn bigger paychecks, it is important not to use the data on the group’s earnings to overlook racial discrimination that persists for them and other communities of color in the workforce.

The Model Minority Myth

One of the dangers of taking the wage increase at face value for Asian Americans is that it perpetuates the “model minority” myth -- that Asians, unlike other people of color, are uniquely primed to climb up the socioeconomic ladder. Study showed that even though the same number of white and Asian professionals contributed to the American workplace, white men and women were nearly 154 percent more likely to become executives compared with their Asian peers.

(Originally published on: [+ http://www.aacs.website/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/AACSNL8.20.16.pdf+])

19. Las Vegas Caters to Chinese Tourists

Some of Las Vegas’ latest developments on and off the Strip target Chinese nationals and Chinese-Americans, capitalizing on burgeoning Chinese wealth and Asian-American population growth. Nonstop flights from mainland China are planned for the first time, and two Asian-themed casinos will be among the first post-recession additions to Sin City’s glittering skyline.

The new hotel-casinos boast of plans for what some other resorts such as the MGM Grand, Wynn and Venetian have quietly offered for years. Guests will be treated to familiar foods, Chinese-speaking service employees and the table game of choice, baccarat. The Lucky Dragon Hotel and Casino opened in the fall of 2016, and Resorts World Las Vegas began construction in earnest at the end of 2016.

By Las Vegas’ standards, Lucky Dragon is a modestly sized property set on 3 acres just off the Strip. It has 200 hotel rooms and a casino floor spanning 27,000 square feet. Lucky Dragon executives said the new casino focuses on domestic Chinese gamblers, calling them an underserved niche market made up of Chinese people who live in America’s ethnic enclaves, including local Las Vegans, the reliable weekend hordes from California, and tourists from the Pacific Northwest and East Coast.

For the years-delayed Resorts World on the Strip’s northern end, the blossoming Chinese tourism business will be a bonus by the time it opens, now projected for March 2019. The $4 billion casino resort property has been in the works since 2013, with an original opening date of 2016. It is planned to have 3,100 rooms and 100,000 square feet of gambling space, along with restaurants and shops spread across its 88-acre site. Plans for a convention center, panda habitat and 4,000-seat-theater are on hold for the initial construction phase.

Resorts World marks the latest entry into the U.S. market for the Malaysia-based Genting Group, which owns resort and casino properties around the world. Gerald Gardner, the casino’s general counsel and senior vice president of government affairs, indicated that Resorts World expects to build its Las Vegas business through existing branding among Chinese already familiar with its Asian properties. In Sin City, the primary target will be domestic visitors because no other Asian-themed properties exist on the Strip. On the radar, though, is a plan to capture Chinese tourists as they begin to visit in greater numbers.

The mega resorts aim to attract “ultra-high-end players,” while casual Chinese bettors are left with generic amenities. “We’re playing on the existing market that isn’t served well,” said Dave Jacoby, Lucky Dragon’s chief operating officer. The developer is a privately held entity known as the Las Vegas Economic Impact Regional Center. The casino is financed with money from Chinese investors through the EB-5 visa program, which grants green cards to foreigners in return for investments of at least $500,000 on job-creating projects.

(Originally published on: [+ http://www.aacs.website/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/AACSNL9.25.16.pdf+])

20. Direct Flights from China

While an estimated 3.5 million Chinese tourists desire to travel to the United States next year, industry leaders are projecting that 20 million Chinese visitors will travel to the U.S. over the next 10 years. Hundreds of thousands of the Chinese travelers will consider Las Vegas as a destination -- not just because of its reputation as an entertainment, retail and gaming hub, but because it’s centrally located among several national parks and touches the western cowboy culture that fascinates visitors.

Las Vegas planed to capitalize on new nonstop flights between Beijing and McCarran International Airport beginning in December 2016 on Hainan Airlines, China’s fourth-largest commercial air carrier. The sin city is projected to see the sixth highest number of Chinese arrivals among U.S. cities, anticipating 88,684 by the end of the year. With Hainan’s presence, that amount is expected to jump to 173,821 in 2018, 293,758 by 2020 and 1.1 million by 2025.

Only Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Washington, D.C. and Boston would have more Chinese visitors than Las Vegas. The rest of the top 10 includes Orlando, Fla., Denver, Chicago and Honolulu. It will impact Las Vegas economy in significant ways. Chinese travelers spent an average of $2,594 per trip in 2008. By 2011, that expanded to $6,096, and last year it reached $13,490.

However, nonstop flights between China and the United States are limited because the two governments have not negotiated an open-skies agreement. Under an existing bilateral agreement between China and the U.S., Chinese air carriers are limited to 180 flights a week from what are categorized as Zone 1 cities -- Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. There are no limits on flights to and from other Chinese cities, but there is greater risk to the airlines for making such flights profitable.

The cap on flights doesn’t bode well for increases to Las Vegas, either by Hainan or another carrier. It is unlikely that another carrier would be allowed to fly between Beijing and Las Vegas, and that the only other scenario would be for a carrier to fly Shanghai or Guangzhou to and from McCarran.

The potential expansion of the Chinese market is playing out at a time when the aviation industry is undergoing change. Aircraft manufacturers are adjusting to market changes and are building larger, faster and more efficient planes. Airlines are able to fly farther thanks to efficiencies developed by Boeing with its 787 Dreamliner aircraft and Airbus Industries with its Airbus A350 jets. Extended-range flights and more comfortable rides with products like lie-flat beds are also changing where airlines can fly without stopping.

(Originally published on: [+ http://www.aacs.website/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/AACSNL10.20.16.pdf+])

21. Under Suspicion

Japanese internment survivors feel a dark déjà vu when Muslims are under scrutiny and talk of a national registration list for immigrants from Muslim countries, under way. They know what it’s like to be under suspicion in America. 

More than 110,000 people of Japanese descent were forcibly removed from their homes by the U.S. government, which feared “espionage” and “sabotage,” during World War II. Now, nearly 50% of Trump Supporters in Iowa think Japanese internment camps were a good idea. H istory is repeating itself when many consider a registry of Muslim and Arab Americans beneficial to our country.

Japanese American community activists have long expressed concern about the treatment of Muslims in America, particularly since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Some see parallels between the fear and anger sometimes directed at Muslims and the way their families and ancestors were treated during World War II. 

“If they’re going to do snooping on every person who’s Muslim, it doesn’t make sense,” said Bill Watanabe, 72, who was born in an internment camp. Gathering with friends and former co-workers at the Little Tokyo Service Center he founded, Watanabe indicated: “There’s no way to tell who’s loyal and disloyal.”

Salam Al-Marayati, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, said he believes that had it not been for Japanese Americans showing support after 9/11, Arabs and Muslims living in America might have been incarcerated. 

“This is simply … using the fear of terrorism and the hysteria that comes from it to suppress a whole population,” Al-Marayati said. “What these people are saying is they want to take our country back to the days of internment,” he continued. “We all thought we had advanced from that time and left it behind.” 

After years of advocacy work by groups such as Masaoka’s Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress, President Reagan signed legislation in 1988 that issued a formal government apology and reparations for the internment. “We admit a wrong,” Reagan said. “Here we reaffirm our commitment as a nation to equal justice under the law.”

Tactics of fear, division and hate have proven to bring no constructive progress, if not more conflict and prejudice. Like Japanese incarceration, imposing a registry upon American Muslims does not validate America’s constitutional values and its very principles as a nation.

Many Trump Supporters

Think Japanese Internment Camps

Were a Good Idea

A Trump supporter told Fox News’ Megyn Kelly that creating a national registration list for immigrants from Muslim countries would pass constitutional muster, citing Japanese internment as a precedent. Carl Higbie the author of “Enemies, Foreign and Domestic: A SEAL’s Story,” proposed to force Muslims to register with the federal government. Many Japanese descents reacted and called use of Japanese American imprisonment as precedent “abhorrent.”

(Originally published on: [+ http://www.aacs.website/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/AACSNL11.21.16.pdf+])

22. A Volatile and Pivotal 2017

for Taiwan and China

In response to President-elect Trump’s phone call to Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen on December 2016, China sent its first aircraft across waters near Taiwan last week, renewing its “Big Brother” stance on the island. President Tsai said China is becoming a growing threat to the self-governed island and predicted a volatile but pivotal 2017.

“The Beijing leadership has, step by step, backed onto an old track to polarize, pressure and even threaten and intimidate Taiwan,” Tsai said. “We hope that this is not Beijing’s adoption of a policy and want to remind it that such moves have hurt Taiwanese people’s feelings and affected stability across the Taiwan Strait.”

China had always resorted to military and economic threats in order to intimidate Taiwan. So far this year, the island has suffered the loss of African diplomatic alliances, São Tomé and Príncipe, to China and, a more than 30% drop in tourism from the Chinese mainland.

Claiming sovereignty over Taiwan since the Chinese civil war in the 1940s, China opposes any moves in Taiwan or abroad to legitimize its self-rule.

President Tsai faces the delicate task of registering discontent with Beijing while also sending a message that Taiwan will exercise restraint. Richard C. Bush, the director of the Center for East Asia Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution in Washington, said President Tsai understood the need to “maintain a balance among relations with China, relations with the United States and domestic politics.”

As President Tsai set off Saturday, January 07, to visit four Central American allies on a trip that includes U.S. stops and looks set to raise China’s ire, she pledged to raise her self-ruled island country’s presence on the international stage. The relations among the nations are bound to become challenging and unpredictable, with China’s intimidation, Tasi’s diplomacy, and Trump’s presidency.

Refusing to Bow or Revert to Confrontation

Despite Beijing’s recent actions, President Tsai vowed to avoid a confrontation. “We will not bow to pressure, and we will of course not revert to the old path of confrontation,” she said.

(Originally published on: [+ http://www.aacs.website/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/AACSNL1.7.17.pdf+])

23. Global Competence Revisited

The interconnected world requires our nation to nurture citizens, workers and leaders who actually know something about the world -- its cultures, customs, languages, and how the world’s economic, environmental and social systems work. Taking a closer look at the concept of global competence may help illustrate how nationalism or protectionism may be counter-productive. On our path to problem solving or cultural and economic advancement, working with the rest of the world will prove to be more sensible. A global view of the big picture may just be what everyone needs to acquire or perfect.

Global competence starts with awareness, curiosity, and interest in learning about the world. While investigating the world, globally competent citizens identify, collect, and analyze credible information from a variety of local, national and international sources, including those in multiple languages. They can connect the local to the global on important questions and issues. They can weigh and integrate evidence to create a coherent response that considers multiple perspectives and draws defensible conclusions.

Global competence encompasses the ability to recognize each of us has a particular perspective, and that others may or may not share the same viewpoint.  One should attempt to articulate and explain others’ standpoints, and further identify influences on these perceptions, including how different environments or access to knowledge, technology, and resources can affect people’s ideologies.  By comparing and contrasting one’s perspective with others, one should be able to integrate ideas to construct a well-rounded outlook.

Globally competent citizens understand that people differ on the basis of culture, geography, faith, ideology, financial condition, and other factors, and that they may perceive different meanings from the same information.  They understand how ideas should be communicated through diverse media, including through respectful online social networking and technology. They strive to interpret information as objectively as they can.

From learning about the world to making a difference in[_ _]the world takes actions and innovations. Alone or with others, globally competent citizens can envision and weigh options on evidence and insight; they can assess their potential impact, taking into account varied perspectives and potential consequences of others; and they show courage to act and reflect on their actions.

Global competence also requires the ability to understand prevailing world conditions, issues, and trends through an interdisciplinary lens, in order to understand the interconnectedness of the issue and its broad themes as well as subtle nuances.  So, let’s understand how the relative balance of power between societies and cultures has significant short-and long-term consequences. Let’s be life-long learners.

Global Competence entails asking

important questions, as well as conducting thorough examination and research before answering them.

Let’s do our homework:

What are our founding fathers and leaders’ teachings?

What are the principles that govern our country?

Is immigration beneficial or detrimental to our society?

Should people of particular origins be banned from traveling to our country?

Is the Keystone Pipeline beneficial or detrimental to our economy, and to our environment?

Global Competence entails asking important questions, as well as conducting thorough examination and research before answering them. Keeping in mind and always considering: someone else may form a completely different perspective. Only through informed dialog and in keeping an open mind can we really be considered Globally Competent Citizens.

Before you have your answers, do more homework -- think hard and think again.

(Originally published on [+ http://www.aacs.website/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/AACSNL2.20.17.pdf+])

24. Asia Week around the Globe

A cosmopolitan city never lacks for art, and art festivals seem to arrive to brighten up an era when arts and books can take you different places. Indeed, Asia Week took place in New York this year from March 9 to March 18. San Francisco put extra servings of ancient and modern Asian arts besides its daily offerings recently from September 30 to October 8, 2016. Asian arts in London will be at the forefront from November 2 to November 11, 2017. Hong Kong had its Asian artistic feast from May 25 to June 10, 2017.

Visitors from around the globe celebrate these visual repasts of shows, films, galleries, museums, auctions, lectures, symposiums, tours, curator talks, and art fairs. In dire contrast, “Asia Week” is nonexistent, or sparse at best in many areas. The University of North Carolina had its Asia Week from February 20 to February 25, 2017. It’s a great way for an academic organization to promote cultural diversity and acceptance. Other colleges, institutions, cities, states, and countries could follow this example, as they continue trying to lure Asian students or customers from abroad. After all, two-thirds of the population on our entire planet is Asian.

Asia Week New York 2017 has grown to 51 dealers, opening the doors to the largest number of privately curated exhibitions in the extraordinary event’s history. Such a magnet for collectors, museum curators, designers, and scholars portrays a wonderful city where all citizens of the world feel welcome and at ease, or even at home. How about other areas in America?

America celebrates African American History Month, Hispanic History Month, or Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and has made the celebrations congressional since the 18^^th^^ century. However, the question remains: how does a country treat its citizens fairly, or view the world wisely? How is a minority person regarded? A fellow countryman? Other than the gesture of acknowledging others’ existence, is America genuinely accepting without casting presumptuous doubts or aggressions? That’s just something to think about. Make it a great week or not; the choice is ours.[* *]

Asia Week New York 2017 has grown to 51 dealers, opening the doors to the largest number of privately curated exhibitions in the extraordinary event’s history. Such a magnet for collectors, museum curators, designers, and scholars certainly satisfied its audience with an exquisite array of beauty and human achievement to be seen and savored at venues sprinkled around Manhattan. Behold examples of painting, sculpture, bronzes, ceramics, jewelry, jade, textiles, prints and photographs gathered from all over Asia, and you will have viewed Far Eastern treasures and felt its power.

(Originally published on: [+ http://www.aacs.website/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/AACSNL3.19.17.pdf+])

25. A First in Asia:

Taiwan Banned Eating Dog or Cat Meat

From whales, dolphins, maggots, intestines, heads of calves or sheep and blood sausage in certain European countries, to Central America’s iguanas, and to Asia’s tarantulas, scorpions, chicken feet, dogs, cats, and rats, humans are known to eat some strange things. But nothing seems more inhuman or incomprehensible than eating dogs or cats, whose standings as people’s beloved pets make the East Asian tradition a public disdain.

The consumption of dog meat in East Asian countries has incited an outcry from animal advocates around the world in recent years, with China’s notorious Lychee and Dog Meat Festival under the spotlight. The festival is held annually in June in Yulin, southern China, and has 10,000 dogs killed over a ten-day period. Millions of people have signed petitions to end the event.

Taiwan has outlawed the consumption of dog and cat meat and become the first country in Asia to do so. According to the island’s official Central News Agency (CNA), Taiwan’s legislature passed a landmark amendment to its animal protection laws on Tuesday, April 12, 2017. Anyone who buys or eats the meat can be fined up to $8,200. Back in 1998 Taiwan made it illegal to slaughter dogs and cats and sell their meat, but an underground commercial market remained active.

Taiwan has doubled the maximum prison term for animal cruelty to two years and raised the fine up to $65,500 for any act that deliberately harms animals and results in mangled limbs, organ failure or death. The amendment also bans “walking” dogs or cats on a leash pulled by cars and motorcycles.

“Taiwan’s progressive ban is part of a growing trend across Asia to end the brutal dog meat trade,” said Wendy Higgins with Humane Society International.

“Previously, the Animal Protection Act only covered the slaughter and sale of dog and cat meat, but this amendment specifically prohibiting the actual consumption of dog meat today is welcome,” said Jill Robinson, founder and CEO of Animals Asia Foundation

The centuries-old East Asian tradition is still legal in China, South Korea, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Humane Society International estimates that 30 million dogs are killed annually in Asia. However, the deep-rooted tradition does not have to be a roadblock to progress or innovation. Most Chinese people actually don’t eat dog meat. According to a 2015 Animals Asia study, less than a quarter of Chinese in major cities like Beijing and Shanghai had consumed dog meat in the previous two years. South Korea shows a similar trend away from eating dog meat, especially among young people. With Taiwan’s ban on dog/cat meat, China and South Korea may just follow suit.

(Originally published on: [+ http://www.aacs.website/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/AACSNL4.13.17.pdf+])

26. The Play of Language and Ideas

 

Italo Calvino (1923-1985) is one of the most eminent writers, playing on language and ideas. Often ranked alongside Jorge Luis Borges, Vladimir Nabokov and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Calvino’s If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler tells a “frame story” where two stories are juxtaposed like an enigmatic language game. The postmodern narratives draw a game board where eclectic literary topics are examined.

 

 

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p.

Breaking the boundary between critical theories and creative writings, Calvino blends in this 1979 novel, some of the various ideas presented in his early writings, including The Cloven Viscount, The Baron in the Trees, The Non-existent Knight, and The Castle of Crossed Destinies. Issues concerning reading and writing appear: as readers or writers, can we see to it that our stories or ideas are cohesively conveyed? What determines and sets limitations to our reading or writing experiences?

Indeed, the two protagonists in If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler are on the track of an international book-fraud conspiracy, involving a playful translator, a reclusive novelist, a disintegrating publishing enterprise, and several repressive governments. The character “the Reader,” finds that a Polish novel has been mistaken for the Calvino book. In addition, the novel the Reader has is a fragmented version of that Polish novel. He intends to finish reading the whole Calvino book, only to be further perplexed by other non-relevant fragmented passages. Pursuing each and every passage, he longs to see some continuity in the book.

Simultaneously, the Reader chases the Other Reader, a woman named Ludmilla, who shares his interest in solving the puzzle about the fragmented book. In their quest together to find continuity in the book, the Reader and the Other Reader encounter a novelist Silas Flannery, and a translator Ermes Marana. With their own view-points and opinions concerning reading and writing, the characters all help to solidify the book in which fiction is no longer “fiction,” while theory is not merely “theory.”

Calvino asserts that the value of literature “emerges only when it becomes a critic of the world and our way of looking at the world” (The Uses of Literature). In its para-critical and para-literary narration, If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler questions the capacities of linguistic representation via language, as well as the limitations of conventional cognition.

Representative reality in If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler, is a means to present its very absence. Hyper-reality is constructed to reveal the loss of the absolute truth or reality. What remains to be celebrated is the playfulness of representation games. What lies beneath the games is a constant reminder to critique representations of reality.

 

 

In my quest for representation of Asia-literacy and global competence, I search, research, travel, and study the world we live in. I try to identify invaluable and significant realities. Calvino’s novel offers infinitely alternative ways to rethink, revisit, revise, and relearn. “The world exists as I read and write.”

 

 

 

 

(Excerpt from my first MA Thesis: “De-Constructing (H)ermes: Theorizing and Storytelling in If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler”)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

27. How about Global Travels

 

Precious Shared Time|

Excerpt from [+ The Un-death of Me+] by Alicia Su Lozeron

 

Traveling, became not only her passion, her favorite way of learning about the world, but her escape from mundane challenges, and her precious time alongside her husband to appreciate the bigger picture of life together.  Traveling, provided Avery with spaces and channels in which she could process her thoughts to ascend to a happier place and realize what treasurable aspects of life she needed to retain and reinforce, and what despicable patterns of living she wanted to diminish, deescalate, and discard.

Avery was often humored by the fact that she was welcome everywhere she traveled to, treated as a five-star VIP simply because she was spending, happily contributing to a country’s economy.  Fur-thermore, she could pass for a local in many places she visited because she always explored every corner of a town or a city to the extent that her efforts to mingle and learn earned her many dear friends and helpful allies.

In dire contrast, she could not get past the fact that she had to deal with discrimination and mistreatment in the city she called home! Perhaps Avery’s global interest and open mindset was more agreeable with people who were also concerned with humanity, who were curious about mankind as a whole.  She was not a typical Las Vegan, New Yorker, American, Taiwanese, or of any particular nationality.  She was most comfortable living outside the box, looking in.  She was a World Citizen.  She loved traveling with her husband Abbey. 

There was no other way to put the sparkle in Avery’s eyes than a mere suggestion such as: “Let’s go on a road trip this weekend…. We need to plan for our winter/summer trips.”  And so Abbey and Avery went on numerous road trips and flew to countless exotic locales over many weekends, spring breaks as well as winter/summer vacations. Their life together was full of adventures and learnings. Avery could not find a better partner in life; she was immensely grateful for everything her husband brought to enrich her life. Even the difficulty with her step children seemed miniscule in the grand scheme of things.

As world citizens, Abbey and Avery traveled to the Bahamas, Belize, Mexico, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil.  They toured through the European countries of England, Ireland, Scotland, Belgium, Hungary, Spain, Greece, and Italy.  They went further to the Southeast Asian countries of Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Indonesia.  They circled back to Japan, Korea, and China.  Avery welcomed a sense of purpose, a mission to find an ideal mental and physical place.  It differed in intent from the youthful roaming thirst during the travels with her ex-husband Tim.  She was young and had no home then; she matured and had a charged sagacity of a homemaker now.  Would she and Abbey find that ideal place together through life’s journey?  Would they combine and merge their worlds to build a healthy life together?

Would they march onward and upward through trials and tribulations in life?  Would they reconcile their intrinsic differences as man and woman, father and step-mother, Westerner and Asian?  Were they in their own globes or were they fortunate enough to share and converge?  What had they learned?  What had they taken away with them to the world?  What kind of settings would they leave behind and what kind of home would they build?  Would it be a better, improved place?  Or, would it be another world to cast their injuries and successes in?  Avery had faith, and she could only sail with her heart to face fearlessly whatever came her way.

Traveling as a World Citizen|

Excerpt from [+ The Un-death of Me+] by Alicia Su Lozeron

Avery got away as the neighbors from the house-with-two-neighborhoods predicted.

She traveled the world before she landed in New York City to attend Columbia University. She held different posts before settling to being a teacher. She divorced Tim her first husband to pursue a life without putdowns. She dated various men before she found her second husband Abbey. She escaped the metamorphosis or the sentimental uproars and thunders imposed upon her. She refused to be treated like a second-class citizen by her step-kids, her students, or anyone else -- grown-ups or children, to be or not to be educated. She demanded fair attention and an honest share of a good life. She learned, progressed, and would always seek growth, warmth and love from the world that she so faithfully treasured and valued.

….

“The teenage girls in high-heel boots are coming. Quick, get out the camera. They have orange, purple, or red hair…, and the young men, the tousle-haired gyaru-o, are quite amusing.” Avery observed while snapping pictures of the incredible scenes. She was typically Asian when it came to picture-taking. She took too many pictures everywhere she traveled, and called herself a photo journalist.

Avery’s enthusiasm was contagious. Abbey even took over the picture-taking responsibility after a couple of light changes. He was apparently impressed by the city dwellers’ skillful parades across the intersection, as well as their sleek, flashy “costumes” that they wore as regular attires.

Abbey and Avery concluded their trip to Japan with the ancient sanctuaries and mesmerizing summits in the region surrounding Tokyo. They climbed Mt Fuji, the symbol of Japan 110km west of the city. They followed the pilgrim trail up to the peak and watched the sun rise from the snow-capped cone. Avery recited some Haiku poems she remembered about the sacred mountain:

The wind from Mount Fuji
I put it on the fan.
Here, the souvenir from Edo.
— Basho Matsuo

(17th century)

 

Seek on high bare trails
Sky-reflecting violets…
Mountain-top jewels

— Basho Matsuo

(17th century)

Abbey tried imitating the Haiku master but claimed his soul of rock and roll would fare better when sticking to his familiar way of song-writing for the guitar. Haiku or rock and roll, Abbey and Avery captured the uplifting moments on the peak in their own ways, and each conceived renewed appreciation for the wonderful world. They couldn’t imagine any better way to understand the fascinating country of Japan.

28. When the World Celebrates Mothers

We tend to think more about who we need to be thankful for on special days such as Mother’s Day. Many of us do special things to show appreciation towards mothers or mother figures on this annual celebration. Interestingly, Mother’s Day entails expressions of gratitude in different countries on various calendar days.

Mother’s Day is held on the second Sunday of May in many countries, such as Australia, Canada, China, Japan, Taiwan, and the United States. Rooted in traditional Egyptian, Greek or Roman goddesses, Mother’s Day became more universal after Anna Jarvis petitioned, from 1908 to 1914, to honor her own mother and the mothers of sons who lost their lives during the American Civil War.

In the United Kingdom, Mother’s Day is held exactly three weeks before Easter Sunday, on the forth Sunday of lent. Some still bake Simnel Cake, a fruit cake with almonds, to represent a break from the fasting from lent for mothers.

Costa Rica celebrates mothers on August 15, the same day as Assumption Day, France, last Sunday in May, Georgia, March 3, Samoa, second Monday of May, North Korea, November 16, and Thailand, August 12. Such variation of dates reflects wide-ranging celebration of each country’s particular female model, deity or idol.

Mexican mothers are serenaded with the song “Las Mañanitas” on May 10, while Argentinian mothers read to their children on the third Sunday of October to mark their version of Mother’s Day. Japanese children draw their mothers in a contest. Samoans organize elaborate song and dance performances throughout the country on Mother’s Day. When the world celebrates mothers, all is jovial and festive.

Carnations or roses are popular as Mother’s Day symbols across Asia and America. Other typical Mothers’ Day presents include cards, cakes, chocolates, and gifts. People gather, celebrate, and spend -- Mother’s Day is largely commercialized, with flower shops, jewelry stores, gift shops, restaurants, theaters, airlines, hotels, and department stores advertising promotions and special deals competing for business.

However commercialized Mother’s Day is nowadays, people are willing to spend and buy into advertising gimmicks. Who minds getting a tad showy or tasteless? Who minds taking that extra time to pick out something to please Mom? However far or distant, a kind gesture is all it takes to brighten up someone’s day, someone who has given or nurtured your life. Call, invite, prepare, accompany, and share with Mom. Celebration of mothers ought to be nothing but the very gentlest.

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(Originally published on: [+ http://www.aacs.website/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/AACSNL5.12.17.pdf+])

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29. Celebration of Fathers

 

In Catholic Europe, Father’s Day has been a civic celebration on March 19 (St. Joseph’s Day) since the medieval era. This celebration was brought by the Spanish and Portuguese to Latin America. In contrast, Father’s Day was not celebrated in the US, outside Catholic traditions, until the 20th century. It was inaugurated in the early 20th century to complement Mother’s Day by celebrating fathers and male parenting.

After Anna Jarvis’ promotion of Mother’s Day in Grafton, West Virginia in 1908, the first observance of a “Father’s Day” was held on July 5 of the same year, in Fairmont, West Virginia. Grace Golden Clayton was mourning the loss of her father because of the Monongah Mining Disaster, which happened in 1907 killing 361 men, 250 of them fathers.

Sonora Smart Dodd in Spokane, Washington, among other Americans in the 20^^th^^ century, also advocated for Father’s Day. People came to believe that that there ought to be a mother’s day equivalent for fathers. Father’s Day became official in 1972 in America.

Countries around the world celebrate Father’s Day at different times of the year, according to each particular father figure or history of the nation.

In North America, the United Kingdom, and many countries following the American norm, Father’s Day is celebrated on the third Sunday in June.

Australia and New Zealand celebrate Father’s Day on the first Sunday in September, which is also the first Sunday of spring in Australia.

In Brazil, Father’s Day (Dia dos Pais, in Portuguese) is celebrated on the second Sunday of August. Publicist Sylvio Bhering picked the day in honor of Saint Joachim, patron of fathers and the father of Mary.

In People’s Republic of China, Father’s Day is celebrated on the third Sunday of June according to international norms, while Taiwan the Republic of China keeps its Chinese tradition of “Ba-Ba Jie/Father’s Day” on August 8, determined by the fact that the eighth (ba) day of the eighth (ba) month makes two “eights” (八八, ba-ba), homophones for the colloquial form of “daddy” (ba-ba, 爸爸).

Germans relish their own version of Father’s Day. On the 40th day of Easter, Ascension Day, German men organize hikes and other gatherings, along with ample food and alcohol.

In Thailand, people celebrate fathers on December 5, the birthday of the widely admired King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Thais celebrate traditionally by giving canna flowers (ดอกพุทธรักษา Dok Buddha Ruksa) to father figures. Nowadays, they wear yellow to show respect for King Bhumibol Adulyadej, because yellow is the color of the day for Monday, the day the late king was born.

In Russia, the Father’s Day celebration has evolved from a military commemoration to an unofficial tribute to all men on Feb. 23, Defender of the Fatherland Day. Parades honor the Russian Armed Forces, while men receive gifts of gratitude.

In Denmark, Father’s Day is celebrated on June 5, the country’s Constitution Day, in Estonia, Sweden, Norway and Finland, the second Sunday of November, in Haiti, the last Sunday of June, in Indonesia, November 12, in Israel, May 1 together with Workers’ Day or Labor Day. In South Korea, Parents’ day (for both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day) is celebrated on May 8, while in Nepal fathers are honored on the day of Gokarna Aunsi, which occurs in late August or early September, depending on the lunar calendar. In Latvia, Father’s Day (Tēvu diena) is celebrated on the second Sunday of September, Lithuania, the first Sunday of June, Poland, June 23, Samoa, the second Sunday in August, United Arab Emirates, June 21, and Ukraine, the third Sunday of September.

However varied around the world, fatherhood is crucial in bonding families and communities. Fathers ought to be honored, as significant pillars and foundations of society.

(Originally published on: [+ http://www.aacs.website/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/AACSNL6.14.17.pdf+])

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30. Wedding Customs from around the World

From the first dance to the tossing of the bouquet, weddings are full of tradition and customs. Indeed, couples around the world happily take part in their versions of good-vibe rituals to start off their marriages on the right note. The wedding etiquette, be it smile-inducing, mystifying, or downright bizarre, is hard not to abide by. But what connects the world’s disparate customs is one everlasting theme: love. Here is a look at some fascinating customs.

The Armenian Bread

S ingle Armenian men and women chow down on salty bread to have a glimpse of their future spouses. According to the custom, if you eat a slice of the high-sodium specialty -- which must be prepared by a happily married middle-aged woman or your grandmother -- you will hopefully dream about your husband- or wife-to-be.

China: Fortunetelling and Lion Dance

Chinese couples consult a fortune-teller to find a favorable date derived from their birth dates. For centuries, Chinese brides wore the traditional qipao, a bright-red silk dress with intricate gold embroidery. On the morning of the wedding, the groom and groomsmen would make their way to the bride’s home where the bridesmaids would give the groom a hard time by forcing him to negotiate his way into the house (with money). At more elaborate weddings, a performance called the lion dance in which performers dressed as powerful felines swayed to the beat of drums, gongs and cymbals to scare away evil spirits.

Congo: No Smiles

Congolese brides and grooms have to be serious and not smile during their entire wedding day, from ceremony to reception. No smiles; or they are just not serious about marriage.

Cuba: The Money Dress

Every man who dances with the bride must pin money to her dress to help the couple financially.

Czechoslovakia: Baby and All for Fertility

Before the ceremony, an infant is placed on the couple’s bed to bless and enhance their fertility. Afterwards, guests shower them with rice, peas or lentils to also promote fertility.

Fiji: a Whale for a Hand

In Fiji when a man asks a woman’s father for her hand in marriage, he must present his future father-in-law with a whale’s tooth.

Germany: Teamwork

The bride and groom must work together to saw through a log in front of their friends and family members. Teamwork is the key to overcome challenges in their marriage.

Italy: Preferably on a Smashing Sunday

Italian folklore dictated that couples should never marry (or leave for their honeymoon) on a Friday or Tuesday, or they’d be bound to have loads of bad luck, while Saturdays were reserved for widows getting hitched to husband number two. Sunday is the best day to marry. The groom repels spirits by holding a piece of iron in his pocket. After the wedding cerem ony, the couple shatters a vase -- the number of broken pieces represented the number of years they will be happily married.

Kenya: Father’s Duty

After a Kenyan ceremony, the bride’s father is to spit on a Masai bride while leaving with her new husband. Be careful not to tempt fate by being too supportive of the newlyweds.

Mauritius: Chubby for Hubby

In Mauritius, young girls are forced to pack on the pounds before their weddings. The chubbier, the better. A well-fed wife is a sign of wealth

Mexican Arras

During a Mexican wedding ceremony, the groom gives his bride 13 gold coins, called arras, which symbolize Christ and his apostles. Following the vows, the priest wraps a lazo, or lasso (a large rosary, rope or a band of flowers), in a figure eight around the couple’s necks to represent their eternal bond.

Seven Days in Morocco

A traditional Moroccan wedding lasts up to seven days. The first three days are for preparing, partying and beautifying the bride. On the fourth, the couple gets married. On the fifth and sixth days, the celebrations continue. Finally on the seventh day, the parties of men and women come together and the bride is placed on a cushion and held aloft in front of friends and family. The men hoist the groom onto their shoulders, and the bride and the groom are carried off to a special room to consummate their marriage.

Philippines: Doves for Harmony

The newly married couple releases a pair of white doves to represent a harmonious life together.

Wales: When Love Blooms

Welsh brides give a cutting of myrtle bouquets to their bridesmaids. If a bridesmaid plants it and it blooms, she will be the next bride.

Take a look around: interesting wedding traditions often tell beautiful heritage backgrounds. Following the customs can bring couples of different upbringings together. It is all worth it in the end. When love and living happily ever after are the outcomes, all the preparations and arrangements pay off to grant a lucky start for brides and grooms.

One Everlasting Theme of Weddings: Love

31. How the World Welcomes New Babies

Babies are welcomed into the world in all manners. Many religious customs play important roles before, during and after a birth. In essence, all rituals aim to help mothers regain their health and protect the new born babies.

Shaved for Purification

Buddhist monks hold a hair shaving purification ceremony one month and one day after a baby’s birth.

Muslims perform Agigah (the ritual of cutting a baby’s hair) seven days after a baby’s birth. By weighing the cut hair and donating to the poor with the equivalent amount of silver or gold, the baby becomes a servant of Allah.

Malay women also wash babies’ scalps in water and hope for a good future for the baby.

Heat Protection

Thai women experience jufaj which involves spending an odd number of days (usually 11) lying next to a fire, in order to heal their uteruses and rid themselves of evil spirits.

Cambodian women light a small fire beneath their beds for three days to a week.

Malaysian women undergo a 44-day period of confinement, known as a pantang. During this time they sit by fires, apply hot stones and oils to their bodies and bind their abdomens using a traditional technique called bengkung.

Aboriginal women smoke their babies, placing them into smoking pits of green foliage for seconds. By inhaling some smoke, the babies can become healthier and stronger.

Smoke is also used to ward off evil spirits in Yemeni culture. In parts of Asia and Africa, women squat over smoky fires after birth, in order to heal and purify themselves.

Crying, Jumping, Dropping

Strange rituals are in place for the good of women and babies in some parts of the world.

Japanese families are known to enter sumo baby-crying contests. In Nakizumo, a 400-year-old baby-crying festival has babies face off against one another in the ring. The child that cries first is the winner because crying babies are healthier and stronger.

The Catholic feast of Corpus Christi is celebrated with El Colacho, an annual baby-jumping festival. Babies born within the past 12 months in the Spanish village of Castrillo de Murcia, are blessed and placed on mattresses in the street. Jumpers dressed as devils hop over the babies to ensure they have a safe passage through life.

In India, newborn babies have been dropped off the Sri Santeswar Temple for hundreds of years. Onlookers sing and dance 50 feet below. Approximately 200 babies are dropped and caught in sheets every year to bring health, prosperity and luck.

Reverence for Umbilical Cords and Placentas

Some cultures treat umbilical cords and Placentas with reverence, instead of disposing them without a second thought as in most Western countries.

In Brunei and Jamaica, it is kept in a white sheet and a male relative carefully buries it near a flowering plant or tree.

A baby’s umbilical cord is presented to the mother in a small wooden box, kotobuki bako. It serves as a memento of the birth, to be cherished for life.

In Turkey the cord is believed to influence a child’s future. If its cord is buried near a mosque, a stable, a school garden or in water, the child will become devout, love animals, be scholarly, or completely left to chance accordingly.

In many indigenous cultures such as the Navajo Indians and New Zealand’s Maori, a new mother buries the placenta after her baby’s birth, symbolizing the baby’s connection to the earth.

Maternity and Treats

The Dutch system of kraamhulp[_ ](maternity home care) is for seven days. A nurse comes to perform in-home care as a benefit covered by insurance. Not only does the nurse provide medical care, but she also cleans, cooks, and instructs basic parenting skills. The nurse also makes the traditional snack to celebrate a birth:[ *beschuit met muisjes*_], which literally translates as “biscuits with mice.” The “mice” are actually miniature licorice bits with blue-and-white coating for boys, pink-and-white for girls.

As in Holland, German women see midwives for their prenatal care.

German women who hold full-time jobs know their positions will be secure when and if they decide to return to work. As soon as a woman informs an employer of her pregnancy, she cannot be fired. Women may stop working six weeks before their due date and are forbidden from working for eight weeks after giving birth, all with full pay. Mothers may even take up to three years of unpaid leave, the third being a floating year that can be taken at any time and by either parent.

Japanese women deliver in hospitals, and fathers are permitted to be present at the birth only if they have taken prenatal classes with the mothers-to-be.

Mothers can expect to stay at the hospitals for five to ten days.

Japanese and Chinese mothers, along with their babies, often stay at the mothers’ parents' home for a month or so -- it is a cultural tradition that women stay in bed with their baby (zuo-yue-zi 坐月子in Chinese). During this time friends may drop by to greet the new baby and join the family in eating red dyed eggs.

Turkish mothers and babies stay home for the first 20 days after the birth. Friends drop by and drink a special beverage called lohusa serbeti. After this period, the mother and child make return visits to gift-givers’ homes, where they receive a handkerchief filled with a single egg (for a healthy baby) and candy (for a good-natured baby). They also rub flour on the baby’s eyebrows and hairline, which is supposed to grant him a long life.

People around the world go out of their way to shower new parents and their babies with gifts to show their delight at the arrival of bundles of joy. The ideas of celebration go way beyond cupcakes and flowers -- health, safety, and well-being of both the mother and the child are a universal concern.

32. How the World Treats the Elderly

Aging is a universal human experience, and is worth examining as people’s life expectancy lengthens across the globe.

The United States ranks 9^^th^^ globally according to the Global AgeWatch Index which rates 96 countries based on the welfare of the country’s people aged over 65.

(See the ranking at [+ http://www.helpage.org/global-agewatch/population-ageing-data/global-rankings-table/+]).

Switzerland ranks first, followed by Norway, Sweden, Germany and Canada among the top 5.

At the bottom of the list are Mozambique, Malawi, and Afghanistan. The rankings do not necessarily reflect the culture or collective mentality of the country, but they do provide pictures of how various factors such as economies, politics and laws, affect the faring of its senior citizens. A number of metrics, including health, income security, employment, education opportunities, and levels of physical safety, public services, and social connections, also contribute to the elders’ happiness. Here are some findings about how the elderly fare around the world.

America: Plenty Opportunities

Compared to developed nations, America under-performs on public health and income equality, but is still a fairly good country for the elderly. Many good Samaritans volunteer to help the elderly at senior centers or senior living communities, and initiatives such as Senior Citizens Day (August 21) and Older Americans Month (May) has taken to heart how elders are valuable to our society.

Some may argue America as one of the best places for retirement because education and employment opportunities for elderly Americans are some of the best in the world. On the other hand, America’s weak social safety net may contribute to the needs of the elders to stay self-sufficient. America ranks 36^^th^^ globally for “income security” among older citizens and 24^^th^^ on health of the elderly.

Filial Piety: the Law in China, India, France and the Ukraine

The “Elderly Rights Law’ in China mandates that children “‘should never neglect or disrespect elderly people’ and must make arrangements to visit them ‘often’, regardless of their proximity.” In accordance, c ompanies are required to give workers time off to see their parents. The law helps prevent economic crises in China, where 636 million people will be over age 50 by 2050, or nearly 49% of the population. China ranks 52 ^^nd^^ worldwide for senior living.

As a matter of fact, the Confucian teaching of filial piety has been embedded in the ways Chinese, Japanese, and Korean people treat their elders. About ¾ of elderly people live with their adult children.

“Respect for the Aged Day,” the third Monday of every September in Japan, is a national holiday designated to honor and show appreciation for the elderly. (Japan ranks 8^^th^^ globally for senior living.) Gifts are given to grandparents after festive meals. Volunteers distribute free obento lunches to elderly people. The media run special features to profile the oldest Japanese citizens, and a person’s 60^^th^^ and 70^^th^^ birthdays are considered prominent events. Younger people and school children dance and provide entertainment and pay their elders great attention.

Asia
Generally in Asia, people have a moral of respect for the elderly and ancestors. For example, Indian youngsters touch the feet of their elders as a mark of love and respect for them, as well as a request for their blessings. Deeply rooted in traditional values, elderly care is a grand family responsibility. Although different generations do not live together in modern Eastern families as in the old days, many still maintain close proximity. Just like China, Singapore mandates an allowance from children to elderly parents, and those who fail to comply can face six months in jail.

People in Asia treat their elders well, but the overall living conditions of their senior citizens may not be the best due to each particular country’s situations. South Korea ranks very poorly at the 60^^th^^ place. Though most South Koreans are affluent, elderly South Koreans are not in comparison. The main reason is that public pensions were not introduced until 1988; many older Koreans have no source of income.

France

Article 207 of the French Civil Code, passed in 2004, requires that adult children “keep in touch” with their elderly parents. France stands out among the Western countries in making senior living a legislative priority. (France ranks 16^^th^^ for senior living in the world.)

It was enacted following two disturbing events: the publication of statistics revealing France had the highest rate of senior suicides in Europe, and the aftermath of a heat wave that killed 15,000 people, most of them elderly, and many of whom dead for weeks before people took notice.

Scotland

Scottish people value their elders. They listen for the elders’ wisdom and support them to live in family settings, according to a new program called “Reshaping Care for Older People.” The paradigm shifts from treating ailments to valuing quality of life. Families care for their elderly loved ones, and value them as society’s assets. (UK as a whole ranks 10^^th^^ for senior living in the world.)

The Mediterranean and Latin culture

Mediterranean and Latin cultures respect elders and place priority on the family. It is common for multiple generations to live under one roof. “Old man” is actually a term of endearment in Greece. The Latin countries share similar vales, and hold their senior citizens in high regard.

These are so many different cultural pers-pectives on eldercare. Clearly more options and innovations are necessary.  Fortunately, technology has facilitated convenient travels and real-time communications. Caregivers, assisted living communities, and families can all help to care for the elderly. In Holland, some nursing homes are offering rent-free housing to college students, so that both senior and youth citizens can benefit from the system. Think about available options and resources -- solutions may be readily available when we are mindful.

33. Funeral Rites from around the World

Funeral rites in different cultures may vary, but they share similar reverence for the deceased. Each society throughout time has its rituals in remembrance of the dead. The disposal of the dead bodies also reveals interesting aspects of a culture. With different ceremonies and burials, death does not signify the end of life, but rather, a new page for the next generations to carry on their lives with renewed faith and strength.

In the West, relatives and friends arrive in all black, and take seats in the church or synagogue pews for a somber ceremony. Prayers are said, memories are shared, and tears are shed. Graves or urns are the final resting places, while tokens of remembrance are kept for generations to come.

In the United States, more and more people are opting for environmentally friendly burials, the so called Green funerals . The Green Burial Council has approved 40 environmentally friendly cemeteries in the U.S. Woven-willow caskets, which decompose into the ground, are used instead of concrete vaults. Or, becoming a memorial “reef ball,” is another option -- remains are compressed into spheres and attached to reefs in the ocean.

The New Orleans jazz funeral is a prototypical image of New Orleans, Louisiana. Boisterous, jazzy funeral processions fuse West African, French, and African-American traditions to engage in cathartic music-playing and dancing.

In many Asian countries such as China, Taiwan, Indonesia, and Japan, funerals are raucous affairs lasting anywhere from days to weeks. A lavish funeral involves sacrificial animals for incessant feasts and hired “criers” to moan the death. Funeral processions travel around towns to honor the dead.

South Korean burial beads accommodate the country’s limited space and enforce cremations. Ashes or remains are compressed into gem-like beads for display in the home.

The Benguet of Northwestern Philippines blindfold their dead and place them at the main entrance of the house; their Tinguian neighbors dress bodies in their best clothes, and sit them on chairs as if they were still alive. The Caviteño near Manila bury their dead in a hollowed-out tree trunk, while the Apayo in the north entomb their dead under the kitchen.

Sky burial in Mongolia and Tibet shows the belief in the transmigration of spirits after death. For the soul to return to the earth, the body is chopped into pieces and placed on a mountaintop, at the disposal of natural elements or vultures.

The Malagasy people of Madagascar have a ritual called “famadihana,” or “the turning of the bones.” Once every five or seven years, where bodies, wrapped in cloth, are exhumed and sprayed with wine or perfume. Family members dance with the bodies to the beats of live bands.

In Ghana, people like “fantasy coffins” and being buried in something that represents their lives. Coffins shape like expensive Mercedes, planes, fish, or any other forms that suit the dead’s fancy.

The Haida people of North America had a special ritual for the death of a chief or shaman. The body is crushed to a pulp with clubs and put in a suitcase box. A mortuary totem pole in front of the deceased person’s house will hold the suitcase box.

Since the beginning of mankind, humans have employed ceremonies, funeral rites, or rituals, to honor the deceased. Commemoration of the dead includes providing sacred resting places, be it a coffin, an urn in a Pagoda or church, a mountaintop, the ocean, or any other devices like beads or whatever biodegradable containers human minds are capable of designing. In the end, it is the peace of mind that matters.

34. How the World Rears the Young

 

Child-rearing sets the foundation of education for a child. Good home environments and habits often establish groundwork for successful schooling and development. However, people rear their young very differently across the globe. Parenting styles vary, and children themselves have a big part in determining their courses of life.

In many parts of the world, parents are focused on cultivating independence, as well as less needy or attention-seeking habits. Vietnamese mothers, for instance, stop using diapers for their kids by 9 months; kids in China bear responsibilities for the family and are expected to work hard in school to pay back for all they have received. In Japan, kids go out, take subways, or walk on busy streets by themselves. Argentine and Spanish parents let their kids stay up at night, and Danish parents leave their kids in a stroller on the curb while they go to shop or eat. In Jewish tradition, children are taught to swim and develop self-reliance, resourcefulness, and resilience. In Kenya, Kisii, or Gussii, moms carry their babies everywhere, but they don’t indulge a baby’s cooing. Rather, when their babies start babbling, mothers avert their eyes.

Apply the above to North American kids -- Child Protective Services would be busy 24/7. Parents in US and Canada tend to be protective and are highly focused on their children’s talents, success, and happiness. The need for “success” in an increasingly competitive world is often geared towards fame and monetary gains -- through their children’s talents, sports or academics. Compared to Asian countries, where parenting is focused highly on academics and college acceptance, North Americans are more inclined to prop their kids for celebrity-like recognitions.

Meanwhile, Dutch parents use “smart” to describe their children only 10 percent of the time. They do not push their children too hard. Instead, regularly scheduled recess, food, and a pleasant environment are the top priorities.

In Norway, children are institutionalized at a young age. Most of them enter state-sponsored daycare at 1 year old, and then enter school and organized activities. At daycare, children are bundled up and taken outside to nap in their strollers in order to be in the very much fetishized “fresh air.”

In Scandinavia, a democratic relationship between parents and children seems to be the norm. Swedish children have the “right” to co-sleep with their parents for comfort. Compared to Asia, where co-sleeping with a family member through late childhood is mainly to bring about obedience and closeness, not democracy. In parts of Asia and the Polynesian Islands, co-sleeping is a necessary economic or development arrangement. Children take care of children, not just babysitting. As soon as a child can walk, he or she is put to work.

The diversity of child-rearing ideas indicates that children should be allowed to grow into who they are. Children are reared in order to be self-sufficient and self-reliant -- to leave their parents and live their own lives.

Teach them, help them, mold them, motivate them, but don’t spoil them. Trust them to be full human beings that they can be, and the world hopefully, can be better off with well-raised, well-rounded grownup citizens.

Appendix

Discussion Questions for The Un-death of Me

One reader has suggested that reading my book The Un-death of Me was an exercise to become globally competent. I appreciate this observation of the reader, and confirm that my debut book and this collection of articles in Asia-literacy and Global Competence have similar purposes of examining the issues concerning cultural diversity and competence. I therefore, include as an addendum here, study questions for The Un-death of Me. In doing so, I hope to circle back to address some of the subjects I explore and elicit further discussions.

Discussion Questions for The Un-death of Me:

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p<>. Do you think this “fictional memoir” is more fictional or autobiographical? To what extent is this book a cross-genre endeavor?

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p<>. Does the book start in a disoriented way with a purpose? What purpose does it serve? Reflect on Avery/the protagonist narrator’s state of mind and how “stream of consciousness” brings out her stories.

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p<>. What kind of character is Harry? When Avery says she needs to teach people how she is to be treated, including adults and children, do you think she has this man and her students/step kids in mind? What other characters might be included in this list of people that need to be taught about cultural competence?

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p<>. Do you think the character of Avery Mingli Liang is well developed? How has she changed throughout the book? What kind of realizations does she experience? To what extent is her isolation self-imposed? Does she establish true connections with her husband Abbey Lori? Or is it another quandary?

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p<>. What kind of character is Tim Rosenberg? Abbey Lori? How are they similar or different? Why do you think these two men become the most important influencers on Avery’s life?

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p<>. Do you think you can be truly empathetic of Avery’s immigration life and experience? Based on your own upbringing and heritage, can you picture what Avery has to undergo in order to find her niche in American society?

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p<>. How sympathetic are you of people of foreign origins? Do you think they should all go home to avoid struggles in their adopted countries? Or, what do immigrant experiences like Avery’s teach you?

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p<>. What is your favorite part of the book? Why?

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p<>. The differences and similarities among nations are nuanced in this book. Compare and contrast. Give examples.

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p<>. The prologue/epilogue of the book draws out the same topic of quest and life fulfilment. To what extent do you think the implications change although they both employs very much of the same narration?

Thank you for reading!

Dear Reader,

I hope you enjoyed the entries collected in Asia-literacy and Global Competence. In foregrounding the Asian segment onto the global stage, I aim to raise awareness about cultural diversity and competence. That is to say, my task has just begun. I start with Asia, my home continent, and America, my adopted country (and oftentimes Las Vegas, the city I currently live in), in order to have a base to explore the world far beyond.

My journey of learning continues and will never cease. I plan to keep writing about different facets of Asia and the world. Our complex yet beautiful world has so much to offer, that it’s hard not to explore as many aspects as our time allows us to.

Finally, I need to ask a favor. If you are so inclined, I’d love a review of Asia-literacy and Global Competence. Your honest review is the most precious feedback I could have.

You, the reader, have the power to make voices heard and change our world for the better. Please find my author page on Amazon as well as other retail outlets.

Please make yourself heard by voicing your opinions. Please show me the path to your review by contacting me via email: [email protected]. When you have provided your feedback, I will send you another free e-book to show my gratitude!

Thank you so much again for reading. I look forward to reading your review.

Sincerely,

Alicia Su Lozeron

Asia-literacy and Global Competence

Author: Alicia Su Lozeron

About the Author

Asia-Literacy and Global Competence Mentor | Founder of AACS |

Author | Licensed Secondary-School

English Language Arts and Chinese Mandarin Teacher

Think Global Live Noble

Alicia Su Lozeron is the author of numerous news/magazine articles and short stories. She holds a Master’s degree in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University in the City of New York, and is licensed as a secondary-school English Language Arts/Chinese Mandarin teacher in Las Vegas, NV. Through her writing career as well as the communication management/consulting company she founded, Asia-America Connection Society, she aims to raises awareness about global competence, and to connect the West to the significant economic and cultural contributions the Asian segment offers. This collection of articles and vignettes highlights her musings of cultural interactions and layouts the groundwork for her many endeavors. Her debut novel, The Un-death of Me, depicts a world traveler and immigrant Asian American woman’s life in a fresh light. It is a fictional world full of contemporary and global resonance; it is about many subjects: alienation, individuality, self-doubt, self-discovery, complexities of love and marriage, quests of fulfillment and happiness, (in)justice, cultural diversity, discrimination, and mankind as a whole. Its subtle yet intense emotions detailed in the many characters and locales, render a visionary sense of humanity, gratifying and unforgettable in their own rights.

Alicia Su Lozeron

Asia-America Connection Society

Think Global Live Noble

Phone 702-577-0700

E-mail [email protected]; [email protected]

Below is what readers and audiences have discerned of Alicia Su Lozeron’s work:

• helps me overcome difficulties or fears and find beauty in positive human interactions;

• helps me appreciate people of various backgrounds, and expand knowledge about the world;

• helps me understand interracial or blended family relations;

• helps me savor intricate feelings and emotions about important subjects in life;

• helps me gain enjoyment through poetic narrations;

• helps me realize a new perspective of hope, courage, and respect for others;

• helps me raise awareness about cultural competence;

• helps me nurture a well-rounded global outlook;

• motivates me to promote an open/just community;

• urges me to develop the ability to see the big picture using multiple frames of references;

• helps me strengthen the ability to express genuine love;

• helps me decrease conflict by learning to trust and to resolve disagreements….

[* “Think Global Live Noble” -- together we can build a better world! *]


Asia-literacy and Global Competence

ASIA-LITERACY AND GLOBAL COM-PETENCE is a collection of Alicia Su Lozeron’s vignettes and articles about Asia and the world. In bringing the Asian segment onto the western stage, the author emphasizes the invaluable contributions of the Asian sector to the global village. An irresistible shift of global power renders awareness about global competence ever more important. She aims to raise that awareness and connects the West to the East by researching and analyzing facts as well as describing experiences of cross-cultural nature. Her content is compelling, and her tales, beautifully narrated. Through her writing as well as her translation and communication management company, Asia-America Connection Society, AACS 亚美合作协会, Alicia Su Lozeron has promoted Asia-literacy and urged global competence. Her diligence in providing quality content related to Asia and the globe has proven to be rewarding, both to her own personal fulfillment, and to the global village’s needs. For herself, the work is her cause and calling. She gains a great deal of gratification through hard work and creation. For the world, her work is beneficial and educational in the ways it introduces peoples and cultures of various heritages and embraces world citizens of the global village, with their fair share of rights to being, to life, and to our magnificent Earth. Alicia Su Lozeron’s advocacy for mutual understanding and collaboration among cultures is vital for your company or personal accomplishments, on a business, cultural, educational, or entertainment dimension. Below is what readers and audiences have discerned of Alicia Su Lozeron’s work: • helps me overcome difficulties or fears and find beauty in positive human interactions; • helps me appreciate people of various backgrounds, and expand knowledge about the world; • helps me understand interracial or blended family relations; • helps me savor intricate feelings and emotions about important subjects in life; • helps me gain enjoyment through poetic narrations; • helps me realize a new perspective of hope, courage, and respect for others; • helps me raise awareness about cultural competence; • helps me nurture a well-rounded global outlook; • motivates me to promote an open/just community; • urges me to develop the ability to see the big picture using multiple frames of references; • helps me strengthen the ability to express genuine love; • helps me decrease conflict by learning to trust and to resolve disagreements…. “Think Global Live Noble” -- together we can build a better world!

  • ISBN: 9780998194165
  • Author: Alicia Su Lozeron
  • Published: 2017-06-25 17:50:47
  • Words: 18074
Asia-literacy and Global Competence Asia-literacy and Global Competence